We want to make it easier for public sector organisations to find the information they need to buy the right services. That means we have to make some changes to the way suppliers’ services are presented on the Digital Marketplace.
The content challenge
After analysing a cross-section of services on the Digital Marketplace, we found that the current service descriptions vary in length, style and quality. User research also showed that keyword-spamming, confusing jargon and indirect language make it hard for buyers to understand what a service actually does.
A simple structure
We decided that the best way to improve the service descriptions was to give suppliers a clearer structure to work with. So now, instead of giving suppliers an open invitation to describe their services, we’re breaking down the content we expect suppliers to provide into fixed, manageable chunks.
When they apply to the G-Cloud 6 framework, suppliers will now have:
- 50 words to introduce their service
- 100 words to describe up to 10 service benefits (10 words per benefit)
- 100 words to describe up to 10 service features (10 words per feature)
They’ll also have their own supplier page where they can provide:
- 50 words to describe their organisation
- 10 client names
Writing tips for suppliers
Carefully considered content can help a buyer understand and, ultimately, choose your service. Our top tips for writing a good service description include:
1. Keep it short and simple
The average sentence length in any document should be between 15 and 20 words. Keep sentences active, rather than passive. Try to stick to a subject-verb-object sentence structure.
Use: Fred joined the company today.
Don't use: The company was joined by Fred today.
2. Use plain English
Feel free to follow your own company style guide, but try to keep your language clear and concise. Any unnecessary content could get in the way of a buyer understanding your service.
3. Choose your key service features
You can list up to 10 service features as part of your service description. Some examples of possible features include:
- remote access
- real-time reporting
- integrated social media
4. Choose your key service benefits
You can list up to 10 service benefits as part of your service description. Some examples of possible benefits include:
- faster administration
- low total cost of ownership
- simplified system maintenance
For further guidance, please take a look at our prototype service description and supplier pages. These examples are based on a fictional company called Excelsior, which is describing a fictional content management system called Excelsior CMS.