Since 1732, trendsetters like Ben Franklin have been using content marketing to build an audience and entice them to take action.
Every business wants to convert readers into customers. Whether they saw a link on Facebook to your website or they came across your business on Google, capturing web traffic doesn’t always mean converting that traffic to sales.
Most of us know the basics of copywriting: persuade the customer to want what you have to offer. But some strategies that may seem like common sense will actually drive customers away from your site and ultimately lower your conversion rates.
We’ve compiled the most common mistakes that businesses make in their copy in order to help you avoid these pitfalls. Most importantly, we put together some solutions that will make readers want to partake in your business’s brand, mission, and eventually (or not so eventually) purchasing your products or services.
1) The #1 Copywriting Mistake: Writing What Readers Don’t Want to Read
Gone are the days of the loud car salesman yelling “Deal, deal, deal!” The same is true for websites that flash neon ads that pressure customers or long-winded copy that is flooded with excessive product details. Today’s audience wants to be informed and entertained. And they want to feel connected to businesses they use through engaging content that is fun and easy to read.
Instead of overwhelming your reader with a sales pitch, try to engage them with a story or an article. Use language you’d find in some of the best books you’ve read. This will capture your audience’s’ minds and hearts.
2) Don’t Assume Your Customer Knows “Why”
We know our businesses better than anybody. As business owners, we feel passionate about the fact that our products and services are the best. But at times, we tend to forget that others aren’t as aware of how helpful our offerings can be! Nobody knew how the Pet Rock could cure loneliness before Gary Dahl marketed the rock as an alternative to a traditional pet.
Don’t forget your customers need to know why they should reach for their credit card or click the “Buy Now” button. As Forbes explains, your “Why” matters.
In order to identify your “why” make a list of the reasons someone might want to use your product or services, then mark which is the most important. From there use a call to action within your copy that explains why your customer should click on to become a customer. Remember, people want solutions, so focus on how you can solve their problems or enrich their life, not the “features” of your offer.
3) Avoid the Hard Sell
Have you ever walked into a store and thought, “I hope the salesperson works hard to sell me on their product?” Probably not. The reality is: people don’t want to be sold to. Customers, especially, those that browse the internet to learn more about a topic, don’t want to come face-to-face with the used car salesman of the 70s. This approach simply doesn’t work now.
Instead of trying to persuade your customer to BUY NOW! Let your satisfied customers convince them. Use customer reviews. Readers will want to know what others thought of your business. Be sure to build value throughout the process, to avoid competing with low priced, overbearing competitors.
4) The Dreaded Wall of Text: Don’t Overwhelm Your Reader by Overloading the Page
One way to make your visitors immediately rush to the back button is by overwhelming them with a wall of text. What does this mean exactly? The screen is flooded with long paragraphs without headings or pictures.
We know what we offer is awesome. We’ve devoted our lives to our businesses. But does the customer need to know every detail? More importantly, can the customer navigate your copy to find answers to questions they may have?
In her book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, Ann Handley explains that punctuation, like periods, and paragraph breaks are when reader reflect on what they’ve read. Your product is great–explain why and give your customer plenty of opportunities to process your copy with short paragraphs and sentences.
Let your copy breathe. Write paragraphs that are 2-4 sentences long instead of 8 or more. Add space and pictures within your content to give the reader a chance to think.
5) The Key to Conversion: Know Who Your Customer Is and What they Need
Often, we want to connect with every single person that comes across our site. But this can be to the detriment of your core audience and core customer.
Do your research and find out who your primary audience is. Then write to them. I mean directly to them. Think about a member of your audience sitting behind the screen reading what you’re writing. Think about how you would talk to them and what they’re interested in. This will lead to more engaging copywriting that will keep your reader around longer, raising the chances of converting to a sale.
6) Be Positive
We solve problems. There’s the old copywriting adage ‘find a problem your product solves and convey that to your customer.’ But you want to do this in a positive way.
The first sentence of your copy should be positive because it sets the tone for everything that comes after. And remember to always end on a positive note, too. Write with a smile.
7) Keyword Stuffing: How Much is Too Much?
There’s no doubt SEO is key to customers finding your business, but one common copywriting mistake is to fill your copy to the brim with keywords.
Many businesses don’t realize this will actually hurt their ranking and bore their audience. I always think of it as listening to a song on-loop. You may love that song now, but by the 7th time hearing it, you’ll never want to listen to it again.
Include your keywords in ways that are natural. If each of your paragraphs repeats your keyword, it’s probably too often. If you want to make copy that converts and ranks, starting with a competitor content analysis can help you find great long tail keyword variations, while bringing common pain points to your attention. Compare, combine, and improve, but don’t copy them!
8) Style Choices: Clear Simple Language Works Best
Unless your customers are law professors, they probably don’t want to read an academic exposé on your product or service. Your style should reflect your brand and voice that your audience will connect to.
Think about a conversation your customer may have with another customer. What type of language do they use? What do they talk about? Take this into account when writing convincing copy.
Writing in a style that reflects your audience will help them feel better understood and better connect to your brand, building brand loyalty in the long-run. If you aren’t sure how they talk, search some forums threads in your niche to find common language.
9) Spelling and Grammar Matter
You didn’t think you were going to read a copywriting article without avoiding spelling and grammar, did you? Well, As much as we don’t like to acknowledge it. Spelling and grammar matter. Your audience is more likely to stick around if they don’t have to struggle to get through your content. They’ll also take you more seriously if your copy is clean and crisp.
So, always proofread your work to ensure that it makes sense and doesn’t have any silly or humorous typos. Better yet, have another writer or editor read your work before publishing it.
There’s a good chance that customers ended up on your website because they want to learn more about what you have to offer. Keep those readers around longer and convert them to customers by filling your website will friendly, informative copy they’ll enjoy.