Every year, poor writing results in businesses losing billions of dollars.
But many of these businesses don’t even recognise their writing is bringing their sales down.
Because many copywriting mistakes are commonplace, which makes it easy to slop them into your own writing. So we’ve put together this list of the top 12 copywriting mistakes to avoid so that you aren’t missing sales unnecessarily.
1. Forgetting About SEO
Even the best copywriting won’t do you any good if no one reads it. Figure out how you’ll optimise your copy before you start writing.
This might mean you have to spend extra time researching keywords, and it might also mean you have to rephrase a sentence or paragraph to make the optimisation feel natural.
But don’t ignore the work. “Saving” time by leaving out SEO will only hurt your business later.
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2. Misspellings, Typos, and Unnecessary Words
Nothing will turn potential customers away from your business like mis-spelt words and typos. If a potential customer notices poor spelling on your website, you’ll become less reputable in their eyes.
This lost trust can cost your business millions of dollars.
But it’s not just the spelling you should focus on. Keep an eye out for wrong words, like using “fewer” rather than “less”. You should also go through your copy a few times and cut out any unnecessary words.
Words like “really”, “very”, “great”, etc. are just taking up space and making your writing weaker.
3. Not Setting Goals
You can’t know if your copywriting is successful if you don’t know what you want it to accomplish.
Before you sit down and write up your copy, take some time to come up with some goals. What will this specific piece of copy do for your business? Will it lead the reader to purchase a product or service? Will it encourage them to reach out?
Once you come up with the goal for your copywriting, set another goal for yourself. Figure out the best way to write the copy so you’ll get the most conversions.
Don’t just write copy to fill your web pages. Each piece of copy should have its own purpose.
4. Writing To Yourself
Just because something sounds good or logical to you doesn’t mean it will sound that way to your audience.
Your perspective isn’t what’s important. You have to look at what you’re writing through your audience’s point of view.
What will make sense to them?
How do they communicate?
If you don’t understand the mindset of your audience, you won’t be able to create effective copywriting.
But this isn’t to say your perspective isn’t valuable. However, it’s not the perspective you should be writing for.
Focus on your audience, not yourself.
5. Focusing Too Much on the Words
The words are the most important part of your copywriting, but they aren’t the only things you have to think about.
After all, your website won’t consist of pages devoid of anything but words. So don’t let yourself get too sucked up in the writing aspect. Instead, think about the overall design as a whole.
Does your formatting make sense? Did you leave room for pictures? Can the reader navigate the page without missing copy or getting overwhelmed?
But this doesn’t mean you should turn all your attention to design. Your copywriting should be the thing that drives your design. Your copy should be the main priority.
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6. Forgetting About Mobile
Nearly 50% of all internet searches are made on mobile devices, and your copy must accommodate these mobile users.
That means you’ll have to make some changes.
Normal website copywriting won’t translate well on a mobile device. The writing may be too small, run off the page, or the formatting will be frustrating for readers to engage with.
Spend some time optimising your copy not just for SEO, but also for optimal readability on mobile device.
Mobile optimisation might include making the font size bigger, shortening the paragraphs, cutting out unnecessary words, adding relevant pictures, etc.
7. Lack Of Consistency Across Platforms
Consistency creates brand trust. It also gives a clear message to your entire audience, no matter what platform they use. So, your copywriting style should be consistent across any platform you use for your business.
However, this doesn’t mean your copywriting for each platform should be exactly the same.
Copying from one platform to another can have the opposite effect on your audience. Instead, make your copywriting unique for each platform, but keep the message and style consistent.
8. Forgetting To Back Up Your Claims
If your audience sees you as a credible source, they’ll be more likely to do business with you. But if you don’t back up any of your claims, there’s a good chance they won’t believe what you’re saying.
To fight this scepticism, back up any claims you make with a trustworthy source. This doesn’t mean you have to rely on outside sources to prove yourself.
Instead, use your own case studies, reviews, or testimonials to back up what you’re saying. You can also show data or numbers you’ve gathered from satisfied customers.
Even something as simple as a return policy can help your audience see you as a credible source.
9. Not Addressing The “Why?”
Sometimes businesses get too caught up in explaining the features of their products/services. But your audience doesn’t care about features, they want to know how it can help them.
So instead of talking about what your products or services can do, talk about the benefits they have. Show your readers how your products and services can solve a problem they’re having in their lives.
Make sure your audience knows what’s in it for them when they do business with you. If you don’t answer the “why”, they might not be able to recognise how you can help them.
10. Doing What’s Already Been Done
If your competitors have great copywriting that’s clearly getting results, you might be tempted to do the same thing they’re doing.
First of all, this can be considered breach of copyright. And, when you copy content from other websites, your SEO rankings can drop due to duplicate content.
In other words, copied content is more likely to hurt your website rather than help.
To connect with your audience, you have to be real. When you copy other people, you aren’t being authentic and your readers can recognise that.
Being true to yourself will inspire your audience better than copied content.
11. Failing To Test
Sticking to proven copywriting practices is a good idea, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test your own copy.
For example, copywriting best practices might say “no one will read long-form copy”. But that’s not always true. Many people will read long-form copy, especially if your products or services are complex.
It all depends on your business, and your audience.
Spend some time trying different things to find out what works best. You might find that long-form copy gives you better results than traditional copy lengths. You might find short and sweet converts like a dream. And you might find that your audience responds better to a personalised touch than a professional sales spiel.
Starting with copywriting best practices is a good place to begin, but I recommend that you continue to develop and adjust your strategy beyond those practices.
It all comes back to listening and adapting to your audience.
12. Cheaper Isn’t Better
If you aren’t much of a writer yourself, you might choose to hire someone to do your copywriting for you. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it can give you better results having someone external communicate the features and outcomes of your offer to your target market.
If you are going to outsource your copy, as with most things, remember that cheaper is not usually better. Although you might think it’ll help you save some money upfront, you will get what you paid for.
Effective sales copy is best written by someone who is experienced in writing sales copy and writing for your target market. Secondly, it works so much better if the person you hire completely understands your business objectives, brand values and style, your offering, and your audience. (I cannot stress this last part enough!)
More experienced copywriters (usually) cost more but they come with a refined process for delivering the results you’re after.
Avoiding the Top Copywriting Mistakes That’ll Hurt Your Business
These common copywriting mistakes are easy to make, but they can hurt your business’ bottom line. If you’re just getting started with copywriting—or if you’ve already made some of these mistakes, spend some time researching your audience and strengthening your writing.
This will give you better results and help you make more money in the long run.
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