Don’t be one of them!
Writing effective copy can be tricky.
It’s part art, part science.
Once you get to grips with it though, you’ll have it down pat.
Most copywriting advice out there is confusing, over-complicated, and often contradictory.
So let me simplify it for you.
Here are the 5 most common copywriting mistakes I see businesses repeat time and time again.
Plus some tips for what you should be doing instead.
So here goes…
Copywriting Mistake #1 – Being a carbon-copy
To stand out from the crowd and make a long-lasting (positive) impression, you need to be yourself and communicate in a unique voice.
Don’t sound like every other Tom, Dick and Harry out there.
But, you gotta keep it real…
And, be authentic. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
If you’re naturally witty and jokey, let that shine through your copy.
If formal and straight-laced is more your style, go with that.
When your copy is not aligned with your persona, it shows. Big time.
There’s heaps of websites selling the same products and services - all saying exactly the same thing.
Do you want to join the sea of sameys?
Ask yourself: what’s my point of difference? How do I do things differently to Bob down the road?
It could be a particular ingredient you use, or a process you’ve implemented.
Whatever it is - no matter how small - shout about it in your copy. This is what’ll set you apart from your competition.
Copywriting Mistake #2 – Being a car salesman
There’s nothing worse than walking into a car showroom, wanting to browse all the flash new cars. But before you get a chance, you’ve got a pushy sales guy breathing down your neck.
You just want to look at the damn cars, in peace.
Yes, you want to know about all the great gizmos and gadgets the car has, plus any good deals they’re running.
But, you don’t want to feel pushed into signing on the dotted line. You need time to browse and consider all your options.
The same applies when people land on your website.
First, they want to “meet” you and get a feel for your brand and the products and services you sell.
They want you to build rapport. Schmooze them a bit.
Tell them about the wonderful benefits you can offer. How you can make a positive impact in their life.
Once you’ve done an amazing job of this, only then do you go in for the kill and try to make a sale.
The key is:
1) Build a relationship first.
2) Enlighten and educate.
3) Show them an offer they can’t refuse - backed up with proof and testimonials.
Copywriting Mistake #3 – Design before copy
This happens a lot. Business owners get so caught up in the design of their website, they don’t give the copy a second thought.
Until of course, it has to be shoe-horned into confined spaces determined by the design of the site.
Work out your copy first, then do your design.
The best plan of attack is to get your copywriter and designer to work together to come up with a killa website for you.
Copywriting Mistake #4 – Wishy-washy headlines
Headlines are key.
Whether it’s for a web page or a blog post, a great headline will determine whether the copy gets read.
People are so time-poor these days. Plus, they’re bombarded with information, they don’t have time to read things that aren’t relevant or of interest.
Your headline must clear and concise – get right to the point.
Tell them what they need to know in 9 words or less, using the most important words at the beginning.
What are they going to learn and how will this information be useful to them?
Using keywords and phrases is also important – give readers what they’re looking for.
Copywriting Mistake #5 – Not knowing your customers
Before putting pen to paper, you need to be clear about who your ideal customer is.
What are their pain-points and how you can fulfil their needs?
Being unclear on this, will not only make your life difficult but your copy messy.
You need to be able to tap into their psyche and imagine yourself in their shoes.
How do they communicate? What will resonate with them? How can you pique their interest?
Don’t use jargon and technical lingo. Write your copy for the layperson - make it easy to understand.
If however, you’re writing for a lawyer, doctor or tech-head, you may need to write in a formal, ‘technical’ tone – this is up to you to decide.
The style of your copy must fit your readers.
Copywriting Mistake #6 – Forgetting about SEO
When writing copy, most business owners don't think about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
You should never write solely for the search engines. If you do, Google will penalize you for it - you do not want that to happen!
What you do need to do though is think about SEO when writing any piece of copy.
Thinking about the keywords and phrases you want to rank for in Google is essential.
What are your customers searching for when they type into the search bar?
Once you know this, you can weave these keywords and phrases into your copy in a genuine way - making it interesting and engaging.
Copywriting Mistake #7 – Fluffy copy
Your copy should be short, sweet and to the point.
No fluffy stuff. No unnecessary words.
Remove “filler words” such as just, very, that, then, totally, completely, literally or any of the like.
They take up space and detract from your message.
Every word on the page counts.
Cut out the clutter and make your copy loud and clear!
So the Key Takeaways are:
1) Be unique and have your own voice.
2) Build a relationship with your customers. Don’t rush to third base before schmoozing them first.
3) Copy before design, always.
4) Clear, concise and punchy headlines are a must.
5) Know who your customer is and how best to communicate with them.
6) When writing any copy, always have Sir Google in the back of your mind - he’s a pretty important guy.
7) Cut out the fluff. Each word counts and less is always more.
Over to you...
Hope this post helped clarify how to write effective copy.
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