If you’re just starting out with your online business, or you’re trying to write sales content for your new website and emails, there are three things that you need to watch out for. They’re the three biggest copywriting mistakes that I commonly see when working with clients, and they’re so easy to fix when you know what you’re looking for!
What I notice is a certain pattern – everyone has their own rhythm when it comes to writing, and that also affect their writing. Now, if you’re just starting out, you want to save money because your budget is tight, right?
However, if you want to save that money – and make money from copy that doesn’t have these copywriting mistakes, you need to be vigilant in spotting them and getting rid of them.
Now, these aren’t difficult – but if you’re used to doing this all the time, you will need to very consciously read for them and even learn to ‘unwrite’ them as you go along.
Enough preamble – let’s get straight to those copywriting mistakes!
Copywriting Mistake #1: Stop Talking About Yourself!
This is the crème de la crème of copywriting mistakes and the first of this triad of errors. You can’t help talking about yourself – nobody can. However, when it comes to sales, nobody cares about you.
They only care what you can do for them. Sure, they might care a little bit about you, but their interest stops pretty rapidly if you drone on and on about you. A little bit is fine – but not even your About Us page should be about you!
What your copy should be about is them. Let’s say you want to talk about your successful business and how you built it up. Do that, but relate it back to them and their experience. How does your experience help them? What does this personal story teach them? Can you give them a roadmap to repeat your success?
However you phrase it, the copy must always flow back to their needs – and as specifically as possible. If you find a sentence about you, either scrub it – or write two more about them on top.
I really can’t stress this enough – this is the key to copywriting success. Without it, your sales copy will fail. So if you take one thing away from this article, let it be this point.
Copywriting Mistake #2: Don’t Assume People Have Read All Your Work
You probably don’t have a superfan who has read everything you’ve ever written, heard everything you’ve said, or seen everything you’ve done (celebrities are excused from this caveat).
This copywriting mistake comes from assuming that people have read your previous piece on a subject, be it an email, article, webinar, video, or whatever. Even if they did, there’s a strong chance they’ve forgotten most of it by the time they read your new piece.
So, you can just jump right into the new copy and ignore all that previous hard work – which your leads likely don’t remember – or you can build a stronger case by going over the points again.
Drill the benefits in their head: yes, this is repetitive, but this is the key to embedding that thing in their head until they remember it. You’re getting into their psyche with your sales copy, and you want to stay there.
It can be hard to repeat yourself – it feels unnatural and weird: fight that feeling, because you’re the only person who is feeling it.
Copywriting Mistake #3: Don’t Get Lazy with Your Benefits
It’s one thing to pay homage to a copywriter that you admire, or take (a lot) of inspiration from this ad that you loved – but there’s one huge problem here. Of all the copywriting mistakes, this is probably one of the worst.
If you loved it, so did a lot of other people, all of whom are doing the same thing right now. I get it; you’re busy, you don’t have time to transform into Billy Mays and come out with one-line zingers all day.
But that’s really the issue here: if what you’re selling as the same copy as everyone else selling your product – let’s say a business course, for example – then how do you stand out?
If everyone’s saying “Make $2,500 extra a month,” “Enjoy financial freedom,” “Be your own boss!” and all of this stuff, what’s the benefit? These benefits have been beaten to death and then some. They don’t hold the power that they once did. If I see a sales page like this, I’m gone: I know it’s just a cliche-driven offer with no substance – even if it’s actually a valuable offer.
The only solution to this is simply to research your subject inside-out. You really need to get into the skin of your target market. Know their deepest desires, fears, worries – the whole shebang. There is no such thing as too much research in copywriting, and when you pay the big guys $25,000 for a single sales letter, you’re not paying for the copy of sales letter as much as you are that research.
If you get your research right, you will absolutely nail down the full picture of what your leads really want – and that will shine through in your benefits. Don’t just tell them about that $2,500 a month extra – describe that luxury vacation they can now finally afford without taking out a mortgage. Don’t tell them they’ll lose weight. Tell them they’ll be gorgeous and irresistible to the opposite sex – that they’ll be turning heads at the beach.
You can already see a huge difference here, and that’s what you’re aiming for: something that doesn’t feel like hacked-up old copy. You’re looking for fresh, vibrant copy that gets to the heart of the problem – then delivers a solution.
So, there are the three most common copywriting mistakes – and the three that you need to be smart about avoiding. I see them almost every day, and I can all but guarantee you make them, too.
So, go ahead, take a look at your copy and fix it up – or if you think you still need help, get in touch with me, and I’ll see if I can help you kick your next sales pitch out of the park!