10 common copywriting pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Writing copy for your own business is overwhelming isn’t it?
Once you’ve got past that hideous blank page stage and finally started writing it’s then tricky to know when enough is enough. There’s so much you want to say to so many people.
Eventually you settle for something you’re relatively happy with but there’s always that niggle in the back of your mind when you re-read it.
Is it clear enough?
Does it make sense?
Could it be better?
There are some common mistakes that are easy to make when it comes to writing about your business. But once rectified will give you the confidence that your copy is far more effective:
You’re sharing all the features (but no benefits).
Your product is brilliant isn’t it? It’s leak-proof, waterproof, easily washable, eco-friendly, water-based, and of course you offer great service. And that’s great.
But the problem is that all those things mean nothing to your customers if they can’t see what a difference it’ll make to them.
Instead, what if you said that your leak-proof bottle meant your customer can chuck it in the changing bag without a thought and instead focus on playing hide and seek with their toddler in the park?
Or if that non-stick pan means your customer can sit down and enjoy a well-earned cuppa in the garden instead of standing and scrubbing while they wait for their cake to bake?
By sharing the benefit as well as the features you’ll get the buy in from the customers that you’re after.
There’s no human.
Behind every business is a person that came up with a good idea, the person that had the passion and drive to turn it into a business and who is the expert in what they do.
But if you’re not sharing those people than how will your customers connect with that idea, passion, and the expertise?
Sharing your story and personality can be daunting but rest assured that sharing the personal details about the human behind the business is the easiest way to connect with your audience. People buy people after all.
There’s too much detail.
It’s easy to just keep adding more isn’t it? You want to appeal to as many people as you can right? Well, by sharing too much information you actually end up appealing to fewer.
Focus your attention on a few key products or services and it’s easier for your customers to see what you do and work out if you’re a good fit. The details can follow afterwards.
It’s difficult to get in touch.
How easy is it for your customers to find your contact details? Are they left hunting for the best way to find out more, left to fill out a form when all they want to do is call and chat?
If so then chances are they’ll get bored and frustrated and leave without doing anything.
You need to make it easy to get in touch.
Give clear actions to take the next step. Call us. Email your question. Get in touch. Make an appointment.
When you’re passionate about what you do it’s so easy to waffle on. But rambling on a stream of consciousness not only bores your reader but also means your message is lost.
Messages need to be simple and concise. Keep headlines short and sweet, keep sentences and paragraphs varied in length, and break up your writing with sub-headers and bullet points.
Most of us skim read so make it easy for your reader to see immediately the point you’re trying to make.
You sound like a robot.
Writing has a funny way of making us get all over-creative with our words. Elaborating on a point, using fancy language and long sentences to impress your readers. But it ends up with the opposite effect.
Instead, using language that sounds like a conversation, and like you’d say face to face is much more effective.
Scrap the pretentious words and replace them with simpler ones.
Read it out loud to check the flow and rhythm sounds human, you’ll soon find out if it doesn’t.
Simple language doesn’t make you sound unprofessional. Simple language makes you sound friendly, clear, engaging, and human. More like you.
Spelling and grammar isn’t your strong point.
We write informally so often nowadays don’t we? No-one seems to worry about spelling when you send a WhatsApp or post on Facebook so surely a little spelling mistake in your web copy isn’t a problem? People will know what you mean. It’s only a little apostrophe?
Wrong. It matters, a lot. A misplaced apostrophe changes a meaning. A misspelt word looks sloppy. If you can’t spot a spelling mistake, would you spot an error elsewhere in your business.
Correct spelling and good grammar are simple ways to make your business look professional.
You’re overcomplicating things.
Each industry has its own set of jargon. Those words that make you feel a bit silly for not knowing what they mean. Sort of like you’re not in “the gang”.
So straight away you can see how this turns a reader off. It leads to the uncomfortable feeling of having to ask or Google to find out what it all means, and that’s not something most people will bother with at an early stage of buying.
Cutting the jargon is the best way to keep your copy clear. Even if you’re writing to those who understand it. There’s always a simpler way to write it.
Have you ever been annoyed that something is too easy to understand? I’m guessing no.
Making it simpler means more people know if they need it, and it’s easier for them to decide if they want to buy.
You’re not being found.
SEO in its simplest form is about making sure the words you’re using are helping your customers to find you. Do you know what your customers are searching for?
By finding the right words and phrases known as keywords, and carefully and naturally using them in your copy will make sure the right people can find you.
You’re being too polite.
Don’t be afraid to be more direct. Us Brits can be particularly guilty of this. Saying please and thank you. Asking nicely. Not wanting to inconvenience anyone with our requests.
But as a reader we like to be told what to do. We need some urgency. And this doesn’t mean being salesy or overegging the truth. It means directing us to a natural next step. Try “Tell me more” or “Send me a quote” as a call to action instead of “Please give us a call if you would like to know more”.
Making these changes will make your copy more effective straight away.
It’ll make your words more appealing to your customers.
It’ll help them to understand what you offer.
It’ll help them build trust in what you’re offering.
And then it’ll help them to get in contact if you’re a good fit. The rest is up to you.
Things still feeling a bit overwhelming? I’d love to help.
Email me with the subject line “Tea and Copy” to arrange a free 30 min chat about how we can find the right words for your business.
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