Karen Dikson
January 16, 2017

10 Copywriting Mistakes Every Marketer Should Avoid

We are surrounded by different types of copy wherever we go – especially because we spend so much of our time online. And most good copy seems deceptively easy to write because it beautifully simple, concise, and direct as if it was written specifically for you.

However, writing good copy is often challenging, and even experienced content marketers make mistakes from time to time. Let’s go over some of the worst copywriting mistakes you should avoid.

1. Slow at Getting to the Point

Your product or service may indeed be the best thing since sliced bread. But if your copy wastes too much time reaching the point, potential customers will quickly lose interest and move on somewhere else.

The truth is, reading copy online is a much faster process than reading a book, for example. This means most content consumers and potential customers are skimmers. They scan the content and extract what they need quickly. Stick to the principal of the inverted pyramid: present your most important content first.

Also, you can make your content more concise with Hemingway app, which analyzes text for redundant words, cliches, and convoluted sentences. Apart from assigning a readability rating to your text, it will also highlight problematic sentences, phrases and words, with the suggestion on how to improve them. You can also reach out to professional editing services like EssaysOnTime, to transform your draft into a polished content.

2. Absence of Logical Flow

Studies have shown that single-column layouts, where your ideas flow into one another, are a lot more efficient than using multiple-column layout. However, even if you are sticking to a single-column layout, you should still make sure that all of your copy flows nicely. Simply using sub-headlines is not enough. The content itself needs to flow nicely, with paragraphs blending into one another.

Use CopyBlogger’s copywriting guide for more info on that.

3. Missing Emotional Appeal

While you should always aim to include straight facts in your copy, those are simply not enough. Why? Because people are on your page looking for a solution to a particular problem they have. If they solve it, their lives will be easier or they will save time, so they can do something they enjoy. Ultimately, theirs is an emotional decision, and your copy should reflect that. Appeal to their emotions, just as much as you should appeal to their common sense.

Use Free Dictionary, especially its Idioms section, to put together phrases your readers won’t be able to resist.

Content is the emotional and informational bridge between commerce and consumer.” Jay Baer, Convince & Convert.

4. No Clearly Defined Goal

Before writing a single word of copy, you should have a clearly defined goal that your content needs to achieve. Lots of copywriters put their heart and soul into creating clever, unique, and interesting content, only to have it fail miserably. Sure, it is possible to be both creative and to sell at the same time. But if it’s a choice between direct and boring copy that sells, and one that is creative, always go with the former.

Decide the effect you want to produce in your reader.” Robert Collier

5. Headline Is Toooo Long

Only about 20% of the people or less will read your headline and go on to read the entire text. This makes your headline the single most important element of your copy. While you may be able to write a long and intriguing headline, in most cases, you would be better off using a shorter headline that gets to the point quickly and contains all the right information. It is the same case as with copy: efficient always trumps creative.

To make your headlines more efficient, use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It analyzes your headlines and gives them a rating on a scale from 1 to 100, along with suggestions on how to make them more impactful. You can tweak your headline as many times as you want until you get it just right before publishing.

An alternative or accompaniment to the above, is the Advanced Marketing Institute’s “Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer“. This will assign an emotional value to your headline.

Take note: Sometimes, these two tools produce quite different results. I find that an indicator of subjectivity. So ultimately, there will be times that you should go with your gut and not someone else’s programmed algorithms.

6. Hyperlinks that Don’t Look Like Hyperlinks

Yes, we know that it is boring to always see hyperlinks underlined and written in blue. But people are creatures of habit, which means that if they see that it’s a hyperlink, they will be more inclined to click it. Even if you are keen on changing the color of the font to something else, at least make sure that your hyperlinks are always underlined. If the link is hidden inside text, the user will have no way of telling it is an actual link, unless they hover their mouse pointer over it, which they may or may not do.

7. Claims without Proof

Making bold claims inside your copy without having any proof to back them up, doesn’t translate well if you are trying to get potential customers to trust you. The solution for this would be to feature content that includes some actual proof that your product or service really works. That includes case studies, peer reviews, user testimonials, praise on social media, statistics, and even money-back guarantees and return policies.

8. No Call to Action

The ultimate goal of putting together great copy is to improve your conversions. And in order to drive the point you have delivered home, you need a clear call to action. Yes, the copy is there to get them interested in more. But it’s the call to action that will get them to proceed to the next important step.

Where should you place it? If your copy is concise, put it at the end of your copy. If your content is longer and more detailed, however, you can place a different call to action at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of your copy.

9. Obvious Advertising

People are fed up with obvious advertising. When was the last time you sat through an entire infomercial on TV? That’s right, you’ve changed the channel. It is the same with online ads. Try to look at things this way: you are not trying to sell your product, but trying to make your reader’s life better. They care about solving their own problems, so it’s about them. Find a way to present your copy as if it’s all about them, and not about you trying to sell them something. If you write “Our software is the best in its class”, they will not respond to it the same way they would to “Save at least one hour each day with our automatic scheduler app”.

Consumers do not buy products. They buy product benefits.” David Ogilvy

10. Lack of Specificity

If your content is too vague and generic and it doesn’t get into any specifics, you are not going to get many people to believe you. When listing all of the advantages of your product or service, make sure to tell your customers exactly what sort of problem your product will address, and how it will benefit them. Give them all the details they need. For instance, slogans like “We make everything better” don’t provide the visitor with any concrete information. It’s vague and useless. But, if you were to write “Our new plugin will boost your conversions by 20%”, you explain what they have to gain by purchasing your product.

Improve your content in no time with these useful tips and create copy that will improve your conversions. Start making a change for the better today.

Over To You

Do you have any tips on how to improve copywriting that I haven’t mentioned above? Or do you have any comments on what you have read here? Please comment below.

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Karen Dikson

Karen Dikson is a creative writer at Writix. She is an intuitive and creative thinker who is able to connect various thoughts into a single theme. She's passionate about traveling as well as writing.

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