That Can Kill Your Web Copy
what not to do is as important as learning what to do. Copywriting is no
exception. I oftentimes see copy that is well written, but obviously created
by an amateur. How do I know? One or more of the following five mistakes
was made and that killed the copy. dead.
Once you understand why these mistakes are, in fact, mistakes, you can easily
avoid them. It isn't like they are complicated concepts. It just takes someone
to bring them to your attention so you can guard against them.
Pull up your site in a browser and follow along. See if you've made any of
these mistakes on your site.
#1 - Writing Without Knowing Your Target Audience
This is, without a doubt, the biggest mistake of copywriting and the #1 killer
of conversions. Why? I'll answer with a question.
When you write a letter (or email), do you just start writing and decide
afterwards who you're going to send the letter to? Of course not! So why,
then, do so many people just jump in and start writing website copy without
having a clue about who they are writing to? It makes no sense to me.
How can people possibly communicate with their site visitors if they have
no idea who they are, what they are looking for, their preferred communication
style, what problems they face, how they hope to use the product/service
to solve those problems and countless other information? Truth is, you
Take knowing your target customers to the extreme. Find out everything you
can about them. Then combine all that info to create an imaginary person
(or imaginary people) who fit the profile of your target audience members.
You can even name them if you want to. Then - with every sentence - write
to that person (or persons).
#2 - Writing Without Knowing the Product/Service
Like it or not, you're a salesperson. That means you have to know all the
details of the product or service you're writing about. How else can you
convincingly convey the information to prospects who visit the site?
Ask your client for samples of products, use of the services or access to
member areas of a site. Using or taking part in what your client is offering
to his/her visitors will make a huge difference in the quality and persuasiveness
of your copy. Nothing comes across as well as copywriting that has been created
#3 - Writing About the Company Instead of To the Site Visitor
They don't care. Who? Your site visitors. They don't care about your company.
Rather than hear about how long you've been in business and that you're the
specialists in this, that or the other thing, they'd rather find out how
your product/service can benefit them.
If your home page starts with something like this, you're in trouble: "ABC
Company is the specialist in [insert industry here] with over 20 years
experience. We provide [fill in the blank] with our extensive knowledge and
helpful service. Dedicated to providing the highest quality, we guarantee
our work with a 100% money-back promise."
You're we-ing all over yourself! The customer has the money. Don't you think
the copy should at least acknowledge him/her at some point? Rather than using
we, us and our so much, turn it around.
Talk to your site visitors instead of about the company. Let them know you
understand their needs and have answers to their problems. Don't ignore them
by talking only about yourself.
#4 - Outlining Features Instead of Benefits or End Results
Features are nice, but benefits and end results make the sale because they
clearly explain why the customer will be better off after buying your product
or using your service. One of the biggest selling factors in copywriting
is the ability to tell the customer what he/she can do with a product or
Take a tip from the infomercials. They don't simply tell you that a rotisserie
cooker rotates as it cooks a chicken. No! They tell you that this rotisserie
cooker can bake a whole, marinated, Italian herb chicken that's juicy, moist
and succulent. That the seasonings slowly seep into the meat so you get bite
after tender bite of flavorful chicken so good you'll beg for more. Who cares
that the thing has a pointed, metal prong that rotates a chicken while it
cooks? You're buying it because it can deliver that wonderful whole, marinated,
Italian herb chicken!
#5 - Neglecting the Medium
Does it make a difference as to where your copy appears online? Isn't all
Web copy the same? The answers are "Yes" and "No." Landing pages are not
the same as home pages, which are not the same as catalog pages, which are
not the same as sales letters, and so on and so on. Don't neglect to find
out the differences between these and the other types of Web copy. They all
have special considerations that should be studied before you begin
Now you can add these five "don'ts" to your favorite copywriting checklist.
Avoiding these mistakes will give you a better shot at reaching your visitors
on their level and converting them into repeat customers.
About the Author: