Copywriting is one of the best investments you can make in your business.
From creating a strong emotional connection with your audience to establishing your brand as an undeniable authority…
…words can pretty much do it all!
But for words to do their magic, it’s important to avoid common mistakes in copywriting — and sometimes it’s easier said than done.
Whether you’re new to writing copy or want to improve your skills, here are some of the worst copywriting mistakes that are LONG overdue a spot on your hit list ☠️
The Deadliest Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid
1. Using Too Many Words
As a copywriter, I love words.
But too many words can be a problem — especially in your copy.
It’s tempting to write long, convoluted paragraphs about why your business/service/product is amazing…
…but what your audience REALLY wants is clear, easy-to-read messaging.
(People are scrollers nowadays, you see.)
Same idea goes for using jargon, industry lingo, and any words or sentiments that your audience will have a hard time understanding — or caring about.
If your copy is too complicated and your readers have to think HARD to figure out what’s going on, it won’t inspire them — it’ll just confuse them.
That said, ALWAYS keep your target audience in mind.
For example, if you’re a real estate business that works with developers — people who know a lot about the industry – you may want to get a little technical to earn their trust.
But if you’re a website designer who works with health & wellness providers, don’t alienate them with paragraphs and paragraphs about code and complicated website backend.
When it comes to words, it’s quality over quantity.
2. Faking Urgency
This one is big yikes for many reasons.
You may have heard that creating urgency — making your audience feel that they need to buy NOW — is a great way to boost your conversion rates.
It’s true that your copy should make your leads feel like they can’t go another day without investing in your product or services, BUT there is a genuine way to do this…
…and a fake one.
An example of faking urgency in your sales copy would be claiming that your product or service is available at a special rate for a limited time only…
…when in reality, the “special” rate is simply your normal rate and it’s always available.
Pressuring potential customers into buying, claiming things that are not true, and being untruthful in your copy for the sake of creating urgency may bring some sales in, but in the end it’s going to do way more damage than good.
3. Making People Feel Bad
Buying is an emotional decision…
…but there are different kinds of emotions that your copy can evoke in your audience.
For example, your copy can try to sell someone a fitness course or a beauty product by making them feel ashamed of their body.
OR it can pitch that same fitness course or beauty product by leading with positive emotions, such as creating better habits or improving your health.
Building up fear, doubt, and uncertainty in your audience CAN be an effective way to sell, but it’s not an ethical one — and it’s not going to help you create a loyal client or customer base, either.
People will associate your brand with negative emotions — with emotions that they want to REMOVE from their lives.
And, as a result, they may eventually want to say adios to your brand as well 👋🏼
So, instead of tapping into your audience’s pains and making them feel terrible about their lives, RELATE to their struggles and make them feel BETTER — so they keep coming back for more.
4. Forgetting About SEO
SEO — or search engine optimization — is a practice of using keywords in your copy to rank higher on search engines, such as Google.
(New to SEO? Here are the most important terms for beginners!)
Forgetting to optimize your copy for SEO is a common copywriting mistake.
If no one can find the piece of copy you published online, why is it even there?
So, before you start writing your copy, don’t forget to do keywords research and then use these keywords in your copy to show up higher on Google and help more people discover your brand.
5. Lacking Voice Consistency
Your copy’s most important job is to build an emotional connection with your audience — which is impossible to do if your brand voice and tone are constantly changing.
Think about it. How easy would it be for you to become friends with someone who seems to have a different personality every week?
It’d be a pretty weird friendship.
The same applies to your copy.
Whether you’re writing blog posts, creating landing page copy, or posting on social media, make sure that the pieces of content that you put out there have a consistent personality.
If you have multiple team members, it’s a good idea to create a master brand voice document with specific guidelines on what kind of language and style are on-brand for your business.
6. Not Optimizing for Mobile
This means that if your website or sales page are not optimized for mobile view…
…you’ll be missing over half of your leads.
It doesn’t matter how good your copy is if no one can read it, right?
So, make sure that your copy — as well as your design — are easy to interact with when browsing on your phone.
7. Being Too Formal
Writing copy is VERY different from writing an academic paper.
(Apologies, English majors everywhere!)
To write good copy, aim to strike the right balance between being conversational and professional.
(Hint: what the “right” balance is for YOU depends on your brand.)
Some ways to make your writing more conversational and easy to understand are using active voice instead of passive voice, breaking down the formatting of your copy with things like bullet points, and using simple, everyday words instead of overcomplicating it.
8. Trying Too Hard
Naturally, most of your copy will exist to sell something — but writing copy that is too obvious and sales-y is going to hurt your conversion rates.
A great way to make your copy more appealing to your target audience is to weave genuine storytelling into your pitch.
Instead of diving right into talking about your service or product, start with a story about how it came to be and why it’s important.
Humans are naturally curious and drawn to storytelling.
Infusing your sales pitch with an interesting, relatable story will help you form an emotional connection with your readers and create much more of an impact than going over a laundry list of features and benefits.
9. Making It All About You
A common mistake that many businesses make is writing for themselves instead of their target audience.
If you’re writing copy using words, sentiments, and structures that make sense to YOU without checking if they make sense to your audience first, your message may have a hard time resonating with your readers.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, always dedicate time to market research before you start writing your copy.
Some of the best ways to dive deeper into your audience’s mind are:
- Surveys asking psychographic questions
- Client interviews
- Browsing corners of the internet where your potential clients or customers hang out, from Facebook groups to professional forums
Always keep your audience front and center when you’re writing your copy — and your hard work will pay off 😎
10. Using Too Many CTAs
It’s very important to use CTAs to tell your readers what to do after reading your copy…
…but it’s possible to turn it into too much of a good thing.
Asking your audience to take multiple actions in one piece of copy can result in decision paralysis and make your leads close the tab without doing ANY of the things you asked them to do.
Instead of writing an email that asks your leads to listen to your latest podcast episode, enter in a giveaway, and invest in your service, pick ONE thing you’d like them to do and use it as a CTA throughout that one piece of copy.
Do you struggle with selling your offers or feel like you’re forcing a message when you write? Bad with words or want to be an even better writer?
Take the storytelling quiz and discover your secret weapon in marketing!