10 Copywriting Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
You have one or two marketing campaigns that are flopping grandly. Do you wonder what is happening? Because – while you must understand that there are factors out of your control that affect a marketing campaign, there are others that you can maneuver in your favor. In this article, I will bring forward the ten most common copywriting mistakes that direct marketers make and how to turn your sales copy around.
If you’re smart, you’ll learn a thing or two here. And you won’t be making the same mistakes as everyone else from now on.
Consider this as a competitive marketing advantage – which I am giving you.
My name is Juan Israel Ortiz. If you’re new to this website, welcome. Please subscribe to get the latest from my blog. And follow me on Twitter to get a full feed of what happens around our social network.
And with introductions out of the way, let’s get to it.
#1: Focusing on Yourself
Focusing on yourself means that you use your sales copy to highlight how great you and your company are. This is the most common of copywriting mistakes as everyone (including me) has made it at one point or another.
While some people do it because they’re uncontrollable egomaniacs – you’ve probably done it because you’re proud of what you have achieved. And you feel that sharing those accomplishments will make you worthy of your prospect’s trust.
But the thing is – your market doesn’t care about how many trophies you have collected. They care about one thing: can you solve their problems? Therefore, the bulk of your copy should focus on how you can answer whatever questions your prospects have.
There is a time and place to write about your achievements, but they shouldn’t be the main point driving your presentation. Make your pitch more about the prospect and less about yourself.
#2: Focusing on Nothing (Or Everything)
If you want a product or service to stand out, do not promote it with everything else you offer.
Many marketers make the mistake of using every opportunity to highlight all they have for sale in the hopes of catching everyone’s attention with something. But what they end up doing is putting the spotlight on nothing, capturing the attention of no one.
Think of Sears Holdings – a once-mammoth of the catalog world that aspired to be everywhere, selling everything to everyone. That vision created the expansion into retail and shopping malls, where they presented customers with expensive dresses standing next to just-as-expensive lawnmowers.
And thus, Sear’s intent on highlighting every item that they sold ended up having them focusing on nothing. And therefore, nobody had a reason to feel attracted to the brand, leading to every store closing.
Position, Brand, and Promote one offer at a time. Make it seem unique, and your market will take it as such.
#3: Being Too Formal, Stiff, Or Boring
Just because you work in the financial sector doesn’t mean you have to be a complete yawner.
You have developed a personality over the years. And you can use that personality to separate yourself from everyone else on the field. Whether you are charming, persuasive, or charismatic – bring out the qualities you already own to gain a competitive edge.
My favorite public figure from the financial world is Dave Ramsey because he is not monotone in his presentation. He uses his southern charm to talk with his callers but is not afraid to show his angry side when needed. Aside from being informational and inspiring, his radio show is very entertaining. I listen to an hour of it in the office – and it goes by in a breeze.
Try to steal from Dave Ramsey and bring more personality to your sales and marketing copy.
#4: No Calls to Action
The unwillingness to place any calls to action in your advertising is why I believe the brand marketing philosophy is so ineffective. Seriously – how are you expecting to sell something if you don’t ask for the sale?
Imagine presenting your latest offering for an hour straight, then asking if there are any questions. You answer every question, then grab your stuff and leave. What would you expect them to do? To run after you and shove cash in your face? Well, you can keep on waiting, because, unless your audience is desperate for your offer, they won’t act on their own.
Most people are reactive instead of proactive. For you, that means that not only must you show them the value of your products, you also must guide them through the process of buying. Tell them the what’s, why’s, and how’s of your offer. And then tell them where and when they should close the deal.
Always have a call-to-action. The worst thing your market can do is say no. And thus far, no rejection has caused no deaths. So, you will be fine.
#5: Unorganized Selling Points
Excellent copywriting is great thinking clearly expressed. Consequently, bad copywriting is any sort of thought manifested all over the place.
If your advertisements don’t tell a coherent story, you can easily frustrate – and turning off – your target audience. And that is the reason your copy must be clear, concise, and easy-to-understand.
I use a variety of writing formulas for our marketing and advertising pieces. Including AIDA (Attention. Interest. Desire. Action), the 4 Ps (Promise. Picture. Proof. Push), and PREP (Point. Reason. Example. Point). Those formulas allow us to tell compelling stories that are easy to follow while keeping our content clear and engaging.
Do you use a particular writing formula to develop your sales and marketing copy? Leave a comment letting us know. And if you don’t, then feel free to ask us about any of the ones I presented here. Or do a Google search for in-depth knowledge on how to use them.
#6 Being Too Mathematical
If you want to lose your target audience quickly, start talking about math.
When people are having conversations, they want to process and react to the information they receive quickly. If you start bombing them with mathematical equations, you enter the area of jargon. You will make your audience begin to think intensely and will lose all the flow of the conversation.
Avoid going to the numbers as much as possible – in print, online, and face-to-face marketing. Focus more on how your work will make your prospects feel. If you must use stats, make sure that you use them to back up claims quickly, and then continue with the conversation.
Mathematics is useful in work environments, but not when talking to prospects. Unless there’s a request for it, avoid math as much as possible.
#7 Being Too Creative
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a direct marketer is to judge your marketing and advertising as laypeople because you will then produce marketing that will generate ZERO trackable sales.
When you look at marketing and advertising as the rest of the world, you start putting a higher value on creativity over persuasion. And eventually, you stop being a “salesperson behind a keyboard,” and end up becoming an entertainer.
Being too creative is a hard mistake to note – which is why it’s so harmful. Because as a (naturally) creative person, you wish to present your company in the highest light possible. And that train of thought usually leads to fancy promotions and witty copy.
Stay on the professional lane. Focus on increasing your sales at the lowest cost possible.
#8: Being Afraid of Scaring Off Clients
If you look to attract the masses with your marketing, you make the classic mistake of talking to a group instead of speaking directly to the prospect.
When you speak to the masses, your brand message becomes ineffective. And that is a turn off to any audience. Instead, you should make your copy speak directly to the one person you wish to serve.
Go back in history to about 1992 and Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. It was a mess. Bill had opinions about every topic under the sun to try and bring in as many votes as possible. And the polls reflected how effective his efforts were.
It wasn’t until Mr. Clinton started sending a uniformed message – “Let’s Fix the Economy” – that his campaign began to resonate with voters. And that change in strategy led to Bill Clinton becoming the President of the United States in 1992 and 1996.
Let your copy bring in your favorite customer. And have your products and services bring in the masses.
#9: Too Much Offer Focus
While the purpose of your copy is to sell products, you cannot go head-on and shove your offer down the prospect’s throat.
If there is one thing that people do not like is when someone tries to sell them something. If you go into writing your copy with the offer as the focus, it will end up sounding very sales-y. And your audience will read about half of your message, then throw it quickly into the trash bin.
Instead of putting the focus on your offer, put the focus on your prospect. Connect with your reader on an emotional level. Share a story that’s empathetic to the person looking to buy your product. And then present your product as the solution to their problems.
You can still be persuasive. But going into overly excited and sales-y mode can turn your prospects away very quickly.
#10: Being Vague
Trust takes a long time to gain and mere seconds to lose. When you vaguely present your products, you run the risk of your market losing trust in you – just like that.
Customers today are sharper than ever before. And they are on high alert for any frauds that might come their way. Therefore, if your brand message comes out even as a bit unclear, people might think of your business as a fraud – even if you’re not.
I make sure to let our clientele know precisely what, why, and how we do what we do, because we want to build long-lasting relationships with our clients. And because we want to build those relationships, we need to build trust. And nothing generates trust more than honesty.
Talk straight to your market. And build relationships based on trust so that you can open the door for even more client relationships in the future.
Before You Go
I would like to know,
What copywriting mistakes have you made while promoting your products?
Leave a comment with your story – your tale could help a fellow direct marketer not to make the same mistakes you have.
And now for sticking with us this long, you get a bonus tip.
BONUS: Not Testing
How do you know if your sales copy is still useful – or that you can’t produce something better – if you don’t put them to the test?
The best marketers, advertisers, and copywriters are continually assessing their campaigns against one another to see which works best. Because if they don’t check their copy, they will never know what is appealing to their audience.
Conduct A/B tests regularly for at least 90 days and stick to what brings you the best results.
Thank You for Spending Time with Me
If you know someone who can receive help from this article, feel free to share via email or through social media.
Also, make sure to follow me on my Twitter feed to keep with all my social media activities.
And if you’re in the mood for more learning, I have hand-picked more content that you can consume. Just scroll down and click on the one post that appeals to you the most.
Thanks again for being part of our community. We’ll talk soon.