This is a guest post by Hub member Anthony Sobers-Assue.
Your business conveys itself through words as well as images. Copywriting is the art and science of writing words to encourage people to take action whether it’s making appointments, signups, or sales.
Most business owners feel that they have more important things to worry about (bills, overhead, client dinners, etc). They’ll have an “About Us” web page or brochure written, thinking that as long as it’s filled with “big” words (preposterous!) and industry jargon they got from that networking conference with the delicious snacks, it’ll sort itself out.
I’m here to tell you that not only is this an ill-advised way of conveying what you do for clients (more importantly, how you help clients and why you’re the best option on the market), you’re leaving a lot of value on the table and don’t even realise it.
However, there is hope for you and your business if you start addressing your copywriting mistakes.
Copywriting Mistake #1 – Your headline isn’t grabbing your reader’s attention
Attention is the greatest commodity of all time. It’s infamously hard to get and even harder to keep in a world of information overload and over-sharing. You can grab some attention or yourself by writing headlines that make people stop and read because your headline addresses their problem.
Look at the title of this article. It caught your attention and now you’re reading further. That’s what a headline that helps your business is supposed to do for you.
Most business owners and operators get too caught up in talking about themselves versus what they can do for their clients. That’s fine for billion-dollar corporations who are already ingrained in the public eye.
For the rest of us, our words are what catch our ideal clients’ attention and attract the kind of people we want to do business with.
Copywriting Mistake #2 – You’re Talking About Yourself Too Much
Have you ever started a conversation with someone and it was going well but it seemed like they were only concerned about themselves? Didn’t that feel like they didn’t care enough about you? It probably left you with a bad impression of that person, didn’t it?
Don’t be that person. When people read your copy, whether on or offline you only have a few seconds to answer the question they REALLY have: What’s in it for me? If your words don’t answer that question quickly, they’re gone.
Prospects don’t care about you, your company or your products and services. They only care about how those things can make their lives better.
As a business owner you need to understand what keeps your customers up at night, what language they use to describe their problem(s), and what they’d like their life to look like/what they want to achieve after purchasing your product or service.
That should be the focus of your copy – not how great you are, what an awesome team you have, or how incredible your products or services are.
Copywriting Mistake #3 – Your copy is too hard to read!
Most people aren’t in the mood nor have the patience to read through your sales pages. Read any Terms and Conditions page that has ever existed, 99% of users scan the bolded sections on page one and then hit “accept” because it’s overwhelming and they want what’s on the other side of the offer.
User psychology points to people doing a quick scan of your page and THEN doing in-depth reading if they’re interested in what you’re saying. Help them by highlighting how they benefit from being your client or customer with bullet points and short paragraphs that get your information into their brains in as little time as possible.
Most web pages are guilty of hard-to-read copy; cramming unnecessary keywords all over the page hoping to rank higher on search engines (spoiler alert: search engine companies are aware of keyboard cramming and penalise websites that practice this).
Make it easy for your prospects and leads to get the idea of what you do and say yes to you by making your content scannable.
Copywriting Mistake #4 – Your Copy is TOO Clever
The one thing that we all have in common is that we’re always against the clock. Time is the most precious commodity in your life, why would your audience be any different?
Most people aren’t English majors and the average reading level sits between primary school and entry-level college.
Keeping your copy simple and direct with some emotional impact behind it will take you further and make you more appealing than trying to sound like Her Majesty’s Royal Decree every time you want to communicate with others.
Copywriting Mistake #5 – Where are your Calls-To-Action?
Contrary to popular belief, people like being told what to do. If someone is reading your web page or looking through your brochure, they’re at least mildly interested in what you have to offer.
Pro tip: GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT.
Help your readers by telling them exactly what you want them to do. For example, if I want a widget and you’re positioned as a company that sells widgets, I don’t want to have to search for or think about what my next step should be to get my hands, paws and/or tentacles on your product. Make my life as your prospect-turned-customer easier by clearly telling me where I can sign up, purchase, or make an appointment to learn more.
Copywriting is an important part of your business content strategy and helps give your leads and prospects the information they want. These are five mistakes you can easily fix today; try to avoid them or make the changes suggested and you’ll be well on your way to success.