Five Copy Killing Mistakes

By: Kelly Robbins

You may have passed freshman comp with flying colors ten years ago, but mastering the skill of writing college essays does not make you a copywriter. While your ability to create complete, comprehensive sentences is important to writing successful copy, your understanding of psychology and selling techniques, as well as your ability to persuade through the written word are keys to success.

Let’s take a look at five sales killing copywriting mistakes writers make over and over.

Copywriting mistake #1...Informing without persuading.

This is probably the most common mistake I see writers make, especially in the health care industry. They inform and educate the reader with great information, but they don’t take the reader to the next step by persuading them to take an action. A common copywriting pitfall is to teach and not sell.

Copywriting mistake #2...Failing to grab attention.

There are several ways you grab your prospects attention, the first being the headline. It’s easy to develop a headline that sums up your topic, but will it make your reader want to know more? Does it entice them to read on to find out how they can learn more? You can grab attention in a headline by asking a question, stating a startling fact or statistic (you then quickly back up that statement in your first paragraph), or by creating intrigue or mystery. Again, the reader has to read on to find out more.

Copywriting mistake #3...Not backing up your claim.

Most business make "a claim" about their product or services. Their claim is in what differentiates them from their competitors. They are faster or cleaner or error-proof. Making a claim is a good marketing tactic and I recommend all businesses do this. However, when you make a claim readers may be skeptical. You need to prove to them you CAN fulfill your claim. You can do this by using testimonials and guarantees in your copy. You can also show you walk your talk by using customer stories and examples in your copy. It's your job as the writer to make it easy to believe.

Copywriting mistake #4...Speaking to ALL your prospects.

A sure-fire way to not connect with anyone is to try to talk to everyone. Before you get started on a copywriting project it’s important you clearly define who you are speaking to. Narrow this down in your head to the description of one specific person. This is the person you should talk to when you write. Don’t make the mistake of talking to everyone that MAY buy your product or read your brochure. When you write to one specific person, your writing will be strong and you are more likely to connect with the many people that are attracted to your offerings.

Copywriting mistake #5...Telling and not showing.

Readers will believe you and want to learn more when you show them examples of how your services benefit them, rather than if you tell them. After all, why should they believe you - you are selling something to them. Showing people how you can help them through examples, good testimonials, and demonstrations is much stronger than simply telling them what you can do.


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