It’s hard to overestimate the importance of good copy. It’s the first thing people see when they interact with your brand. It’s quite literally the face of your company.
And if that face is wearing a frown, refuses to explain itself, and gives off unwelcome vibes, you probably won’t do business together, right?
Trouble is, everybody is prone to some pretty egregious mistakes with their website copy – from the littlest things to strategic blunders that affect overall messaging.
Today, we’ll look at 7 most common ones and figure out how to fix them. Let’s dive in!
Mistake #1. Neglecting micro-copy
Normally you don’t notice micro-copy.
It’s the small stuff like:
– The tiny privacy notice inside an opt-in form;
– Little alerts that pop up when a customer doesn’t fill something out properly;
– Links to your shipping and returns policy…
…you know – the little things.
But micro-copy serves a very important function. It prevents psychological friction and directs customers towards completing an action.
If a website visitor is unsure of what to do next, or how something works, micro-copy is like a little guide that says, “No, this is what you do”.
Although there aren’t too many places on your website where micro-copy comes into play, they are all important. If your micro-copy is generic or, even worse, non-existent, fixing it will result in a better customer experience – which means more sign-ups, and more sales for you!
Mistake #2. Using cookie-cutter calls to action
Has there ever been a more lame call to action than “Submit”?
Tons of marketing research show show that run-of-the-mill calls to action don’t get clicked nearly as often as quirkier, non-standard ones.
Bottom line? Whenever possible, use creative, attention-grabbing calls to action. For example…
- Instead of “Submit”, use “Get Instant Access”
- Instead of “Sign Up”, use “Let Me In”, or even just “Gimme!”
- Instead of “Contact Us”, try “Come Say Hi”
If you want more real-life examples, look no further than the calls to action we have here on The Draw Shop website and blog! If you ever catch us using “Submit”, we’ll write you a tearful letter of apology – honest!
Mistake #3. Talking about yourself the entire time
When a business uses precious website space to go on and on about how great they are, somewhere, a kitten gets punched in the face.
Sure, it’s an old marketer’s tale you’ve heard a thousand times. You probably think you write exceptionally customer-centric copy (we hope you do!)
But still – take a long, hard look at your website, count all the instances you say “We” or “I”, and think…
…is there any way you can say the same thing, but focus on the customer instead?
E.g. instead of, “We develop industry-leading website analytics software that provides comprehensive data-driven insights into customer behavior”…
Can you write something like, “We tell you exactly what your customers are up to every time they interact with your brand – on your website, via email, or on any other communication channel”?
And no, you’re not dumbing it down – you’re communicating with clarity. It’s just like Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it enough”!
Mistake #4. Focusing on features rather than benefits.
Customers don’t buy products and services – ever. Not really.
They buy a result those products and services will provide to them. As a rule, that result comes down to either an emotional experience, or a desirable outcome.
It could be as simple as a beach vacation spent without fear of getting sunburnt (the benefit of a bottle of sunscreen)…
…or as profound as living happily ever after with their dream partner (the benefit of a professional matchmaker).
What benefit does your product or service provide? See if you can’t pin it down.
- Does it make customers more money?
- Does it save them money or time (or both)?
- Does it give them peace of mind?
- Does it take away their physical or emotional pain?
Whatever the benefit, your copy needs to reflect it.
After all, nobody buys an 8 Gigabyte iPod… Rather, people always buy 5,000 songs in their pocket!
Mistake #5. Sounding like everyone else (but not like your customer)
The worst thing you can do with your copy is to mold it after your competitors.
(Unless you want to go bankrupt as quickly as possible, in which case go ahead!)
Your brand’s voice can make or break your business. If you want to be successful, you need to communicate with customers in their own language. For instance…
Let’s say you work with coaches and consultants. They don’t want to “take their business to the next level”. What does that even mean?
They want to “land a huge client who will keep the bills paid all year, and then some”.
The idea is to use your customer’s’ language to let them know that you get it. Describe their problems the way they would describe them, frame your solutions by emphasizing what matters to them – and your customers will listen.
Use the words that show you’re in the know about their industry.
Are they marketers? Talk about ROI and optimizing their conversion rates.
Are they bloggers? Tell them you’ll get them more traffic, more views, and more subscribers.
You get the idea. Your customers don’t care for generic, vague language – so you’d better start speaking theirs!
Mistake #6. Not dealing with potential objections head-on
“This is too expensive.”
“But I can find the same info for free.”
“How are you different than company X?”
“Will your product work for me if I’m [insert unusual occupation here]?”
We’ve discussed objections before. They’re the main reason you miss out on what should have been a guaranteed sale. Saying “no” is always easier than saying “yes” – it’s your goal to make the positive answer a no-brainer!
This means addressing objections in your copy, no matter how insignificant, contrived, or silly they might seem to you.
After all, if they cost you sales, they’re a problem – silly or not. So face them head-on!
Mistake #7. Failing “the caveman test”
Also known as “the mom test”, it’s the ultimate measure of clarity for your website copy.
It goes like this: is it clear who you are, what you do, and how you can help… in the first 5 seconds of browsing your website?
If not, you need to get back to basics and check what needs to be changed, so your customers don’t leave, confused, before they even get a chance to learn what you’re all about!
This could mean:
- Changing the headline copy to highlight your USP better;
- Clarifying the language to re-focus it around benefits;
- Showing the product in action instead of just describing it…
…and so on.
Remember: there are hundreds, even thousands of other brands fighting for your customer’s attention. Don’t waste their time – communicate as much as you can as quickly as possible!
Needless to say, copywriting is both an art and a science. But you don’t have to be a fearless wordsmith to spot and fix any of these mistakes in your website copy. If you want to improve your conversion rate and get more customers, all you have to do is use the insights from this post – and take your copy to a whole new level. Enjoy!