Your marketing copy is like a superpowered salesperson working on behalf of your business.
They’re available 24/7/365, can work with an infinite number of leads, and never get tired or frustrated with chasing down a tough prospect.
If this “salesperson” is knowledgeable, empathetic, and persuasive, they will become your greatest business-boosting asset. But if they are pushy, self-centered, and hard to understand, they can do a lot more harm than good at your company!
Fortunately, transforming lukewarm, ineffectual messages into compelling and high-converting copy is a matter of applying just a few strategic tweaks — and avoiding several key mistakes.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to cover today.
This week, I’m going to share with you the 5 most devastating copywriting mistakes, and how to avoid them in your marketing. You will learn:
- The best and only way to communicate with your target customers
- One upsettingly common mistake that drains all the power from your copy
- How to earn and sustain your customers’ attention from the 1st line of copy
- Why you can’t convince people to buy from you using rational arguments
Let’s get started.
Mistake #1. Overusing jargon and buzzwords
Industry jargon might be like a mother tongue to you… but not for your customers!
When you lean too hard into buzzwords and industry-specific terminology, you are essentially putting up an impenetrable wall between your offer and potential buyers.
Well, spoiler alert: they don’t care enough about whatever you’re selling to go smashing through it!
To be as effective as possible, your copy needs to meet prospects where they are. If they have to make an effort to even understand what the heck you’re saying, you will struggle to get their attention — let alone their trust and money!
Communicate with your target audience in their language.
Discover how they talk — the words and turns of phrases they use, the jokes and references they find funny, the cadence of their speech, etc… and reflect it back at them. This is the best way to get their attention and establish trust.
“Summer, is jargon ever acceptable?” you may ask. Well, I can think of one exception…
You should only use buzzwords and jargon if this is how your actual buyers talk and think. E.g. if your audience is, say, crypto traders, and your offer has to do with this industry, then sure.
In every other case, though? You want to either mimic your customers’ normal speech if you’re familiar with it… or stick to clear, simple English.
Mistake #2. Defaulting to cliches in your copy
Cliches have their place in writing. Sometimes. They act as a useful shorthand — a kind of “code language” that conveys general meaning quickly and efficiently.
The writer doesn’t expend too much energy putting the cliches down on paper (or screen, whatever), and the reader doesn’t have to think too hard to parse what they wanted to say. It’s a win-win! Kind of.
The problem is, cliches rob your copy of all its persuasive power. Because they can’t make your audience feel anything, cliches can’t compel them to take action.
Plus, they are too bland and generic to capture and sustain people’s attention.
like the plague like an overtime shift on Christmas Eve.
Whenever you find yourself reaching for some generic word or phrase everyone has seen a million times, ask yourself:
- Can you make it more specific? E.g. instead of “John slept like a baby” try “John got his first good night’s sleep since 1998.” And don’t be afraid of a little exaggeration!
- Can you enhance your copy with some power words? Power words carry a ton of emotional resonance — you can use them to elevate anything you write.
- Can you use analogies, examples, stories, or visual metaphors? Unlike cliches, these make your copy more memorable and resonant. They deepen and expand understanding, instead of collapsing all nuance into one generic phrase!
Mistake #3. Failing the “What’s in it for me?” test
If I could give only one piece of advice to business owners looking to improve their copy, it would be this:
Don’t assume that your customers care about your brand or your offer!
In fact, assume that they don’t give a rat’s fluffy butt about either of these things.
Why would they? Potential buyers have only one question on their mind when they encounter any offer, and that is…
“How will this help me?”
How much interest they take in your company and its products or services depends entirely on how well you can address this unspoken question.
This should be the starting point of your copy.
If your audience doesn’t care about your offer or your business, what then? How do you earn their attention and build enough trust to ask for the conversion — and get a yes?
It’s simple: give your customers a reason to care. A good one! One they won’t be able to ignore, no matter how much they try.
That means, you must answer the “what’s in it for me?” question in your copy as early as possible.
Ideally — in the first line of copy your readers see. And also in the opening paragraphs, for sure.
In fact, it’s a good idea to come back to your answer throughout the copy to reinforce it, build on it, and keep it at the forefront of your audience’s mind.
Give them a reason to care, and keep ’em caring! That’s how you win.
Mistake #4. Appealing to your customers’ rational mind
I don’t know how to say this without sounding too dramatic, but here goes:
No one makes buying decisions rationally. That includes you, me, and your customers. All humans are irrational decision makers — we make 95% of our calls based on emotions, and then we retrofit facts and data to justify them to ourselves.
So: does that mean that facts, figures, and data don’t matter at all?
No. They absolutely have an important role to play — but they can’t be the foundation of your sales argument. Not on their own. At least, not on their own.
Instead, here’s what you want to do…
Before you introduce any rational arguments in your copy, establish an emotional connection with your audience. Speak to the #1 pain point they are struggling with, invoke a result they desperately want to achieve, or both.
Tap into their excitement, empathize with their anxieties… in other words, find common emotional ground with your customers.
Once you’ve done that, you can start “connecting the dots” between your offer and what your audience wants to achieve. Now you can leverage facts, figures, and data — but do it strategically.
How? By providing context for the data you share! Like so:
- Don’t just list isolated facts and figures — convey them in stories instead
- Connect each data point to a specific benefit or outcome your customers care about
- Compare your offers against other solutions, so people know how they measure up
Mistake #5. Not following the reader’s thought process
Reading truly compelling copy is like having a conversation with the world’s most understanding person.
They know exactly where you’re coming from, they anticipate your questions and concerns before you even voice them, and they tell you exactly what you need to hear at any given moment.
Good copy achieves this effect because it follows the reader’s thought process.
It develops organically and logically — just as a real conversation would. Yes, it’s one-sided and asynchronous… but the structure is there.
If you break with that structure, your copy will instantly lose 99% of its persuasive power, even if everything else about it is top notch.
Remember that copywriting is a dialogue between you and the customer. You could be separated by countless miles and many years — but when someone lays eyes on your copy, they enter a conversation with you. Treat it as such.
Structure your sales message according to how your audience thinks. Here’s a proven formula you can use:
- Start with a problem or opportunity your customers care about. Give them an irresistible reason to feel emotionally invested in what you have to say.
- Agitate the problem / opportunity even further, building an emotional connection with the customer. Tap into their desire for a solution and stoke it.
- Reveal the solution in the form of your offer. Show your audience how it will help them achieve the results they need.
- Address objections and concerns. Confront your customers’ fears and uncertainties head on, and put their mind at ease before you…
- End with a call to action. Finally, direct all of your audience’s energy and excitement into one specific action: subscribing to your email list, clicking that Buy button, calling your office, etc.
The #1 copywriting asset your business needs
Capturing your audience’s attention with a hyper relevant message is key to high-converting copywriting.
Before you can earn someone’s money, you have to ensure they will listen to what you have to say. And in our fast-paced, easily distractible world, it’s almost more difficult than getting someone to buy from you!
An Elevator Pitch is designed to cut through all the distractions and grab your prospects’ attention as fast as possible. It’s a single, memorable statement about your business that you can deliver in 30 seconds or less. And it has ONE job — getting potential customers excited enough and curious enough to say the 3 all-important words…
“Tell me more!”
I know what you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can hook people on my business in 30 seconds!” I disagree. My team has already helped dozens of businesses formulate an irresistible Elevator Pitch — and we want to create one for you, too.
All you need is to hop on a 30-minute consultation with one of our expert copywriters here at The Draw Shop. They will help you define the problem you solve, how you solve it, and the life-changing results your customers will see from working with you.
Then we’ll transform your input into a unique Elevator Pitch for your brand — a powerful 30-second statement scientifically designed to stand out, delight, persuade… and convert.
And we’ll top it off with a one-page, one-of-a-king infographic that makes your pitch into an engaging visual story! That’s going to be a valuable marketing asset in its own right — you can use it to…
- Share it with your team
- Feature it on your website
- Use it in your email signature
- Put it on the back of your business card
- Spread it on social media