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Common Copywriting Mistakes That Kill Sales

  • By Jonathan Hook
  • Published 04/16/2008
  • Copywriting

Most business owners who write their own sales materials have had little or no training in copywriting. Their sales never reach full potential because of common copywriting mistakes that sabotage their efforts. Copywriting is an art that must be learned. Time, effort and thought must be put into good copy. Are you guilty of the common copywriting mistakes below? 1. Focusing on yourself instead of the customer. Lots of businesses like to brag about their expertise or how many years they’ve been operating. But statements such as “We’ve been in business for over forty years…” are usually met with a shrug of the shoulders or a “who cares”. Customers don’t want to listen to you stroke your own ego. They just want an answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?” If you keep using the words “I” or “we” consider ways to reword statements to use the words “you” or “your” instead. Talk TO your customers…not AT them. 2. Using jargon or “tech-talk” that not everyone understands. Don’t assume customers will know what you mean if your start throwing industry terms around.

Imagine writing copy for an auto mechanic.

Your average customer probably doesn’t even know the difference between struts, manifolds, and spark plugs. They just want their car fixed. Speak in words they’ll understand. 3. Using big words to try and sound intelligent or superior. This can be a big turn-off for readers. Write just like you would talk if you were sitting with them, eating lunch. 4. Poor spacing and formatting. Don’t write in big blocks of text without rest. Keep paragraphs to about three to five sentences each to make reading easier. 5. Sentences that go on and on. Keep sentences short, punchy, and to the point. It helps improve readability and comprehension. 6. Not including a call to action. One of the basic principles of copywriting is to end your copy with a clear call to action. Don’t assume anything. Tell your reader exactly what you want him or her to do. And make it easy for them to comply. Ordering instructions that are confusing or make them jump through hoops will not be followed.

Now that you’ve learned to avoid the most common copywriting mistakes, go back and re-read some of your old copy and I bet you made at least one or two of these them. Fix them and there’s a good chance your sales will improve!



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