March 12, 2023 Mark Acornley

9 Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid

Are you tired of writing copy that sounds like it was written by a robot?

Do you want to captivate your audience with witty, engaging, and humorous content?

Well, you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to talk about copywriting – the art of using words to persuade, inform, and entertain.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is copywriting?

At its core, copywriting is more than just selling; it’s about weaving a narrative that captivates and connects with your audience.

Imagine it as a friendly chat rather than a sales pitch – relatable, engaging, and entertaining.

Why does it matter? Because great copywriting can make or break a business in today’s crowded market.

It’s not just about listing features; it’s about highlighting benefits that resonate emotionally, driving action.

Yet, mastering the craft isn’t easy. It takes time, practice, and plenty of trial and error.

Many businesses struggle with it, lacking time, resources, or skills to craft compelling copy.

But here’s the thing: investing in good copywriting is worth it. It’s your ticket to standing out and achieving your goals, whether you’re selling a product, promoting a service, or simply aiming to grow your audience.

So, where do you start?

Well, the first step is to understand your audience.

  • Who are you writing for?
  • What do they care about?
  • What motivates them to take action?

Once you have a clear understanding of your audience, you can start crafting copy that speaks directly to their needs and desires.

But let’s be real – writing copy can be boring.

We’re going to talk about the most common copywriting mistakes that businesses make and how to avoid them.

1. Not Having a Clear Value Proposition

Having a clear value proposition is important in copywriting.

A value proposition is a statement that describes the unique benefit that your product or service provides to your customers.

It helps differentiate you from the competition and build trust with your audience.

Without a clear value proposition, your audience won’t know why they should choose you over others.

It’s like a menu with pages and pages of options but no clear description of what they are or why they’re worth ordering.

A value proposition is the answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?” that your audience is asking.

So, how do you craft a clear value proposition?

  • Focus on the benefits, not the features: Your audience doesn’t care about the nitty-gritty details of your product or service they care about how it can make their life better. I
  • Be specific: Don’t be vague in your value proposition – be specific about what you offer and how it’s different from the competition.
  • Keep it concise: Your value proposition should be short and to the point. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information – just give them the most important details.
  • Make it customer-centric: Your value proposition should be focused on your customer, not your business.

For example, let’s say you’re a pet store selling high-quality dog food.

A bad value proposition might be “We sell dog food.”

It’s not specific, it doesn’t focus on benefits, and it’s not customer-centric.

A better value proposition might be “Our high-quality dog food keeps your furry friend healthy and happy, so you can spend more time playing and less time at the vet.”

It’s specific, focused on benefits, and customer-centric.

Not having a clear value proposition is a common copywriting mistake that can lead to confusion and low conversions.

2. Failing to Identify the Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is crucial in copywriting as it allows you to create copy that speaks directly to the needs and desires of your potential customers.

Your target audience comprises the group of people who are most likely to benefit from what you have to offer and is most likely to buy your product or service.

Knowing who they are and what they want is necessary to create copy that resonates with them.

Not identifying your target audience can lead to ineffective marketing campaigns and low conversions.

It is therefore essential to understand who your target audience is by looking at your existing customer base, using tools like Google Analytics to gain insight into your website visitors and analysing your social media followers and engagement.

3. Overcomplicating Your Writing

Listen, we get it – you’re smart.

You’ve got a vast vocabulary and a thesaurus at the ready, and you’re not afraid to use them.

But here’s the thing – your audience doesn’t care how smart you are.

They just want to understand what you’re saying.

Using overly complex language is a common copywriting mistake that can turn off your audience and lead to low engagement.

When your writing is too complicated, it can be difficult to understand and may even come across as pretentious.

Plus, it can make your audience feel dumb, and nobody wants that.

That’s why it’s always better to keep things simple. When you use clear and concise language, you make it easier for your audience to understand what you’re saying.

This can help build trust and rapport with your audience, and may even lead to higher conversions.

So, how do you write clear and concise copy?

  • Use short sentences: Long, convoluted sentences can be difficult to follow. Stick to short, simple
  • sentences that get your point across.
  • Avoid jargon: Unless you’re writing for a very specific audience that’s familiar with the jargon, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Jargon can be confusing and may turn off your audience.
  • Write in the active voice: Writing in the passive voice can make your writing sound vague and confusing. Stick to the active voice to make your writing more clear and more concise.
  • Cut the fluff: Take a hard look at your writing and cut out any unnecessary words or phrases. Get to the point and keep it simple.

Overcomplicating your writing is a common copywriting mistake that can turn off your audience and lead to low engagement.

4. Being Too Salesy

Nobody likes a pushy salesperson.

You know the type – the ones who won’t take no for an answer and just keep pushing their product or service on you until you finally give in out of sheer exhaustion.

Being “too salesy” is a common copywriting mistake that can turn off your audience and lead to low engagement.

But what does it mean exactly?

Essentially, it means that your writing is too focused on making a sale, and not focused enough on providing value to your audience.

So, how do you avoid sounding too pushy in your writing?

  • Focus on the benefits: Instead of just listing the features of your product or service, focus on the benefits that your audience will receive.
  • Use storytelling: People love stories, and they can be a great way to showcase the value of your product or service more naturally.
  • Be helpful: Ultimately, your audience wants to know that you’re there to help them, not just sell to them.

In addition to these tips, it’s important to strike a balance between promotion and helpfulness in your writing.

While it’s important to promote your product or service, you don’t want to come across as too self-promotional.

Instead, aim to provide value to your audience in every piece of writing you create.

This can help build trust and credibility with your audience, which can ultimately lead to higher conversions.

5. Failing to Create a Sense of Urgency

We’ve all procrastinated at some point in our lives.

Whether it’s putting off a project until the last minute or waiting until the deadline to make a purchase, we’ve all been guilty of not taking action when we should have.

Creating a sense of urgency in your copy can be a powerful way to motivate your audience to take action.

But what exactly is a sense of urgency?

Essentially, it’s the feeling that time is running out, and that action must be taken quickly to avoid missing out on something important.

So why is creating a sense of urgency so important in copywriting?

For one, it can help increase conversions and sales.

When your audience feels a sense of urgency, they’re more likely to take action and make a purchase.

Additionally, it can help build credibility and trust with your audience.

So, how do you create a sense of urgency in your copy? 

  • Use time-based language: Use phrases like “limited time offer” or “only a few left” to create a sense of scarcity and urgency.
  • Highlight the consequences of inaction: Let your audience know what they stand to lose if they don’t act quickly.
  • Provide a clear call to action: Make it easy for your audience to take action by providing a clear and compelling call to action.

In addition to these tips, it’s important to be genuine and honest in your approach to creating urgency.

Don’t use false scarcity or urgency tactics to try and manipulate your audience – this will only erode trust and credibility in the long run.

6. Not Focusing on Benefits

As a copywriter, it’s easy to get lost in showcasing product features. However, your audience isn’t interested in features; they want to know how your product will benefit them.

Features are specific attributes, like size or colour, while benefits are the positive outcomes, such as convenience or time savings, that these features provide.

Highlighting benefits in your copy is crucial because it’s what convinces your audience to take action. People buy products to improve their lives, not because of a list of features.

To emphasise benefits, focus on how your product will enhance their lives, making it more compelling and persuasive.

So, how do you highlight benefits in your copy?

  • Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: Think about what’s important to them and how your product or service can help them achieve their goals or solve their problems.
  • Use emotional language: People make purchasing decisions based on emotion, so use language that will appeal to their feelings and desires.
  • Use real-world examples: Show your audience how your product or service has helped other people in similar situations.
  • Focus on outcomes, not features: Instead of listing off features, focus on the outcomes that those features provide.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, use emotional language, use real-world examples, and focus on outcomes rather than features.

7. Ignoring the Power of Storytelling

Storytelling is a potent tool often overlooked by copywriters.

Yet, it holds the key to captivating attention and forging deep emotional connections.

Integrating stories into your copy creates a narrative that resonates with your audience, setting you apart and fostering profound engagement.

Why embrace storytelling?

It sets you apart from bland, cookie-cutter copy, while cultivating emotional connections.

How to incorporate storytelling into your copy?

  • Start with a hook: Just like a good book or movie, your copy should start with a hook that draws your audience in.
  • Show, don’t tell: Instead of just telling your audience how great your product or service is, show them through a story.
  • Use relatable characters: The characters in your story should be relatable to your audience.
  • Use emotion: Use language that speaks to your audience’s desires, fears, or pain points.

Ignoring the power of storytelling in your copy is a mistake.

Incorporating storytelling can help you capture your audience’s attention, create a deeper emotional connection, and make your product or service more relatable and desirable.

And remember to start with an epic hook, use relatable characters, and evoke emotion.

By doing so, you’ll be able to create copy that resonates with your audience and ultimately drives more conversions and sales.

8. Using Clichés and Jargon

We’re all familiar with clichés and jargon like “think outside the box” and “game-changing.”

While they may seem easy to use, relying on these tired phrases can weaken your copy’s impact.

Clichés and jargon might be tempting, but they can also alienate readers, making your copy appear unoriginal and insincere.

To truly captivate your audience, break free from clichés and strive for originality.

Your readers crave fresh, engaging content that stands out from the crowd.

Steer clear of clichés and jargon to ensure your copy is compelling and effective.

Tips for Avoiding Clichés and Jargon:

So how can you break away from the mould and create an original copy?

  • Know your audience: Understanding your target audience can help you create copy that resonates with them.
  • Keep it simple: Instead of relying on clichés and jargon, use clear, simple language.
  • Use metaphors and analogies: Metaphors and analogies are a great way to convey a message in a fresh, original way.
  • Get creative with formatting: Sometimes, the way you present your copy can be just as important as the words themselves.

Using clichés and jargon can be tempting, but it can also hurt your copy’s effectiveness.

So next time you sit down to write copy, remember: to break the mould and be original!

9. Neglecting the Importance of Formatting

Readers judge content based on its appearance before diving in.

Ensuring your content is visually appealing and easy to digest is crucial.

Formatting encompasses structure and presentation, including headings, bullet points, and spacing.

Good formatting enhances readability, comprehension, and retention, breaking up text and improving visual appeal.

Why does formatting matter? It can determine whether readers stay engaged or navigate away.

Well-formatted content keeps readers interested and encourages continued reading.

Tips for formatting your copy effectively:

  • Use headings and subheadings: Headings and subheadings break up your content into sections, making it easier to skim and understand.
  • Use bullet points: Bullet points are a great way to present information in a clear, concise manner.
  • Use short paragraphs: Long blocks of text can be intimidating to readers. Keep your paragraphs short and to the point.
  • Use white space: White space refers to the space around your content.
  • Use a legible font: Your font choice can have a big impact on how easy your content is to read.
  • Use bold and italic text: Bold and italic text can be used to highlight key points or to draw attention to important information.

Formatting might not be the most exciting part of copywriting, but it’s an important one.

Good formatting can help to make your content easier to read, understand, and remember.


Summary

As a copywriter, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and forget the big picture.

But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to connect with your audience and make them care. So, go forth and write copy that’s not only effective but also entertaining!

And remember, if all else fails, just add a funny cat meme. Works every time.

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