10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Copywriting

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Copywriting

Writing compelling copy that converts is critical to your business. However, there are some common copywriting mistakes that many copywriters and business owners make that can jeopardize their success. In this article, we’ll look at the 10 common mistakes to avoid in copywriting.

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Copywriting

The following is a list of common copywriting mistakes that are all too easy or tempting to make. Some are minor, while others can significantly affect your conversion rate and marketing results.

1. Not knowing your target audience

This is the most obvious but frequently overlooked mistake some copywriters and business owners still make.

They create copy that makes sense to them rather than the audience with whom they want to engage. While knowing your product or service is important, there is a difference between what you want to say and what the reader wants to hear about it.

Make sure you understand the buyer’s persona inside and out. A good copywriter understands the audience’s needs, pains, motivations, frustrations, and potential objections, which helps them create compelling copy that converts.

2. Wrong tone

The golden rule of copywriting is to use the brand’s tone of voice throughout your copy. If you can’t capture that tone and maintain consistency, you will not reach your target market.

The tone of voice reflects a brand’s values, philosophy, and attitude toward its audience. It specifies the lexical items and sentence structure you’ll use in copies to convey the message. It enables you to communicate in the same language as your audience, making them want to listen to you.

If your client does not have a brand book or style guide that describes their tone of voice, read their previously published content and use their communication style in your writing.

3. Weak headings and subheadings

Reading online takes 25% longer than reading in print, and users scan web copy rather than read it. Headlines and subheadings guide them through the content and help them decide whether it’s worth their time.

That’s why a good copywriter emphasizes these two copy elements.

Excellent headlines and subheadings are brief, specific, and relevant to the content. The element of emotional writing is also worth attempting to capture users’ attention, use curiosity or FOMO, and motivate them to continue reading.

Learn how to write good headlines here.

4. Too formal

Good copywriters understand that online writing is conversational, and we must speak to our audience in their language if we want to engage them.

However, it is difficult to strike a balance between conversational and casual. Some authors may sound overly formal to maintain this balance. They use complex sentences and academic language as if they were writing a college essay.

This is a mistake. It scares the reader off. The bare minimum you can do to avoid this is to substitute conversational phrases like “you see” or “can’t” for “cannot” in your copies.

The ideal approach is to understand and adhere to your brand’s tone of voice.

How to use conversational copywriting to boost online sales.

5. Boring words

Most copywriters have words or phrases that they overuse. (My choices are “here,” “professional,” and “when it comes to”). When they are overused, your copy becomes monotonous and boring to read.

Try not to use certain words excessively in your writing. Analyze your copy, look for repeated phrases, and use a thesaurus to change them and make your writing more engaging.

6. Lack of, or wrong use of emotional triggers

Copywriting is about eliciting an emotional response from users, encouraging them to stick with a brand, and inspiring them to take action.

Knowing this, some copywriters use emotional triggers for evil, exploiting a person’s fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) in their writing. While such manipulation can be an effective sales tool, an overdose does not work for developing long-term customer relationships.

Learn how to use emotional triggers here.

7. No CTA or too many CTAs

While most copywriters understand the importance of a call to action (CTA), some don’t know how to make it effective.

A good call to action:

  • Creates urgency,
  • Directs users to take action, and
  • Provides a compelling reason to do so.

Adding many CTAs on the same page is a big mistake, especially if they lead to different pages or need too many actions. Readers will become confused.

Give them the simplest possible path to the next step, and don’t limit yourself to the boring “Buy now” or “Click here” options. Use creative CTA text and don’t be afraid to use “I” and “me” pronouns. It makes your CTA sound more genuine and personalized.

Learn how to write good CTAs.

8. Too many features and no benefits

This is a common mistake made by novice copywriters unfamiliar with the buyer persona’s needs and pain points.

They describe the product features but do not explain how those features will benefit the audience, which is critical in any marketing messaging: Give your readers a reason to buy.

How to make friends through feature-benefit writing:

  1. Lead with benefits. Answer the “So what?” question. Explain how your product or service will benefit the reader’s life if they choose it.
  2. Back up the benefits with the features that enable them. This puts the customer first and increases credibility.

Learn how to use features and benefits to your advantage.

9. Relying too much on formulas

There are many copywriting formulas online that you can learn and apply to your writing. Based on the experiences of other copywriters, these tips are excellent as a guideline or starting point.

However, many of these copywriting formulas are simply common practices that have worked for someone. Who said they’d work for your readers?

Examples:

  1. They say that odd numbers attract more attention. True, but that doesn’t mean that even numbers will reduce engagement.
  2. They say that the word “free” is a surefire way to entice a reader. Maybe, but some people will see it as spam.
  3. They say that these headline formulas work. Let it be, but those formulas won’t work if they don’t resonate with your target audience.

The point I’m trying to make is that it’s a mistake to believe and use all copywriting formulas. Instead of assuming they will work for you because they worked for another copywriter, test them with your target audience first.

10. Being overly salesy

Online users are not gullible or stupid. They understand that your copy is about selling something, so they don’t need you to draw their attention to that. Too aggressive, direct-selling messages in your copy will backfire.

Rejection.

Instead, tell a story about your product, add customer testimonials, and use appealing language to entice the audience to want what you have to offer. A compelling call to action at the end of your copy will encourage readers to take action.

Avoid These Copywriting Mistakes

So you have it: your list of common mistakes to avoid in copywriting. Make the items listed above a part of your editing routine.

Ensure that all of the words, tone, and writing formulas in your copy make sense, serve a purpose, are appropriate for your target audience, and advance your goals. Your audience (and business) will thank you!

The Complete Copywriting Course

Maku Seun is a freelance copywriter and direct response marketer. He helps digital marketers, coaches, and course creators boost sales by writing compelling sales copy which includes long-form sales letters, email copy, and website copy for their products and services. If you want him to write compelling sales copy for your business, click here.