As a small business owner, you know how important it is to write effective copy for your website, social media, and email marketing. You want to attract, engage, and convert your ideal customers with your words, not send them scuttling to your competition.
But writing copy isn’t easy. It takes time, skill, and practice to craft messages that resonate with your audience and persuade them to take action. And without that time, skill, and practice, you might fall into common copywriting mistakes that can hurt your marketing efforts and cost you sales.
In this blog post, you’ll find the top copywriting mistakes small business owners make when writing their own copy and how you can avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not knowing your audience
One of the biggest copywriting mistakes you can make is not knowing who you’re writing for and what motivates them to buy or take action.
If you don’t know your audience, you won’t be able to write copy that speaks to their needs, wants, pain points, and goals. You’ll end up writing generic, bland, or irrelevant copy that doesn’t connect with or inspire them.
To avoid this mistake, you need to understand who you’re serving and what they want from you. You can create customer profiles that describe your ideal customers in detail, including their demographics, interests, opinions, lifestyles, and behaviours. You can use surveys, interviews, online reviews, social media analytics, and search engine analytics to collect data about your audience.
Mistake 2: Using the passive voice
When you write a sentence using the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is acted on by the verb. Here’s what I mean:
- Your order was shipped yesterday.
- The product was designed by our team.
- The results were achieved by our clients.
When you use the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb. For instance:
- We shipped your order yesterday.
- Our team designed the product.
- Our clients achieved the results.
The passive voice makes your copy less engaging and persuasive because it weakens the impact of your message. The active voice makes your copy more dynamic and compelling because it emphasizes the action and the agent, creating a sense of urgency and responsibility.
To avoid this mistake, use the active voice as much as possible in your copy. You can use tools like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to easily check your copy for passive voice and rewrite it in active voice.
Mistake 3: Writing too much about yourself
Another common copywriting mistake is writing too much about yourself and not enough about the benefits or value you offer to your customers. If you write copy that focuses on the features or specifications of your product or service, or on how great your company is, you’ll eventually bore or annoy your readers.
Let’s face it; your readers don’t care about you or your product or service. They care about themselves and what they can get from you.
To avoid this mistake, focus on the benefits and outcomes your customers will get from your product or service, not just the features or specifications. Use words like “you” and “your” more than “we” and “our” to show that you care about your customers and their needs.
Include testimonials, case studies, reviews, and social proof to show how your product or service has helped other customers like them achieve their goals.
Mistake 4: Using too much jargon
You may want to sound like your know your stuff, but including too much jargon or technical terms in your copy can confuse or alienate your readers, and ultimately lose their attention and trust. They don’t want to feel stupid or left out when they read your copy. They want to feel smart and included.
To avoid this mistake, use simple and clear language that speaks to your audience’s level of understanding and avoids industry jargon or acronyms. Explain any terms or concepts that might be unfamiliar to your readers in a simple and concise way. Use examples, analogies, metaphors, and stories to illustrate your points and make them more relatable and memorable.
Mistake 5: Not formatting your copy properly
Your readers don’t have the time or patience to read every word of your copy. They want to skim and scan your copy and find the information they need quickly and easily. If you write copy that is too long, dense, or cluttered, you’ll overwhelm or bore your readers.
To avoid this mistake, format your copy with headings, subheadings, bullet points, lists, bolding, italics, images, charts, and graphs to break up the text and highlight the key points. Use short sentences and paragraphs, clear transitions, and calls to action to guide your readers through your copy and tell them what to do next.
Mistake 6: Not testing your copy
The final common copywriting mistake is not testing your copy with different variations and measuring the results using tools like Google Analytics 4, A/B testing software, or email marketing platforms. If you don’t test your copy, you won’t know what works best for your audience and what doesn’t. You’ll be guessing and hoping instead of knowing and improving.
Testing your copy allows you to optimise it for conversions and performance. You can test different elements of your copy such as headlines, calls to action, offers, landing pages, images, colours, fonts and more. You can also test different segments of your audience based on age, gender, location, interests, or behaviour.
By testing your copy, you can find out what resonates with your audience and what persuades them to take action. You can also learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them in the future.
Copywriting is a powerful skill that can help you to grow your small business and achieve your marketing goals. But it’s also a skill that requires practice, feedback, and improvement. By avoiding these copywriting mistakes and following the tips I’ve suggested, you can write better copy for your business that attracts, engages, and converts your ideal customers.
If you need help with writing effective blog posts and landing pages for your small business, I can help. I’m a professional copywriter who specialises in writing for businesses like you. I can write copy that reflects your brand voice, speaks to your audience’s needs, and motivates them to take action.
If you’re interested in working with me, contact me today. I’d love to hear from you.