Sales copy is tricky to write. And often, there's a lot more that goes into it than you would have originally thought!
That’s why my mission today is to shed some light on the most common copywriting mistakes I see being made when it comes to sales copy. So, if you’re about to sit down and write a piece of sales copy yourself, whether it's a full-blown sales page or an Instagram post - please read this first!
Emphasizing the features and ignoring the benefits
Out of the 6 mistakes I’m going to highlight today, this one is probably the one I see the most!
People love emphasizing the features and details of the product they’re offering. Which at first glance makes sense because of course you want to shout about the product you’ve created (and people need to know about it if they’re going to buy it). BUT the problem occurs when all you talk about are the features.
When the key part of any sales copy is shining a light on all of the benefits the product will offer your potential clients!
But why is this so important?
Because when you talk about the benefits your offer will bring, the more your ideal client will be able to imagine it in their lives. You are painting a picture of the difference this offer will make to them.
And imagination is really powerful when it comes to making sales!
You’re making the problem a character flaw
When we talk about pain points, it’s very easy to put them onto the person you’re talking about. This means they take on the problem as their own personal flaw and we give off the message that the reader needs fixing when this isn’t the case.
This way of writing is often related to traditional marketing tactics because this way of marketing often puts all the focus on the offer. If you’ve been in the online space for a while it can become an unconscious way of writing that is just ingrained into the way we do things.
However, if instead, you make the problem your offer is solving external to the person (focusing any blame for the issue on the system and potential oppression someone has faced rather than it being a character flaw) it creates a sense of community. This is not only more ethical, but it is much more likely to lead to conversions!
How? When the problem is external, they can see how they can fight against it and solve it, but if it’s internal, they’ll believe something is fundamentally wrong with them and your offer can’t fix that!
For example, if you say the problem is they are bad at time management, that’s putting the blame on them.
Instead, you could say they don’t have the time to prioritize because society has created a fast-paced culture that doesn’t enable them to have a moment to think or breathe. This will make it easier for them to see how your offer can help them find ways around this.
This type of shift means you start to use tactics that fall under those associated with movement marketing (you can read more about the differences between traditional and movement marketing here!).
It is also a much more anti-oppressive approach to writing sales copy that doesn’t assume everyone has had the same life experiences and struggles.
You’re using too much technical language
When you’re an expert in something, it can be really hard not to talk in a way that reflects this and all of the knowledge you’ve picked up over the years! For example, some copywriting jargon includes terms like: ‘above the fold’, CTA (call to action), KLT (know-like-trust), USP, the voice of the customer, brand voice, validated offer, blockquote, mark-up, a call out, the close, and so on.
But your sales copy is not the place for loads of technical jargon and complicated language. Especially because your audience is very unlikely to be experts in your field (if they were, they probably wouldn’t need the offer/service you’re offering!)
So make sure that whatever you write will make sense to your audience. Think about where your reader is at right now in terms of their reading level and what they’ll already know about your area of expertise!
Not sounding like yourself
It can be easy just to start writing and only concentrate on details of the offer and the benefits (like we talked about earlier!) and forget to write as yourself!
If you’ve read it back and it sounds too formal, official, or void of all personality, you have a bit of a problem! Personality is what sells, so adding in your personality is key when it comes to writing sales copy- try writing how you talk!
I have a whole blog on how to start injecting personality into your copy but for now, I recommend taking time to think about what makes you unique!
You can even start super simple and pick one thing that you always naturally talk about and try to incorporate this into your copy!
For example, Tyler McCall references Target, Jordan Gill has a pineapple on everything and Mallory Schlabach is obsessed with Tacos…Mine is mermaids and coastal vibes . Pick your thing and run with it!
Not only can this help you start to add some of your personality into your copy but it can also help you connect with others and help your audience get to know you better.
Keeping your social proof all in one place
The most common place I see social proof on sales pages? Right at the very bottom!
But ideally, you should sprinkle your social proof all throughout your sales page.
This is a great way to keep readers engaged and reading.
Try to be strategic and place your proof below any claims you make. This way, the reader instantly sees that you aren’t just pulling statements out of thin air! And the social proof is acting in the way it should (it’s called social proof for a reason after all!)
Your social proof can also help you form a nice structure for your sales pages- see what proof you have for the claims you want to make and go from there!
You’re using the wrong words
Words are important. Especially when it comes to sales copy! The words you use (or don’t use) can have a huge impact on conversions.
So with that in mind, there's a certain group of words you should try to avoid and these are absolutes. Using words like “always” and “never” is a big no-go! They can start to build high expectations and leave you vulnerable to unhappy customers. Remember: nothing is ever guaranteed!
However, although you shouldn’t guarantee everything, you do need to be specific with your wording. Vague wording doesn’t help anyone identify how their problems will be solved so the more specific you can be, the better!
A good way to avoid being vague is checking for any overused generalizations within your niche (you know, the phrases/words you hear allll the time like ‘overwhelmed’, ‘stuck’ or ‘frustrated’!). Try to think outside of the box and make sure you’re doing market research so you really know the pain points of your audience and how they describe them in their own words!
You can then use these types of words when writing as it will help them feel seen and heard.
I really hoped this helped but if you’re looking for any further guidance, specifically on writing sales pages, my Sales Page Sanity Saver might be just the thing to help take your sales pages to the next level!