How to Fix 5 Conversion-Killing Copywriting Mistakes

How to Fix 5 Conversion-Killing Copywriting Mistakes

Reader Comments (25)

  1. I wonder where the inspiration for the fitness tracker example mentioned here came from? I saw a display of Fitbit Alta fitness trackers in JC Penny’s on Saturday.

    In my opinion, I think you can re-write this sentence using a better word with the same meaning. “So the next part really sucks.” This sounds like something a high school kid would say.

    Instead you might try something along these lines…
    “You don’t want to write terrible copy that turns visitors off. You don’t want them to leave your sales page without buying something.”

    • We like to keep a relaxed tone around here, so it’s fun to have Nick’s conversational voice on the blog.

      But that’s definitely a clear alternative, Sheila! It’s great to see how you’d phrase something for your audience. 🙂

  2. Your first point especially is ringing true for me—we often ask clients to think about who their customer is, but it might be worth it to probe their assumptions of who their customer is.

    • I agree. Unless I know the client really well, I always probe on this point. Just to be sure. Like I said, if you’re writing to the wrong person, it doesn’t matter how well you write! : )

  3. Yikes Nick on #3! Benefits overload LOL. I recall listing so many benefits for 1 eBook I could have packaged and outdid War and Peace. Then I spoke to one person with a few bullet points, and the bought based on a few benefits. If you hyper target, speaking to an intrigued person, no need to go overboard on explaining why they should want it. Because they already want it.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Glad you liked #3. It’s something most people don’t think about. People get too hung up on the idea that more is always better. But it isn’t.

  4. Hi Nick, It’s #2 that sticks out for me. I read a lot about people saying they do this but I seldom receive anything beyond a very superficial generalization that tells me what I want to hear (dare I say “need” to hear before I convert to becoming a buyer?).

    I find that my inbox is full of a lot of slick tricks that are supposed to make me believe the seller is interested in providing me with a good product, but clearly just wants to sell me (and everyone) what he’s selling.

    I guess that none of us will ever appeal to all of our readers directly, but does “Yo baby” really appeal to a very large audience and reassure members of that audience that this is a knowledgeable seller? 🙂 As conversational as that may be in some circles … I guess it could for certain products …

    • I hear you. To my mind being a “pretend buddy” and overly familiar is just a lazy approach for copywriters who don’t do the work to figure out who they are actually writing to, and knowing what they should be saying to appeal to that person.

  5. Nick Point #3 Benefit overkill, so helpful, great point as always so timely, too. : ) I was experiencing this the other day writing a landing page for myself, which I find more difficult than for clients. I wish I found this article while I was beating my head against the wall. Cutting, pasting and dumping benefits in a file from the page thinking what’s wrong with this page. It looked like a tangled mass of content. Too much verbiage. I stepped away for a minute, but now I’m armed with new insight. Thanks.

    • Glad to hear #3 is helping. : ) I know it’s counter-intuitive… the idea that it would be better to list few benefits. But what it does is increase clarity, and it allows you to differentiate yourself more clearly.

      • It worked for me. The landing page is less clutter and flows. And all the extra benefits opened up the opportunity write more highly focused landing pages :)- Great tip.

  6. All five tips are excellent, but #4 is my go-to when I self-edit. I know which mistakes I’m likely to make, and make a special effort to spot them. In fact, for each of my clients, I’ve got a list of their most common mistakes, so I can make a special effort to spot them. What I love is watching those clients learn to stop making those mistakes. As for my own mistakes, well…

    • I hear you. Like I mentioned, #4 is a weakness of my own. And yes, after all these years, I STILL have to go back and make sure I’m not fading out towards the end of my copy. : )

  7. Thanks for this insightful article. Getting the balance right on a landing page is never an easy task. The most important thing is to “enter the conversation that’s already going on in your potential customer’s mind” (that’s from Dan Kennedy). If you can get this part right, and then hook the person with the right key benefit, you’re on your way to success as a copywriter.

  8. Hey Nick,

    You have some really great advice here, thanks!

    I share many of these weaknesses, but I think the two parts that resonated with me the more are (1) always review the last few lines of copy, and (2) use language that you would use to persuade family and friends.

    Thanks again, I really enjoyed this.

    • Glad you found it useful. And yes, as a copywriter it makes sense to learn to recognize one’s weaknesses and then address them before clicking that send button!

  9. You make a lot of good points there. We’re working on new copy for our SAAS Marketing platform, Metigy, and it’s tempting to drown a page in benefits and features and blah… blah… blah…

    Whereas the customer really wants to know how you will make their life and/or their work easier and better. And that’s not easy to do.

    We’ve been using Google Optimize to play with our messaging. And we definitely found certain language converts way better and/or results in lower drop-offs. Such a science. Looking at our competitors, it seems they have the same problem still.

    Great blog btw!

    • If it’s clear and engaging language you want – and forgive me a moment of self-promotion – click on my name and enjoy. Simple, transparent and engaging are what I’m all about. : )

  10. I like #3 where you said, “It loses its punch. It becomes a bore to read.?

    I think it’s important not to overstate even if every benefit is true. It’s like you use an exclamation mark in every sentence and it loses the effect.

    As for #5, I once received an email newsletter for the blog I subscribed to and the subject line read, “Warning: ….? I forgot what it said after Warning, but wow, it gets your attention. It was about the sale ending in a few hours, something like that, but my first instinct was, “Did I do anything I wasn’t supposed to?” That’s not the message you want to send out to thousands of people, is it?

    • Great point about how listing too many benefits is akin to using too many exclamation points. Nicely put!

      And yes, tricks like using the word Warning may get someone’s attention, what at what cost to your brand and reputation?

  11. Great piece! I’d add that regardless of how well the sales page is written, it will fall on deaf ears if it doesn’t match the rest of the sales funnel and the reader’s expectations. I’ve worked with clients who use the sales funnel leading up to the sales page to attract a big, diverse audience and then wonder why their conversions fall flat. Make sure the writing, language, tone, branding, etc. are all consistent along the way. The yellow brick road was very successful at leading Dorothy to Oz, but a fraud was waiting at the end. Don’t be that guy (or gal).

    • Totally agree! I’m actually working on a project now where we have a mismatch between the landing page and the visitors arriving there. In this case, I think the page is fine, but we haven’t figured out how to get the right people to see it. So the mismatch can work either way. But like you say… no match and no cigar!

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