5 mistakes to avoid when writing copy

#1 – Don’t make the website copy about YOU

This is one of the biggest mistakes that most people will often make. People who write their own websites often only talk about themselves and what they can do, rather than what they can do for you. This creates a self-centred company image which will not entice your readers in the same way that it would if you just spoke about your customers’ benefits. This is because when you look for a product or service you want to know what you can get out of it, i.e. how it can benefit you, the consumer, not the company’s detailed systems and procedures.

Our desire to satisfy our WANTS is stronger than our desire to satisfy our NEEDS. So, this is what your website copy needs to focus on, what your audience wants and not

how you can just help them meet their needs. Engage the customer by using ‘you’ when speaking to them, for example ‘You could see an increase in your sales of up to 60% by next year!’ is much more personal and personable than ‘We help to increase sales by up to 60% each year!’.

#2 – There is such a thing as being ‘too’ professional

Customers often get their first impressions of a company from the words on their website and judge a company on how they speak, so if the copy sounds brittle and professional, it may not engage as many people as it would if the main aim were to create a friendly and helpful impression.

The best examples of copy speak to the audience in a non-professional manner, as if talking with a friend. When you write your own copy ask yourself “Would you use those words in conversation?”, “Would your gran understand them?”. If the answer is “No”, then change it to make sure the language you use can be understood by anyone. Although, bear in mind that you don’t want to dumb your text down too much, it needs to be clear enough to anyone who reads it and resonate with your target audience.

#3 – No next step

This is a term called CTAs or ‘Calls To Action’, they are the positive demands you give to the customer after your copy to tell them what action they need to take next. There’s only so much use in having a good piece of copy if there’s nothing for the customer to do with it next.

For example, if you’re writing copy for a hotel website and explained all the benefits of staying there but didn’t mention how or where to book a room, then the website would lose almost all of its potential customers! Customers always need to be directed to somewhere where they can buy or be told what action to take. But beware, if you overuse these calls to action your customers may also get confused and put off booking with your company if the call to action is too long or difficult.

Readers often don’t have the time or patience to read all of your copy, so make sure your CTA is not just at the end of the copy but higher up too. For example, for a hotel website a ‘book now’ button above the fold and later on in the copy is essential.

#4 – Make the copy complement the images and vice versa

The pictures and videos will almost always be the first thing your readers will see when landing on your website and if they are enticing enough they may even venture to read

your copy. However, if the text alongside your page design, pictures or videos does not reflect what is being shown, this can easily put readers off in more ways than one.

It can make your company look inept and inattentive and will often put customers off as it may seem that you haven’t considered the user experience when designing your website.

For example, a hotel website could be describing their ocean view restaurant. However, only providing pictures of a garden view and could lead customers to not believe the restaurant has an ocean view or that the company is being misleading.

#5 – Writing to the wrong target audience

This is a particularly important mistake which is often made. When writing your copy consider the type of person are you selling to, how old are they? Does gender play a role? Are they well educated? These are important factors to think about because without them your text could be putting off your target market entirely.

For example, if you are writing copy for website for a kids’ play park which only had stuffy, professional and/or clinical copy, this would most likely discourage your customers from visiting because of the image of the company you have created. Always remind yourself of your target market, which would be parents and children so if you want it to work – make sure it sounds fun and friendly!

So, now you know what mistakes to avoid when writing copy, particularly for websites, you have no excuse for not resonating with your customers and boosting your revenue and sales. However, if you need any help and would like some copy coaching or to outsource your copywriting ARC Writing and Translation Services can help you. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation quote at info@arc-wts.co.uk.

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