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Are You Making These 3 Embarrassing Copywriting Mistakes?

By: Danny Iny


You probably fall into one of two camps:

If you’re in the first camp, you change the copy on your website a few times a month in an attempt to make it sound better. (Like I do!)
If you’re in the second camp, you haven’t updated your website copy in so long, it’s practically fossilized.
Whether you’re constantly fiddling with it or ignoring it altogether, the end result is the same . . .
Your copy is “just okay.”
But “just okay” isn’t good enough for you. You want to stand out. You want to sound like yourself. You want to grow a loyal following of people who get you and appreciate what you’re trying to do.
That’s why, for my Project ABC Update this month, I’m sharing three website copywriting mistakes I’m seeing many of my clients make.
I’m also going to tell you how to erase these mistakes. So if you recognize these stumbling blocks in your own writing, keep reading for easy solutions.
Does Your Confidence Fizzle When You Write?
Before I get into the three mistakes, I want to address an important truth: I understand how challenging copywriting can be.
Over the past few months, I’ve been helping up-and-coming business owners write copy that sounds genuine and connects to their tribe. Many of these intelligent, kind, and passionate entrepreneurs hit the same stumbling block.
When they talk about their business, they light up.
When they write about their business, it’s more like a faulty flashlight. Knock it just right, and they get a momentary flash. But other than that, they’re in the dark.
Can you relate? You second guess yourself. You use other people’s copy as a guide. You obsessively search the internet for “how to write the perfect home page.”
You’re normally a go-getter with a strong instinct about what needs to be done. But when it comes to writing copy that inspires people to take action, self-doubt runs the show. Which stinks, because you can’t afford to have “blah” copy.
There Has to be an Easier Way
If you’re serious about growing your business, making a name for yourself, and attracting a highly engaged community, it’s time to give your website copy some extra love. The first thing to do is clean up your existing copy. In my work helping up-and-coming business owners with their website copywriting, there are 3 major mistakes I see on their websites:
Mistake #1: Sardine Syndrome (Also Known As “Never Stop Scrolling”)
If you suffer from Sardine Syndrome, you pack waaaay too much information onto a single page. Suddenly, everything’s important: you want people to know who you help, where you grew up, what your philosophy is, how your process works from start to finish, why you started this business … and the list goes on. There are a few reasons this is so detrimental:
  1. When everything’s important, nothing’s important. Your potential client has nothing to glom onto, so they click away.
  2. Screens are getting smaller! If it looks like a lot of copy on your laptop, imagine what it’s going to look like on a tablet or phone. (Actually, don’t imagine it. Go look at it on a tablet or phone.)
The solution? In the words of Uncle Joey from “Full House:” Cut. It. Out. Your website doesn’t live in a vacuum. It’s connected to all your other content, including blog posts, autoresponders, your emails with clients, and even your phone consultations. Go through your website and pull out content that might be better served elsewhere.
  • Could you elaborate on your philosophy during a phone consultation with a potential client?
  • Is there a section on your Work with Me page that’s just screaming to be its own blog post?
  • Would the story on your About page serve as a great introduction in your welcome email to new subscribers?
Think beyond your website, and determine how every point of contact with your customer ultimately fits together.
Mistake #2: Wimpy Words
You’re not a vanilla kind of person. I know that because you’re crazy enough to be an entrepreneur. So why does your writing feel ho-hum? It’s tricky to get your personality into your website. You’ve been trained by teachers, corporations, and that squiggly line in Microsoft Word to never break the rules. But it’s vital that you get your voice across, even (and especially) if it doesn’t sound like everyone else.
Remember, you’re expecting people to reach out to you—either by signing up for your newsletter, booking a consultation call, or buying your product—without talking to you first. Copywriting is a conversation. Don’t be afraid to sound like yourself. (Scroll down for my free worksheet to help you tap into your writing voice.) 
Also, remember that you’re not trying to appeal to everyone. There’s a specific type of person who will get the most out of working with you. Tap into that person’s language by using surveys, asking feedback questions, and having potential clients complete a short form before they talk to you. You’ll be amazed by how much you can learn.
Mistake #3: You’re Always Selling
Your home page isn’t a sales page, so don’t treat it like one. Your About page isn’t a sales page, so step away from the bullet points about why people should work with you. Some pros who talk about the psychology of sales and copywriting would profoundly disagree with me. I think there’s a fine line between experimenting with tactics and squeezing your guru’s strategies into every nook of your site. At some point it feels desperate and kinda creepy. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer (not a communications or marketing major). I think we all just need to be real. Here’s how I see it:
  1. Imagine you walk up and knock on a stranger’s door. What do you say to them when you’re standing on the welcome mat? (That’s your home page.)
  2. What do you say when the person invites you in for a lemonade? (That’s your About page.)
  3. What do you say when they ask for more details about how you can help them? (THAT’s your sales page.)
Don’t be pushy. Be the kind of person you’d want to do business with.
“Good Enough” vs. “Just Okay”
Even after you eliminate these mistakes from your website copy, it won’t be perfect. There comes a point where you have to leave perfection behind and move forward with “good enough.” Remember, Good Enough isn’t the same as Just Okay. Here’s the difference. Just Okay makes you feel like crap. It makes you less likely to promote your stuff because you feel embarrassed by your website. Just Okay tugs at you because you know you can do so much more. On the other hand, Good Enough makes money. It draws the right people in. You’ll always be course correcting as your business evolves, but Good Enough is steering you in the right direction. Over to You Ready to revamp your copy? I see you nodding your head. Go for it. And let me know if you need anything.
Author: I’m Adrianne Munkacsy (that’s mun-kay-see). I teach up-and-coming service professionals how to write like they talk and grow a passionate following online. Want your writing to make people excited about what you can do for them? Start with my free worksheets: Find Your Writing Voice & Clarify Your Message.
Published: March 3, 2014

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Danny Iny

Danny Iny (@DannyIny), a.k.a. the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, is the proud founder of Firepole Marketing. He’s also the author of the Amazon best-selling book Engagement from Scratch!, the Naked Marketing Manifesto, and the Audience Business Masterclass. In addition to all of the above, Danny is a super-friendly guy who makes a point of responding to emails and messages within 24 hours—so follow him on Twitter @DannyIny, Google+, or just send him an email and say hello!

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