As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. But avoiding inevitable mistakes business owners make when it comes to copywriting is essential. While writing for your business may seem like a small task and the least of your worries, it affects how people view you and your services.
Ask yourself… How many times have you come across something poorly written or executed, and you simply want to give up on the entire purchase?
Whether you were looking at a menu at a restaurant or a website for a service you need, you likely didn’t stay long enough to see more. Every day, spelling mistakes, errors, funky layouts, and so much more cause readers to move on to a company’s competitors. If your business has old copy full of misinformation and mistakes, you could be losing out on revenue.
While it may not feel fair, people turn elsewhere because they don’t take businesses seriously when business owners make mistakes within their copywriting.
We’ve got the art of writing for websites, blogs, and numerous other assets down. But we realize not everyone knows what to avoid.
Read on for more information about mistakes business owners make when writing their own deliverables.
Top 10 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Copywriting
Some of your most prized characteristics as a business owner can end up being your downfall when it comes to copywriting. Whether you’re a perfectionist or focused on being super-efficient, it may not be the best approach to take when writing.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true!
We’ll walk you through each step and talk about the things that could get in the way of your writing.
1. Proofread Or Don’t Publish At All
We know we sound like a broken record, but it truly is important to proofread and pinpoint any errors you can find.
It helps to read your own text out loud and see if you can find any common mistakes business owners make along the way. Remember when we mentioned people judge your business based on the way it presents itself? According to RealBusiness, nearly three-quarters of web users pay attention to the quality of copy on a business’s website.
What To Look Out For:
- Incorrect use of capitalization
- Sentence structure
- Acronyms not easily recognized by your audience
While not everyone reads with thorough deliberation, people are still paying attention. Proofreading is especially important if you’re passing along information that requires it to be correct. This means, being one digit off on your contact number or a period mark shy of a complete email address could set your potential customers into a frenzy of confusion when trying to reach you.
Could they look it up elsewhere and find the correct information themselves? Sure. But they shouldn’t have to when they’re relying on you to give them the information they need. They may start to think that if you can’t be trusted to offer the right information, why should they trust you with their business?
Don’t leave it up to your customers to decide whether your company can be trusted and proofread before hitting publish on your marketing assets.
2. Bring The Focus Back To The Customer
Oftentimes, we notice that businesses get so excited about what they have to offer, that they forget why they’re in business in the first place. And with a whopping 63% of consumers (76% for B2B buyers) who expect your business to know their unique needs and expectations, there’s little room for error.
But it’s my business. So shouldn’t the writing be about me and my business? Isn’t that what my customers care about?
No, not really. This can be one of the toughest realizations business owners have to deal with, but it’s important to say.
Your customers care about what you can do for them. Talking about yourself, your story, image, and even community involvement are going to be pretty useless in the long run if you don’t remember to think about your business as serving others.
Too much of you isn’t always a good thing. You’ll bury your customers and lose your initial goal.
If you’re reading your existing or drafted copy and start to think it’s looking a little saturated with your business and less about your customer, take a step back. This doesn’t mean you need to scrap everything you’ve written. You can use that information for newsletters, email updates, and other marketing materials.
But if you know you need to pull the focus back towards the customer, try these few steps and ask:
- What do you do?
- Why do you do it?
- What’s the reason someone should care?
- Why again? (Yep, repeat the above step.)
It’s easy to lose focus when writing material for your business, but do what you can to bring it back to your customers.
3. Features Are Not Benefits
Like focusing too much on yourself, writing about the features of your business can cut into how it can benefit someone.
For example, if you’re a brand new hospital opening in a busy neighborhood, you may be inclined to say things like:
- Large Parking Lot
- Plenty Of Staff
- Daily Appointments Available
- Fully Staffed Cafeteria
- Innovative Machinery
All of these things don’t sound horrible. But they also don’t map out the genuine benefits to someone who may need to go to this hospital. All of these things are features rather than benefits.
A few ways these can transform into benefits include saying:
- Easy Access And Private Parking Lot Off I-72
- 2:1 Patient Ratio With Friendly Staff
- Short Wait Times For All Appointments
- Healthy And Affordable Food In A Fully Staffed Cafeteria
- $80 Million In Updated And Innovative Machinery
With these examples, you’re giving your readers details about your features combined with benefits without bogging them down with too much information. Take a look at your writing and see if you can spruce up any of your features and transform them into benefits.
4. Look At The Big Idea
Your benefits, business plan, and everything in between includes great information. However, try to avoid getting distracted from the bigger picture. What is it that you want to accomplish? Stick to your end goal and ensure you have Call-To-Actions (CTAs) throughout your writing that match your goal.
Before writing, consider your big picture. Some examples of this could look like the following:
- Are you looking for more social media followers?
- Do you want to inform people about who you and your business are?
- Is there a product you’re pushing that you want people to buy?
- Are you attempting to establish a voice?
Whatever your goal is, it should reflect in your writing. This leads us right into one of the next critical mistakes business owners make when copywriting.
5. You Forget One Or More Call-To-Actions
If your writing doesn’t include Call-To-Actions (CTAs), you’re missing out big time. According to Wordstream, “Emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1,617%.“
What Is A Call-To-Action?
A Call-To-Action, or CTA, is a button or clickable link that says “Buy Now” or “Call Us Today”. They’re buttons that inspire your reader to take action right away. Without them, you’re forcing your reader to search further to take action with extra steps. Customers want their experience to be as easy as possible. If you’re asking them to do it on their own, they may talk themselves into taking action later, compare by going elsewhere, and so on. You want them to have the option to make a decision right away after they’ve read your compelling copy.
6. Avoid Hitting Publish And Forgetting About It Altogether
Once you choose to publish your copy, you may think you’re good to go for many years into the future. This is just not true. You need to tap into engagement and get feedback from your audience to find out if there is room for improvement.
Don’t get us wrong, publishing your copy is a big step and is a huge cause for celebration. Especially if you have copy you’ve been working on for a long time, trust us, we’re toasting with you on finishing! But don’t forget to check back on it every so often and ensure the messaging, Call-To-Action, and everything else still rings true.
If you’ve changed your business model in a significant way, have new products available, or anything else that needs to be addressed, do so in your copy by updating it regularly. Revisit your copy if it’s been a while and you feel it may be outdated. Finally, double and triple-check to ensure everything looks good and is mobile friendly.
7. Perfectionism Kills Potentially Great Copy
As a business owner, you’re probably a little bit obsessed with perfection. And there’s nothing wrong with that! When it comes to running your business, having a type-A tendency is a must. But when it comes to copywriting, it can be an absolute nightmare.
Why? Because when you keep writing, saving, going back to writing, and so on, expecting it to be perfect, you’ll never get it done! And you’ll have likely missed your window for getting your message out there at the right time.
We know it’s easier said than done, but let go a little and get your copy out there once you’ve hit all of the important aspects of your bigger picture.
8. Keep It Simple
You work within your industry, but chances are, most people reading your copy don’t. They may even know nothing about your business, who you are, or what you do. So it’s important to write as if you’re speaking to someone who knows little to nothing, which may mean cutting out complicated text or technical jargon.
We get it! You don’t want to have to feel as though you need to “dumb down” your copy because you believe your audience is smart. And that may be true! But for someone who is new to your business or may not be within the same industry you are, too much high-level text can be intimidating and throw someone off from reading what you have to say.
In addition, making the text too complicated can lead your audience to your competitors. Keep it simple and make it easy to follow.
9. You’re Keeping Your Copy Too Top-Secret
In other words, don’t be shy about your copy! Give it to a second pair of eyes to take a look at and make sure you’re moving in the right direction.
Similar to perfectionism, you may be hesitant to share your copy with others until it’s done. But additional members of your team can help identify errors and make suggestions.
Because they’re seeing your writing for the first time, they’ll be able to read it as a consumer and know if it’s sending the right message. Choose someone you trust for this task. Whether it’s a co-owner, manager, or someone else who has a little bit of writing experience. Trust select members of your team and let them help you.
Furthermore, be careful about sharing your copy with too many people. One or two opinions are helpful. Any more than that may begin to cloud your judgment and produce conflicting ideas or suggestions.
10. You Aren’t Really Proving Your Point
Here’s where your previous experience and past results come in handy. In other words, if you have a point to make, then prove it with facts and figures. This may mean you need to dig into your revenue files, ask your financial department, or search for information online. But it’s worth it if it’s impressive.
Are you attempting to convince someone to buy your start-up product? Let them know you’ve made over $5 million in sales in the past year.
Would you like people to put a little more faith in your services? Let them know you have a 4.5-star rating on Google, Yelp, or any other review sites.
It’s okay to brag about yourself a little to prove a point and convince others to trust in your business. Feature your highlights in places like main headlines, subheadings, or callouts. Keep in mind that these are likely the areas of your writing that they’ll read when scanning your text.
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