3 Copywriting “Traps” You Must Avoid…

It’s quite easy to fall into one of the three copywriting “traps” I’m about to share with you. I’ve done it myself more than a few times. What’s important is that you’re aware of them, so you can pull yourself out of the trap quickly. Without further ado, here are three common copywriting mistakes I see a lot, and what to do about them:

Fatal Trap #1: Thinking the reader cares firstly about YOU.

It’s amazing how many corporate sites still make this glaring mistake, where the first thing they talk about when a visitor hits their site is THEIR 28 years experience in business, or how many awards THEY have won, or how great THEY are.

Most visitors don’t care how great you claim to be – at least, not at first. What they do care about is whether their wants, needs and desires are going to be met, and whether you can demonstrate that you understand their wants, needs and desires in the first place.

Only once the reader has established in their mind that you care more about THEM than about yourself, will they entertain the possibility of doing business with you.

In other words, focus on the reader and their wants, needs and desires – because that’s what they’re going to care about most of all, at first.

That’s not to say your “28 years in business” claim isn’t important. It’s a useful selling point, but only once you’ve established that you truly care about the reader and want to help. Without this, it just sounds like bragging.

Fatal Trap #2: Showing off your writing skills.

I have nothing against creative, expressive and even flowery language – when I’m reading a novel. But the copywriter’s job is NOT to show off their language skills. Their job is to help the reader to take some action, such as to hit the order button, or to subscribe.

If the reader has to shoot off to find a dictionary, just to even understand what you’re talking about in your sales copy, then you’ve just placed an unnecessary hurdle in the way of them buying or taking the action you want them to take. Save your flowery prose for that next novel, or at least for the report they receive once they’ve purchased.

Fatal Trap #3: Selling features rather than benefits.

This is a big mistake made especially by those selling services. For example, it’s great to be able to boast about “28 years experience in the business”, but as it stands, it’s really just a FEATURE of your business. It’s going to have a much bigger impact if you can explain to the reader why this will BENEFIT them. Ask yourself what having 28 years experience means to the reader – and then convey this in your copy.

“Our 28 years experience in business means you’ll have access to some of the best and most established contact lists and resources in the industry, resulting in much more profitable connections.”

Can you think of any more common mistakes made by copywriters? What do you think of these mistakes? Are there circumstances in which putting YOU first, or showing off your writing skills, or selling features rather than benefits might help? Or just let me know what you thought of this post… in the comments section below.

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  1. Oh gosh yes.

    “Fatal Trap #1: Thinking the reader cares firstly about YOU.” I was writing the copy for my latest product yesterday and after penning three sentences, realized….it’s not talking about the customers needs first and foremost.

    It does take awhile to write that way naturally…..

  2. You’ve bashed them on this one. Some companies play dumb about the psychological make-up of today’s internet surfers. People does not just browse the internet for nothing, there looking for something that makes sense. :-)

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