Does Your Copy Sizzle or Suck? How Can You Tell?
You're a small business owner looking to grow your company. You have a great product and offer incredible service. You put in the effort for every part of your company. You've created an amazing looking website. You post on your blog each week. You have sent out hundreds of emails to potential customers, and post every day on social media. You've spent countless hours writing all about what you do and how great your copy is. So many hours that you can't remember the last time you cooked dinner or watched a movie with your spouse. So why isn't anyone buying what you're selling?
There's a good chance it's because your copy sucks.
Copywriting isn't easy. It's as hard as public speaking. It's harder at times because you've only got a few seconds to keep your customer's attention. Plus there's no body language to let you know if your copy is a hit or a miss. Sometimes it seems the more time you put into writing copy, the fewer results you're getting as a result.
So how do you know if you're writing bad copy? Here's a few examples:
- You're too busy focusing on you instead of your customer. Yes, your product is the most innovative. Yes it's state of the art. Yes you offer the best customer service on the planet plus a money back guarantee. The problem is, customers don't want to know how great you are. They want it to be all about them. Do you know what they want? What they need? What frustrates them? Get to know your customer, identify their pain, then let them know how you can solve it. Don't describe your product or service. Describe what it can do to make life easier for the customer.
- You're not focusing on WHO your customer is. Imagine going trophy fishing. You prepare by finding out where the biggest fish are biting, what time of the day and in what conditions. You find out which bait is most effective, what type of rod to use, the best hook to use...you name it. Attracting customers is a lot like fishing. If you throw out any kind of bait you can find, chances are you won't catch anything. Take the time to find out who best benefits from your product or service. Research everything you can about your ideal customer. Then spend your time copywriting with that person in mind.
- Your customers can't find what they're looking for. Imagine your perfect customer finally arriving at your website. Now imagine them scrolling for a minute before leaving frustrated and confused. Or you've sent them an email and they skim it instead of reading it. Then they hit delete and never open another. Not only does your copy content need to capture attention, it needs to get to the point. It needs to tell your customer exactly which problem you're solving for them and how. No flowery descriptions or clever phrases will convince them to stick around. It ties back in to #1 on this list: give the people what they want.
- Your blog posts look more like a "dear diary" entry. Once again, your customers aren't interested in you. It's all about them. They don't care where you found the best deal on an office chair. They don't want to know your favorite song. They don't care if you're running for the school board for the 18th time. They care about the quality and value of what you're writing about. And they care about how that information can help them.
- You spend too much time focusing on keywords and SEO rather than meaningful content. In the age of online business and search engine rankings, it's hard NOT to focus on keywords and SEO. But focusing on keywords and phrases alone means you're not focusing on quality. Cramming your copy full of keywords and phrases doesn't tell customers anything. Well, it tells them you write awful copy, and that you aren't interested in showing them how you can help them.
- You offer zero benefits to your customer. Stuffing copy full of SEO keywords is an example of this. Another example is describing all the great features of your product. You can write all day about how fantastic your brand is, but in the end, it offers nothing of value. What is your customer getting by reading your website, or your emails? What are they getting from your blog? Are you offering them tips and tricks? Educating and entertaining them? Are you giving them something they can use? Are they getting more from what you are providing than they could expect to find anywhere else? That's what value is. Value isn't always about selling yourself, it's about giving your customers a gift. When they read your copy, they need to feel like they are getting something that will make their life easier. It will make something better. It will solve a problem or make them happier...smarter. It will also make them keep coming back to you for more.
- Your copy is long and boring. Not all long copy is bad or boring. Some of it can be quite entertaining and informative. Search engines like Google are actually giving emphasis to longer copy. But just because you CAN write longer copy doesn't always mean that you SHOULD do it. At some point, you're adding words for the word count and not for the content. You aren't actually SAYING anything. It's like when you were writing that book report in the 10th grade and it had to be at least 5 pages long. You read enough to manage 4 pages, so you kept adding words to get to the end of the 5th page. It was boring to you. It was boring to your teacher. And your grade reflected it. Your copy is that same book report, except you aren't required to get that 5th page in. Your customer is like your teacher though, and they know when you're adding filler. Consider it a failing grade when they start tuning you out because they're bored.
There's no sure-fire way to create sizzling copy each time you write, but it doesn't have to suck either. Avoiding the mistakes above will go a long way in helping you to improve your copywriting. And improved copy means improved sales.