3 Telltale Signs of Bad Copywriting

Writing copy is tough work—a lot harder than it looks. Crafting copy that enticingly describes your products and offers takes practice and knowledge, which is something that most business owners just don’t have. This is why it is common to see horrific copy, which obviously doesn’t compel people to buy. This is what bad copy is most commonly composed of: Poor product focus, ill-fitting language that doesn’t persuade people to buy, and just general aimlessness that misses the mark. Writing good copy is a combination of solid writing skills, deep market knowledge, and a thorough understanding in what pushes people to believe in an offer and buy into it. Whether you have or have never written copy before, this is a tough balancing act. Many small businesses unfortunately lack the expertise to craft copy that gets smashing results.

One of the best ways to start crafting better copy is to understand what constitutes bad copy. Avoiding bad habits will enable you to create something that gets results for your business.

  1. Poor market knowledge

You can’t craft an effective offer if you don’t know your market inside and out. Market knowledge can fit under several things:

  • The products that are often sold in your market
  • The quality of your competition
  • The concept and profile of your ideal customer
  • The various needs and desires of your customer base

Knowing your ideal market is an important first step in crafting copy. Without market knowledge, you’re essentially trying to hit a bulls-eye in the dark. You can’t create targeted copy if you don’t know who it’s for, and the exact reasons that someone will need to buy a product from you. You should be constantly digging to discover more pertinent information about your market; you’ll need as much info as possible because it will better prepare you to create much more focused copy.

How to combat poor market knowledge?

Arm yourself with a healthy amount of knowledge and data about your market. You do this by surveying your current customers, looking deeply into your competition, start getting a real grasp on who your past customers are and the common similarities with all of them. Knowing how your market ticks is one of the primary steps in crafting good copy.

  1. Poor product focus

The process of crafting an offer around a product must be laser-focused. There are some details that must be nailed down and fully understood before you write a single word of copy:

  • What are the features of your product?
  • What are the benefits associated with those features?
  • The price of the offer
  • What makes your product unique from your competition
  • What are various details that prospects must know before they buy your product

A copywriter’s job is to persuasively explain the must-know aspects of a product, so that it will be appealing to prospects. To get this done, a copywriter will need to have a vast understanding of what makes their product special. If you cannot capably explain why someone should buy your product, then people will not instill trust in your offer. Your conversions will suffer greatly.

How to combat poor product knowledge?

Compile every piece of information about your product that you find to be salient. Some things to remember:

  • Features are great and are necessary, but you will need to convert most of them into benefits to extract real value from them. Too much copy on dry, boring features will not excite someone to buy. People desperately want to know what’s in it for them. If you can condense your feature specifications into persuasive nuggets of copy, then those features are practically useless.
  • You must know that makes your product special from the competition. Your advantage needs to be unique, and you need to display it front and center in your sales copy. This applies to landing pages, E-commerce descriptions, long-form sales letters, or whatever piece of sales copy that you’re creating.
  1. Weak language

Copy doesn’t need to be PHD-level; often, it doesn’t even need to be 12th grade-level. Unless your customer base is a highly sophisticated bunch, the copy should be kept simple and easy to read. It should be written so that a 10 year old could read it, but it shouldn’t give the impression that a 10 year old wrote it.

When we say “weak language”, here’s what we mean:

  • Too many adjectives that add nothing of value. Your copy isn’t the venue for flowery language. You’re not trying to impress anybody, and you’re just repelling a good amount of your prospects.
  • A complicated style or sentence structure. Keep this relatively simple, as well. Keep long, complex sentences to a minimum. Try to employ a succinct style that gets straight to the point without stringing the reader along for a ride.

These bad copywriting habits can be easily conquered by following our advice. By knowing what doesn’t work, you can circumvent many of the poor-performing copywriting woes that many small businesses face.

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Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on: Business.com, Redbooth.com, Kabbage.com, MaterialDesignBlog.com

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