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7 Deadly Copywriting Sins

Author: Ryan Healy   |   December 25th, 2009

If you’ve ever tried to write a sales letter or space ad, then you know from experience that it’s easy to make mistakes.

And it’s easy to forget critical copy elements.

With that in mind, here are “7 Deadly Copywriting Sins” I frequently encounter.

Deadly Copywriting Sin #1: Hyped-Up Headlines

It’s often a good idea to make a strong promise or challenge a common belief in your headline. But it’s not a good idea to cross the line into hype.

How do you know when you’ve crossed the line?

copywriting strategiesA good rule of thumb: When you’ve made completely unrealistic (or unbelievable) promises combined with short time frames and exclamation points.

Example: “Discover How You Can Pocket an Extra $4,267 on the Internet in the Next 7 Days!!”

Deadly Copywriting Sin #2: Yapping about Your Product from the First Paragraph

In most cases (not all), you’ll want to avoid talking about your product or service for at least the first few paragraphs and maybe even the first few pages.

That’s because you want to first enter the conversation that’s happening in your prospect’s mind. He’s probably not thinking about your product or service, but rather the problem he wants to solve.

So talk about the problem first. Only after you’ve gained your prospect’s interest (and trust) should you introduce the solution to his problem.

Deadly Copywriting Sin #3: Formal “Term Paper” Tone

When you write sales copy, it should sound as if you were in the room talking face-to-face with your prospect.

So whatever your write should sound as if it was something you would really say.

Do not use what I call “term paper” tone — you know, the kind of writing they taught you in high school and college. This kind of tone is borrriiing (not to mention confusing).

Example: “When one wakes up in the morning, one sometimes feels groggy, exhausted, and lacking in energy. Therefore, one should examine a new product that addresses these irksome problems.”

Deadly Copywriting Sin #4: Writing to a Group of People Instead of a Single Person

Selling is a one-to-one experience. It’s me talking to you. Not me talking to “you-all.”

When you write, write to just one person. Hold him or her in your mind’s eye as you write. Imagine you are sitting in a room together, and you are telling your friend about the merits of your product.

This is how you should write.

But it’s easy to slip out of that “mental reality” and start writing to a group of people.

Example: “If one of you is a doctor, then you will know what I mean.”

That phrase — “one of you” — implies that you are writing to a group, and will destroy the one-to-one selling environment you want to create in your copy.

Deadly Copywriting Sin #5: All Promise, No Proof

It’s easy to make promises. It’s much harder to back them up.

Said another way, it’s easy to talk the talk, but it’s hard to walk the walk.

Remember: Whatever promises you make in your sales copy, you need to back them up with proof: facts, figures, testimonials, and whatever else you can bring to bear as you build your sales case.

Deadly Copywriting Sin #6: No Risk Reversal

No matter what you are selling, you will almost always want to include some kind of risk reversal.

Sometimes it’s a money-back guarantee. Other times, it may not be a guarantee to refund a customer’s money, but rather a promise to do something extra to guarantee a certain outcome.

This is often done in service businesses.

The key is to reduce the risk — to make it easier for your prospect to say yes to your offer.

Deadly Copywriting Sin #7: Confusing Call to Action

When selling in print, you want a very clear call to action. In most cases, that call to action will be to click the link below to buy now.

Don’t confuse your prospect by asking him or her to do two different things.

Also, if you have multiple product options, keep it to one, two, or three options — but no more than three. Too many choices leads to confusion and lost sales.

Remember: Avoid these “7 Deadly Copywriting Sins” to strengthen your copy and generate more sales.


P.S. Here’s your clear call to action. Click this link — free business growth articles. — to get ideas, strategies, and techniques for growing your business.

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