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20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

The quarter’s ending and you need to raise your conversion rates — fast.

The only problem is you’ve checked everything off your copywriting to-do list. 

  • You’ve gone over your copy with a fine-toothed comb so many times, but you’re not sure what you could be doing better. 
  • You have eye-catching headlines.
  • You’re using all the right words.

Still, those conversions somehow aren’t happening. What do you do?

Well, reading this article is a great start.

Here’s a list of things you may have missed as you write copy for your website. If you already have the conversion rates you want, you might still want to keep reading. If you’re looking to get better at copywriting and raise your conversion rates, you should make note of all these copywriting mistakes.

 

Table of Contents

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #1: Neglecting Your Hook

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

All good copy has a hook — something to stop the target audience from scrolling past and missing the offer. It can be a direct question, a pattern interrupt that plays on shock factor, or… just something super relatable, really.

Whatever you opt for, you need a hook to get your readers interested in what you have to say. Without one, your readers won’t keep reading. It means that no one is getting to the rest of your copy – no matter how important the information is.

Learn how to effectively capture attention with copywriting hooks in this article.

 

How Do You Strengthen Your Lead?

  • Anecdotes: A story will draw your reader in and make your company more relatable. Emotional anecdotes work especially well.
  • Tell them what they want to hear: Your readers come to your website with a specific goal in mind. Paint a picture of them achieving this goal. Capture their imagination. They’ll keep reading to find out how you can help them do this.
  • Strong verbs: Strong verbs create a sense of urgency and anticipation in your readers. They also elicit confidence in your product. Strong verbs will encourage your audience to trust in you.

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #1B: Writing The Wrong Headlines

This part ties in with your hooks. You need strong headlines to draw readers into your page. Here are some common headline mistakes you should avoid:

 

Writing Link Bait

Has a sensational headline ever disappointed you by turning out to be a load of nothing? Good old clickbait? Then you know how annoying it is.

Link baits are headlines that make huge promises. If you have a clickbait headline, your content needs to back it up in some way, or else you risk breaking your audience’s trust — a problem you really don’t want to have on your hands. This can be a powerful tool, but you should use it sparingly. Otherwise, you'll end up with disenchanted readers who won't trust you.

 

Trying To Be Too Original

Originality is fine, but there's a reason why professional headlines are pretty similar. These headline styles have stood the test of time; they’re still around because they bring in readers. You can be original with the words you use, but don't work too hard to come up with a completely new headline formula. Chances are, it won't work.

 

Too Much Wit

There’s such a thing as being too witty. Your message can get lost in all the humor and puns. If understanding your headline requires mental gymnastics, most of the time your audience will lose interest and move on. Save your creativity until after they click the headline.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #2: Writing Copy That’s Too Long

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

Less copy can drive more conversions so get ready to trim your copy. Go over your landing page with fresh eyes.

That big block of text you see? It’s turning your audience away.

Take out anything that’s not essential. Your readers don’t want to sift through irrelevant words to find what they need. Give them what they want. Think of it as spring cleaning: out with the old copy, in with the new customers.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #3: Using An Unrefined Layout

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

After you’re done trimming your copy, you’re left with the essentials. If you still have a huge chunk of text, what do you do?

You format it. Break up the paragraphs with graphics and art. Use color and design elements to enhance your page.

Take advantage of how much flexibility web design gives you. Make your landing page attractive to keep your readers for longer than a few seconds.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #4: Sounding Too Stuffy

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

Formality is boring. In a different era, in other mediums, it may be ideal. But today, we stay in touch through the internet where people tend to be more conversational.

It’s time to ditch the formalities.

Notice I said “ditch” instead of “discard” or “avoid.” Doesn’t that sound better? More relatable? More human? Try talking to your readers in a more conversational tone instead. This is a good way to express authenticity.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #5: Not Listing Benefits

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

Unless your reader knows exactly what they're looking for, highlighting your product's features won’t help them. Instead, tell them why certain features will make their lives better. Say you are selling bananas. If you describe your bananas like this:

  • Yellow
  • Grows on trees
  • Curved
  • Fruit
  • High in potassium

That’s stuff everyone already knows.

But if you say:

  • Beautiful
  • Delicious
  • Great for moist, tasty banana bread
  • You can use the peels to shine your shoes
  • Potassium is good for cramps

Doesn’t that seem much more a-peel-ing? (haha)

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #6: Using Improper Grammar

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

This one is so important, it bears repeating three times. If you do not have a strong grasp of grammar, you will lose credibility. No one will trust you if you cannot share your message with clarity.

The same goes for spelling. It may seem minor, but it makes a big difference when you want to make a good impression. After all, you want to come across as professional and trustworthy. If I started to misspell everything and use poor grammar, you wouldn’t think I was credible.

Plus, bad spelling and grammar are distracting. You want your audience to focus on your product, not your mistakes.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #7: Using Too Much Jargon

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

As you’re writing your copy, you may want to use lots of technical jargon. But it might confuse your reader if they’re unfamiliar with the industry speak. Instead, try keeping it simple. Your goal is to raise conversion rates, not prove that you know all the industrial lingo.

To ensure that your copy is simple enough, you could show it to someone outside your industry. That way, you can get a better understanding of what works and what needs an explanation.

Keeping it simple is the best way to ensure your audience won’t leave more confused than when they arrived.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #8: Speaking Generally

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

The devil’s in the details. This is also true for your copy. If you are too vague, your reader won’t know what you’re trying to say.

Give them concrete details about how your product will benefit them. Use statistics and testimonials in your favor. Provide numbers and evidence. Tell them exactly how your product will make their lives better.

Here are copyediting strategies to help you improve your copy and boost conversions.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #9: Forgetting A Call To Action

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

What do you want to do with your copy? If you don’t keep your goal clear in your mind, your copy will suffer for it.

A call to action (CTA) is the best way to prompt your reader to make an immediate response. CTA words include:

  • contact 
  • click 
  • download 
  • buy 

Experts recommend that every page should have only one CTA. Whatever it is, point them in the direction you want them to go. You can’t raise your conversion rates if you don’t try to convert them.

It’s even better if you can use the CTA to highlight the value of your product. For example, “Get your savings” is more persuasive to your audience than “Buy now.” 

Learn how to write stronger CTAs with the help of this article.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #10: Unconsciously Using Boring Words

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

If you find yourself using the words outlined in this section, your copy runs the risk of being dull. If you’re looking to liven up your copy, try eliminating the following words:

  • Just
  • Very
  • Really
  • Amazing
  • Absolutely
  • Completely
  • Actual
  • Literally
  • Totally
  • Quite
  • Suddenly
  • In order to
  • Like

These filler words take up unnecessary space and bore your readers. Get rid of them. There are other words that work better to invoke excitement in your readers. Mix it up!

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #11: Believing All The Advice You Get

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

There are thousands of “best practices” that exist online. Each claims they’ll give you phenomenal improvements in your conversion rates. Considering how broad the field of copywriting is, it pays to be cautious with any advice you get.

For example, you may have heard that readers “never read below the fold.” Or that you need to reach a certain word count to get you X sales.

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. In reality, it depends on the particular situation. You should use best practices as starting points. Often, it’s best to go with your gut instinct since you know your readers best.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #12: Forgetting Your Audience

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

There’ll be times when you don’t realize that you’re writing something that appeals to you but not to your audience.

Avoid this.

Make sure that your copy speaks to your reader on a personal level so they can relate to it. This will increase brand attachment.

Writing with the wrong audience in mind is a silly yet costly mistake. Say you are selling a family car. Make sure you don’t stereotype and target fathers in your copy. Research shows that mothers tend to have the final say when it comes to family cars.

Do your homework. Make sure you know who you’re pitching to before you start writing.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #13: Talking About Yourself Too Much

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

When you write about your features, you’re writing about your product, your service. Your copy may look like this:

  • Great customer service
  • Best closing rates
  • Lowest interest

That’s all great, but your reader will look at this and say, “So what?”

There’s a fine line between talking about your company and talking about your target audience. You need to address the reader and their needs. This is true for almost any piece of copy you produce — except your About page.

Go over your copy. What’s your ratio of “I,” “We,” and “Our,” against “You” and “Your?” If you have more “I” and “We,” it’s a sign to rework your copy to be more mindful of your audience.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #14: Assuming Mathematical Literacy

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

You notice two deals side by side. One offers 50% off and the other offers 50% extra free. Which is better?

Few readers will see the difference. For you, it’s cheaper to offer 50% extra free. For your customers, they see a 50% discount.

Whenever you're talking about a product, don't focus on the discount. Instead, focus on the size versus its competitor — something that makes it stand out. Simple is better.

If you’re selling a new variety of banana, you don’t talk about the bananas to leads conversion ratio: you talk about the increased performance from eating ten of these new bananas a day compared to generics.

This is handy to keep in mind when you’re describing deals. Instead of telling a customer what they will save, try telling them what they will get for free. This is more persuasive to them and will be more cost-effective for you in the long run.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #15: Thinking You’re Twitter

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

Many copywriters try to copy the successes of powerhouses like Twitter and Facebook. They think if they design their landing pages in similar ways, they'll get similar results.

One of the biggest mistakes in marketing is failing to understand causality. 

People tend to assume that because Twitter and Facebook are successful, their landing pages are the driving force of that success. Twitter and Facebook’s copy relies on brand familiarity. 

Unfortunately, you may not have that luxury.

In other words, Twitter and Facebook are not successful because of their copy. Chances are, it won’t pay off for you to follow their landing pages. You need to find your own unique voice.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #16: Not Experimenting With Positives/Negatives

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

Copywriters can introduce points positively or negatively. You could talk about how a product will save time. You could also say that without a product, the customer will lose time. Both say the same thing, but the first is positive and the second is negative.

Without testing statements in positive and negative forms, it’s impossible to know which is more effective for your product. Most people tend to use positives by default, but this can be a costly mistake if that’s not what resonates with your readers.

Start testing what happens when you flip positives into negatives on your landing page. It can have explosive results, so it’s always worth running some tests and finding out what works best for you.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #17: Using The Wrong Homophones

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

English can be a frustrating language, even among native speakers. One of those frustrations is homophones, or words that sound alike. Common examples are “to, too, and two,” “they’re, their, and they,” “your and you’re,” and “it’s and its.”

Nothing loses trust in a reader faster than having them find your spelling mistakes, and homophones are no exception. Making this kind of mistake shows to the reader a lack of attention to detail—the opposite of what you want your brand to be projecting.

You should always strive to use the correct word to maintain your credibility and professionalism.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #18: Using The Wrong Similar Words

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

Besides homophones, you should also be aware of words that have similar spelling but different meanings. Common examples include:

 

Then vs. Than

  • Then is an adverb and a transition word used to situate actions in time. For example, “I went to the store, and then I went home.”
  • Than is a conjunction used to make comparisons. For example, “I am smarter than you.”

 

Complement vs. Compliment

  • Complement refers to something that goes well with something else. For example, “Your eyeshadow complements your beautiful eye color.”
  • Compliment is something you say to offer praise or adoration. For example, “You are so beautiful.”

 

Lose vs. Loose

  • Lose means you cannot find something. For example, “Did you lose her number?”
  • Loose means something isn’t tight enough. For example, “These pants are too loose.”

 

Affect vs. Effect

  • Affect describes influencing or impacting something or someone. For example, “Those late nights are going to affect his performance.”
  • Effect describes a result. For example, “Her poor grammar skills had an effect on her final grade.”

 

Farther vs. Further

  • Farther refers to a physical distance. For example, “How much farther is it to the gas station?”
  • Further refers to a greater degree than the original point. For example, “If you explain further, I’ll understand.”

Principal vs. Principle

  • Principal as a noun means the highest person in rank, while the adjective means the most important of a group. For example, “The principal of the school gave me detention.”
  • Principle means a fundamental truth or a standard. For example, “The first principle in basic Christianity is faith.”

 

Assure vs. Insure vs. Ensure

  • Assure means to say something with confidence and promise. For example, “I assure you she’s the best on the team.”
  • Insure means to protect against risk. For example, “I insured my house because I like to light candles.”
  • Ensure means to make something certain. For example, “Please ensure you don’t burn down the house when you light all those candles.”

 

Fewer vs. Less

  • Fewer refers to either people or things in the plural. For example, “Fewer astronauts are going into space.”
  • Less refers to something you can’t count as a number or in the plural. For example, “I now spend less time watching television.”

 

Peak vs. Peek vs. Pique

  • Peak means the top of something, like a mountain or a point. For example, “Our peak shopping season was in December.”
  • Peek is to take a quick look. For example, “Don’t peek yet, it’s a surprise!”
  • Pique can mean to annoy or excite. An example: “The description of the book piqued my interest in reading it at last.”

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #19: Ignoring The Bandwagon Effect

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

The bandwagon effect says you are influenced to do (or believe) things because many other people do so as well.

While some people like to be the first to try something new, many want to go with the tried-and-tested products. They like the assurance and sense of safety it gives them.

Give readers more security by highlighting things like testimonials and prominent clients.

 

Copywriting Mistake That’s Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates #20: Lacking Transparency

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

Readers want to know how you will use or share their information.

Say you need their email address. Place a message under the field that assures users you won't share their information with a third party.

Another way of enhancing a prospect’s sense of safety is to explain why you need their email address.

Being transparent with your customers gives them confidence. It fosters a sense of trust in how you run your business.

 

Get More Conversions With Better Copywriting

20 Copywriting Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Conversion Rates (And How To Fix Them)

Avoiding these 20 blunders isn’t all you need to write great copy. For starters, this isn’t an exhaustive list. 

More importantly, copywriting is a complex and nuanced beast: there are always more ways to make your copy even more engaging and raise your conversion rates.

Great copywriting comes as a result of thousands of hours of dedicated research and practice. It takes an eye for being on the cutting edge of new trends and techniques.

That’s why many people opt for hiring a copywriting consultant. You pay a plumber to fix your pipes and show you how things work, and a copywriting consultant is no different. They have years of experience and know exactly what your copy needs to convert.

Consider this the secret 21st copywriting blunder: not taking advantage of a professional copywriter.

Want higher conversions on your landing pages, sales letters, emails, or ads? It might be time for you to work with an expert copywriter. I’ve driven tens of millions of dollars in revenue for hundreds of clients over the past 10 years — including some of the largest B2B companies and digital brands in America.

Using my words, I’ll tap into your prospects’ deepest desires, deploy my menagerie of psychological sales triggers, and prime them for the sale. The result? More wins for your business and more revenue and profits in your pocket. Sound interesting to you? Click HERE to learn more about my copywriting work and see if we’re a good match.

About Daniel Doan

Daniel is a conversion copywriter known for helping some of the largest B2B companies and digital brands in America convert more traffic into sales.

When he's not writing about himself in the third person on his website, he's focused on partnering with growing companies to squeeze the juice out of every marketing dollar.

Because when companies bridge the gap between what they want to say and what their customers will read...

Clicks, conversions, and sales, will go absolutely bananas.
LEARN MORE ABOUT DANIEL

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100+ Potassium Powered Copywriting Guides

About Daniel Doan

Daniel is a direct-response copywriter with over a decade of expertise writing words that bridge the gap between what your business want to say and what your customers want to read.
LEARN MORE ABOUT DANIEL'S HIGH-CONVERTING POTASSIUM POWER

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