Have you ever landed on a webpage where the words didn’t flow with your brain and you just felt like “ugh forget it” and then clicked away from the page? If you’re browsing the Internet, chances are you’re either reading a blog or watching a video. So the chances of coming across bad content or copy is just all too common.
Today I’m going to talk a few things about copy that many people seem to miss the mark on. Myself included sometimes. And when I’m speaking copy, it can be any conversion-driven page from your sales page, about page to landing page.
Otherwise, some of these mistakes can just be applied to everyday content or blog writing.
Let’s jump into it, shall we?
#1 You’re boring your readers in the passive voice instead of the active voice.
Using the passive voice instead of the active voice definitely trips new writers as well as experienced ones alike. A sentence that contains a passive voice is something along the lines, “the social media posts were scheduled by the VA.”
But if you were writing pleasantly with an active voice, your sentence should’ve flowed like, “the VA scheduled the outgoing social media posts.”
Sometimes this is easy to miss because we have a tendency to justify our own thoughts. And these thoughts flow out of our mind in words. So you’ll think: if it came out of my mind this way, this ought to be right. Therefore, it’s helpful to run your sentences, blog posts, and copy where an objective software can point out bad writing for you.
It’s very easy to spot these passive sentences. If you’re a WordPress user, your Yoast SEO plugin will point out the sentences that you need to attend to. Install the plugin and in your WordPress editor, click the “eye” icon and it’ll highlight all the passive sentences for you.
Perhaps you can hire an editor to do the work for you, but this self-check method is absolutely free.
#2 You’re just telling them instead of having a conversation with them.
This one can be tricky when you’re writing a blog or crafting a sales page. After all, when you’re watching a Facebook live or YouTube video, you can hear the influencer talking to you. It’s interactive and it feels like a face-to-face conversation. They use both their sense of sight and hearing to engage with you.
You’re automatically engaged… like you really would be if you weren’t already married.
But with reading, your potential customers have to imagine and think about what you’re saying on your sales page When customers are reading your page, they can only rely on their sense of sight to process everything.
So imagine you’re not engaging in a conversation, but giving a lecture or simply tooting your own horn (aka product). Would they alienate or connect with you?
The easiest reminder to write in a natural tone is to imagine you’re having a conversation with a friend over coffee. Wrap yourself around this image and let your words flow each time you sit down to write. If it’s not something you can explain to a friend, then it’s best to approach it in a different way.
Whatever subject matter expert you are, chances are someone somewhere out there has written on it before. But how you phrase and explain it is where the impact lies.
#3 You’re alienating them using the third person instead of building rapport using the first person.
I really don’t understand why some personal brands and online biz owners write in the third person rather than the first person. I really don’t get it. A few weeks ago a prospective client reached out to me for copywriting services.
When I took a look at her About Page, it was written in the third person like she is selling someone else’s brand. Ahem?
Now if you’re a corporate escapee who had jobs where you felt like no one knew what your talents are, your personal brand is the best place to change that. Think about it, when you go to an interview or meet with a potential client, you won’t be saying,
“She created a social media strategy for her last client and it helped her 10x her leads and doubled her sales.”
You’ll want to say,
“I created a social media strategy for my last client and it helped her 10x her leads and doubled her sales.” If she was really that good, I would hire her. Not you, ha. It’s both unnatural and unnecessary to write in the third person. Why would you want to give away your accomplishments to someone else. Don’t you want your audience to land on your page and form an instant connection with you?
Bottom line, write in the first person. It’s more natural, friendly, and relational.
P.S. The only time it’s okay to write in the third person is for your short bio when guest posting. Still, I feel a bit weird every time I write them.
#4 You’re only listing your own accomplishments and not fleshing out your customer’s pain points.
I always believe that understanding your customers pain points is absolutely necessary. Whether someone lands on your About Page, sales page, or really any webpage for the matter, they’re going to want to know what’s in it for them. If they’re looking to buy, they expect you to serve. And serve well and thoroughly.
Answer all the questions and objections you think they’ll have when they’re going through your sales page.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t list your own qualifications because at some point in the buyer journey, your potential clients will begin to wonder why you’re selling what you’re selling. What’s her background and why is she qualified over everyone else.
To flesh out your customer pain points, you really have to interact with your new customers on social media or your email list. There’s no shortcut to this. I usually like to put more weight on people on my list because they’re warm leads already, but social media is just as great of a place to get the conversation rolling.
Followers will scroll by and want to chime in on your already ongoing conversations. When writing your sales or landing page, remember to incorporate the words that your people already use. That way they know your product or service was built just for them.
#5 You’re being too greedy and created more than one call to action.
I’ve had a client ask me to create a landing page for her and then two days later emailed me if I can add some extra copy and text. She wanted to create a landing page for an opt-in freebie, but she also wanted the extra text to tell visitors to browse around her site.
Naturally, unless the landing page is a homepage, there shouldn’t be more than one action to take (or link to click on).
I know you want to build an audience where everyone reads your blog, but whether it’s a landing page, sales page, or about page, there should only be one call to action. Anything beyond one is going to confuse your reader.
Imagine them sitting there and wondering which link they should click. If they click to the blog, your reader might never find their way back to your landing page to opt-in. You just lost a subscriber. Oh bummer!
But if they didn’t want to join your email list, do you care if they read your blog? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s up to you to decide — what’s the purpose of your blog?
What are the landing and sales pages mistakes you’re guilty of making? Have you noticed an increase in subscribers or sales after you made your call to actions crystal clear?