5 Copywriting Blind Spots That Can Cost You Sales
Did you know that a typo could cause a prospect to go from, “Wow, I need to hire this person” to “Never mind…”
A copywriter I know just faced this situation. Her site is well written, she is incredibly experienced and has great testimonials. But there was one, highly unfortunate typo on her services page.
When I talked to the prospect he said, “If the copywriter can’t get her services page right, how can I trust her to write my sales pages?” Hiring the copywriter – heck, even talking to her – was a no-go.
Obviously, the typo was in the copywriter’s blind spot – and it cost her at least one customer.
This situation got me thinking about all the other “blind spots” that turn away prospective business. For instance:
– A stale, outdated blog that hasn’t been updated for months (or, in some cases, years.)
Is your sporadic blog publication schedule messing with your site traffic? According to a MarketingProfs post by Christian Gulliksen, “If your publication schedule gets sloppy and [readers] don’t see new content when they expect it, they’ll simply stop visiting.” If part of your blog’s purpose is to soft-sell products and services, you’re missing out on some huge marketing opportunities.
How can you fix this? Either make blogging more manageable by cutting down on the number of weekly posts, or hire out the content creation. It’s true that some companies may not benefit from a blog (gasp!). Just be very sure your company fits into this description before you decide to stop blogging – and figure out another (sustainable) way to drive traffic and engagement.
– Poorly-written content.
If I see a page that’s obviously overoptimized – or it looks like a fifth grader wrote the content – I won’t work with the company. My reasoning? Why should I expect good service from a company that cares so little about their readers/prospects? You may say, “But Heather. Content is what you do. Aren’t you being a little harsh?” Nope, not at all. Think about it – when’s the last time you purchased from a spammy-looking site? Yeah. I thought so… :)
Is this your copywriting blind spot? Fix the content. Immediately. Yes, it will cost money – but you will make that money back (and more) in increased conversions. Do it. Do it now.
– A particularly bad content mullet.
There’s nothing that screams, “Hey, we’re not on the ball” than a site (or even just a page) with outdated information. I’m guilty of this one myself. I neglected to update a date for my next local SEO copywriting training. I got a message from a prospect calling me out on it – and then I never heard from them again. Oops. I blame my content mullet for the lost sale.
If you’re “too close” to your site, have someone comb through your pages and list any content mullets. This could be someone who works with you, or you could hire a consultant to help (typically a smarter move – a consultant can often bring up solutions you may not have considered.) Chances are, you’ll have quite a few mullets to fix.
– Posting your services rates online.
I know that some folks may disagree with me, but posting your service rates may be costing you sales. Why? Prospects are looking for reasons NOT to work with you. If they think you’re too expensive (or sometimes, too inexpensive,) they may not contact you – even if your prices are technically within their budget.
If people are hitting your “rates” page and never contacting you, consider trying a different method. Your price list could list a per-service range rather than a set price. You could add more (or different) testimonials to your rates page. Or, you could delete your rates and see what happens. You may find that it’s easier to land clients when you can explain your value via email or the phone.
– Auto responders that are outdated and/or full of boo boos.
When’s the last time you checked your auto responder content for format errors, typos or general weirdness? The scary thing is, those “set it and forget it” marketing pieces can go out to hundreds – even thousands – of qualified prospects. If they don’t look top-notch and have obvious errors, it will reflect poorly on your company.
Worried about your marketing materials? Have a team member sign up for your auto responders and check for errors. Alternatively, you could hire a copywriter to do the same thing – and she could punch up the content at the same time. This way, you’re guaranteed that everything is correct, professional and will convert like crazy.
And “converting like crazy” is definitely the name of the game.
Wondering if your site is sporting a content mullet? Wondering how to make your content better for Google and your readers? I can help – and for much less money than you’d expect. Check out my SEO Content Review for more information.
Thanks for the reminders Heather!
Funny, today I relaunched my previously non-existent blog. My 2013 goal is to revamp the website.
I agree with most of these tips, but I would slightly disagree with the rates information. While I don’t believe putting set prices on websites is the best practice, having something in terms of price is helpful to a lot of consumers. I agree that “per-service range rather than a set price” is the best practice, and testimonials are an even better way to drive business. But some information is always better than some, especially since most consumers are going to compare prices anyway.
Thanks for your comment!
Yup, that’s why I encouraged people to test the different ways to list rates (if at all,) and see what pulls better. Some people prefer to list their rates – and they do well with it. I certainly understand why that can be a smart move.
For me, I find that explaining the value first makes more sense. I’ve talked to many people who would have thought I was “too expensive.” However, when I talk to them and explain the benefits, “too expensive” typically turns into “Yeah, I can see why that’s a good deal.” :)
These are some good tips! I particularly like the ones about content mullets (great term!) and bad auto responders. Having a blog or site full of obviously out-of-date content is worse in some ways than having one with sparse content, I think– it just makes you look out-of-touch, or lazy. Auto responders should obviously be free of errors, but I also think they are often overly generic, and spending some time to craft one that will convert is definitely a good idea.
@Chelsea – you’re right about auto responders. I’m in the process of overhauling mine now – although they’re not generic, they could be better. The results should be interesting… ;)
Good one, Heather. Someone wrote me to tell me I had “coywriter” under my LinkedIn bio! It had been there for years … who knows how many jobs were lost? One disagreement, I encourage folks to write for “Fifth Graders” … or somewhere between 5th and 8th grade … for reading ease and clarity. ;) I have a blog post on that somewhere on my site.
Ahhhh….it’s not a fun feeling when you realize that a typo has been there for a long time. Been there, done that, don’t want to repeat it. ;)
Great article, Content mullet has had me laughing or ages . How embarrassing would it be to be sporting a content mullet and being the only one who didn’t know . I am going to be going over all my content with a fine tooth comb now.
I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Susan! Content mullets are embarrassing…and yet, they are incredibly common. I just found one of my own yesterday. Doh! :)
Great post! I totally agree about not posting fees online, though I struggled a bit with that one when I first set my site up. I like the opportunity to ask the client some qualifying questions before quoting a generic price. Thanks for your two-cents.
You’re welcome! Did you used to list your fees on your site? If so, what made you change?