3 More Ways to Tell If Your Sales Copy Sucks

Welcome back! In this SEO copywriting how-to, Heather builds on her last video: How to tell if your sales copy sucks.

Realizing there are several more ways to tell that your sales copy sucks, here Heather addresses three more characteristics that mark bad sales copy – and then shares on how to go about fixing them so that your sales content pops off the page.

Tune in to learn how refining your website’s tone and feel, sharing specific benefits with your readers, and using keyphrases deftly can transform your sales copy from sucky into conversions-driving, reader-focused gold!

1. The tone and feel is off base

While this is an issue that mostly affects B2B sites, any website can suffer from this malady.

  • Think about your reader when you’re writing your copy – what would you say if you spoke with them in person?

There’s something about sitting down and writing something – especially Web copy – that flashes some folks back to high school English class.

They then create this very formal-sounding document that would stand up really well in an English class, but when it comes to communicating and connecting online it falls short.

  • A more “formal” tone and feel does not make you sound smarter.

In another scenario, there are some companies that believe that a formal tone and feel makes them sound smarter, and automatically conveys that they are an “expert” in their field.

  • Newsflash! Formal tone and feel does not an expert make.

So instead of flashing back to that high school or college English class, or thinking that a formal tone and feel is what you need (which, in some cases it could be, depending on your audience and subject matter), again try to think about how you would communicate with folks if they called you directly.

Then, try to translate that to what you are writing online so that some warmth and personality shine through.

  • If you’re not sure if you’re connecting in this fluid and natural way online, consider sharing your sales copy with someone who knows you, as well as your company.

Ask them: “Does this sound like me?” and “When I talk to folks online, is it the way I usually sound, or am I making myself sound different somehow?”

A trusted colleague or editor can give you some valuable feedback about how you can loosen up and warm up your copy with personalized content, but still manage to convey a solid and credible business tone and feel.

2. You don’t provide any real information because “you want people to call you.”

Sharing just a hint of your helpful information that doesn’t give away too much may seem savvy. Wrong!

Yes, it may sound edgy, it may sound interesting, but at the end of the day it doesn’t convey the benefits your company can provide prospects.

  • Guess what? People probably won’t call you.

If you’re going down this path as a marketing strategy, the very real possibility is that folks probably won’t bother to call you. After all, your competition is only a back-click away.

It’s so easy for folks to realize that “Given company X isn’t providing me with any helpful information, let’s check out what company Y has to offer.”

  • Always showcase your value, expertise and benefits.

So be sure to track what your competitors are doing (and not doing) and make sure that you provide substantive information that addresses what your audience cares about.

Giving your readers solid information is a fantastic way to showcase your expertise and value, as well as inform them about exactly what you can do for them.

3. You add a bunch of keyphrases “just in case.”

  • It won’t help.
  • It will turn off your readers.
  • Did I mention that it won’t help?

It’s somewhat (darkly) funny that Google Analytics demi-god Matt Cutts has come out with a video discussing the myth of keyphrase density, and the myths surrounding the myth – only to hear folks say “Well, I know what he said, but I still have this feeling that if I add a few more keyphrases to my content that’s going to make all the difference – I’m going to make all sorts of money and my life is going to be grand!”

Ah, if only it were so. But it’s not real or realistic, so please: Don’t do this.

Instead, focus on your readers and do those things that will best help them.

Remember: focus on your reader, not SEO for SEO’s sake

  • Yes, you do want to add keyphrases to your content.
  • Yes, you want to make sure that you have those SEO copywriting bases covered.
  • But adding random keyphrases or repeating keyphrases or doing anything that detracts from valuable content is not going to help you and it’s gonna turn off your readers, so DON’T DO IT!


photo credit to trindade.joao

4 replies
  1. Adrian says:

    Hi Laura & Heather

    It’s the classic mistake many of us make – thinking about SEO implementation over the visitor. I think we are so conscious that SEO is implemented correctly that the end user experience is often overlooked.

    Bookmarked — thanks!

    • Laura says:

      Adrian, hi! Yes, it is so true that we can get myopic in our SEO strategizing that we lose sight of the big picture user experience. Thank you for your comments :)

  2. craig wright says:

    Thank you so much! I’ve been telling clients for years that there’s no need for formality, but it so often falls on deaf ears. Now someone with more credibility in the SEO copywriting field is saying it, maybe they will take notice.

    I’ve bookmarked this! :)


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