“Why are people exploring my website but not buying anything?” “My Facebook ads aren’t working. Nobody’s clicking.” “My email newsletters never get opened.”
Most of my clients initially seek out a copywriter because something in their brand messaging just isn’t working. People are reading their website (or blog posts, newsletter, ads, etc.), but then nothing happens.
That’s insanely frustrating. You’ve put all this work into creating your messaging and content….and now…crickets?
When I do my preliminary review of my clients’ existing content, I find that they’re often making the same mistakes over and over again. And it’s killing their conversions.
If you think something might be off in your messaging, check to make sure it’s not one of these three things:
1. Choosing cleverness over clarity
The urge to be funny is strong. As someone who loves wordplay, this is something I have to talk myself out of pretty often.
I want to preface this by saying that there is a place for cleverness and humor in your marketing, especially if your brand has a strong personality and a defined target audience (who will 100% be in on the joke). But the truth is, a lot of people end up sacrificing the clarity of their message for the sake of humor.
That’s a big problem. If people can’t grasp what your company or product does in about five seconds, they’re going to start feeling all kinds of uncomfortable confusion. And if they don’t get the joke, they’ll feel left out or maybe even believe that you think they’re too dumb for your service or product. Yikes. That’s not how you want to make your customers feel.
[CAPTION: This branding agency has some impressive work under its belt, but their messaging has too much clever and not enough clarity. If you read this on their home page, could you tell me what they do?]
[CAPTION: On the other hand, the menswear brand Chubbies is a good example of a brand that exclusively uses humor in its messaging. The reason it works? Their target audience is specific—in fact, it’s a personality type: men who love to have fun, be a little reckless, and not take themselves too seriously.]
So, my advice is this: Make the safe choice. Choose clarity first. Later on, you can experiment with cleverness or humor and see how your audience responds.
Not sure if your copy is clear enough? Ask someone who isn’t familiar with your business to read it and then tell you what it is you do or sell. If they can’t (or their answer is wrong), then you need to get clearer.
2. Offering a too-big benefit
When you really believe in your business or product, it can be hard to zero in on a benefit that’s big enough to make people want to buy but specific enough to not be vague.
Usually, people tend toward too big/not specific enough. Often, companies promise their customers a life-changing benefit that’s just too abstract to really make an impact.
For example, imagine your product is a volumizing blow dry spray. You might come up with a tagline like this:
Transform your hair. Transform your life.
Great, this makes it sound like your product is really impressive! …But it leaves out what your product really does. It’s more powerful to actually hit on a benefit that’s smaller but more specific. For example:
Get the confidence of a blowout—without going to the salon.
Not as inspiring as “transform your life,” but this tagline tells your customers what they can really expect from your product. For that reason, they’re able to easily imagine having the benefit, and they’re more likely to buy it.
3. Forgetting to ask for something
Don’t lose a potential customer because you didn’t include a call to action at the end of your content. At first, it can feel weird and pushy to always ask your customers or readers to do something—but trust me, it doesn’t feel strange to the person reading it.
In fact, if someone reads through your website home page, about page or even blog post, and they can’t find where to click to contact you or buy the product, they might start feeling annoyed. Why are they making it so hard to find where to buy this?
Adding a quick call-to-action button after each section on your website pages, at the end of your blog posts, and even at the end of your email newsletters is a service to your readers. It’s not an insulting sales push; it’s a thoughtful, In case you need it, here’s where to go to buy it!
But even if you’re not trying to sell anything, you should still take the opportunity to direct your readers somewhere after they’ve finished reading. Is there another blog post you’ve written that they would enjoy? Should they check out your lengthy resources page? Follow you on Instagram?
This helps keep visitors on your website longer, which makes them more likely to eventually become customers. Plus, it makes your readers feel taken care of. You didn’t just abandon them at the end of your content; you helpfully gave them some direction.
For those business owners who want to learn more about how to nail their messaging, I recommend subscribing to The Daily Draft email newsletter by veteran marketer Belinda Weaver over at Copywrite Matters. You get bite-sized advice every day that’s easy to implement right away—a big plus for busy business owners.
Content courtesy of Krista Walsh, creative copywriting for purpose-driven companies and passionate people
Contributing Author, Krista Walsh
Krista Walsh writes website copy, blog posts, and product descriptions for small eCommerce companies and service-based solopreneurs. Her writing and messaging strategies help her clients speak to their customers’ values and emotions, for meaningful sales.
In her free time, she writes about purpose-driven business and freelance life at kristawalshcopywriter.com. On the off chance she’s not writing, she’s volunteering to walk the big ole’ dogs over at the Dog Café LA or watching (pretty bad honestly) TV dramas on Netflix.
Connect with Krista through her website, Krista Walsh Copywriter