3 Mistakes That Kill Copy

There are 3 mistakes made by most advertising copy I see that depress sales and response. Correct these mistakes and increase your sales.

1. Focusing On You, Not Your Customer. In the context of an ad, your prospects don’t care about you. They care about themselves, and whether your product can help solve their problem(s). Look for and eliminate phrases like: ‘our friendly staff’, ’20 years in business’, ‘for all your [INSERT PRODUCT HERE] needs’. Those are about you. Use phrases that speak to the solution to your prospect’s most pressing problems.

2. Using Cliche Language. Cliches are like wallpaper, nobody notices them unless they’re so bad they can’t be ignored. Some cliches to look for: ‘giant blow out’, ‘explode your sales’, ‘save like never before’, ‘savings throughout the store’… There are too many advertising cliches to list here. You probably recognize them when you hear them. Get them out of your copy.

3. Speaking Inappropriately.
No, this doesn’t mean correcting your grammar – unless your intended audience is English Teachers. Speaking inappropriately means using language patterns that cause your audience to disagree with you on some minor subject. Once that happens, it will be much more difficult to get their agreement on a more important topic (such as buying your product). For example, if you are selling to English Teachers and you use poor grammar in your copy, it will be much harder to make the sale (even if the sale has nothing to do with grammar). Why? Because you have lost credibility with your audience – you are not ‘speaking their language’.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “3 Mistakes That Kill Copy

  1. Hi Ray,

    I like the fact you put the cliche point in there in the top three. Many copywriters don’t get how useless they are.

    Sure, they’re easy to write. Sure they sound conversational. Sure they are moribund as King Tut’s great grandfather.

    What is fun, though, is taking a cliche and twisting it. Cliche’s get gazed over – but make a twist and it snags someone.

    Dan Kennedy is great at them. He made reference to, not another “Chicken Soup for the Parapelegic Inamate’s Soul” which I thought was a brilliant twist on not just saying, “not another Chicken Soup for the Soul” book.