5 Common Copy Mistakes That May Be Killing Your Sales

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Marketing your business is a lot of fun because you get to do it your way – add your personality, create offers that resonate with your list, and build a community full of the people you love to serve.

Just because you get a lot of flexibility doesn’t mean there aren’t things you should be doing in all your marketing.  Even savvy, experienced marketers forget some of these things – and these copy mistakes are the kind that can tank your results.

I’ve outlined the five most common copy mistakes I see on a regular basis… and while there are more, this is a great place to start. You might even use this post as a checklist of sorts … to ensure that you do NOT commit any of the following marketing sins …

5 Common Copy Mistakes That May Be Killing Your Sales

Copy Mistake #1: Boring, Corporate Speak

God save us all from those boring marketing, air-filled, messages that are really just there to somehow convey intelligence and authority.  No one wants to read that.  Promise.

They want to read something that might make a difference in their lives.  They want to read about ways to solve their problems.  People want to read about them, not you.

And if you ARE going to talk about yourself… please, please, PLEASE talk like you’re a person. People buy from people, people!

It’s okay to put a bit of your personality in what you’re saying, especially on social media.  Transparency, authenticity, genuineness… these are all things that you can’t do if you’re not speaking as an actual human being.

So save all of that high-falutin corporate speak for the next time you rub elbows with the Queen of England.  Your prospects won’t respond to it.


Copy Mistake #2: Focusing copy on you, instead of your prospect

Even if you are infusing some personality into your social media posts, and even if you’re not super stiff in your delivery …

You might be focusing the conversation on you and that’s a big mistake.

While people do want to stay connected with you and learn about you, they REALLY care about themselves.  They care about their own lives and about their own families.

Show and share you only as a way to connect the dots between the two of you … so they can see how similar you are.

At some point it’s smart to share your credentials and qualifications, but that’s typically much later on the sales process.

For instance, if you’re in the weight loss industry and you do a lot of social posting about your workouts, you might share a story and pictures of your latest workout that you used to hate (because you used to be just like “them”), but with your newfound (<insert thing you sell>), you love this workout now and it’s paying off.

And while you’re at sharing this story, maybe you say something to the effect of, “can you relate?”  or, “what do you think it would take for you to actually enjoy a workout like this?”

turkeyhillSee how Turkey Hill started by asking a question and THEN they shared a story about themselves?
How can you make this work in your social strategy… or on your website? In your blogs?

The ultimate goal is engagement and getting your prospect to talk about themselves … because you talked about them and gave them the opening to continue that conversation.

People LOVE to talk about themselves :-).  And frankly, getting them to open up about their circumstances will grease some wallets, too.

You’ll find that the more they tell you about you, the more they do the work for you of selling themselves on how much they want what you have.

Copy Mistake #3: Asking your Marketing to Do Too Much Work

No matter what … even if your prospects are very sophisticated people, assume that they are feeling Homer Simpson-ish as they read or see your marketing.

I’m not saying you should dumb down your speech.  But you should get it down to a 5th grade level.  You can speak quite intelligently to a 10 year old.

Just don’t let them get confused, distracted, or off track.

Tell them EXACTLY what you want them to do and OFFER THEM ONLY ONE THING.

While you can offer choices that are similar (like a basic or a deluxe version of your thing), don’t not offer options that require completely different sales messages … like beer and a sweater.

They are not related.

Even within my own offerings it would be a mistake to offer our Ask ACE Review Membership (where we review marketing for entrepreneurs like you to help you improve your skills and your results) within the same message where we offer done for you copywriting services.

Yes, they’re related, but they represent different benefits and really would be sold to different audiences.



Don’t let your prospects feel this way.  Stay in your lane and keep focus on the ONE action you want them to take and spell that out for them.

Copy Mistake #4: Assuming They'll Read Every Word

I promise … your prospects will not and do NOT read every single word that you put out there for them.  They skim.

We all do.


Your job is to create the “Cliff’s Notes” of your marketing message so that even the skimmer, who does not read the entire thing (and let’s face it, that’s most of us) will understand what the message is and what the offer is just through cosmetic enhancements.

Cosmetic enhancements are use of color, bolding, font sizes and font choices, underlining, and highlighting.

When it comes to social posts you’re certainly limited as to how you can enhance your copy, but you can still use all caps, line breaks, and ellipses (…) to draw the eyeballs exactly where you want them to go.

This is KEY to create marketing that gets attention, gets read, and gets response.

If they don’t understand, they will NOT respond!

Copy Mistake #5: Not Grabbing Them From the Start With What They REALLY Want

Did you know that 8 out of 10 people who read your copy will likely not make it past the headline?

Why?  Usually it’s because you haven’t delivered a powerful enough reason for them to keep reading.

Headlines are the key to increased engagement and increased sales!

You can download a sweet tool we developed called the “30-Second Headline Generator” right here.

What we’ve discovered over the last decade of professionally writing Direct Response Copy, is that the key to creating headlines that work is to write a lot of them!

And I definitely do not mean 5 or 6.  I mean like 20 or 40 or more!

The 30-Second Headline Generator is a great way to get your engine started when it comes to creating effective headlines.  And let’s face it, no one likes to start from scratch.

Once we made this tool, we found ourselves using it every time we needed to write a headline and it works really well.

Here’s a challenge for you …

Go read your most recent marketing message (email, landing page, social post, etc.) … does your marketing include any of these 5 copy mistakes listed above?

Share your confession below! 

And hey, don’t beat yourself up.  We all need a reminder sometimes.  #3 is one I consistently revisit to help me keep my marketing focused, clear, and most importantly, effective!

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8 years ago

I completely agree with your first point. Storytelling can be more effective while corporate speak is boring.

Josh Katherman
Josh Katherman
8 years ago

Even worse: Talking about themselves too much AND referring to themselves in the third person.

8 years ago

That’s obviously amazing copyright concept to drive instant sells. Love these Idea’s…Thanks for share it!

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