Duran Inci is co-founder and COO of Optimum7 and is an Internet marketing expert with over eleven years experience in e-business, including content marketing, paid search, e-commerce systems and integrations.
Content is king, and I can't stress its importance enough. Good marketing copy attracts people, leads to engagement and eventually converts people into customers. But when I sit down with clients at my company, Optimum7, who are wondering why their marketing copy isn't leading to conversions, I see the same recurring mistakes. Here are the major offenders and how you can turn them around to propel your business.
You Can't Write Right
Simple grammar errors can detract from a message more than anything else. When you have a continuous stream of text with basic spelling errors, your readers lose faith in your product. No matter the industry, no matter what product or service you may be selling, grammar counts. There's no excuse for basic errors, so make sure whoever is producing or editing the copy isn't simply relying on spell-check. Well-written content is the first indication of professionalism and ability.
Your Product or Service Doesn't Come Across Well in Writing
Think about three main factors when identifying what style of writing works best for your company: your product or service, your industry and your customers. These three factors can help you influence your decision to hire a copywriter or editor. For example, a company selling furniture will not want the same copy as a company selling farming equipment. The differences will show whether you need someone who can produce copy in a conversational tone or a more tech savvy tone.
I try to limit to three major points made in any single copy project. I try to be concise in order to be mindful of the reader's time and attention. We are immersed in technology at Optimum7, so I also try to provide digestible amounts of insight and information rather than trying to impress with a large volume of ideas.
You're Anti-Social (Media)
Social media helps in every industry, even if your potential clients may not be active participants. Social media sites including but not limited to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allow a brand to develop its identity, establish themselves as an industry leader and, more importantly, allow companies to show their human side (e.g. pictures of an employee's birthday celebration or pictures of the office).
My business partner likes to use LinkedIn for B2B credibility. At the same time, this portal provides the opportunity to be social while being valuable in a business environment. We recently published a kind of online media kit that truly "humanizes" our services by sharing our team members behind all of our services.
Your Layout Is Clunky
Copy's effectiveness owes a great deal to where it is placed. A wall of text does nothing but bring about the "tl; dr" response. The moment someone sets their eyes on it, it turns them off from even looking at the copy, no matter how good it may be. It is also important to break up the text and make sure that headings accurately apply to the text below. If it's off-brand, for example, don't use that as a headline simply to get attention. Consumers are getting more sophisticated, so in the end, it will hurt you.
Spacing is also important. The same content can be infinitely more understandable, interesting and engaging through well-spaced text and images. It speaks volumes for the writer's organization of thought.
Update Old Copy
Today, being up-to-date is of the utmost importance. Take the time to go back and look over old copy that may contain outdated information, bland text, old photos or anything that can use sprucing. Consumers don't want to see the same old brand message. Think of it as spring cleaning, where a little effort goes a long way in increasing user interaction and ROI. And always, always review your writing. You will be amazed at what you may catch.
Your Copywriting/Marketing Is Not Professional
In-house copywriting is an excellent investment. Leaving work to freelancers may work for a time, but without someone editing the content, you're gambling with your brand's future presence. At the very least, take the time to look for an editor who can dictate the work and produce content with sensitive deadlines. It will give you peace of mind and allow other members of the team to focus on their expertise.
If you are not able to bring this in-house, make sure that you work with a professional. Outsourcing should really be the last resort. Your readers don't want secondhand information, and outside copy can easily be recognized because it can never provide the depth, warmth and credibility of firsthand accounting and information. If you must outsource, make sure you can rely on the writer to engage in an intense feedback process so he/she can grow into a credible ghostwriter. This is much harder to do than it seems. It requires a great deal of time and commitment from everyone involved.
These mistakes may seem like no-brainers, but abiding by these golden rules will make sure that you are keeping consumers and potential customers interested and, more importantly, showing them that your products or services are the best available. In the realm of writing ad copy, a little effort goes a long way.