In the world of business and sales, words are powerful. Copywriting not only involves captivating and educating your audience, but also choosing the right words to say. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your choice of words could cost (or earn) your company a sale. When it comes to copywriting, every detail counts. The idea isn’t to walk on eggshells with your copywriting, but you do want to be aware of word choice and the message you are signaling to your clients.
Almost every word has its place and purpose, but there are several that you want to avoid when you are copywriting for sales or your website. These are what I like to call “the worst phrases in content marketing.”
Content Marketing Tips: What to Avoid
Content marketing may seem like it’s for everyone (see “You Don’t Need to Be a Brand Publisher To Win At Content Marketing” on Moz), but remember, there are some words in general you should be avoiding to stay on the right road. If you have these words and phrases on your own website, consider it a red flag: it might be hurting your conversion ratio.
- Our Product is The Cheapest on The Market. If you are in a hurry to downgrade the value of your product, the word cheap will get you there in a heartbeat. Cheap is not to be confused with affordable; affordable is a gentler and more positive way to emphasize a cost effective price point.However, cheap may bring the connotation of flimsy and invaluable. If you must include a low price point in your copywriting, stick to affordable.
- We Are Offering One of The Best Things Available in Our Industry. Maybe this is a personal pet peeve, but the word thing really makes my skin crawl. It is extremely vague, generic, and does nothing in terms of describing value. The word thing should be used to describe an object when you don’t know what it is, or how to even go about describing it. Merriam Webster describes the word thing as an object whose name is not known or stated.Does that really describe the product or service that you have to offer?If you are writing about a product with the goal of generating a sale, describe what is in in detail. Then focus on its best qualities — also in detail. Generic terms don’t encourage conversions.
- Allow Us to Serve Your Needs. Yet another vague phrase, allow us might be one of the most unconvincing terms to use when trying to make a sale. Furthermore, you are putting the cart before the horse. In order for your client to want to allow you to help, you need to describe in detail why you are their solution.Again, details matter to your clients. Don’t assume that you automatically have the sale just because you believe in your product or service.
- We Will Try to Resolve The Problem as Soon as Possible. If you are looking to instill confidence and encouragement in your client, refrain from using the word try. Try sounds like you will make an attempt, but there are no guarantees to the outcome.Even though there are never any guarantees in life, it is much more ensuring to your client to say that you will find a solution vs. you will make a mere attempt. You don’t want to make false promises, but you do want your client to feel confident in your capabilities.
- Industry Jargon Overload. While this may not be a specific word, overwhelming your potential client with too much industry jargon can easily cost you a sale. When was the last time that you were motivated to buy something because you were overly confused? I’m willing to bet never.When it comes to describing your products and services, stick to the basics. One of the rules of copywriting is to make sure that your 80-year-old grandmother can understand what you are trying to say. Of course, this does not apply for those who have a highly specific target audience that already understands industry jargon.Otherwise, make your copywriting simple and easy to understand.
- Free (When It’s Really Not). Free might sound harmless enough, but unfortunately it can come with negative connotation. Your clients are smart and know that almost nothing is truly free. Not to mention, the word free is often used as a bait-and-switch to lure in clients for a sale. Think about those phony smartphone commercials that promise a free service, only to find out that you must sign a contract to get the benefits.No one likes to be strung along. Unless your offer is truly free, don’t advertise as such.
- I Don’t Want to Generate More Business. Yet another phrase more than a word, negative and sarcastic phrases will never put your message in a positive light. This trick has become popular around the Internet, especially when you navigate away from a page and are stopped by a pop-up. If you have to insult your client into buying, you might want to re-evaluate the value of your product.
- Don’t Try to ‘Boil an Ocean’. If at all possible, avoid using clichés. Chances are that your clients have read those clichés time and time again, and they aren’t doing you any favors. With all of the wonderful copywriting books, tools, and online resources available, surely you can write a few words that will capture the attention of your audience. There are tried-and-true methods that were established decades ago that still apply today. Give it a try.If you can’t seem to get it just right, hire a pro. Your message will be well received, easy to understand, and help you attract business instead of unintentionally turning it away.
- Too Much We, I, And Us. If you take anything away from this advice, too much of you in your copywriting will never win over clients. People care about their needs and how they can use your products to solve problems. Win your customers over by showing value in your product and making your focus entirely on them.
Copywriting doesn’t have to cost you money. In fact, it can earn you quite a lot of cash.
Keep your content writing and copywriting focused on your audience, easy to grasp, and steer clear of words that cost you money. Learn more about what to avoid with these “7 Deadly Sins of Content Marketing” on The Guardian. Have you seen any other bad content marketing bits out there? Share in the comments!
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