Copywriting Blunders: Do You Make these 10 Common Mistakes? | Alan Sharpe | Skillshare

Copywriting Blunders: Do You Make these 10 Common Mistakes?

Alan Sharpe, Copywriting Instructor

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11 Lessons (58m)
    • 1. Copywriting Blunders Promo

      3:41
    • 2. Blunder 1: Slow getting to the point

      6:07
    • 3. Blunder 2: No single-minded proposition

      4:22
    • 4. Blunder 3: No logical flow

      3:44
    • 5. Blunder 4: Redundancies

      5:45
    • 6. Blunder 5: Generalities

      7:13
    • 7. Blunder 6: Features only

      6:48
    • 8. Blunder 7: Navel gazing

      4:16
    • 9. Blunder 8: Claims without proof

      7:55
    • 10. Blunder 9: No offer

      4:25
    • 11. Blunder 10: No call to action

      3:24

About This Class

You know bad writing when you see it. You know that bad writing is flowery and verbose and full of convoluted sentences. You know that bad writing is filled with typos, grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies and poor reasoning.

But do you know what bad copywriting looks like? Do you know bad copywriting when you see it, or when you write it? This course teaches you the ten most common blunders that new and amateur copywriters make. 

I’m Alan Sharpe, and I’m your instructor. I’ve been writing copy, and I’ve been teaching other folks how to write copy, since 1989. I’ve seen all of these mistakes, and I’ve even made a few of them myself.

The main benefit of taking this course is that you’ll learn how to spot the ten most common mistakes that wreck otherwise good copy. Once you learn them, you’ll avoid them.

You and I are going to look at 10 copy killers. Here they are: 

  1. Slow in getting to the point
  2. No single-minded proposition
  3. No logical flow
  4. Redundancies
  5. Generalities
  6. Features only
  7. Navel gazing
  8. Claims without proof
  9. No offer
  10. No call to action

Some of these mistakes you already know about, and you don’t make them anymore. But a few of these blunders may have crept into your copy unawares. You’ll be glad to learn what they are, and you’ll be glad to know how to avoid ruining your copy with any of these common mistakes.

I designed this course mainly for aspiring copywriters and new copywriters. The perfect student is someone who is new to copywriting, and who is worried about making mistakes that make them appear incompetent. But this course is also for intermediate and senior copywriters who want to make sure their copy is clear, concise, and compelling.

You’ll see from the course description that there are ten copywriting blunders to avoid. But there’s actually an eleventh mistake as well. And that’s the mistake of not taking this course. Despite what some people say, what you don’t know CAN hurt you. These copywriting blunders will wreck your copy, and sink your career. 

So take this course.

Transcripts

1. Copywriting Blunders Promo: I think I can confidently say that you know, bad writing when you see it. You know that bad writing is flowery and verbose and full of convoluted sentences. You know that bad writing is filled with typos, grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies and poor reasoning. But do you know what bad copyrighting looks like? For example, what is wrong with this advertisement? What is wrong with this brochure? What about this Web page? It has a copyrighting blunder on it. Can you spot it? Do you know bad copyrighting when you see it or when you write it? This course teaches you the 10 most common blunders that new and amateur copywriters make. I'm Alan Sharp, and I'm your instructor. I've been writing copy, and I've been teaching other folks how to write copy. Since 1989 I've seen all of these 10 mistakes. I've even made a few of them myself. The main benefit of taking this course is that you'll learn how to spot the 10 most common mistakes that wreck otherwise. Good copy. Once you've learned these mistakes, you'll avoid them. You and I are going to look a 10 copy killers here. They are slow in getting to the point. No single minded proposition, no logical flow redundancies, generalities features only movil, gazing claims without proof, no offer and no called action. Some of these mistakes you already know about and you don't make them anymore. But a few of these blunders may have crept into your copy unawares. You'll be glad to learn what they are, and you'll be glad to know how to avoid ruining your copy with any of these common mistakes . I designed this course mainly for aspiring copywriters and new copywriters. The perfect student for this course is someone who is new to copyrighting and who was worried about making mistakes, but that might make them appear incompetent. But this course is also for intermediate and senior copywriters who want to make sure that their copy is clear, concise and compelling. You'll see from the course description that there are 10 copyrighting blunders tow, avoid. But there's actually a new 11th mistake as well, and that's the mistake of not taking this course. Despite what some people say. What you don't know can hurt you. The's copyrighting blunders will wreck your copy, and they'll sink your career so you should avoid them, and you can do that by taking this course 2. Blunder 1: Slow getting to the point: imagine that you're a copywriter and I'm a potential customer for your product. You want to get my attention and give me your sales pitch on. I'm holding in my hand a remote for a TV. I'm looking for something that interests me. Click, click, click. No, no, no. Ah, here I am. You have my undivided attention. I've landed on your channel. I'm looking at your ad. You have an opportunity to keep my attention. You got to keep my attention. You better try hard to keep up. Sorry. You lost my attention Too late. What you just witnessed is one of the top blunders that amateur copywriters make. They take too long in getting to the point, and so they lose their prospect as a result. Grabbing someone's attention with a powerful visual or a great headline isn't all that hard . The hard part is keeping that person's attention. As you just saw with me and my pretend remote. You have three seconds, Max. After that, your prospect is either still paying attention where they've turned the page, They've clicked to another website or they've changed the channel. Let me show you an example of copy. That is way too long in getting to the point. This is copy written by a company that manufactures laser cutting machines. These laser cutters are used by manufacturers to cut metal and plastic parts. Let's start with the headline Laser cutting Basics with bubbly laser cutting machines and cutters. No, I'm not making this up. This copy is actually written by a manufacturer to promote its line of laser cutting machines, although I've done is change the name of the manufacturer to protect the guilty. As you can see, this copywriter makes the classic mistake of writing a headline that doesn't offer the potential customer of benefit. All the copywriter does is say what the machines do they cut. This is a mistake because unless your headline gives your reader a benefit or gives them a reason to keep on reading your copy, they won't read your copy. Now let's read the copy anyway. Welcome to Bigly Laser. Today, laser cutting can be done much easier and faster than ever before and is used in a wide range of applications and industries. Bigly is one of the world's most important manufacturers of laser machines for engraving, cutting and marking as one of the world's leading manufacturers of laser systems. Billy offers innovative laser cutting machines for diverse applications such as cutting acrylic or laser cutting of architectural models, foils and film sign ege paper, toys would and more in all applications and industries. Bubbly laser machines stand for clean, fast and high quality laser cutting, and on and on and on it goes blah, blah, blah. This is what long winded copy looks like and sounds like it starts off slow. It talks about the advertiser, not the buyer, and it never gets to the point. You and I just read 100 words and not one single one of those words gave you or me are reason to keep on reading. Let's look at the white way to get to the point immediately with your copy. This is an ad from another manufacturer of industrial laser cutters. Notice the clever headline. Only three words. The headline speaks directly to the potential customer. Cut your losses. It promises a benefit. You're going to save money. They're gonna save waste. Now read the first paragraph and decide if this copywriter gets to the point quickly enough for you. Our five access lasers cut virtually any flat or form part with no hard tooling, no handwork and only the simplest of fixed oring. You change over from one job to another in minutes. You save time, money and headaches in the process. How many words that I just read? 40. The copy tells me what their laser cutter does and gives me three benefits for buying it. I save time. I save money. I produced my headaches all in 40 words. The first copywriter uses 100 words and never gets to the point. The second copywriter uses 40 words and gets to the point immediately. Why is this important for you to know? Because the question on every potential customers mind is this. What's in it for me? This is the question You have to answer immediately with your copy. Don't take your time answering this question. Don't make the mistake of slowly getting to your point. Avoid the Roundabout approach. Start your copy with your most compelling benefit. Fire your biggest cannon in the first line of your copy. Promise your reader of benefit. Give them a reason to continue reading. Remember, if I've got a remote, you only have three seconds and then you're toast. Here 3. Blunder 2: No single-minded proposition: in a few seconds, I'm going to show you an advertisement for an MP three player. The ad is going to be on your screen for five seconds. Then I'm gonna ask you a simple question. Here's the ad. Now here's my question. What is that ad about? If you're like most people, you can't say for sure. After all, the ad says, Ah lot. This MP three player has 16 gigabytes of memory. It holds 32 hours of audio, five hours of video playback. It has an eight e que setting whatever that is. It has volume restriction control. OK, the ad has four prices up there. There's $129 minus $50 on the final price of 79 99 which means the savings for you of $50. This ad makes a classic copyrighting blunder. It says too much It doesn't have a single minded proposition. Your goal with every piece of copy you write, is to communicate one essential message to your reader. The single minded proposition sums up the most important thing that you can say about your product or service or brand. Your single minded proposition is just that it's a proposition. Every piece of copy you write contains features, benefits claims, brand promises that you want your prospects to understand and believe. But the secret to effective copyrighting is to distill all of your propositions and claims and promises and benefits down toe one compelling, memorable proposition. Your single minded proposition is the one thing that you want your reader to believe about your product or service or your brand. After they've read your copy, let me show you how it's done. I'm gonna show you another adverse mint for another brand of MP three player. This ad is going to be on your screen for five seconds, and then I'm gonna ask you a simple question. Here's the ad. Okay, here's my question. What was that ad about? The answer is simple. The Apple iPod puts 1000 songs in your pocket. What is the one thing you remember about that ad? Well, that's simple. The Apple iPod puts 1000 songs in your pocket. More importantly, what is the one thing that apple the manufacturer the advertiser wants you to know about? This product? Well, that's simple to the Apple. IPod puts 1000 songs in your pocket. If you put these two ads side by side, you appreciate immediately how valuable a single minded proposition is Now. You can see the beauty of taking all your features and benefits and claims and distilling them down to just one proposition. When you have just one single minded proposition in your head. As the copywriter, you can easily put that proposition into the head of your potential customers. The key to effective copyrighting is focus. Don't try to say everything. Just try to say one thing, but make sure that the one thing you say is the most important thing your potential customer needs to believe, Enough said. 4. Blunder 3: No logical flow: What would you say if I told you that I could put you in a barrel, drop you into the water at the top of Niagara Falls and your barrel would float upstream instead of over the false? You'd say, Alan, that's impossible. Everybody knows that a barrel put into the water at the top of Niagara Falls goes over the false. That's the law of gravity. The barrel would go with the flow of the water that's over the false. Okay, but what if I showed you this flyer and asked you to read it in a logical way? Would you read it in a logical way, would you? Would your I start at the top and read this copy in a logical order? No, it wouldn't. You'd say on I can't read this flyer in a logical order, because this flyer doesn't have any logical order, and you'd be correct. Visually, this flyer has no logical flow. And the copy doesn't have any logical flow either. Your eye doesn't know what to look at first. Your brain doesn't know where to start reading, and your brain doesn't know how to follow the copywriters flow of thought. Because the copywriter doesn't have one. This is a classic fault in copyrighting, and that's writing your copy without illogical flow. Now let's look at the same flyer after a professional copywriter rewrote it. This new version of the Flyer contains all of the same fax as the first version that you just looked at. Except the copywriter has arranged the fax into a logical order. A logical flow. You're I naturally starts at the top with the headline The headline speaks to directly and promises you to benefits. You'll sell your condo for the highest price and you'll sell it in the shortest time you're . I naturally drops down to the subhead. Higher Matthew Kennedy, London's leading Kanda Realtor for 20 years. Then you're I naturally drops down to the body copy, where the sales pitch follows a logical flow proof number one Proof number two, Proof number three and so on. The Flyer concludes with a call to action. What is your condo worth? Find out today. When you compare these two flyers side by side, you see immediately that effective copy follows a logical order. It promises a benefit. It gives you reasons to believe that benefit and then asks for the order. As you can see, the revised version of the Flyer makes two major improvements. It puts the copy points into a logical order, and it arranges the ad visually into a logical order as well. The designers job is to make your copy work visually, but your job is to make the copy flow logically. When you make your copy easy to follow something else follows sales. 5. Blunder 4: Redundancies: back in the 19 seventies, I lived in Great Britain during a time of great economic upheaval, manufacturers up and then the British Isles began replacing factory workers with machines and robots. Some of these machines were able to do the work of 20 workers, which means that the employees were no longer needed. People who lost their jobs in those days were told that they were being made redundant. Manufacturers didn't need a machine and a worker to do the same job. One of them was redundant and had to go. Next time you finish writing a piece of copy, I want you to examine it for redundancies. Redundancies and copyrighting are the mark of a careless or ignorant writer. In copyrighting, a redundancy is usually an adjective that modifies a noun. To make the noun mean with the noun already means Let me give you an example. If I point to a building and say that's a tall skyscraper, you'll see Alan, you're being redundant. Of course, it's tall. Skyscrapers, by definition, are tall or might say, um, there's a widow lady at my church, and you'll not surely reply. Allen, you're being redundant. The only person who could be a widow is a woman is a lady. Men who lose a spouse are called widowers. Women who lose a spouse are called widows. You don't have to call a widow a widow lady because we already know that a widow is a lady . You may think that redundancies don't make their way into copyrighting, but you'd be surprised. Search the Web site of just about any global manufacturer and you'll read something like this. X Y Zed Corporation operates in 125 different countries. Well, countries by definition, are different. That's why they are countries plural Now. I'm not being picky here, either. Here's an example from the website of Toyota. Now there are 51 bases in 26 different countries and regions. If Toyota operates in 26 countries than those countries must be different. Every country has a unique flag, a unique border, a unique history. You don't have to modify the noun countries with the adjective different. Just call them countries will know what you mean. You'll find the same kind of redundancy in many product catalogs. Here's a page from an online retailer, Samsung Galaxy s four now available in seven different colors. Seven colors, by definition, must be different. That's why they're called colors. Plural. No. Two colors are the same. Just call them seven colors. Some redundancies are comical. Check out the search results for compact cars. Hyundai boasts that it has the best small compact car for 2017. Well, compact cars, by definition, are small. You don't have to modify the word compact with the adjective small because a compact car, by definition, is a small car. Here's my final example. It's a common redundancy that creeps into copy. It may even creep into your copy. This Web page promotes a handbag that is very unique. To say that something is unique is to say that it's one of a kind. Unique is an absolute. There aren't any gradations of uniqueness. The temperature has gradations. You can say that the temperature today is low. For that, it's high. You could say the temperature is cold. It's hot, those degradations. But you can't do that with the word unique. Something is either unique or it's not unique. Unique is an absolute. Just as the word mail is an absolute, you're either male or you're not man. You can't say that someone is very male or a little male because there are no gradations of male nous. If something is unique, simply say that it's unique. Redundancy is the mark of either a careless copywriter or an ignorant popular writer. Careless copywriters don't care, and ignorant copywriters don't know. But one thing is common to all copywriters who use redundant phrases in their copy. If they're not careful, they may find another copywriter walking into their office one day to take their place. If there are two copywriters but only one of them is needed, one of those copywriters will be redundant. Don't let it be you okay? 6. Blunder 5: Generalities: If there's only one rule you need to learn early on as a copywriter, it's this specifics. Cell generalities don't if you want your copy to sell, don't make the mistake of writing in generalities right with specifics. To understand what I mean, Imagine for a moment that you own a small business in the city of Chicago in the United States and further imagine that you're looking for an accounting firm to help you with your book keeping your payroll and your taxes. How do you find such a firm? Well, if you're like most people, you go to Google and you search for accounting firms in Chicago. On page one of the search results, you spot to firms that catch your eye. You click on the first link you land on the website of Julie, her wit. A certified public accountant, she's got an office in Chicago. You click on the services tab of the navigation bar, and this is what you read. Julie Hurwitz, C. P A. Provides a wide range of services to individuals and businesses and a variety of industries . At Julie Hurwitz, c. P. A. We strive to meet each clients specific needs and planning for the future and achieving their goals in an ever changing financial and regulatory environment. To see how general this copy is, ask yourself the kinds of questions a typical potential client asks. When a typical potential client arrives at a website, The one thing they ask is, What do you do? The answer that she gives Julie Hurwitz c P A. Provides a wide range of services. Another question that people ask is. Who do you help? Who do you work with, who is a typical client? And she says, individuals and businesses in a variety of industries? Another question that people ask when they visit a website is how can you help me? She says on her website. We strive to meet each clients specific needs in planning for the future and achieving their goals in an ever changing financial and regulatory environment. All of this I think you'll agree, is a bunch of vague business speak with some jargon thrown in. Now look at this copy from the website of another accounting firm that you saw in the search results. This one is called louse on accounting. You visit their services page. This is what you read. Think of us as your outsourced accounting department with individual and business tax support. Our comprehensive accounting solutions offer small businesses relief from the day to day accounting hassles while providing 24 7 access to financial data. As your trusted advisor, we pay your bills record deposits, prepare payroll and payroll tax returns, furnished financial statements produced W two's, produced 10 99 prepare tax returns and supply valuable financial and tax advice throughout the year. To see how specific this copy is, ask yourself the same kinds of questions a typical potential client asks. What do you do? The answer. Think of us as your outsourced accounting department with individual and business tax support. Who do you help? Individuals and businesses. And that's not much better than the first example. The Who do you help? But look at this. Let's say I asked, How can you help me? We offer small businesses relief from the day to day accounting hassles while providing 24 7 access to financial data. How do we help you? We pay your bills. Record deposits, prepare payroll and payroll tax returns furnished. Financial statements produced W two's produced 10 99 prepared tax returns and supply valuable tax. I beg your pardon. Provide valuable financial and tax advice throughout the year. I think you get the idea. The first accounting firm we looked at speaks in generalities and leaves you with a vague idea of what they do, who they help and how they can help you. The second accounting firm does the exact opposite. They give you specific concrete examples. They leave you with a clear sense of what they do, who they help and how they can help you. Now look at the text from the two firms side by side to get a full picture of the difference between General Copy and specific copy. Now, remember that I just found these two accounting firms on the page one of Google after doing a search for accountants in Chicago. What I found is to firms with two radically different ways of describing their services. One speaks in generalities. One speaks in specifics, one firm rights using abstract words, the other firm rights using concrete words. Just look at the first question that is on every prospects. Mind What do you do? Julie Herbert says. We provide a wide range of services. You have no clue what she does. I look over allows on accounting for one thing, their business name says what they do. But ask them the same question. What do you do? They do outsourced accounted for individuals and businesses, and they help me with my tax issues. Now look at the last question. How can you help me? The firm on the left, she says. We strive to meet each clients specific needs and planning for the future died about a. That line could describe just about any business. It is so vague, it's useless. It says Nothing. Contrast that answer with the one given by the firm on the right. They pay my bills, they prepare my payroll. They furnished W two tax forms. They prepare tax returns and on and on. I know what this firm could do for me because they told me using specific concrete language . If I was looking for an accounting firm to help me with my taxes and my payroll, I know which firm I would choose. I would choose the firm that you specifics, not generalities, to persuade me how they can help. In other words, I choose the firm that had the better copy on its website. As you can see, your copy can be general or it could be specific. The difference between general copy and specific copy is the difference between losing a sale or landing a sale. Remember that. 7. Blunder 6: Features only: if I told you that the Bosch 18 inch, 800 Siri's dishwasher has a 4 to 4 db a silence rating. But you have any clue what I was talking about? Probably knocked. Would you even care to know what a 44 db A silence rating is? Probably not. And the reason you're not interested is my fault. As the copywriter, I just made one of the classic blunders and copyrighting I gave you a feature without giving you a benefit. A feature tells you what a product does, but a benefit tells you what that feature does for you. The most important thing to know about features is that most buyers don't care about features. Buyers care about benefits. I just proved that I told you that the Bosch 18 inch, 800 Siri's dishwasher, has a 44 db a silent rating, and I could see your eyes starting to glaze over the 44 db. A silence rating is a feature, and buyers don't buy features buyers by benefits. So what is the benefit of a 44 DB a silence rating? Well, first of all, let me tell you what a 44 db a silence rating even is when I tell you that the Bosch dishwasher has a 44 db a silence rating. I'm telling you that this dishwasher produces 44 decibels. That's what D B A stands for. It produces only 44 decibels of noise when it's running. In other words, I'm telling you that this dishwasher is as quiet as a ceiling fan. It's is quiet as a refrigerator. This dishwasher is so quiet that most owners can't even tell it's running. No silence is a benefit. A quiet home is a benefit. Consumers will buy a dishwasher that says Quiet as a ceiling fan, but they won't buy a dishwasher that has a 44 db a silence rating. If they don't even know what that means, or if they don't know that that feature has a benefit of being quiet. Let me show you the danger of describing your products and services using features only. This is a Web page for an appliance retailer. This product page promotes the Bosh 800 Siri's 18 inch dishwasher. Look at how the copywriter describes the key features of this product. Six wash cycles and five options info. Light programs Status. Light Energy Star Standard Third Iraq 44 db A silence rating. There it is again. As you can see, these are features of the dishwasher. The problem is, these features may as well be written in Greek for all the good they do in helping you and me understand what the dishwasher does for us. After all, what is the in flight and what does it do for you? What is Energy Star and what does it do for you? You have no idea, because the copywriter does not explain what the features mean. And the copywriter does not explain what the features do for you. In other words, the copywriter makes the classic blunder of giving you features only. Now look at another Web page from another retailer. This page is also promoting the Bosch 800 Siri's 18 inch dishwasher. Notice that this copywriter gives you the same features but also gives you the benefits. For example, the first copywriter tells you that the Bosch 800 Siri's dishwasher, features a standard third rack. This copywriter tells you that this third rack offers 30% more loading area, and it's perfect for rain kins cooking utensils and extra long silverware. These are the benefits I countered. Four in total from that one feature. The first copywriter tells you that this model of dishwasher has an in flight, but this copywriter tells you what that feature is and what it does for you. The in flight quote projects a red light onto the floor during the wash cycle and turns off when the dishes are ready. Unquote. As you can see, this dishwasher has no dials or buttons or lights on the front of the unit. They are in the top of the door, and they're hidden when the door is closed. The info light shines a red light onto the floor in the kitchen when the unit is operating , so you know it's running. That's because the unit is so quiet you can't tell by listening. This feature tells you when the unit is operating, and when it is finished, that's two benefits. Let's look at one final feature. The first copywriter tells you that the Bosch 800 Siri's dishwasher, has six wash cycles and five options, but doesn't explain this feature and doesn't tell you the benefits as the first copywriter . But the second copywriter tells you that one of those six wash cycles is a 24 hour delay start timer that lets you delay the start time by up to 24 hours so you can program the dishwasher to start during off peak hours, such as when you're asleep. Saving money during off peak hours is the benefits. As you can see, there are two ways to describe the same product. You can simply list the features and hope that your potential buyer knows what they are and knows what the benefits are. Don't be too sure, and the second way is you can list your features, explain those features and then describe the benefits that the buyer gets from those features. Remember, buyers don't care about features. They only care about what features do for them. You'll be glad to know that there's a benefit to you of always tying a feature toe a benefit. You'll sell more products. You'll make more money. That's the benefit 8. Blunder 7: Navel gazing: I want you to imagine that you're at a party. You meet two people. The first person greets you like this high. I'm a swell person and I make lots of money. But enough about me. What do you think about me? The second person greets you this way high. I'm Tony. You look like an interesting person. Tell me about yourself. No. Which of these two people would you rather talk to? Which one would you rather spend time with at the party? Your readers prefer to hear you talk about them. Not about yourself. Not about your product, not about your brand. Yet many copywriters make the mistake of writing copy that begins. ABC Incorporated was founded in 1982 and is in the business of delivering quality service and value into the new millennium. Big, big yawn. Big mistake. You need to aim your messages at the prospect and say everything from the prospects point of view. Don't begin your copy with we or us. When you can begin with you, let me show you two examples of what I mean. One is the wrong way and one is the right way. Here's the home page of A M, said Law Solicitors, a law firm in London in the United Kingdom. Notice how the first sentence on the website begins. We are solicitors based on Edgware Road, closest central London. Notice how the second sentence begins. Our emphasis is on so and so and so Third sentence. AM said. Law is headed by so and so forth sentence. In some cases we are able to do so and so and so I think you see the pattern. We, our us, our firm. The entire home page is about them. It's not about you, it's not about the prospect. Big mistake. Take a look at another website operated by another law firm. Let's see how it starts. Have you or a loved one been involved in a car accident and so on? Second sentence, you may need a dedicated personal injury. Lawyer. Third sentence. Our team of award winning accident lawyers and personal injury lawyers will help get you the compensation you deserve. See the difference? The copy on this home page is all about the website visitor. Notice the headline. It doesn't say we are the top rated team of personal injury lawyers across Ontario. Instead says your top rated team of personal injury lawyers across Ontario. Your copy should be all about your potential customers. The hero of every paragraph in your copy should be the customer. The potential customer. Not you, not your firm. Not your product, not your brand. If you want to check your copy for this common blunder, give your copy. The chicken pox test. Read your copy from start to finish. And every time you find ah, we or on us or on our and other pronouns that are all about you, circle them with a red magic marker. If when you are finished, your copy looks like it has chickenpox. You know what you have to do. The only cure is to take your attention off yourself and your company and your brand and to place your attention on the most important person in your copy your customer. 9. Blunder 8: Claims without proof: One of the disadvantages of being a copywriter is that many people don't trust advertising . Many people don't trust lawyers. They don't trust politicians. They don't trust used car salespeople, and they don't trust what they read in advertising and marketing messages. The main reason for this lack of trust is bragging. Manufacturers, businesses and individuals are used to bragging in their advertising, hoping that by simply making that claim they'll persuade you to buy their product or service. You've seen the ads were number one were the best. Our product is superior. These messages break a cardinal rule and copyrighting never make a claim without giving proof to back it up. You have to back every claim with proof, because without proof, your potential customers won't believe your claims. No, I just made a claim. Now let me prove it to you. This is the home page for a tire dealer in New Jersey in the United States. Look what they say with many years in the industry. V. I. P. Auto Spot in Low D New Jersey, is where you need to bring your car, truck or SUV. We have tires from top brands such as Michelin BF Goodrich, Firestone, Goodyear, Toyo and many more. Our team has the experience to match the best tire to your vehicle, your budget and your style. Check our V I p Auto SpA. Where are prices are insane? You've tried the rest. Now try the best. With prices more reasonable than the other places, you'll always get a great deal on tires at V i p Auto Spa unquote. Now let's count the claims claim. Number one. Our team has the experience to match the best tire to your vehicle, your budget and your lifestyle. So that's three claims. Claim number four. Check our V i. P Auto SpA. Where are prices are insane? Claim number five. You've tried the rest. Now try the best claim. Number six. With prices more reasonable than the other places. Claim number seven. You'll always get a great deal on tires at V. I. P. Auto spot. That's seven claims about their experience, their customer service, their low prices, their excellence, their affordability and great deals. And you'll notice that they do not give you one single piece of proof. Not a single piece of evidence for making those claims. Are you persuaded that this tire dealer is telling you the truth. You can't tell because all they're doing is boasting. Let's look at another example. Here's another tire dealer. This one is located in Florida in the United States. Let's read the copy. Since 1968 Boulevard Tire Center has been a family owned and operated full service automotive repair entire company. We provide an enormous variety of products and services to customers throughout Florida and Volusia County, Lake County and Flagler County. We currently operate seven retail locations, 17 commercial sales and service facilities and five state of the art Bandag re tread tire manufacturing plants. As a t. I. A certified dealer, we offer a full line of competitively priced tires from the industry's leading brands, such as Michelin, BF Goodrich and Uniroyal R. A. S C. Certified mechanics are trained toe accurately, diagnose and repair automotive issues while providing you with honest customer service. View our online locations list for a full list of addresses and accompanying hours of operations. Come into any boulevard tire center location for a quote on an automotive repair service or a set of tires, or simply schedule your next appointment appointment with US online we remain focused on tomorrow solutions today, Not a lot of copy. Thank you for bearing with me, but let's compare this copy with the copy from the first tire dealer we looked at and compare their claims. V i p Auto spots says they have many years in the industry. It wasn't doesn't give you any evidence for believing that claim. How many years did they have any industry? Exactly. They won't say They prefer to be vague. Full of our tire center tells you that they have been in business since 1968. That's 48 years. That's proof that they have many years in the industry, Right? V I. P Auto claims our team has the experience, but they don't give you any proof for that claim. What experience do they have? How much experience do they have? They won't tell you. Boulevard Tire, on the other hand, tells you that they're mechanics are certified by the A S E. That's the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. V. I. P. Auto claims to be the best. They say you've tried the rest. Now try the best. In what way are they the best? Did they give the best service that they have the best prices. Do they have the best coffee? They won't tell you. They prefer just to throw out vague and cliche claim like that and hope that you'll believe them. Boulevard Tire doesn't claim to be the best. They simply tell you that they are certified by the Tire Industry Association v. I. P Auto claims that their prices are insane, but they give you no proof for that claim. What did they? What did they mean by insane? Exactly Are their price is the lowest in town? Will they match any competitors price by 10%? What proof do they offer for this vague claim? None. Boulevard, on the other hand, says their prices are competitive. In other words, if you want proof that their tires are reasonably priced, shopper rent. Compare their prices with those of competing tire dealers and you'll find that their prices are reasonable. They're competitive. As you can see, the easiest way to create doubt in the mind of your potential customer is to make a bold claim and then give no evidence to back it up. The more claims you make, the more doubt you create or to put it another way, the easiest way to create confidence in the mind of your potential customer is the back. All of your claims with proof, the more claims you make and the more proof you supply for those claims, the more confidence you create in the mind of your prospect. The rule to follow is simple. Every time you make a claim, back it up with proof. If you can't give evidence for your claim, don't make the claim. I never break this rule because I know it works. It has worked for me ever since I wrote my first line of advertising copy. And that wasn't just a long time ago. That was in 1989 which means I have been proving this to be true for 29 years now. You know 10. Blunder 9: No offer: What would you do if I made you an offer that you couldn't refuse? Well, you. Except if the offer was impossible to refuse, you'd accept the same is true of effective copy. If the copy is irresistible, potential buyers can't resist. They buy the quickest way to make your copy. Irresistible is to include on offer. One of the reasons that so many adverse mints and product pages don't convert prospects into buyers is that those pages do not have an offer in marketing and particularly in direct response marketing. The offer is the incentive or the reward that you dangle in front of your prospects to motivate them to respond to your message. Offers are usually bilateral. You promised do something if the prospect does something, for example, by two blouses and will pay the shipping or book your appointment before 16th of November and we'll send you a free sample kits. If the product is nothing, you do nothing. Both of you must act if he offers to work. That's what I mean when I say offers are usually bilateral. Now, a call to action is not on offer. Visit Our website is not an offer that's simply a call to action. It only tells the prospect what to do. It doesn't tell the prospect why. To do it for an offer to be an offer, it must contain an incentive for the prospect to act it. Offers are vital because you need to motivate your prospects toe act without a clear, compelling offer. Your response rates will be low and your copy will be unprofitable. Here's why you need an offer. Your prospects are preoccupied. You need a compelling offer because you only have a second or two to grab your prospects. Attention. Your prospects are skeptical of advertising hype. Your offer helps to overcome the skepticism by showing your prospects that you will reward them for taking action and your prospects are interested in themselves, not you. When you offer something that promises to save your prospects, time or money or effort, you answer there. What's in it for me? Question. In a satisfactory way, let me show you the difference between advertising copy without an offer and advertising copy with an offer. Here's a company that sells garage doors. As you can see, their website tells you who they are and how to contact them. It has a call to action at the bottom of the page, but it doesn't give you any reason to call them. It doesn't offer you any incentive for picking up the phone and calling them up. Now here's another company that also sells garage doors, but look at their copy. It features not one, not four, but eight special offers. They offer you a seniors discount, free Windows, free upgrades and tune ups, but you only received the offer if you mention it when you call their toll free number. There it is. If you're in the market for a new garage door and if you visit these two websites, which company will get your business? Will it be this company which offers you nothing extra? Or will it be this company, which offers you eight incentives for choosing them? I know which company I'll choose. I'll choose the one that has the better copywriter, the copywriter who gives me eight offers that I can't refuse 11. Blunder 10: No call to action: someone once described a copywriter as a sales person behind a keyboard. I like that definition because it reminds me that the job of a copywriter is to sell something you and I don't write to educate or to entertain or to change opinions. No, we write our copy so that a perspective customer will buy what we're selling or we'll take the next step in the sales process. If you've ever had a job in sales, you know that there are two secrets to success. Talk to enough people and always ask for the order. One of the biggest blunders you can make in your copy is to not ask for the order. Simply put, if you don't ask for the order, you won't get the order. With a few exceptions, every piece of copy that you write must have a call to action. The cult of action is the part of your copy, usually at the end where you tell the prospect exactly what to do to take the sale to the next level. The call to action might be. Call our 1 800 number, visit our website, download your free demo. Let me show you the difference. A call to Action makes. Consider this billboard. It is for Joel and Associates now driving by at 50 kilometers an hour or 50 miles an hour. You wouldn't know that this billboard is promoting a law firm that specializes in personal injury. Because the headline is cryptic. Plus, you will not feel inclined to contact them for two reasons. One, They make their website impossible to read from a passing car. And two, they don't tell you what to do. They do not have a call to action on their billboard. I look at another billboard. Also, for a law firm that specializes in personal injury law, this billboard makes it really obvious what they do. The photo is of a personal injury lawyer called Andy Lieberman. The headline asks if you have been injured in a car accident. But most importantly, this law firm shows you that it wants your business. How do you know that they want your business? Because they ask for the order. They have a called action. Call them at 7777777 Now look at these two billboards side by side and you can see the difference. A straightforward. Called to action makes Remember. Ah, copywriter is a sales person behind a keyboard. Your job is to sell. If you don't ask for the sale, you won't get the sale.