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5 Copywriting Mistakes to Fix on Your Website

About This Talk

This talk is by Michal Eisikowitz and was recorded on October 20, 2020. You can learn more about by:

Timestamps

00:00 Intro
04:14 The Importance of Your Website
05:20 5 Copywriting Mistakes to Fix
11:25 Choosing Cleverness Over Clarity
18:19 Poor or Barebones Social Proof
27:21 Talking About Yourself Too Much
31:30 Stressing Features Instead of Benefits
37:51 Failing to Inspire One Clear Action 

The Importance of Your Website

84% of B2B buyers will check out your website. So yes, your website is critically important, and it’ll only continue to grow in importance moving forward. 

To demonstrate the point, Michal suggests that you think about your website as the homebase where all of your content, ads, or other web traffic end up. She calls it the Website Centrality Model, and no matter where you’re doing your top of funnel marketing, everything ends back up on your site. Here are a few places you might be getting traffic:

  • Social: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
  • SEO / Content
  • Google / FB / Print Ads
  • Direct Outreach
  • Referrals
  • And more…

Done wrong, your website is your most powerful lead repellent. Done right, your website will be your best salesperson. It’s always working, never gets sick, and pitches you exactly the same way to everyone who reaches your site. 

5 Copywriting Mistakes to Fix On Your Website

Everyone is making mistakes on their website. Here are the 5 copywriting mistakes to fix on your site so you can put it to work as your hardest-working and most successful salesperson. 

Mistake #1: Choosing Cleverness Over Clarity

In Donald Miller’s book Storybrand, he points out that our brains are wired for survival. Because of that, we conserve calories, because wasted calories could jeopardize our survival. Translation: we’re lazy, even when it comes to thinking. 

According to Miller, people don’t buy the best products and services, they buy the ones that communicate the most clearly and require the least thinking. And given that only 20% of web content gets read on average, you’d better be fast and clear in your web copy. 

Michal urges you to answer 3 questions in 5 seconds or less:

  • What is it that you offer?
  • How will it make my life better?
  • What do I need to do buy it?

Mistake #2: Poor or Barebones Social Proof

People do what they observe other people doing. Think about it in terms of eating something you’ve never seen before – if ten other people do it first and survive, it’s probably safe. 

But it extends to other forms of behavior too. You’re more likely to be obese or divorced if you know people who are. Our behavior is influenced by those around us. And having social proof on your website adds a lot of influence to your messaging and offer. 

Michal gives several examples of good social proof:

  • Logos: clients you’ve worked with, places you’ve been featured
  • Numbers: proof of volume or results, concrete money results
  • Testimonials: strong testimonials can be paired with stats or numbers and back up a specific claim you’re making
  • Awards, badges, seals, certifications: proof from external bodies
  • Ratings or reviews: these are most effective if people can read the reviews
  • Case studies: they can be brief, or more extensive, show the before and after

Ideally, you should have a variety of different forms of social proof sprinkled throughout your site. 

Mistake #3: Talking About Yourself Too Much

Important as it may seem, no one cares about your mission or vision. Not really. What people care about is what you can do for them. 

Write from your buyer’s perspective. Your customer is the hero, not you – you’re just a guide to help them achieve their dreams. 

As a quick role of thumb, Michal suggests you use the word “you” 5x more than the word “I.”

Mistake #4: Stressing Features Instead of Benefits

What’s the difference between features and benefits? 

Take an alarm clock. It tells time and rings a bell to alert you. Those are the features. 

But why would you want that? To get out of bed on time. To not oversleep before the first meeting of your day (I’ve done it). To be responsible. To face the day early so you can achieve your dreams. Lofty goal? Yes, but it’s what an alarm clock can deliver. Those are the benefits. 

Notice how the first benefit of the alarm clock is simply to get out of bed on time. So what? The more times you ask the question, you finally arrive at “achieve your dreams.” 

Anytime you’re thinking about your benefits, take the so what test. Consider a diet program. Here are some features:

  • Supportive coaches
  • Nutritious menus
  • Weekly weigh-ins
  • Eye-opening modules
  • Dynamic exercise classes

But you wouldn’t buy the diet program for any of those features. You’d buy the benefits, like:

  • Lose weight. So what? 
  • To be more attractive. So what? 
  • To attract a mate. So what? 
  • To start a family. So what? 
  • Your lifelong dream is to start a family. Ready for that diet program?

Mistake #5: Failing to Inspire One Clear Action

Humans are wired for inaction and laziness. In order to counteract that, you need to inspire action. 

Those big colorful buttons on your website are called CTAs (calls to action), and our brains are wired to seek them out. For every page on your website, there should be one – or at most two – clear calls to action. 

Don’t give three, five, or ten options. Make a choice, and point people to the action that you want them to take. 

Key Takeaways

Michal wrapped her talk with these key takeaways, which you can use to update your website right away:

  1. Answer the 3 core questions above the fold
  2. Collect and use social proof liberally
  3. Avoid talking about yourself too much
  4. Focus on benefits over features
  5. Give one clear call to action for each page

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