5 Writing Mistakes that Lose Prospects

Are you having trouble connecting to your ideal audience? Avoid these five common digital content writing mistakes that can turn off potential clients and dull the shine on your amazing business. 

Your content is one of the most important ways you have of communicating with your online audience. Unfortunately, creating captivating content that engages an audience can often seem like a mysterious process.

Avoid these common mistakes and create action-oriented content with a little more oomph and a lot more heart and soul.

Mistake #1: It’s all about you

listen

Have you ever been on a first date or at a party and you get stuck listening to someone drone on and on about how awesome they are? Not once do they ask you about you. These aren’t conversations, they’re boring lectures. And this is exactly the kind of scenario we want to avoid on our websites.

I get it. We want people to know we are professionals, authorities and leaders in our industry. But here’s the problem. People don’t care about how awesome you are—not yet. 

They want to know if you care about and understand their problem. 

I was recently researching mental health experts in our area for a project I was working on.

I was surprised at how confusing the process was to navigate. It made me wonder how many people simply continue to white knuckle their way through problems until they are in crisis because they can’t figure out how to find someone who they can trust to listen to them.

There was no question about the credentials of many of the professionals I reviewed. But several important components were missing.

In one case, the individual never shared what specific mental health problems they specialized in. 

Another practice only offered a brief overview of their practice. Instead of empathizing with their audience by indicating in some way that they understood what it’s like to need help, they simply shared a short run down of their services and qualifications.

I found this strange coming from a healthcare provider. People need to feel safe, especially when they are at their most vulnerable. I couldn’t help wondering if that particular practice’s physical space was as cold and uncaring as their digital space. 

Another practice never shared who they treated—adults? Children? Teens? All of the above? I couldn’t tell.

Now I get it–healthcare providers aren’t usually trained to write web copy. They’re busy helping people manage real life problems. I just hate to think people aren’t seeking these professionals out because they are under the mistaken assumption that they don’t care. 

Keep in mind that when I encourage you to not make your content all about you, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about yourself at all. 

Like any healthy conversation, there’s some give and take. Share a brief introduction of who you are and how you help on your home page, but reserve the deeper dive surrounding your background and interests for the About section of your website.

Mistake #2: Speaks in Jargon

When you’re writing to your audience, use words they would use. Don’t assume they are going to understand the abbreviations that you use or the technical language of your industry.

If your audience feels intimidated, they aren’t going to reach out. No one wants to feel stupid.

If your audience is confused, they are going to go do something easier like scroll Instagram or check out your competitor’s website.

If your audience has to think too hard about what it is you’re trying to tell them, they’re going to tune out.

The last thing you want to do is alienate your audience.

Write the way you would speak to someone new to your industry, and use words that your customers would use when describing your products or services.

Mistake #3: Offers No Social Proof

Reviewer

We are a social proof society. We read other people’s reviews to get a lay of the land before we go out and spend our hard-earned cash. That’s why we love Google reviews and why Yelp is such a popular app. We want to know the word on the street.

Think about it in terms of vacation rentals. Renting something sight unseen is a risk, which is why we like to peek behind the curtains first.  Who wants to risk disappointment on their much anticipated annual getaway?!

That’s why testimonials on our websites, even though everyone knows they are vetted, can be invaluable.

  • Choose testimonials that are relatable to your ideal audience, which can help build credibility and trust.
  • Work on collecting short testimonials from your customers and clients that you can share on your site and social.
  • Include at least one testimonial on your home page that encompasses how your business resolves a problem and makes your customer feel.

Case studies can also be effective. Share a story about the problem your client was dealing with, the steps you took to address the issue and how it all worked out.

Share a video testimonial. Some companies interview customers on video and then share the testimonial on their sites and social.

Keep in mind, social proof can help your client envision what is possible for them after working with you.

Mistake #4: Doesn’t Inspire Action

Call to action

Once you’ve talked about all of the ways you help your customers and clients, don’t leave you reader hanging. Tell them what to do next.

By sharing easy-to-find buttons and tabs on your website, your audience will see how simple it is to purchase from you and connect with you.

Outline the simple three or four step process of working with you.

Also, offer simple things your audience can do right away, like contact you for a free consultation or join your mailing list and get a free valuable download or a coupon.

For example:

  • Schedule a free 30-minute consultation
  • Get your 15% discount with your first purchase
  • Enjoy a free resource guide when you join our tribe

Mistake #5: Copy Overload

girl falling asleep on her computer

If you’re reading this post, you likely scanned it first before taking a closer look.

Few people will invest time in reading giant chunks of copy on a website.

As a colleague of mine likes to say, “people are scanners, not readers.” (Sigh. That about broke my tender loving writing heart the first time I heard it! )

Here are a few of my favorite hints for keeping your copy clean and easy to read:

  • Edit your content down by reworking clunky sentences.
  • Try reading your work aloud. If you come across a sentence that leaves you out of breath because of its length (and not because of its genius), that’s a good sign it needs to be reworked.
  • Break your content into easy-to-read sections.
  • Separate long paragraphs into several short paragraphs.
  • Integrate photos and subtitles, which are easier on the eye.
  • Write in shorter sentences and watch out for run-on sentences.
  • Make every word count and write in an active voice.
  • Use action-oriented bullets.
Need help dialing up or dialing down your copy? I can help!

You deserve to have copy that speaks your heart, reflects your business and connects with your ideal clients.

I’ll do the heavy word lifting so you can focus on caring for your clients and growing your business. Contact me for a free 30 minute consultation!

1 thought on “5 Writing Mistakes that Lose Prospects”

  1. Great article, Christa – I appreciate all of the help you’ve given me! I couldn’t coach and care for my clients if I had to focus on making my copy amazing…your work makes my job much easier!

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