Do You Make These Mistakes In Copywriting?


Every business is a marketing business and every entrepreneur is a copywriter.

Copy isn’t just an ad. Copy is what you say to your customer or client.

Copy is your tweet, your post and your comment. Copy is how you communicate your brand’s message.

So as an entrepreneur you must be as mindful of your copy as you are of your message.

This blog is designed to teach entrepreneurs, coaches and small business owners the ethical principles of marketing including copywriting. And this post is about the elements of successful copy as well as the mistakes to avoid when writing or speaking your copy.

First, let’s define copy. Copy is anything written, spoken or recorded that is geared toward selling your product or service.

Copywriting is one of the most important and lucrative skills you can develop. And ethical copywriting practices win the hearts and minds of your customers and clients.

Wouldn’t you rather win someone’s trust rather than manipulate them?

What Does Good Copywriting Do?

Good copy whether it’s spoken or written builds awareness, trust and likability. It also sets you up as an authority and gives people a clear idea of what you’re selling. And it does one more thing, it gives your readers, viewers and followers the desire to share your info.

It’s the know > like > trust ratio. Add share and you’ve got good copy.

Speak to your readers’ inner triggers and motivations to enhance their Know > Like > Trust ratio

The Customer Personas Map shows you how.

Click here to get the Personas Map now for $0.00 >>


And good copy can be the written word as well as a traditional ad but it can also be what you say at the end of a talk or webinar. Or a Facebook or Instagram post or a tweet.

I’ve got some successful templates for you to follow. And all this month I’m going to give you the best templates, words and headlines that sell. But this post is going to breakdown the elements of successful copy and show you all the freshmen mistakes to avoid.

5 Elements That Make Good Copy Great

First Element: Get Their Attention

The first rule of Copywriting: spend MOST of your time writing your headline.

The second rule of Copywriting: spend MOST of your time writing your headline.

A successful headline is the most important part of your copy. So this is where you need to spend most of your time. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule or the Pareto Principle.

Here is a great article explaining the Pareto Principle and how to use effectively in your business.

So 20% of your effort will account for 80% of your results.

In copywriting this means that 80% of your effectiveness will come from 20% of your ad, and that is always the headline because people read the headline first.

Sadly, most people will only read the headline unless the headline causes them to keep reading.

And let me be clear, the ONLY point of a headline is to get them to read the ad.

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents of your dollar.”
—David Ogilvy

So you need to spend 80% of your time writing the headline and 20% of your time writing the body of the ad or copy. According to only 20% of readers finish an article. Most read the headline and jump to the next cortisol cocktail.

So make your effort mean something and spend most of your time on the headline.

Second Element: Show People Their Advantage

Tell people why your product or service is different and better. This usually includes a list of benefits as well as a list of features. Don’t confuse the two.

Benefits show people what will happen when they use your product or service.

Features show people how unique your product is and how it differs from other products.

A feature is “anti-lock brakes.” Well, what’s so great about anti-lock breaks? This will lead you to the benefits. The benefit is keeping your family safe.

Keep answering the question, “what is so great about that?” A benefit wins the heart, a feature wins the head. A feature, in this case, is a no-brainer. Of course you want anti-lock brakes (the head). The feature will lead to the benefit of keeping your family safe (the heart).

Related Post: What Is Your Marketing Message Strategy? 
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When an ad is broken down to its smallest parts it seems almost comical how easy and simple the idea is. But conveying your great idea in as few words as possible is what separates good from great.

Third Element: Prove it

Basically, this is where you roll out your reviews and 5 stars. It’s also where you can use your testimonials. Testimonials are a great way to prove that your product works and people like and use it.

You can also use case studies here, where people have used the product over time with great results.

Fourth Element: Persuade Them To Take Advantage

Use Your Words

Successful copywriting is like seduction. It doesn’t push you towards a product. It pulls you in gently. Selling is being pushy. It’s pimping. You know when someone is trying to ‘make a sale’ and it’s a turn off. Amiright?

People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.
—Jeffrey Gitomer

What if there were power words to pull and seduce people ethically into your world or into your offer? Words you can just slot into your copy or use during a pitch to take the work out of ‘selling’.

There are. There’s about 10 of them.

Victor Schwab was an executive assistant at the turn of the 20th century who went on to become “the greatest mail order copywriter of all time.”

Schwab was an avid researcher and became a research pioneer for his efforts in effective copywriting. One of his projects was to look at all his and others’ best ads and all their worst and failing ads. He wanted to find out if successful copy had a pattern and a formula. It does.

He came up with a list of words that are still used today almost 100 years later.

These words encourage people to take advantage of an offer. These are the most ethically influential words in copywriting:


1. You

2. Your

3. How

4. These

5. Who

6. Money

7. New

8. People

9. Want

10. Why

Here are some examples:

“How to win friends and influence people” – one of the best-selling books of all time.

“Do you make these mistakes in English?” – one of the most successful ads of all time. It ran for 40 years.

“Who else wants to lose 10 pounds in just seven days?” duh.

Get in the habit of using these words in your copywriting and speaking. And study successful copywriters. In addition to Victor Schwab, check out Gary Bencivenga and Eugene Schwartz.

Fifth Element: This isn’t 2050 and That’s Not Bruce Willis

Your Call-To-Action

What do you want people to do? How do they access your product or service? You have to give them an action to take in the body of your copy so they know what to do next. You must direct their energy.

An on-page CTA may be “like, comment and share” or Click Here to direct them to your sales page. If you’re speaking to an audience your CTA may be “I have a special offer for you so go to the back of the room to find out more,” or “I’ll be signing books so stick around to get your copy signed.”

It’s a no-brainer when you think about it but always have a CTA. Always. Have a CTA in all your social profiles, posts, articles and presentations. Remember everything is copy.

These are the five elements that Victor Schwab recorded as the foundation of successful copywriting. They are as solid today as they were 94 years ago. And. They. Work. Use. Them.

Bonus Element

Offer a guarantee. If you’re supremely comfortable with the effectiveness of your product or service guarantee it. And to be clear, you should be that comfortable whether you offer a guarantee or not.

Offering a guarantee is not necessary but it shows your customer or client a ‘next level’ of confidence that you want to pass on to them.

The Dark Side of Copywriting: Persuasion Vs. Manipulation

The reason you want to study the greats of copywriting is because these guys made all the mistakes. So now you don’t have to.

Those mistakes include manipulating people rather than persuading them.

That’s a fine line but you have to know where it is as an entrepreneur. You don’t want to be a manipulator. And you don’t want to be unethical in your dealings with your market. Writing persuasive and ethical copy is an art form. It’s also your duty to your market if you want to build trust in your brand.

There is a dark side to copy.

There are some great copywriters who do things that are not ethical. That is how powerful copy is. Copywriting is manipulation. There is ethical manipulation and unethical manipulation.

I’m not interested in unethical bribery or manipulation. The fact is people understand and accept that there is a little manipulation that goes along with advertising. What they don’t like is to be lied to or unethically manipulated.

I’m not here to unethically manipulate anyone. I’m here to teach ethical strategies for winning hearts and minds with great copy. That’s it.

Win the heart and then follow up with the head. Don’t start with logic. You won’t sell yourself out of a paper bag. Go for the heart first. And do it ethically.

3 Mistakes to Avoid Writing Your Own Copy

Mistake # 1: Not Speaking To A Specific Avatar

You must know your ideal customer.

At Marketing Online my ideal customer is a coach or trainer who is not getting the results they want. They’ve tried many other mentors. They’ve tried many how-to courses.

“Do not address your readers as though they are gathered in a stadium. When people read your copy they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.
—David Ogilvy

If I speak to the avatar directly I’m a better copywriter.

You want to be personal and speak directly to an individual. So you have to know what kind of individual you’re speaking to.

Is your ideal a client a man or a woman? Is your ideal client an entrepreneur or a stay-at-home mom or dad? How old is your ideal client? How do they spend their time off?

You have to know these questions if you’re going to speak directly to your ideal client. The more personal the copy, the more effective it will be.

Related Post: What Is Your Marketing Message Strategy? 
Related Post: Know Your Customer – How To Find Out What Your Customers Want 
Related Post: Who Else Wants More Reviews for Their Business?

Think of a dartboard as an analogy. Your avatar is the yellow bullseye on a dartboard. You want to hit the bullseye or as close to it as possible. The more you know about your target the more precise you’ll be.

Mistake # 2: An Unclear Call-To-Action

The whole point of copy is to get your ideal customer to take action. This is called direct-response copy. So after the headline figure out your call-to-action.

“What do I want them to do?”

“Which sales page or product page do I want to direct them to?”

You have to direct their interest or else what’s the point of writing copy? Direct their attention and their interest. Persuade them and then give them something to do.

And make sure your CTA is clear and concise.

Mistake # 3: Failing To A/B Split Test

What is an A/B split test?

An A/B split test is writing two different headlines for the same copy and then testing which one is more effective. That’s a simple A/B split test.

Whichever one wins is the one you use. An A/B split test example is:

A: “Put music in your home”


B: “Puts music in your home”

“Puts music in your home” won. By one letter, ‘s’.

When you get something that works that’s called the control. Then you do another A/B split test against that one.

You can test headlines, subject lines, first sentences and email copy. Test your copy. Just because it’s finished doesn’t mean it’s the winner.

You’d be surprised what can happen when you test. You’ll improve. If you test once a week, you’ll improve.

You can’t improve what you don’t test.

The Wrap Up

Copywriting is essential to every business. If you’re an entrepreneur chances are you’re doing your own copywriting. Or you did until you were able to hire someone else to do it for you.

Successful copywriting is simple if you use these elements and avoid these mistakes. But it’s not easy. You have to write. And you have to rewrite. You have to do the work.

But when your copywriting is successful your business is successful. Because people are buying what you’re selling. And you don’t need a test for that. It’s your bottom line.

There are different ways to write copy for different personality types. Click Here to find out the different avatar personalities and how to write copy for each of them.

Do you do your own copywriting? What’s the most successful headline you’ve ever used in your business?

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