Lost sales. Confused audiences. Wasted marketing dollars.

These are just a few consequences of bad copywriting.

Other potential aftershocks of weak-sauce copy include reduced SEO ranking, decreased customer engagement, and damaged brand reputation.

Want your copy’s fate to be different?

Then you must avoid these common copywriting mistakes. Only then your copy would excite, engage, and convert.

#1: Writing to the Wrong Person

The No.1 mistake newbie copywriters make is writing to the wrong person.

It’s like promoting a high-end luxury car with messaging that resonates with penny-pinching college-going students.

While your copy may make the wide-eyed teenager Google the car to know more about its features, none of them will do what you (and your client) wants them to – PURCHASE THE DAMN CAR!

It’s for this reason that expert content marketers write for one person only – one who is already interested in what they’re offering.

Otherwise, all you’d be doing is churning out misdirected copy, leading to wasted time, effort, and resources.

How to Fix it? Research your target audience. Address their frustrations, pain points, needs, and desires in your copy.

For example, if your research shows that your potential customers highlight convenience above all else, your copy should reflect how your product saves time or simplifies its customer’s lives.

Similarly, if you’re marketing an anti-acne cream, your target audience may be dealing with acne breakouts and seeking solutions for clear, healthy skin.

#2: Listing too many benefits

Imagine you’re at a buffet with dozens of dishes to choose from.

Instead of enjoying the flavors you have filled your plate with, your mind would keep wandering toward those you’re yet to try, leaving you unsatisfied.

The sight of the remaining dishes alone would put a ceiling on your excitement levels, making it difficult for you to savor each bite to the fullest.

Just like that, when you mention too many benefits in your copy, your audience feels overwhelmed, unable to focus on what’s most important.

This takes their attention away from your product’s key selling points, those that could potentially turn them from skeptic readers into lifelong customers.

How to Fix it? When describing the benefits of your product, focus on the few compelling ones that will make them eager to learn more.

For instance, if you’re writing copy for a coffee maker, highlight how the product’s advanced brewing technology gives a perfect cup every time may make your reader more likely to buy the machine.

#3: Using jargon words

There’s nothing more off-putting to readers than coming across terms they have never heard of.

Need proof?

Put yourself in the shoes of a first-time gym goer who went to the establishment to lose weight.

While in the gym, they came across a fitness instructor, who, while approachable and friendly, kept using terms such as “macros,” “HIIT,” and “AMRAP,”.

Although easy to decipher for gym rats, these terms have the unique ability to confuse most people (including your writer), forcing them towards the exit door.

Now imagine an opposite scenario — an instructor using simple terms to break down what you need to do to slim down to your ideal weight.

Which of the two instructors’ advice you be more likely to follow?!

The same lesson applies to copywriting.

Just as our imaginary gym instructor would be better off making their message clear and concise, a copywriter who uses easy-to-follow words in their copy would be more likely to generate sales.

That’s not the only reason you should stick to everyday language in your copy.

Nearly half the adult US population (around 150 million Americans) read below a sixth-grade level. To them, anything written above that grade can be written in French for all they care as it won’t affect them one bit.

Unless your writing is clear and concise, it will never be able to reach its target audience, let alone generate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sales — the goal of every copywriter on the planet.

How to Fix it? Use the Flesh Reading Ease (FRE) – a score that grades your writing for readability. FRE ranges between 1 and 100, and the higher the score, the more readable a piece of content is.

Aim for an 80+ score unless you’re writing copy for a super-technical product, in which case you could aim lower.

#4: Neglecting the power of headings and subheadings

A copy with weak headings and subheadings is like a supermarket with zero signs indicating where to find your favorite snacks — in both cases, visitors won’t find what they were looking for

In fact, using boring titles and subtitles in your copy would do more and instant damage than building a supermarket without markers.

Here’s why I am saying that.

Once you’re inside a supermarket, you’re likely to spend more than a few minutes there, whereas readers don’t take more than a few seconds to turn the page on the copy they feel is wasting their time.

Another reason to take the power of headings seriously is that in most cases that is the only element in your copy readers will notice.

This has been confirmed by numerous studies — here, here, and here — which reveal that only 2 out of 10 readers go past the headlines.

As such, unless your headings are clear and actionable, your readers won’t even turn to the body’s copy, let alone take the action (signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, filling out a survey form, etc.) you want them to take.

How to Fix it? Use descriptive language in your headings. One that entices the reader to at least read the next immediate sentence.

Another thing you could do is provide additional context in your subheadings. Remember, your headings should act as signposts, directing the reader to key sections of the copy.