Potpourri looks pretty, but no matter how much you’re told it makes a room deliciously fragrant, it doesn’t.
After a while you realise you just have a bowl of nice-looking, dead leaves in your front room.
Now, similarly, you want your business copy to look nice, BUT you also want (and need) it to WORK. Which means: pull readers in, sell your product and build your mailing list.
So, is the copy on your business guilty of “appearing” to be marvellous at the expense of being useful? Let’s find out by seeing if you can spot any of these on your site:
Over The Top Analogies
When you’re in the business of explaining ideas to people, you don’t want it to feel like school. You want to jazz things up. You want your copy to jump off the page and grab them by the eyes… in a very affectionate kind of way.
And you might be tempted to use an analogy or two to help you explain your ideas. You have to be careful though, because if your analogy is too fancy, and hard to make sense of, it’s like adding an extra layer of wrapping paper when all your customers want to do is get to the birthday present (see…)
Have you ever felt that life is like a lamp? Sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re off, sometimes your fuse is blown, and sometimes you feel like the filament in your bulb has gone, but you haven’t got any spares, and when you go to the store to get some, you can’t remember if it’s a screw top or a push pin…
You get the picture. 🙂
Using Fancy Words
In school you were rewarded for big fancy words. I used to carry my thesaurus everywhere and one word was never good enough if there were ten I could use. Which would have been great if my teachers wanted to give me money for being fancy, they didn’t. And neither will your customers.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Writing directly to your customer in the most straight-forward language, is not about dumbing down. It’s about using your copy so that it’s engaging and easy to understand.
So, are you using words such as “accelerate” and “sufficient” when “speed up” or “enough” would do? Writing can make us put our “professional” head on, and you want to be writing copy like you’re talking to a good friend, not your college professor.
You give them rice cakes when they want steak
“State of the art” “first class” and “leading company” are just a few examples of empty words that do nothing to make an impact on your audience. They look important, but don’t actually do anything, (much like a guy I knew who had a silver briefcase that only had a packet of gum and a ruler in…)
If you want to do some research, Google “marketing companies” and read through the copy on a handful of sites that come up. I will guarantee that you find the same empty phrases cropping up. And because everyone’s using them, no one company gets to stand out. (Just to note, I have nothing against marketing companies, it’s just the first industry I found on Google where there were a lot of these “empty” words ocurring.)
So, are you making any of these mistakes? Have you been tempted to be over-flowery in your web copy and then realised it’s not worked? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂