Kernel of doubt? Or chicken of doom? Bad copy vs average copy.
We all want the best for our business. But sometimes we opt for the cheapest or fastest option.
When you’re starting out, that’s okay. Consumers are a little more forgiving of new brands, going along with DIY logos and a basic website.
As a brand grows so do customer expectations. They assume that if you’re making a certain number of sales, you’ve got enough to invest in a decent set-up.
- A modern, easy to navigate website.
- Attractive social media posts in the same colour palette and fonts.
- A smooth email campaign, set up to delight and provide extra value every step of the way.
But you’re busy providing exceptional services and must-have products. Your customers don’t see how business growth brings a heck of a lot more work.
When you do get time to work on your business, what do you start with? We often jump to the easiest task. A quick win makes you feel more productive.
And that’s why refreshing your copy slides down the list like an ice cream melting down a scorching road. Rewriting your website content is not quick or easy.
It takes time, thought and planning to turn blah writing into yeah baby.
Before I turn you off ever editing your website, let’s look at why it’s so darn important to have good copy. Bad copy is like a chunk of fried chicken stuck between your front teeth when you’re on a date.
You’ve wooed your prospect all the way along, leading up to the wonderful moment of action. You lean in for the kiss or the click…
But they’re gone. Vanished.
When your words don’t make sense or don’t inspire trust, it instantly repels your audience. No matter how much they love your product.
But average copy is different.
You’ve made it past dinner and you’re holding hands at the movies. They’re on your website happily clicking through the pages. Then your prospect gets a piece of popcorn kernel stuck in their gum.
They’re feeling a little uncomfortable but they’re not sure why. They start to fidget, moving around your site randomly, looking for the source of their discomfort.
You wonder what’s wrong, everything seemed fine.
They try to ignore it and keep watching the movie – clicking around on your site. But that little kernel keeps irritating them. They try wriggling it out with their tongue by visiting your social media pages.
They can’t reach it. It’s stuck right up the back.
They excuse themselves to the bathroom and look in the mirror. That’s when they’ve left your site and you think the sale is lost.
But then they reappear. They seem keen to move to the next phase, the delightful kiss – clicking your call to action.
Still, they’re bothered by the kernel. Leaning back or clicking back a page. You’re left wondering what the heck is going on?
When you’re copy is sort of good but not great, it interrupts the reader’s flow.
Instead of following along the journey you’ve set up for them and enjoying the experience, questions pop up. They start to doubt if you’re right for them.
They wonder if they should revisit previous dates, check them out a bit more.
Oh, but you seem so good. And yet, no, it just doesn’t feel right.
Underestimating the importance of the way you communicate with your audience will cost your business.
What does average copy look like?
Average copy is a sneaky little sucker because at a glance it looks okay. It’s only when you dig around a bit that you find it’s a little rough.
So let’s look at a couple of examples.
Bad copy: We spent much time contemplating the required equipment necessary to provide you with a full range of workout choices.
Average copy: We’ve made sure we have all of the equipment you need such as our TRX straps, trap bars, deadlift bars, double pulley machines and more.
Good copy: Our purpose-built gym has all the equipment you need to maximise your gains.
I know what you’re thinking. No one writes bad copy like that. Um, yeah they do. I see some pretty crummy sentences out in the digital wilderness.
When you look at the average vs good copy above, what’s the difference?
Fewer words. Cutting down your sentences makes them easier to digest.
But also, it’s got more oomph because it talks about the benefit, not just the features.
What about this one?
Bad copy: In my opinion, it’s better to commence a sustainable healthy way of living and choose beneficial food options for your body and mind, so I coach you towards that.
Average copy: I will teach you how to establish a sustainable healthy routine along with having a decent relationship with food.
Good copy: Helping you create a positive relationship with food and healthy habits for life.
The last option isn’t short or punchy, but it’s far less waffly. Whatever you’re trying to say, use the minimum words needed to get the message across.
A quick note about editing existing content versus writing new content.
Editing existing copy is hard.
Writing new copy is easier because you’ve got the freedom to create it however you like. But editing means deciding which bits stay, which go and whether you need to replace them.
You’ve got to weigh each word you already have against better options. To keep the flow as you rip out chunks and add in new parts takes a trained eye.
If you’re going to write your own copy, make sure you get it edited by a pro or at least proofread by someone outside of your business. They’ll help you find any clunky sentences or point out where the reader might get confused.
Your consumers are asking themselves – is this who I want to be with?
The purpose of your copy is to show them that you’re what they need. Along with providing a service or product they’ll adore. You understand who they are and what they’re struggling with.
Beyond attractive, witty or wealthy, the most sought-after trait in a partner is someone who listens and takes the time to get to know us.
We all want to feel understood. You do this by making your copy relatable, conversational and targeted to your audience.
The right words build trust and connection. And your tone of voice tells them the type of brand you are.
Combine the two to woo your audience and prompt the action you desire.
Don’t let the kernel of doubt get in the way of converting them into your biggest fan.