Over the past six months, I’ve reviewed a LOT of sales and landing pages.
What’s funny is I keep running into the same copywriting conversion-killers….over and over again.
Curious? Here are the top eight:
1. The page isn’t skim-friendly
Most sales pages I’ve seen are not made for skimmers.
For starters, wayyyy too many folks use crossheads like “Frequently Asked Questions” or “What Customers Say.”
But…is that really gonna grab your reader’s attention as they’re scrolling down the page?
Don’t think so.
Problem is, many people aren’t going to read every single word of your sales page (sad, I know). They’ll just skim the crossheads—which means that those big words in bold have a lotta weight to pull.
So whatdya do? Well, instead of something like “What Customers Say,” your crosshead could be a quote from one particular customer…or say how their life was transformed after buying your product.
Take a look at how Copyhackers does it (on their Copy School sales page):
Notice also how they bold certain words in the testimonial (making the copy even more skim-friendly).
2. The copy is impersonal
I’ve seen many course and membership creators talk about themselves in third person.
No bueno. People wanna buy from someone that they can *relate* to (not a stuffy corporate org).
So in the section where you introduce yourself, talk in first person. Share your story of struggle and transformation —and why you’re now able to help your prospects undergo their own transformation.
3. The copy is generic
Most pages I reviewed didn’t rely on VOC research.
(Really no bueno).
Wanna know how I know? ‘Cause the copy wasn’t specific. And it didn’t *sound* like stuff people would say.
Good copy is pulled from your customers’ mouths. It’s concrete. Relatable. Sticky. It gets them to visualize the pain they’re feeling and the desired outcome. It has them nodding their heads as they’re reading and thinking “Whoa. This person GETS me.”
So instead of telling your prospects that your course or program will help them to “create a joyful, fulfilled life” (something that could apply to any human being…or animal), spell out what a “joyful” or “fulfilled” life actually means for them. Paint them a picture.
Here’s another example from Copyhackers:
Can’t you just *feel* the pain? I can. ‘Cause the copy is uber specific.
Copyhackers isn’t trying to appeal to everyone here. They aren’t writing to the confident, know-it-all copywriters. They aren’t writing to the non-copywriter entrepreneurs who want to learn copy for their own business. They’re writing exclusively to the amateur freelance copywriter who second guesses themselves.
And that’s the other thing (that I learned from Copyhackers actually): you want to write to One Reader. Not two. Not three. But one.
Once you *know* who your One Reader is and what’s going through their mind before, during and after the buying process (thank you, VOC research!), you’ll be able to write that super specific copy.
4. The copy is stilted
“Reclaim your inner power!”
“Unravel your inner truth!”
“Connect to your higher self”
Do these words mean anything to you? They sure as hell don’t mean anything to me. And I mean…does anyone actually *talk* like that?
Nobody I know. But I see soooooo many course-creators and coaches using this type of language in their copy.
And it’s easy to do! But here’s a trick to make sure your copy sounds au naturel: Ask yourself if your ICA would say those words on the page. Can you imagine them saying “help me unravel my inner truth!” or “I want to reclaim my inner power!”
Try reading those words aloud. If it sounds like it comes out of an Eckhart Tolle book, cut it out.
And remember: Your copy should be so crystal clear that your readers don’t have to wonder for a single second what it means. If they do, you’ll lose ’em.
5. The main headline is the name of the offer
I noticed that many sales pages dove right into the offer, with the hero section headline as the name of the course or membership.
But tbh…unless your prospect is your mom, they don’t *care* about the name of your product. They just wanna know how you can help them.
Instead, meet your prospect where they’re at. What are they thinking as they land on the page?
You could try asking a question to draw your readers in. Sympathize with a pain point. Or highlight the main outcome or transformation of your offer.
6. The messaging hierarchy isn’t intentional
To that end, most of the sales pages I’ve seen have alllll-over-the-place messaging.
Your copy should flow in an intentional, logical way. The copy should be prioritized based on where your visitor is in the buying journey and the goal of your landing page. Anything else is just sloppy (and less likely to convert).
As you write the page, think about what’s going through your prospect’s mind as they land on the page. What do you need to say to get them to take action by the time they get to the bottom of the page?
Think of your page as a conversation with your reader. And map out the messages based on that.
This lil’ image from Copyhackers explains it quite nicely:
7. CTAs aren’t value-driven
I saw a lotta CTAs like “Join Now” and “Sign Up”.
Here’s a question for ya: Would one of those CTAs make you want to purchase?
Didn’t think so.
How about instead, you give your readers a reason to sign up. Have calls-to-value instead of calls-to-action (I credit Joanna Wiebe for teaching me that).
So let’s say you’re selling a guitar course. Instead of something like “Join Now,” you could have the CTA on your sales page be “Start mastering guitar” or “Become the next Jimi Hendrix.”
A little more click-worthy, wouldn’t ya say?
Then once your prospect is on the checkout page, you can have your call-to-action (ie: “Purchase Now”) so it’s crystal clear what the next step is.
8. Too much filler copy (aka words/sentences that don’t add value)
I saw a lotta “Welcome to my page” or “Let me begin by saying…” or “I’m so excited to have you join the course!”
News flash: That type of copy isn’t moving your prospects any closer to checkout. So toss it out.
And then…get your copy critiqued by an expert (like moi😉).
Wanna see my feedback in action first? Take a look at what I had to say about this sales page. It was written by a copywriter–but as you can see, I saw *a lot* of room for optimization.