5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make Writing Copy That Cost Them $500,000+

5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make Writing Copy That Cost Them 0,000+

I fired all my ad teams, social media managers, and copywriters to 100x my revenue with copy alone

5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make Writing Copy That Cost Them 0,000+
Photo by Unsplash on Unsplash

I have a confession I’m embarrassed to admit: Coming off the heels of Wall Street and into my first entrepreneurial ventures (and subsequent failures), I thought copywriting was a bunch of fluff. At the time, I assumed ads and influencers were the “be all, end all” when it came to marketing — so I dumped my life savings into them. Spoiler alert: It didn’t go very well. Cue a broke wantrepreneur who’d drained her 6-figure bank account with nothing more than a big, fat negative ROI to show for it.

Today, my businesses look immensely different from those early failures, “flailures”, and miniature successes (the ones that made money, but ate it just as fast). In fact, I’ve since fired all my ad, tech, and marketing teams and swapped them out for a few hours spent writing the copy myself. Just to be clear, I’m not a copywriter-for-hire or someone who sells a copywriting course; I’m just an entrepreneur who’s found that I can exponentially increase my ROI with the right words on the screen (to the tune of $400k+ for certain products from copy alone).

While I write my own copy, I’ve also been the accidental recipient of a professional copywriter in my earlier business-building life. I can guarantee you that hiring a pro doesn’t protect you from cheesy sales pages, zero-click emails, and overall lackluster results. What does? Avoiding these 5 mistakes:

This is one of the easiest and completely free opportunities available to you, but I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs I speak with who admit they haven’t stalked their competitors’ sales pages, pop-ups, emails, and funnels. This is one of those no-brainer actions that’s only yours to regret passing up.

By the way, stalking their copy doesn’t mean copying or even mimicking it. You may stalk a competitor’s marketing, only to decide you vow to do just the opposite and attract a different audience. However, you won’t know what to do similarly or differently if you don’t know what they’re doing in the first place. Here are a few questions I’d ask myself while stalking:

  • Do they use pop-ups? If so, what do they offer?
  • How long are their sales pages?
  • Would you resonate with or buy what they’re spewing?
  • What’s their email cadence?
  • Does it feel pushy or like a no-brainer purchase?

Once you know what you do and don’t like about your competition’s marketing, you’ll be able to craft your company’s unique voice.

The vast majority of entrepreneurs approach copy in one of two ways:

  1. Either they believe it’s so unimportant they can just whip a few calls to action together and generate sales
  2. Or they decide it’s not worth their time or mental energy, so they farm it out to a low-cost outsourced freelancer and assume it’ll be good.

In my own experience, neither is the way to go. Good products with bad copy do not sell, and if they do, they sell far less than they would with highly-compelling, good copy.

Likewise, hiring a professional does not guarantee sales or any return at all. In fact, I’ve seen US-based “top” marketing teams hire their in-house copywriters to do client work and deliver the exact same email sequences for multiple different clients in similar industries. I’ve even been one of those unlucky client recipients saddled with a CRM full of rip-off copy my $12k retainer marketing team provided.

Take it from me: Marketing copy is far too important to blindly farm out with low standards and no oversight. If you do hire a copywriter, comb through every headline, phrase, and word. Just because the grammar is right doesn’t mean the message is compelling or believable.

I’m a pretty black-and-white facts-focused person, but apparently most customers aren’t. I’ve had to learn the hard way that even if your product or service is objectively better than your competitors, if you fail to connect with customers emotionally, you probably won’t sell as well as a competitor with a subpar product but strong customer connection.

Copy is a great opportunity to be real, timely, relevant, and vulnerable. What does you customer like, love, hate, and fear? What do you or your company have in common with that customer? How can you or your company get that customer to a better place?

At the end of the day, benefits, outcomes, and emotions are far more compelling sales tactics than simply harping on facts and features.

Addressing a customer’s fears sells. Exacerbating (and then resolving) their guilt sells. Identifying and solving their insecurities sells. You can make sales a no-brainer if you focus on the right pain points and the benefits that address them.

There’s a funny marketing statistic that’s been floating around for the past decade or so implying that prospects need to see something 7 times before they buy. Some people think 7 is a lot…

I don’t think 7 is a lot; I think — and know, from experience with multiple companies — that 7 is a lie. One of my companies keeps leads in our sequences for 2 to 3 years sometimes; they’re still profitable. Do they hear from us more than 7 times before making a purchase? You bet.

In reality, depending on the company, seasonality, product, pricing, timing, and audience, they might need to hear from you 17 times or 70 times. It doesn’t really matter, so long as the customer acquisition cost is less than your customer lifetime value and you’re okay with the necessary conversion window.

If you abide by some arbitrary number like 7 emails, 7 days, 7 weeks, or any other random figure pulled out of thin air, you may be cutting off leads or switching up your marketing efforts just when they were about to convert. Successful business can be in many ways a numbers game, but that number isn’t fixed for all companies, and it surely isn’t 7.

Speaking of numbers, this is another huge mistake I see so many entrepreneurs making and prolong their low-profit (or no-profit) flailing venture. Some of them are intimidated by their own software and analytics, and others are just afraid to look at the numbers because they don’t want to know what they’ll say. You should aim to be neither of those people.

If you’re intimidated by a single thing in your business — whether it’s your website editor, your advertising platform, or your CRM dashboard, etc. — the very next thing you should do is conquer that fear. A profitable, lean business is kind of like a house: You should never have dark, scary, cluttered corners and obscure crevices you’re afraid to go near. Why would you want to live like that? You wouldn’t; you’d face the spiders, move the clutter, turn on the lights, and clean it out. You should approach your business — and all its relevant tools and software — the exact same way.

  • Look at the open rates
  • Look at the click-throughs
  • Test out different subject lines
  • See how many customers unsubscribed with that last urgent email

Unsubscribes are not bad. Unopens are not bad. They’re simply data. It’s this data that enables you to test, tweak, and improve your business for the next potential customer. Thank the ones who’ve left and spruce up your marketing for the ones to come; you — and your future customers — will thank me later.

Go to Publisher:

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

Author: Rachel Greenberg