Notes From A Former Copywriter About The Biggest Copywriting Mistakes

Copywriting is a lot harder than most people think. You have to have the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your target market, to understand what motivates them. 

You have to study what makes for a good headline, and how to use language that appeals to your audience and makes them want to buy from you. 

And you need the technical skills of editing and proofreading so that you don’t make silly spelling mistakes or send out an email with bad grammar. 

But all those things can be learned — what’s much more important is avoiding these common copywriting mistakes that too many people make, including myself when I was first starting:

3 BIGGEST Copywriting Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)
Key Takeaways
1. Recognize the Value of Clarity: Clear and concise copy is essential for conveying your message effectively. Avoid jargon and complexity that might confuse your audience.
2. Understand Your Audience: Tailor your copy to your target audience’s preferences, needs, and pain points to make your message resonate more strongly.
3. Avoid Overloading Information: Don’t overwhelm your readers with too much information. Focus on the most important points to maintain their engagement.
4. Test and Iterate: Continuously test different copy approaches and gather feedback to refine your copywriting strategy over time.
5. Storytelling Matters: Incorporate storytelling techniques to create an emotional connection with your audience, making your copy more memorable.
6. Address Objections: Anticipate and address potential objections in your copy to build trust and credibility with your readers.
7. Create a Compelling Call to Action (CTA): Craft a clear and compelling CTA that encourages readers to take the desired action, whether it’s clicking a link or making a purchase.
8. Proofread and Edit: Thoroughly proofread and edit your copy to eliminate grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistencies.
9. Keep Learning: Stay updated on copywriting trends and techniques to continuously improve your skills and adapt to changing audience preferences.
10. Embrace Feedback: Embrace constructive criticism and feedback from peers or mentors to enhance the quality of your copy.

1. Not Knowing Your Target Market

One of the biggest mistakes that writers make is not knowing their target market.

This is probably the most common mistake I see, especially among new writers. Your target market may be someone who’s never heard of your product before and needs to be convinced to buy it; 

Or they may already use a competitor’s product and need to hear why yours is better, or they may have bought from you in the past and need convincing that they should come back again this time.

Whatever it is, without knowing your target audience, you won’t be able to write copy that resonates with them and convinces them to buy what you have to sell.

Writing persuasive copy requires a deep understanding of your target audience. To craft compelling messages that resonate, take a look at our guide on The Secrets of Writing Copy that Converts for B2B Marketing. Learn how to connect with your audience’s pain points and desires to drive conversions.

2. Writing From Your Point Of View, Not Your Audience’s

This is a big one. You want to write the copy that resonates with your audience and makes them want to take action. To do this, you must first identify what’s important or valuable to them and what they need or want right now.

For example: If you’re writing a blog post for a fitness brand about how to get six-pack abs, then it makes sense for you not only to know everything there is about getting six-pack abs but also to have experience with it yourself. 

This means talking from personal experience (not someone else’s) and using language that authenticates who you are as an expert in this particular topic area.

3. Not Asking For The Sale

The number-one mistake people make is not asking for the sale. You may be a brilliant copywriter, but if you don’t ask for the sale at some point in your sales letter, they won’t buy from you.

To get them to spend money on buying your product or service, make it easy for them to do so by:

  • Make sure it’s clear what they’re getting (the benefits) and how much they’ll pay.
  • Make it easy for them to purchase this product by using either credit cards or PayPal buttons on every page of your website so that customers can complete their transaction without having tried another page first. 

The fewer clicks required before someone can buy something from you means higher conversion rates which translate into more sales!

Incorporating proven copy techniques can significantly enhance your marketing efforts. Dive into our article on The 19 Most Used Copy Techniques in B2B Marketing to discover powerful methods that captivate your readers and compel them to take action.

4. Forgetting To Address Counter-Objections

Counter-objections are anything that your potential customer could say in response to your ad or sales copy. You’ll want to anticipate these objections, and prepare persuasive answers for them.

For example, one of the most common counter-objections is “I can’t afford it.” This objection can be countered by pointing out how inexpensive your product or service is compared to its competitors and also by offering free shipping, a money-back guarantee, etc.

You might think that you should address every possible counter-objection in your copy but this isn’t necessary! 

It’s better if you focus on the most common ones (which vary depending on what kind of product or service you’re selling) and save the others for later revisions of your copy.

5. No Sense Of Urgency

Urgency is one of the most powerful ways to compel your audience to take action. 

Whether it’s a deadline, a limited offer, or the fact that they simply need to act now or miss out on something important, urgency is a great way to get people motivated and help them decide what they want from your copy.

Urgency can be useful in many situations:

  • You have an event coming up soon.
  • Your product has a limited time frame for delivery (like an online course).
  • The price of your product will increase if you don’t act quickly enough.

6. Not Using Active Voice

You’ve probably heard it before: “Active voice is more engaging!”

But what does that mean, exactly?

The simplest way to explain active voice is that it’s just what happens when a sentence’s subject acts as the verb. For example, in the sentence “I am eating pasta,” I (the subject) am doing something eating and so that’s an example of active voice.

If we rewrote our example as “Pasta is being eaten by me,” then we have a passive voice! 

The pasta has become a mere recipient of some unknown action performed by an unknown actor (me), which sounds weird and awkward compared to actively stating what I’m doing: “I am eating pasta.” See how easy it was to switch from passive to active?

Crafting marketing content that stands out and drives engagement requires a strategic approach. Explore our insights in How to Write Marketing Content that Gets More Click-Throughs to learn techniques that boost click-through rates and make your content irresistible.

7. No Call To Action — Or Too Many Calls To Action!

But what is a call to action? It’s the part of your copy that essentially says “now take action!” A call to action tells readers what to do next. 

You might have an entire sales page or even a website, but if you don’t have a clear, compelling, and easy-to-use call to action, then all that effort was for nothing!

Your call-to-action should be the most prominent part of your page — it should stand out from the rest of your content like a sore thumb (but not in an annoying way). 

If a reader has made it through everything else about your product or service and still doesn’t know what they’re supposed to do next…well then all hope is lost.

People must understand exactly what’s being asked of them when they’re given this opportunity; otherwise, they’ll just move on without ever making any kind of purchase decision at all.

8. Not Having A Compelling Offer

It’s easy to think of an offer as a sales pitch. It’s not. An offer can be anything that offers value to your reader, like an ebook or a webinar. You can also offer them something of value without charging anything at all like a free whitepaper or email series.

The important thing is that whatever you’re offering should be something of enough value that they will want it and that they are willing to pay for it if necessary. 

And remember: it doesn’t have to be expensive! If you’re targeting people with smaller budgets and don’t have much capital yourself, there are still plenty of ways to create compelling offers without breaking the bank (more on that later).

9. Not Making It Easy For People To Buy Their Products / Services Online

The number one reason why people don’t buy from you is that it’s too hard for them to buy. Make things easy by:

Making it easy for people to purchase your products or services online. This can mean offering e-commerce capabilities, hosting an online store, or simply making sure that shopping on your website is a good experience.

Have clear contact information and payment options so that people who are interested in buying what you’re selling can easily get in touch with you and pay for the product or service they want. 

You may think “people who are interested will just call me,” but if they don’t know how much you charge or how they should pay, most won’t bother calling at all — because it’s too much effort!

Developing a successful writing career involves more than just writing; it’s about honing your skills and learning from the best. Check out our recommendations in How to Build a Successful Writing Career: Books You Should Read to find essential reads that will elevate your writing journey.

10. Thinking Too Long-Term, Rather Than Focusing On Short-Term Results

The good news is, that there are ways to counteract this problem. You can optimize your copywriting strategy for short-term results and have it pay off in the long run.

For example, you might set a goal of landing one new client per month. Once you accomplish that goal, then you can set a goal of landing two clients per month and so on. Eventually, those initial small goals will lead to bigger ones that will help strengthen your business over time.

It’s important to focus on both short-term goals and long-term goals because they complement each other well: 

For your marketing efforts to work as effectively as possible over time (which is crucial if you want them to pay off), they should be grounded in something real and tangible so setting some simple, specific SMART goals is always helpful!

11. Trying To Be “Too Creative” With The Headline Or Sales Copy

When you’re writing for the Internet, it can be tempting to try and be “too creative” with your headlines or sales copy. 

This is a mistake because it’s hard to know how people will react to something that doesn’t sound like what they’re used to seeing online. There are some exceptions:

  • If you have an audience that you know well and understand their preferences, then go ahead and try something new! But if not, keep it simple.

Try these examples of creative headlines that work:

  • This article about the most common problems in writing headlines on the web today is one of those articles (okay)

12. Saying “You” Instead Of “I” Or “We”

When you’re writing copy, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

You should never use the word “you.” Ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about someone or something else, just don’t say it. Instead, say “we” or even “one.”

You also shouldn’t ever use the word “I,” unless you are referring to yourself (like when writing a first-person narrative). Instead of saying “I think,” try saying something like “We believe.”

And finally, don’t use any other pronoun with an I sound such as me or myself unless you’re specifically referencing someone who is speaking directly through your words. 

In other words: don’t write anything like this: “John thought that he was smarter and better than everyone else until Jane pointed out how dumb he was.”

13. Sending People Away From Sales Copy Instead Of Keeping Them There

The single biggest mistake I see people make in sales copy is sending people away from the page. They do this by either putting up barriers, making people work hard to get to the point, or asking for action up front.

For example: “Fill out this form so we can talk.” Or “Sign up for my email list and get a free PDF.” Or even just saying something like “Call me.” All of these are great tactics when it comes time for you to close the deal but none of them belong in your sales copy.

14. Writing Copy That’s Too Long

If you’re writing a website or blog post, it’s often a good idea to use short sentences and paragraphs. This makes the content easier on your readers’ eyes, and it’s also easier for them to digest what you’re saying.

If you’re creating sales copy or some other type of marketing message (such as an email or ad), then shorter sentences are still a good idea but they might not be enough to make the text easy to read by itself. 

That’s because people need breaks between words and ideas to process information in their brains quickly and efficiently and having long blocks of text can slow down that process significantly.

You’ll want to break up those long blocks of text with bullet points, and numbered lists.

And visuals like charts and graphs anything that helps break up the reading experience into smaller pieces will make it much easier for people to consume at face value without getting confused by what appears before their eyes.

15. Forgetting To Humanize Your Copy With Case Studies And Testimonials

When you’re writing sales copy, it’s easy to get caught up in the technical details of your product or service and forget about what makes people buy from you: human emotion. 

When you don’t focus on getting your readership excited about how your product or service will help them personally, they become less interested in what you’re offering and more inclined to abandon the page. 

But there’s a simple way around this problem: by including case studies and testimonials as part of your sales copy, you can use real-world examples of how other people have benefited from using your product or service.

16. Being Superficial Instead Of Giving Specifics

The most important thing to remember is that you have to be specific. Don’t just tell your customers that you will provide them with the best service, give them examples of what they can expect from their experience with you. 

If a customer comes across your website and sees “the best service,” what does that mean? What makes it better than anyone else’s? 

When a customer reads through the copy on your site, they should be able to get an idea of what they can expect from working with you or buying from your company.

In a noisy world, creating copy that captures attention and engages readers is a valuable skill. Dive into our insights on How to Write Compelling Copy in a World Full of Noise to discover strategies that cut through the clutter and resonate with your audience.

17. Hyperbole And Inflated Claims

When it comes to copywriting, hyperbole and inflated claims are the easiest way to get your audience’s attention. Unfortunately, they’re also the easiest way to lose their trust.

There are two reasons for this: 1) you need to be able to back up your claims with actual evidence and 2) when you make a wild claim that could potentially mislead people into believing something untrue (like if you said “this product will turn you into a billionaire within one week”).

Then it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s true; what matters is how many people think it might be true because, in their minds, there will always be some doubt about its veracity.

18. Lengthy Paragraphs And Too Many Words

Paragraphs are important. Use short ones.

Short sentences are also good.

Avoid lengthy paragraphs and sentences, especially when you’re writing for the web. If a paragraph is longer than six sentences or so, it’s time to break it up into multiple paragraphs if possible or at least separate them with subheads or bullet points (more on those below). 

This will keep your readers’ attention level high throughout the piece because they won’t have to struggle through long-winded blocks of text as they read through each section of information that you’ve provided. 

When writing copy that you want people to read through thoroughly (like an article), try not using more than 7-10 sentences per paragraph; if possible, try fitting all your points into one sentence per paragraph! 

And don’t worry about how long this makes each section; just focus on getting across what needs saying in as few words as possible while still being clear and concise about what you mean and keep reading for more tips on paragraphing!

It’s also important here not just because it makes things easier for readers like us who might get bored easily by reading dense paragraphs full of large words; 

But also because there’s research out there showing that people prefer shorter articles over longer ones when given a choice between equally good quality work from both sources (see link below). 

So no matter what kind of copywriting project we’re working on–whether it’s an email subject line or even just a tweet–we should always strive towards shorter pieces whenever possible instead of longer ones.”


It’s easy to understand why so many people make these mistakes. 

After all, we all have blind spots with our businesses and products and the last thing an entrepreneur wants is to miss out on a sale or a lead simply because they didn’t know how to avoid these common copywriting errors. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can learn from your mistakes and improve your copywriting skills in the process. For starters, you can read this post again (and send it along to anyone who has copywriting needs)! 

You can also check out our marketing blog for more great tips on how to write better sales pages, effective landing pages for your website, and helpful content marketing strategies that will attract new customers every day. Best of luck!

Further Reading

Common Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid: Learn about the prevalent errors writers make in their copy and discover ways to improve your writing skills.

6 Common Copywriting Mistakes That Hurt Content Marketing: Uncover common copywriting mistakes that can negatively impact your content marketing efforts and find solutions to enhance your strategy.

Avoiding Common Copywriting Mistakes: Delve into a discussion of the mistakes often seen in copywriting and gain insights into optimizing your copy for better results.


What are the key aspects of effective copywriting?

Effective copywriting involves understanding your target audience, conveying a clear and compelling message, and employing persuasive techniques to drive desired actions.

How can I avoid common copywriting mistakes?

To avoid common copywriting mistakes, focus on thorough proofreading, understanding your audience’s needs, using clear and concise language, and testing your copy for effectiveness.

What role does audience analysis play in copywriting?

Audience analysis is crucial in copywriting as it helps tailor your message to resonate with your target audience’s preferences, pain points, and motivations.

How can I improve my content marketing through better copywriting?

Improving content marketing through better copywriting involves crafting engaging headlines, creating valuable content, using persuasive language, and optimizing your copy for search engines.

What are some ways to enhance the persuasiveness of my copy?

To enhance the persuasiveness of your copy, consider using social proof, storytelling, addressing objections, incorporating benefits, and creating a sense of urgency.