8 Copy Elements that Kill Your Credibility and Conversions

copy elements credibility

Writing is difficult.

But so is selling.

And the words on your website combine the two.

Your copy not only presents you to your prospects, it affects your sales too. Your website, landing pages, blog posts and anything else you publish around the web contribute to your credibility.

Your copy therefore is your sales person. It whispers to a customer’s ear how much they may need you. It overcomes all their objections, tells them you are the one to help them with their problem. And it silently tempts them to move to the contact page.

Or it doesn’t.

Your copy may also be scaring potential customers away, confusing them. It may work like that salesman who doesn’t know when to stop. Or the guy who swears during a presentation. Picks his nose. Sneezes right at you. Or never shows up.

Your copy has an enormous power to influence your credibility. It can position you as an authority, bringing you leads and other opportunities in the process. Or it can defer anyone from ever buying from you.

And there are many elements that can contribute to the latter.

Misspellings, Errors and Factual Mistakes

Just like a stain on your shirt would probably make a bad first impression on your sales call, so would a typo on your website. Misspellings are a surefire way to damage your credibility. It won’t matter how powerful and authoritative your advice is, a single typo is going to ruin it all.

The same applies to other errors, grammar, style or even mixing up common knowledge data. All this will present you as either an ignorant or someone who doesn’t pay attention to the details. And needless to say, neither are good business characteristics.

Lack of or Wrong Attribution

Presenting data equals authority, I am sure you know that already. Citing well known facts or interesting information is a good way to show your expertise and build trust and credibility.

But, lack of any form of attribution or worse, a wrong one will diminish both in your reader’s eyes.

copy elements affecting conversions

Writing Solely About Yourself

It’s hard to take someone who writes only about themselves seriously. At the same time, so many company websites sport the “we are…” approach. They go and talk at length about what they do, continually using the “we this” and “we that” form.

But customers don’t care about your company. They only care about how you can help them. Boasting copy about yourself only gives an impression of you being so self-centred that you most likely won’t even pay attention to a client’s project you are working on.

Weak Headlines

In his book Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy famously said: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

Headlines grab the readers attention and offer them the reason to read the first paragraph of the copy. But poor headlines, with no value at all push them not only to abandon the copy but leave a very bad impression on the reader, often grading the author or publication as low quality.

Saying Too Much

Do you know what’s scarier than a door to door salesman? One that doesn’t know when to stop. I am sure you’ve encountered them before. Even though you are ready to buy, he or she keeps on babbling about the product, features and other bits you are no longer interested in, making you to think only of ways to get out of the meeting as fast as possible.

Your copy offers visitors all the information they need to make an informed buying decision, overcome their objections and present them with an option to make the next step.

But too much copy will act like that salesman who didn’t know when to shut up. It will overload the visitor with information they don’t need and distract them from continuing down the conversion path.

Saying Not Enough

Just like you can overdo on the information you provide your visitors with, you can also provide not enough of it, making their buying decision difficult to make. Striking that healthy balance between length and information you provide can be tricky sometimes. Therefore test your copy rigorously to uncover what amount of information works the best for your audience.

Using Generic or Unrelated Images

Images are an integral part of your copy. They support your message and even add a twist or second meaning to it. But they can also cause confusion or show your lack of professionalism. Just think what is your impression of a chain link image used to illustrate link building? Or a group of blue collar people sitting around a conference table to illustrate corporation?

Web visitors are well accustomed to those images to a point of not believing them anymore. Therefore, if you can’t provide other, better quality images, consider using apps like Canva to create custom graphics for your posts.

Or don’t include images at all.


Creative commons image: Oriol Salvador / Flickr

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