Are You Committing These 10 Sales Copywriting Crimes?

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Sorry for the cliché, but if you’re making any of these 10 common copywriting blunders, you’re leaving money on the table!

That’s right. Money on the table.

Sales copywriting is an art form which has been studied and tested so much by so many, that today there is NO EXCUSE for making these mistakes.

So have a good hard read of this post, make sure you avoid ALL of the following blunders, and watch your conversions jump.

Crime #1 – Not using factors of psychological influence

Robert Cialdini and Charlie Munger both study and swear by the deep psychological factors that influence our actions. And you see these daily in sales material that works. They are proven time and time again by thousands of salesmen throughout the business world.

Why wouldn’t you use them?

Crime #2 – not being specific about why you’re better, and proving it

A few examples of these are: comparison, scarcity, social proof, authority.

Comparison – always give a higher price before you give the real price. Sounds transparent? Use it, measure the results. It works.

Social proof – not using testimonials? Not mentioning how many other people are already benefiting from your products? Start mentioning it pronto.

Scarcity – find any way you can to limit the time, number or price factors on your service. Any way you can. If it increases your conversions by 1%, it’s worth it – and it will. Trust me.

Authority – write with authority; use triggers of authority. Give credentials.

Crime #2 – not being specific about why you’re better, and proving it

Your reader is constantly asking themselves why you are better than their current solution, or the other options.

Tell them why, and prove it with specific, concrete evidence.

Crime #3 – not closing strongly, aggressively and confidently

Get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me? A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing,” – Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross

Do not fear closing.

If you fear closing, you have the wrong business. You are not offering something which your reader needs. If you have a genuine solution to their problem, it is your duty to make them take action – do everything in your power (in words) to make them sign on the dotted line.

Crime #4 – prioritising features, instead of benefits

Features do not trigger emotions, or purchases. Talk about the benefits to the reader.

Don’t tell them your software combines these two functions. Tell them your software allows them to finish the job in three hours less time, and go home to their children early. It allows this by combining these two functions.

Benefit, not feature.

Crime #5 – thinking the reader is your mum. Not spending 80% of your time on the headline and hook

Your mum will read what you write until the last word, no matter how bad the start is. Because she is your mum.

Your prospect customer is not your mum.

He or she does not have any good feelings towards you. They are busy. If the headline is amazing and grips them, they will give you 2 seconds more. If the hook draws them in they will give you 10 seconds more. And so on.

Spend 80% of your time on the headline and first few lines of content.

Crime #6 – not making the reader’s pain worse, before curing it

Pain motivates people to buy.

Make your reader feel the pain of their problem more. Then offer the solution to that pain. You will boost your conversions a heckload.

Crime #7 –not writing like your customer talks

Write like you talk, and like your customer talks. Use strong, short sentences. Focus on getting the meaning across quickly. Don’t use too many long and complicated words because you might lose some people who don’t know or like them.

George Orwell described your writing like a window, through which people can see your message. You want your window to be clean and clear, so your message is clear.

Don’t write like a stain-glassed window. People might like your fancy words, but they won’t be able to see your message.

Crime #8 – speaking to the masses, not to one person

There is only one person reading your copy. Speak to them. Be intimate. Per personal.  Let them feel like you are a well-meaning and honest friend, and help them with their problem.

Never write as though you are writing to a crowd of people, or to thousands of readers.

Crime #9 – not putting yourself in the mind of your customer

Have you seen the movie Memento? In it Guy Pearce loses his memory every 5 minutes. This could be a useful skill for a sales copywriter.

When you read what you’ve written you have to put your mind into your customer’s head. Forget what you have written. Lose your memory for a moment.

Pretend you are thinking about other things. And then let the headline catch your eye for 1 second – does it grip you powerfully?  No?  Scrap it and start again.

Always read copy like this.

Crime #10 – not measuring, testing and tweaking


The market is your only honest opinion.

Sales copy evolves over time. When you have something that is working, don’t stop there.

Use your best sales page to test every other piece of copy against. Continuously, from now until forever, change tiny things and test it – did it improve conversions or not?  Do this all the time. Never be satisfied. There is no such thing as a finished sales page.

Need a hand creating sales copywriting that converts?

Get in touch, we’re here to help.

And if you have a few copywriting tricks up your own sleeve – share them below!



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About the author

Konrad Sanders CEO & Lead Strategist at The Creative Copywriter
Hey you. I’m Konrad. A full-funnel content strategist and CEO with a pretty darn creative noggin on my shoulders. I run a team of word-slinging cowboys and strategists who blend science with art to help bold brands get their words right at every step of the customer journey. Which means? They sell more stuff and grow predictable revenue. Brands like AECOM, Thomson Reuters, TikTok, Panasonic, Adidas, Mercedes-Benz, plus shedloads of tech scale-ups...and you? Let's connect.

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…t’was December 23rd, 1964. I had just finished a one-year course with “STI” (Sales Training Inc.), Seattle WA. I was the youngest of 72 students, the “Honor Student” and voted “Class Speaker”. The event was held at the Four Seasons Hotel, Seattle, WA I spoke to over 1,000 in attendance and enjoyed the opportunity. Here’s my point:
What I studied for a whole year is repeated here, “Commandment by Commandment”. You’re getting it for FREE~! This site is preaching and teaching the same things I learned over 50 years ago… when I paid COLD HARD CASH for it~! So, do yourself a favor… don’t question the material or the author~! THIS STUFF WORKS~! Study it over and over and over until you know it by heart. Then, study it some more~! The author knows well what he is talking about… this is a NO B.S. opportunity for you to learn~! BIG TIME— DON’T SCREW IT UP~! GIVE IT YOUR BEST… AND THEN GIVE IT SOME MORE~! GIVE IT YOUR BEST~! GOOD LUCK~!

These are all good, but I especially connect with the one about always talking to the individual. Having been in radio and done some stage work, I always try to remember that, no matter the venue, listeners are ALWAYS the individual. We humans don’t have a Borg mentality, so we don’t like being address as plurals–even the standard “Ladies and Gentlemen” misses the mark.

Hey Konrad,
Thanks for sharing. A great list of points to help keep yourself in check. Personally, I’ve found it can be very easy to get wayward or caught up in a ‘great’ idea when writing. Often losing sight of the objective and then having to pare back in revision.
#7 is my favourite. It’s very easy to try and flex your word muscle, but who really talks like that. Well, ‘perhaps’ (toffy accent) some very well spoken englishman. Whom, I idolise for being so articulate. But, that’s not that case for most of us, is it?
Q. In applying the above elements. Do you follow a general structure with your messaging/writing?
Keep up the great work.

Hmmm. Good question. And it really depends on what we’re writing. In general, if it’s a sales letter or direct response landing page, I’d stick to Problem (1), Promise (2), Proof (3), Price (4) as a loose structure, and then pull in these techniques to aid each section along the way.

Great article.. sounds good to me.. We humans don’t have a Borg mentality, so we don’t like being address as plurals–even the standard “Ladies and Gentlemen” misses the mark.I really liked the way to write.

Thank You, Konrad for sharing an important post on “14 Business Lessons from America’s Greatest Sales and Marketing Executive.” Will share your writing with students taking Sales Training Courses

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