The Biggest Web Copy Mistake Most Small Businesses Make

BusinessMarketing & Advertising

  • Author Conor Kelly
  • Published April 13, 2020
  • Word count 660

If you’d like to know what I’ve found to be the #1 conversion-killing mistake most small businesses make in their website copy – and this is after performing more than 50 website critiques – this brief article will explain what this mistake is, and how you can avoid it.

Allow me to illustrate with a story:

When I first started my personal training business back in ’08 my tagline was The Most Complete Personal Training Program In Toronto. I dropped this bad boy in the header on my website, on my business cards, and in my brochures. It was also the theme of my "elevator pitch" if I cornered you face to face.

I wanted prospects to know I’m not like other trainers. I wasn’t just going to put you through a workout, I was going to coach you on everything you need to reach your fitness goals; weight training, cardio, nutrition, supplementation, flexibility work. It was a valid sentiment. That IS what most people need to get results, after all.

Trouble was, nobody cared how "complete" or "comprehensive" my program was. They just wanted their clothes to fit better, to not break into a profuse sweat from climbing two flights of stairs, to not feel so lethargic all the time, etc.

All the other stuff I could do was nice. But it didn’t speak to them (much). Any time I lobbed across my humdinger of a tagline the most reaction I’d get would be a blank stare, a nod, or an "ok".

Later, after I’d educated myself a bit more, I went this instead:

"Transform Your Body In 16 Weeks"

At the time I was doing a lot of google ads so I split-tested this one against "most complete". "Transform" more than doubled my conversions. In conversation, it was night and day too. When I’d hand someone a business card they’d read it and go, "Transform in 16 weeks…ooh, that’s what I need, tell me more about that."

To my point:

My tale today is a fine illustration of using BENEFITS vs. FEATURES in your marketing. The ‘completeness’ of my program is a feature. The transformation of your body (in 16 weeks no less)…that’s a benefit. And it’s ultimately the benefit that your prospects are after.

Remember, people buy outcomes. They don’t care what fancy new laser technique you’re using…they want to know you can get rid of their plantar fasciitis. It’s not all the different traffic sources you can teach them about…it’s getting more new customers. They’re not thinking about how many ‘functional training’ courses you’ve taken, they want to lose body fat and feel more confident.

Now they may appreciate those other things later. But they’re not generally walking around with them in their heads or staring holes in the ceiling at night thinking about them.

In all the website critiques I do this is probably the #1 most common mistake I see. You can’t glance at the homepage without getting an eyeful of "what’s IN the product" but you’ve got to scroll through endless drop down menus before you find out "what it DOES for you".

That’s it in a nutshell. I hope you found here some good food for thought. Keep in mind that the features of your offering and what they mean may be obvious to you but not your prospect. Don’t make them put two and two together. Tell them exactly what’s in it for them. Before you promote any product or service, you want a big list of benefits at your side you can refer to.

There’s more to all this of course, but this should help you get a leg up on all the other businesses that are making this mistake in their marketing. And if there’s anything I can do to help, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Conor Kelly is a leading copywriter, email marketing specialist, and author of an exciting book called "Stealth Email Secrets: The Simplest System Ever Created For Writing High-Converting, Cash-Producing Emails On Command". Go to and join his email list to get more free marketing tips and a free copy of the book (A $36.74 Value).

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