Top 3 Content Mistakes that Cost You Valuable Conversions

If you are a small business or consultant, your content is your most effective selling tool. When prospects first visit your site your copy needs to:

  • build their trust and
  • convince and convert them to become loyal customers.

I’ve learned that the secret to writing outstanding web sales copy (and it cannot just be good anymore, it has to be outstanding) is to avoid these 3 costly mistakes:

#1. No Attention Grabbing Headline and Poor Lead

Headlines can make or break your conversion efforts. A great headline has the potential to grab your prospect’s attention, lead him into reading your copy, convince and convert him to become a loyal customer. The first step towards that conversion is the humble headline. Copyblogger has some great tips on the art of crafting great headlines.

The next step is to capture your prospects’ attention with a powerful lead. The first few lines of text need to paint the big picture and must be compelling and captivating so that they stay engaged and read the rest of your copy.

A successful headline will capture your prospects’ attention and get that first click. An effective lead will guarantee their engagement with the rest of your copy.

#2. Not enough WIIFM (What’s in it for me)

I learned this lesson early in my web career. I was engaged in web development at the time. The client had all the buzz words (according to me) in his website copy: We are the leading agency…We handle the top accounts…. Prospects just weren’t converting. He finally brought in an expert who transformed his content so that it spoke directly to his customers’ needs. His conversion rates skyrocketed and were up by close to 80% all because he spoke in terms of the WIIFM angle.

Your sale’s copy must tell me what are the benefits to me? Will it make my life simpler? Will I lose weight, get richer, save money or look younger? Is your product cheaper or newer than other products on the market?

Unique angle

What is so unique about your product? Why is it so different from the 10 other products on the market? In other words, why should I buy from you?
• For example if I want to buy seo tools for my website, why are yours different from the free ones on the market?
• If you are an electronics retailer, what makes your online store different for the 1000 other stores that sell electronics?

#3. No Calls to Action

“It’s your company’s website where your prospect makes a buying decision and the sale actually takes place. Each webpage needs to provide prospects with a compelling reason to do business with you, including calls to action that gently direct them down the sales funnel, getting them to convert, “buy now” or contact you. While an unprofessional website will derail the best web marketing campaign, a well-designed site is a powerful conversion tool that will continually deliver high-quality leads.”
-Rich Brooks, President of Flyte New Media

While It’s the job of the rest of your content to attract, engage and sell the benefits, the call to action needs to get your prospects to take the action you want them to right now.

Be direct. Tell people what to do. It could be to buy a product, sign up for a webinar or subscribe to your newsletter.

Very often your prospects really WANT you to give them a final push. Help them out by using language that propels them forward.

A powerful headline, strong lead, compelling WIIFM and direct calls to action are all important aspects of website copy. They all need to collaboratively perform well for that all important conversion. These important power elements if done correctly will work every time guaranteed as long as these essential elements of writing for the web are met.

What are the top content mistakes that that have cost you conversions? Please share your thoughts.


  1. says

    Good tips Gazalla. I’ve always used the tried and trusted AIDA approach to copywriting (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) and it seems to work well. Your tips follow the same approach of grabbing attention, building the readers interest and converting with a call to action.

    The desire section of AIDA focuses on things like reassuring the reader that buying from you is a good idea. Things like awards, testimonials, reviews etc. are good strategies here.
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    • says

      Thank you for enhancing this post by highlighting AIDA. Although there are many different approaches, I too like the AIDA approach.

      Testimonials need to be strong but at the same time credible (and is actually the subject of a forthcoming blog post). Too many times, the testimonials are actually advertisements disguised as testimonials and prospects can see through those.

  2. ata says

    Gazalla, nice post – a concise set up tips to make sure prospects are not wasting their time wondering what they are looking at! Seems these tips can be used for any pitch – web or in person!

  3. says

    Solid post, Gazalla. I believe these 3 tips are akin to golden rules to a strong content strategy online, and many ought to read this to refresh their perspective.

    I would also add a fourth tip, that is to use all owned channels to promote your content. What’s great content worth if nobody reads it, right? If a brand publishes great blog posts, it should refer traffic through its twitter handle, mention it on its Facebook page, allude to it in the weekly newsletter, and so on. Cross-promotion among communication tools is too often under-utilized.


    • says

      I agree. Gone are the days where the main goal of web content was branding and marketing. Today, a strong social media strategy needs to go hand in hand with web content strategy. Thanks for highlighting the importance of social media.

  4. Fattest Skinny Mom says

    You bring up some great points. Far too often, bloggers tend to write with SEO in mind and not the consumer or reader. Tell the visitor what’s in it for them and not the search engines and you’ll get long term results not short term SERP results.

    • says

      Thanks for your feedback. I think that we need to keep both in mind. Since we are writing primarily for our target audience we have to tell them what’s in it for them. At the same time we need to have the right keywords and keep SEO best practices in mind for best SERP results.

  5. says

    You have hit the nail bang on target! As a content writer, these are the key points I need to implement in my articles which I write for different sites for SEO. You have explained it extremely well. Thanks and keep writing!

  6. says

    Thanks for this informative share, Gazella. These are helpful tips for any writer. A blogger or a content writer should focus solely on writing what they think or have in mind with proper presentation. Proper marketing with quality content is what a blogger should aim at.