How many of your clients are real, hardcore fans? I mean the kind that are…
Anyone can put words to page, but few have a natural talent for stringing them together in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want more, or better yet, makes them want to book an appointment with you. Most of us never thought of copywriting skills when we started massage school, and many don’t think of it even years into a business; but it remains one of the most critical parts to brand development and marketing efforts, especially when your website, social media, and digital ads are the primary means by which your audience is finding you. And there are 12 major mistakes I see a ton of massage therapists making. We got a lot to cover here, so let’s dig in.
First, what is copywriting? Copywriting is basically using words (copy) to persuade people to take an action. This may be to read more of your blog post, check out a new service you’re offering, or simply to book an appointment. Whatever it is you’re trying to convey to your audience, you’re more than likely going to need to learn how to best use written words to do so. And while many people think it’s a no-brainer, there’s much more to this than meets the eye. So here’s 12 of the biggest copywriting mistakes you’re probably making…
#1 Too many words
While there is a time and place for long articles, detailed sales pages, and copy-intensive formats, generally speaking, the more concise you can make your copy, the better. That doesn’t mean you want to leave out the most important points, but keeping things simple and direct is the best way to go. Think about how you look through a website, a brochure, or even social media posts. If it doesn’t grab your attention in the headline or in the first few sentences, will you read something long and drawn out? Probably not.
#2 Obvious keyword stuffing
If you’re familiar with search engine optimization at all, you’ve most definitely heard of the importance of keywords in your website copy. Those search engines scan every word on your site and those that fit the search criteria people are typing in, will rank higher in the results. But there’s a point where you’re just blatantly stuffing your copy with keywords hoping to rank higher. Not only does that read horribly, but those search engine algorithms are pretty smart and can often detect that sort of thing, causing your site to actually rank lower than it normally would.
#3 Not showing any personality
While it’s important to maintain your professionalism, your personality needs to shine through in your writing. You should be writing, for the most part, similarly to how you speak. There’s obviously some shifts to be made here, but don’t be afraid to include your normal colloquialisms and speech patterns in your writing. It’s part of what makes it unique to you and your business.
#4 Not fitting it to your brand
Along with your personality showing through in your writing, it should fit in with your brand. If you have a relaxed, laid back brand, your copywriting needs to reflect that. If your business is more button-up, you’ll need to write in a way that conveys that. If you have a special theme to your brand, see how you can weave that into your writing. Remember, your brand isn’t just a visual thing, it also includes your writing style and how you convey your messaging to your audience.
#5 Not editing
While you should show your personality in your writing, that doesn’t mean you should forego all basic grammar and punctuation rules. In fact, it’s extremely important to go back and edit everything you write to make sure it flows nicely, everything is spelled correctly, and proper grammar is used, generally speaking. Will there be typos on occasion? Yes. That’s not a massive problem, but if it’s consistent through multiple channels of communication, you might lose some credibility as to your knowledge and authority on the subject. It’s best to have someone else look over anything you write to make sure it reads as it should.
#6 Same stuff, different site/description/ad/etc.
Copying others is never the way to go, but also, there’s a lot of general definitions and explanations used on pre-fab sites and marketing materials. While they may seem nice, they’re often so generalized that it doesn’t actually speak to your audience the way it needs to. This is why we offer our done-for-you marketing content, social media graphics, blog posts, and all that with the option and push to customize. Even if the core of the content you’re using is something you’ve bought, you should still be customizing it to fit your brand.
#7 Forgetting the goal
There needs to be a purpose behind each piece of material you write. Whether this is to entice someone to book an appointment or to educate them on a particular topic, remember the ‘why’ behind what you’re writing about. It’s amazing how many people will write a piece and never have any sort of purpose behind it, or a clear call-to-action. If you want someone to book, say so. If you want them to subscribe to your email list, ask. If you want them to comment, tell them to. If you want them to understand the importance of something, explain it. There needs to be a goal behind each piece of your writing and it needs to be very clear what that is.
#8 Using inside language
Many of the people looking for your services have no idea what Myofascial Release, Neuromuscular Therapy, Positional Release, SMRT, or any other modality is really about. And while you can definitely educate them on this in specific places, be aware that without context, most of those visiting your website or reading through your brochure or advertisement, have no clue what you’re talking about. Keep it simple and use the words your audience would use.
#9 Focusing on features
Along these same lines, many therapists seem to focus on features instead of benefits. For example, they’ll often mention the techniques behind a certain modality, or what kind of strokes are included, but fail to mention what it’s actually good for! No one cares that a Swedish massage includes long fluid strokes. They want to know that it’s relaxing, eases stress, and alleviates general aches and pains. Focus on the benefits of what you’re offering, not the features.
#10 Not knowing your audience’s motivation or problem
If you’ve developed your ideal client profile, this is a major part of it, and should be included in all your copywriting. If not, remember to do your due diligence to discover what your audience is looking for; and this doesn’t just mean the external, physical problem, but the internal, or emotional, problem that comes with it. You don’t want to focus your writing just on one exclusively, but instead take both into consideration when sitting down to write anything.
To learn more about the difference between these two, be sure to check out WHAT PROBLEM DO YOU REALLY SOLVE FOR YOUR CLIENTS?
#11 Not conveying value
Along with speaking to these problems and focusing on the benefits, you should be conveying value. There’s a reason guarantees work; people appreciate when there’s a value offered they can count on. You don’t have to offer a guarantee to do this, but rather write in a way that easily portrays the value of what you offer; the less frequent headaches and back pain, the ease of their workout regimen, the feelings of less stress. Whatever benefits they will see in their day-to-day lives…that’s the value you’re providing and should be mentioned throughout your writings.
#12 Thinking of design first
Most people, when contemplating a website, a piece of marketing material, or anything else, their first focus is on the look and the design of the piece; but copy should always come first! Your design will need to be tailored around your copy, not the other way around. The visuals of any design help to bring everything together, but if you’re trying to fit a certain number of words in just to make it the design work, you’re probably not focusing as much on the quality of the copy you’re writing; and the copy is what sells, the visuals only act to enhance the branding behind the message. It’s like the illustrations of a book; their presence is simply meant to enhance the meaning of the written words, ya know….the most important part that actually gets the point across.
Great copywriting is essential to any business, and a massage practice is no different. While you can always hire out copywriting work, professionals who deliver high quality work can be expensive, and oftentimes that just doesn’t fit into the budget of many business owners. While I think it’s an expense worth making, you’re most definitely equipped to do it on your own, as long as you’re willing to learn. Being sure you’re not making these 12 mistakes is the first step in taking control of your copywriting, keeping your marketing much more effective, and making those sales!