by Jessica Weimer

As I do more ghost blogging and copy writing this summer, Allison often reminds me,  “Don’t sound so much like you’re trying to sell something.” To make my point, think about the commercials you see on television. Instead of making us want to learn more about the company, terrible salesy ads make us roll our eyes and want to change the channel. If you try to oversell your product on your website or blog, you’re just as much an offender as these annoying companies on your television screen.

As much as I understand this and keep this in mind when I’m writing for a client, it’s often hard for me to recognize when I’m making the mistake. I know I’m not the only writer that has trouble with this because I see it on websites all the time. So I’ve compiled my own list of things to keep in mind when writing customer-friendly copy.

DON’T over-SEO

Search engine optimization is a marketing must-have. But there is a fine line between good SEO and SEO you only think is good. Google actually penalizes over-stuffed websites in search rankings. So tone it down on the excessive use of key words. Customers are going to notice the repetition and it’s likely to be a major turn-off. A keyword here and there is necessary, but disperse them lightly.

DON’T be egotistical

Primarily, customers don’t care about your values statement or what you think about your company. They want to know first and foremost what you can do to make their lives easier. Copy that screams, “We’re the best around!” is ineffective, amateurish and leaves the customer asking, “What the heck do they actually do?” You’re not showing them that you’re any better than the competition. The right way to brag on your site is through testimonials from happy customers. They’ll say the fluffy stuff for you so you don’t have to do it.

DO be personable and relaxed

One of the first things I learned while ghost blogging for Roundpeg’s clients is that exclamation points should usually be avoided. They seem to dance around and yell, “Look at me! I’m overly excited to sell you something!” This piece of wisdom leads me to my next point: don’t be too hyped up about your product. Cool it on the obnoxious punctuation and the bold, underlined words. To be personable with your customers, you’ve got to be conversational. Tell them how your product can help them as if you’re giving advice to a friend.

I’ve gathered that learning how to be conversational and not salesy comes with practice. It’s hard to know where to draw the line because you are, after all, trying to sell the company. Focus on effective SEO and non-egotistical, conversational, relaxed copy.