How Sales Copy and 5 Pixels Ruined a Site’s Sales

Wait, what?  Sales copy HURTING someone’s sales?

Eh, it happens more often than you think. (Like say,  when people take a broad stroke approach with their sales copy,)

Online leads are looking for just about any reason to abandon your page, what with our ADD-influenced trigger-happy surfing styles.

So where are those 5 evil money-grubbing pixels I’m talking about?  I’ll share:

An acquaintance showed me a website he was creating.

He was selling “Quality Artificial Diamonds” on the site.

Large, glistening ‘diamond’ images in sterling silver settings – practically daring you to call them fake – at reasonable prices.  A lush, dark site that oozed ‘class’.

Well, that’s what he was going for anyway.  When I clicked onto his page, all I saw was this:

Nothing screams elegance like squished up hard-to-read copy!


So what’s wrong with this picture?

While he’s trying to create a look and feel of elegance with the large, stunning pictures of the jewelry and the smooching couple, he almost succeeds…  Then that small cramped copy on the left ambushes my field of vision takes the entire site down several notches.

I’ll guarantee you, that little square up there is costing him

1) Any copy you want your leads to read has to be easy to read.  I don’t need reading glasses yet, but talk to me after I try to read that mess.  If you’re going to go through the trouble of writing something to entice your customers, make it easy for them to absorb the message.  On a page like this, a brief 7-10 word tagline, gentle call to action, or phrase would do so much more for their sales than this crowded bunch of words that no one is going to read.

2) Sometimes it’s better to show than tell.  Ever see magazine ads for jewelry?  Models. Feelings.  Few words.  Not everything needs exposition to sell.  In this case, you can sell diamonds based on presenting them the right way visually with a few accent words to enhance the presentation.

3) The infamous pixels.  See the padding there?  If you say you can see it you’re lying.  There’s practically none!  Those meager 5 pixels are the final straw in this front page copy fiasco.  It makes his site look ‘home-brewed.’  Who wants to pay for 1k+ rings from a guy who can’t even afford to pay a designer to fix

It's fake - but she won't know!

It's fake - but she won't know! (...Right?)

Selling is not only about getting the product in front of the customer’s face

You can take a lax approach on branding if your selling point is being the cheapest or fastest.  But if you want people to buy from you and spend a bit more based on image, you have to craft that image carefully.

Here’s an analogy: While you might be able to sell hot dogs out of a cart, you’re going to have a harder time getting someone to cough up $100 a plate if you’re dishing it out to them on the street corner with plastic utensils.

5 Star Hot Dogs

"$100 each? They better be encrusted with 'Quality Artificial Diamonds' for that price."

When people are spending a lot of cash on your products, and you’re taking the time to sell them on an image,  you need to have a ‘high end’ look to accomplish that.

Remember, sales copy is just one of many tools to help you sell – not the only one.

‘I DIDN’T READ RECAP’  The visual aspects of your site and how they work with your copy can make or break your sales. Having noise on your site will drive people away, and padding issues makes your site look cheap.  Stop being lazy and read next time!



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4 Responses to How Sales Copy and 5 Pixels Ruined a Site’s Sales

  1. Lauren March 14, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    Woo-hoo! Great to finally have a new post by The Clear Copywriter.

    Great job. Fantastic (and true!) advice.

    Also, I liked the “I Didn’t Read Recap” at the end. I DID read…but I still liked the sassy summary. Is our favorite copywriter going through a bit of an edgier “re-brand” herself, perhaps? ;)

    • Danielle March 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      Yes! Lol Danneh said the exact same thing. It sprung up on me in a moment of brilliance!

      :) Thank you – you rock as usual.

  2. Filip April 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Yes,,, this is exactly what people should avoid… correct text formatting is a half-success

    • Danielle April 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      Yep, formatting plays a significant part in copy and ads in general.

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