8 Crazy Pitfalls that Undermine Insurance Copywriting

6 September, 2017

Pitfall #1: Writing without a plan of action.
All too often, insurance copywriters focus on sizzle, but they forget the steak. Advertising copy must be written with purpose. It should paint a compelling picture of the problem or solution, make a bold and differentiating promise, offer some proof and push for action. And, all this should be done with a keen understanding of the persona of the target audience. Before you write your next ad, brochure or web page, outline the key components.

Pitfall #2: Headlines without punch.
It’s the hardest part of writing copy. You can’t make sales if your copy doesn’t get read, and people are picky about what they click on. Titles should be short and to the point. At a glance, the reader should know exactly what they’re getting out of reading your post. If there is no clear benefit, no sense of intrigue or excitement, they just won’t click. Read more about crafting knockout headlines.

Pitfall #3: Too much math.
Numbers are useful in insurance marketing copy. Handled the right way, they can help generate conversions. Just don’t make readers compare them. Numbers have a strange effect on the average consumer – most of them become number illiterate when they’re shopping. It happens in some interesting, and sometimes counter-intuitive ways. The Atlantic article mentions that “we are all like Goldilocks.” Most people are searching for a middle price, which makes heavy discounts less attractive than one might think. People don’t want to feel cheap, but they crave better value. So instead of discounting your services, try adding in some complimentary extras. Free reports, a little extra coverage, temporary signup bonuses can all help close a sale, whereas a low price makes people suspicious.

Pitfall #4: Too many words.
Big blocks of text are intimidating. Subheadings, bullet points, paragraph breaks and other formatting tools can make your copy much friendlier. But there’s more to it. Keep sentences short, cut extra words. Long sentences are exhausting, they tend to get read slowly and without much enthusiasm. Shorter sentences imply an excited and immediate tone. Don’t shy away from long-form copy. Just remember that the more you have to say, the more carefully you need to format it.

Pitfall #5: Being too positive.
We know, we just got on your case earlier about making people think negatively. But an appropriately placed negative statement can re-enforce the concerns a reader already has. You can describe a service or product in multiple ways.

With it, ___ happens. Without it, ___ happens.

It depends on which reason is more persuasive. If a problem is costing someone time or money, that’s a good focus because it’s a bottom line most people are quite concerned by. The important thing is touching on a problem that’s close to home. Experiment with positive and negative variations of statements, certain situations may call for more negative language. For more on this topic, see MetLife’s “Words that Work Playbook.”

Pitfall #6: Feature fever.
Features are exciting, they tell people exactly what they get for their money. But they’re not persuasive on their own. They answer “what?” but not “why?” As in: “why should I care about this feature?”

Include them, but don’t focus on them. Instead focus on benefits. How do the features of your products and services benefit the consumer? Be specific. How are you going to solve my problem?

Pitfall #7: Mirror mirror, on the wall, who’s the best insurance company of all?
Always remember that selling is about the customer. It’s not about you. There’s an easy way to measure whether or not your focus is off.

Count up the number of times you use the words “us,” “we,” “our,” in your copy. Compare it to “you.” Wherever you can, try and flip those sentences around to focus on the reader. Instead of “we offer …” try saying “here’s how you can take advantage of this great offer.” Find out more about how to avoid succumbing to self-absorption.

Pitfall #8: Weak closers.
You’ve got a great story. You’ve backed it up with some social proof, or the occasional number. You’ve found what your target market worries about and tapped into it – you’re the answer to all their troubles. OK, what now? Without a clear next step, the reader will browse away. Your words wasted. You need a strong call to action to tell the reader what to do next. Don’t assume your readers will figure it out – guide them through the buying process.

Want to keep sharpening your skills and honing your insurance marketing results? Download one of our most popular reports, “10 Insurance Marketing Mistakes that Are Costing You Sales Right Now.”  

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