A frustrated copywriter staring at two computer screens.

Why Your Marketing Copy Isn’t Converting (and How to Fix It)


Let’s face it – we pour our hearts and souls into crafting the perfect marketing copy, but sometimes it feels like we’re just shouting into the void. You’ve got a killer product or service, your website looks slick, but your conversion rates are still stuck in the mud. What gives?

Here’s the deal: Conversion copywriting can transform your marketing from a money pit into a money tree. It’s the art and science of strategically delivering words that inspire people to take action – whether that’s subscribing to your email list, downloading your lead magnet, or whipping out their credit card to buy what you’re selling.

Lackluster copy is a one-way ticket to Boringville, population: no sales. But fear not! By the end of this post, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to whip your copy into shape and start seeing those sweet, sweet conversions rolling in.

We’ll dive into the 8 most common reasons your marketing copy isn’t converting, and more importantly, how to fix each one. From targeting the wrong audience to neglecting your calls-to-action, we’ll leave no stone unturned.

Killer copy, low conversions? DirectPayNet can help!

8 Reasons Your Copy Isn’t Converting (and How to Fix Them)

Let’s get to it. Below are four reasons why your copy isn’t converted related to your copy, and four reasons unrelated to your copy.

A pen atop a clipboard on a desk with a keyboard and graphs.

Copywriting-related issues.

Copy-Related Issues

1. Not targeting the right audience

One of the most common reasons your marketing copy falls flat is that it’s not aimed at the right people. If your messaging doesn’t resonate with your target audience, they’ll quickly tune out and fail to convert.

When you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. Vague, generic copy that doesn’t speak directly to a specific audience’s needs, desires, and pain points will hurt your conversion rates. Your copy needs to be laser-focused on your ideal customer.

To fix this issue and write copy that converts:

  • Develop detailed buyer personas based on customer research. Interview current customers, analyze your best buyers’ characteristics, and document their demographics, goals, challenges, and objections.
  • Get inside your target audience’s heads. Understand how they think and talk about their problems. Incorporate their actual language and phrases into your copy.
  • Segment your audience and create tailored messaging for each key persona. Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Continually gather feedback from your target audience and refine your messaging based on their input.

2. Failing to adapt copy to the traffic source

Another frequent mistake is using the same generic copy for visitors coming from different digital marketing channels or sources. Your copy needs to match the context of the ad, email, social media post, or search query that brought people to your site.

If there’s a disconnect between your traffic source and the message on your landing page, visitors will feel lost, frustrated, and unlikely to stick around and convert. Message match is crucial for keeping people oriented and moving toward your conversion goal.

To adapt your copy to various traffic sources:

  • Analyze where your visitors are coming from and tailor the copy’s angle to each channel. For example, use a younger, more energetic tone for Instagram traffic.
  • Echo the copy from your LinkedIn ad in your landing page headline so visitors know they’re in the right place.
  • For search traffic, include the keyword they searched for in your page title and H1 to show relevance (also good for SEO, search engine optimization).
  • For email traffic, continue the story from the email in your sales page copy to create a congruent narrative.

3. Weak calls-to-action (CTAs)

Your calls-to-action are what turns casual browsers into paying customers. But if your CTAs are vague, boring, or buried on the page, you’re leaving money on the table.

The whole point of conversion copy is to guide visitors toward a specific action. Your CTAs need to be clear, compelling, and impossible to miss. Generic phrases like “Click here” or “Submit” won’t cut it.

To craft CTAs that convert:

  • Use strong, specific action verbs that create a sense of urgency, like “Get my discount” or “Start my free trial”.
  • Highlight the benefit or value proposition, such as “Get 50% off today only!” or “Join 10,000+ happy customers”.
  • Make CTAs visually prominent with contrasting colors, plenty of whitespace, and a clickable button.
  • Place CTAs strategically on key pages like your homepage, product pages, and at the end of blog posts. Don’t make people hunt for them.
  • Test different CTA variations to see what works best with a/b testing. Even small tweaks to the copy or design can boost conversions.

4. Lack of social proof and trust-building copy

Here’s the hard truth: most of your website visitors don’t trust you yet. They’re skeptical about your claims and hesitant to hand over their credit card info to a stranger.

That’s where social proof comes in. When prospects see that other people have had positive experiences with your brand, it eases their doubts and makes them more likely to convert.

Reviews, testimonials, case studies, and trust badges are all powerful forms of social proof. But many business owners bury them at the bottom of the page or forget to include them altogether.

To build trust and boost conversions with social proof:

  • Showcase glowing customer reviews and testimonials prominently on your homepage and product pages.
  • Feature in-depth case studies that tell a story and show real results.
  • Display trust seals and security badges to ease concerns about privacy and data protection.
  • Highlight impressive numbers, like “Join 50,000+ satisfied customers” or “Over 1 million products sold”.
  • Use photos and videos of real customers to make your social proof more authentic and relatable.
  • Pepper trust-building elements throughout your website copy, like guarantees, free trials, and FAQ sections that address common objections.

If your copy works, it’s the payment system. We can help.

A computer and cell phone connected by stacks of coins, wifi, and digital payment solutions.

Business-related issues.

Other Conversion-Killing Issues

5. Payment gateway problems like duplicate transactions

You’ve done everything right – your copy is compelling, your offer is irresistible, and your visitor is ready to hand over their hard-earned cash. The path is clear, but something happens—the gateway declines their transaction.

Payment issues are the ultimate conversion killer because they sabotage the sale right at the finish line. After all that hard work getting the customer to click “Buy Now,” seeing an error message instead of an order confirmation is beyond frustrating.

One common payment gateway headache is duplicate transactions. But it doesn’t always happen the way you think it might. If there are upsells or cross-sells at checkout at the exact same price as their order, it’ll get flagged by fraud filters and declined. Ouch.

To prevent these errors from derailing your sales:

  • Set up your payment gateway to detect and block duplicate orders automatically. But also make sure you price your upsells and cross-sells to avoid those flags.
  • Clearly communicate errors to customers and give them a chance to fix their info and resubmit.
  • For upsell pop-ups, make sure the price doesn’t match the original product’s price, which can trigger false declines.

6. Not displaying or accepting local currency

If you’re selling to a global audience, you can’t expect everyone to happily pay in USD. Imagine how you’d feel if a foreign website suddenly switched to an unfamiliar currency at checkout – you’d probably bounce faster than a kangaroo on a trampoline.

Displaying prices in your international customers’ local currency builds trust and reduces friction. It shows that you understand and care about their specific needs and preferences. In fact, simply showing the right currency symbol can boost revenue per customer by 30%.

But localizing pricing goes beyond just currency conversion. You need to consider local buying power, taxes, and competitor pricing in each market to find that sweet spot that maximizes both conversions and profit.

To optimize your international pricing strategy:

  • Automatically detect the customer’s location and display prices in their local currency.
  • Round prices to “charm prices” (e.g., 9.99) in the local conventions to boost perceived value.
  • A/B test different price points in each market to find the optimal balance of conversion and revenue.
  • Allow customers to check out and pay in their preferred local method, like Alipay in China or Boleto in Brazil.

7. Improperly configured fraud prevention tools

While fraud prevention is crucial for protecting any business, from startup to corporate, overzealous or poorly configured fraud filters can actually harm your sales. If legitimate transactions are getting declined left and right, you’re leaving money on the table and frustrating would-be customers.

The problem is that many businesses use out-of-the-box fraud prevention tools without customizing them for their unique needs and customer behavior. This leads to false positives, where good orders get unfairly rejected. In fact, 30% of orders that merchants think are fraud are actually legitimate.

To strike the right balance between preventing fraud and maximizing sales:

  • Choose a fraud prevention solution that lets you tailor rules and thresholds to your business’s specific risk profile.
  • Leverage machine learning to analyze your transaction data and suggest optimized rules.
  • Monitor your fraud prevention tool’s performance and tweak settings as needed. Look for patterns in declined orders to spot false positives.

8. Poor overall checkout experience

Even if a customer is ready and willing to hand over their credit card, a clunky, confusing, or buggy checkout experience can change their mind at the last second. Any friction or uncertainty in the checkout flow will cost you sales.

Think of your checkout like a leaky bucket – every UX snag is another hole where would-be customers can slip away. The more obstacles you throw at them, the higher your cart abandonment rate will climb.

To plug those leaks and optimize your checkout flow:

  • Ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary form fields, steps, and clicks. The faster a customer can get through checkout, the better.
  • Provide a progress indicator so customers know how close they are to the finish line.
  • Make error messages clear and easy to resolve. Avoid making customers re-enter all their information due to one small mistake.
  • Offer a variety of trusted payment options, and make sure your payment gateway is rock-solid. Even a small hiccup can derail a purchase.
  • Continuously user test your checkout flow to identify points of friction. Recruit testers who aren’t familiar with your site to get fresh eyes on the process.

As a final tip, implement some sort of heatmap on the sales funnel. Copyhackers and business owners do this all the time to see where people drop off (and what hits the most). Heatmap functionality is non-invasive and validate why your copy isn’t converting.



What is conversion copywriting?

Conversion copywriting is a specialized form of copywriting that uses customer research, data, and persuasive techniques to craft compelling web copy that motivates readers to take a specific action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a resource. It blends the art of writing with the science of psychology and proven frameworks to create copy that resonates with the target audience and drives conversions.

How do I find my target audience?

To find your target audience, start by analyzing your existing customer data to identify common characteristics, such as age, location, interests, and purchasing behaviors. Conduct market research to gain insights into your industry, competitors, and potential customers. Create detailed buyer personas based on this information, and use tools like social media analytics, website analytics, and surveys to further refine your understanding of your target audience.

What are some best practices for writing CTAs?

When writing CTAs (calls-to-action), use strong, specific action verbs that create a sense of urgency, such as “Get my discount” or “Start my free trial”. Highlight the benefit or value proposition in your CTA, and make it visually prominent with contrasting colors and ample whitespace. Place CTAs strategically on key web pages like your homepage and product pages, and test different variations to optimize performance.

These are just a few copywriting tips. What works best depends on your audience and traffic source. Flesh out a well-organized and detailed marketing strategy complete with metrics to better improve conversions.

How can I get more conversions from my product pages?

To boost conversions on your product pages, focus on providing high-quality images and videos, compelling product descriptions, and clear pricing information. Showcase customer reviews and testimonials to build trust and credibility. Optimize your page layout and design for easy navigation and mobile responsiveness. Use urgency and scarcity tactics, like limited-time offers, to encourage visitors to take action. Finally, make sure your CTA is prominent and easy to find.

What is a good conversion rate for my industry?

Conversion rates vary significantly by industry, so it’s essential to benchmark your performance against your specific sector. For example, the average e-commerce conversion rate is around 2.86%, while finance and legal industries often see higher conversion rates. Generally, a conversion rate above 10% is considered excellent, while rates between 2-5% are average. However, even within industries, factors like product price, traffic source, and device can impact conversion rates. Focus on continuously testing and optimizing your pages to improve your conversion rates over time.

About the author

As President of DirectPayNet, I make it my mission to help merchants find the best payment solutions for their online business, especially if they are categorized as high-risk merchants. I help setup localized payments modes and have tons of other tricks to increase sales! Prior to starting DirectPayNet, I was a Director at MANSEF Inc. (now known as MindGeek), where I led a team dedicated to managing merchant accounts for hundreds of product lines as well as customer service and secondary revenue sources. I am an avid traveler, conference speaker and love to attend any event that allows me to learn about technology. I am fascinated by anything related to digital currency especially Bitcoin and the Blockchain.