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September 28, 2007

Copywriting Makeover: It’s What You Say AND How You Say It

The old cliché is wrong. All our lives we’ve heard, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” That may occasionally be true, but for the most part it’s what you say AND how you say it. Case in point: Announce It!, a custom candy-bar-wrapper manufacturer, had copy on their home page that was acceptable. It mentioned pretty much all the important things a site visitor would need to know about ordering candy wrappers. Yet the copy wasn’t pulling as well as it should have been.

The Problems

The target audience consists mostly of women. In addition, these women order favors for special occasions. That means (stereotypically speaking) you have people who ask a lot of questions and are especially cautious of buying something they can’t touch, feel or see (in person) for use at a major life event. Communication (what the copy says as well as how it says it) is vital.

The text had to convince women that they could trust “Announce It!” to produce something they would show off in front of all their family and friends for important occasions such as birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, weddings, showers and more. That meant answering the questions these women have as well as instilling confidence that their party favors would be the hit of the event.

Technically, the copy was OK. But it lacked excitement. No, not hype… excitement. It needed to reach out to women and make them feel welcome while also reinforcing that “Announce It!” was the perfect solution for them. You can see the original text here:.

As I’ve always said, you never want to “we” all over your copy. The content needed to speak to the site visitor, not talk about the company. The old text was full of “we” and “our” and hardly even acknowledged the site visitor.

From a search engine standpoint, the site was bouncing around a good bit. According to the site owner, “For a long time, I held the #1 position for many of my keywords. As search engines evolved, my site started bouncing. It was time to hire a professional.”

The Solution

The plan was to make the text more inviting and supportive while providing information that was easy to immediately identify. I wanted to help “Announce It!” differentiate itself from other candy-bar wrapper and favor sites. That meant making important benefits clearly visible. In addition, a glimmer of excitement would be added to the copy to get the women in the mood to buy.

A complete change of focus for the copy would also happen. Rather than “we” and “us” the copy would be directed toward the visitor while still communicating important benefits about buying from the company.

Lastly, correcting an elementary mistake would help the copy read better and assist with SEO. The hope with SEO was to give “Announce It!” some stability, as it had a history of bouncing back and forth between the first and second pages in the SERPs.

The overall goal was to increase conversions for this site. As the site owner herself said, “Without conversion, your rankings don’t mean as much. You really have to convert the visitors once they get to your page.” Oh so true!

First I introduced you to Announce It!, an online candy-bar-wrapper manufacturer that was seeking professional help with their search engine copywriting. Facing an audience that consisted primarily of women who were purchasing favors for special occasions, “Announce It!” copy had to be spot-on with its communication. The primary problems were that the copy did not convey a sense of excitement or answer all the questions customers might have. It also focused too heavily on the company rather than communicating with the site visitor.

Let’s see how the changes were worked into the copy and what the results were.

The Rewrite

You can see the original copy at http://www.copywritingcourse.com/customcandybarwrapper-original.pdf and the revised copy at http://www.copywritingcourse.com/customcandybarwrapper-new.pdf.

Headlines are one of the most important elements of advertising copy and of search engine optimization. The original web page didn’t have any type of headline — a fundamental mistake that needed to be corrected. The introduction of the text now begins with using a key phrase and stating a benefit. The headline reads:

Creative, Custom Candy-bar Wrappers Designed To Make Your Event a Hit!

Since “Announce It! key phrases all deal with candy-bar wrappers, it’s obvious that visitors who find this site are already familiar with the general product. (At least to the point of knowing what a custom candy-bar wrapper is.) The question they still have is, “Why should I buy from “Announce It!” instead of all the other candy-bar-wrapper sites?”

As the visitors read on through the copy, they find reassurance that their idea of using custom-designed candy-bar wrappers is a good one. Visitors are also provided with several benefits available from Announce It! that other companies don’t offer. For the sake of scan-ability, bullet points are used to further highlight differentiating factors about Announce It!. (Low minimum orders, free color proofs, free photo inclusion, etc.) This all helps to clearly explain why this site is the better choice over others the visitor may have gone to previously.)

Because the product itself is graphic, it was important to retain the product images used on the original home page. Certainly, customers would expect to see samples of the wrappers. However, to create a greater impact, each image was captioned with a short bit of occasion-specific, persuasive, keyword-rich copy. For instance:

“Custom candy wrappers are a truly creative way to send your retiree off in style.”

The finished product now speaks directly to the site visitor, sounds more professional, outlines important benefits and uses key phrases in an appropriate way so as not to hinder the natural flow of the copy.

The Results

The results showed improvements in both conversions and rankings. According to “Announce It!” their conversion rate quadrupled! They also report, “[The copy] has really made a difference in the way the site is perceived and how the customer reacts. I have gone from a one-person operation to a full-fledged business with five employees. The traffic and orders continue to increase every year!”

You couldn’t ask for much better than that!

Author:  Copy not getting results?  Learn to write SEO and online copywriting that impresses the engines and your visitors at http://www.copywritingcourse.com. Already know how to write, but need help using keywords?  Get Karon’s report “How To Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy)” at http://www.copywritingcourse.com/keyword.

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