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 (PDF).

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's" and "our's" 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!

In Part 2 of this series, we'll look at the rewrite and the results of this copywriting makeover so you can see firsthand what effect the changes had for Announce It!

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

September 20, 2007

Karon Thackston is owner of Marketing Words, Inc. a full-service copywriting company specializing in search engine copywriting. She is also publisher of the long-standing free ezine, Business Essentials. Karon is author and publisher of the popular Step-by-Step Copywriting Course, an e-course designed to teach sound and highly-effective copywriting techniques - including search engine copywriting techniques. With over 20 years of copywriting experience, Karon has contributed to the search engine and sales success of companies large and small including Gortons Seafood, Third Sphere Hosting and more.

Search Engine Guide > Karon Thackston > It's What You Say AND How You Say It, Part 1 of 2