Copywriting Makeover: It's Not About YOU, It's About THEM
By Karon Thackston
I've always loved scented candles. They help
create a cozy atmosphere. They give you a
relaxed feeling. And - most importantly - they
make your home smell wonderful! So, naturally,
I was excited when I was approached to rewrite
the index (front) page for an online retailer
who made specialty, soy scented candles.
The goals of the copywriting rewrite were to
increase sales and improve search engine
positioning for the terms "soy candles," and
"scented candles." The copy definitely needed
some work. It wasn't "bad," but it had one
major thing holding it back. The copy violated
one of the primary rules of copywriting. "It's
not about you. it's about them."
An additional problem was that the information -
while definitely necessary - was presented as
more of a list of nuts and bolts. It needed a
boost to create a "feeling" about the candles
As you can see from the original
version [Word Doc], , the copy either
focused on the company or the candles. Very
little of the copy focused on the customer.
Another element that was "off" in the copy was
the lack of the "experience." Site owner Dan
Fehn had some fabulous research data about
scented candle buyers, however he did not know
to include that information when writing.
Lastly, while Illuminous Times had fairly good
search engine rankings, there was room for
The data I received included the following
information from the National Candle Association.
Candle industry research indicates that the most
important factors affecting candle sales are
scent, color, cost and shape. Fragrance is by
far the most important characteristic, with
three-fourths of candle purchasers saying it is
"extremely important" or "very important" in
their selection of a candle for the home.
Candle manufacturers' surveys show that 96% of
all candles purchased are bought by women.
Nine out of ten candle users say they use
candles to make a room feel comfortable or cozy.
This was the basis for the copywriting makeover.
As a scented candle lover myself, I knew for a
fact what women wanted from candles. I
understood the candle buying experience and
played on that knowledge to create copy that
"romanced" the site visitor and increased the
desire to buy.
The search engine optimization (SEO) aspect of
the copy came easily. The terms "scented
candles" and "soy candles" flowed naturally as I
created the copy so my primary goal was to use
these phrases in power positions (like the
headline and sub-heads). I'd also place them as
often as I could without making the copy sound
stiff or forced.
You can view the new copy in full here,
but an extract is below:
Whether you need to de-stress after a long
day, or you want to create a truly welcoming
atmosphere for your guests, think of scented
candles. The soothing glow and aroma of scented
candles can set the mood for a quiet evening
with a good book, or add an elegant touch to a
special dinner for friends.
Illuminous Times brings you a distinctive
selection of soy candles to choose from. Like
other types of scented candles, soy candles come
in a variety of fragrances, colors, shapes, and
prices. However, soy candles offer several
significant advantages over other mass-produced
If you're concerned about indoor air pollution,
soy candles are the candles of choice-they are
soot free and toxin free. Soy wax is also
biodegradable and water soluble, thus spills and
containers clean up with hot soapy water. And
because it has a low melting point, it burns
cooler and longer and disburses its scent into
the air quicker than conventional wax.
As you can see, the new version immediately
begins to entice the site visitor. Everything
she wants from a scented candle is laid out
before her. and some things she might not have
known she wanted.
I began to pique interest in soy candles (as
opposed to traditional wax candles found in
stores) by immediately outlining the advantages
soy candles offer. From there I played on the
fragrance (the most important characteristic
according to the National Candle Association).
I led the customer through a mental tour of
their home - lighting candles for a special
dinner, enjoying the glow as they snuggled with
a good book, and having the unmistakable
fragrances only soy candles offer wafting
through their homes.
A final keyphrase-rich benefits list of why soy
candles are superior to traditional wax candles
and an emotional call-to-action wrapped up the copy.
I think the results of the copywriting makeover
are best stated by Dan himself.
"Thank you! Sales have increase even before
the holiday season and my rankings have
improved, too. Right now I am #1 for the term
'soy candles' (previously ranked at #4), and I'm
at #7 for 'scented candles'... a huge jump up
So, as you can see, taking the focus off the
product or company and putting where it should
be (on the customer) makes a tremendous
difference. Sales naturally increase when the
customer feels he/she is the reason for your
Take some time now to look back over
your copy. Is it company focused? If so,
learning to write specifically for your
customers can turn your sales around almost
Which words make *your* customers buy? Let
Karon show you. Boost your sales and your search
engine positioning by learning to write
strategically created copy that hits a nerve and
makes the sale. Get the details now at Karon's
As well as running her own copywriting business,
Karon Thackston tutors at Search
Engine College, an online training
institution offering instructor-led short
courses and downloadable self-study courses in
Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine
Can you believe half the year is over already? I
can't. I saw an article the other day that
talked about getting your pay per click
campaigns ready for Christmas! I don't know
about you, but I can barely keep up with my
blog, let alone think about events that are
6 months away..
Speaking of the blog, you'll notice some of the
most recent blog questions and my answers in
this newsletter. Also this month is our feature
article by the lovely Karon Thackston about the
importance of focussing on the customer in your
Enjoy this issue and remember to visit Search
Engine College to check out our step-by-step
downloadable courses in search engine
optimization and other search engine marketing
Till next time - wishing you high rankings...
|FAQ1: Should we split our site content into multiple sites on different domains?|
| ||Dear Kalena...
I'm a webdesigner and I look after polish
financial news website - besides this website is
also wide knowledge base about different
financial services and products and supports as
well visitors with online financial advices -
all of those services exist at one net address
in different subdomains.
My question is: what do you think about
splitting this service to a few independent
domains with a bit different content but being
every independent part densely linked with each
other? Will it help to promote this service
having links from completely different domain
addresses than from subdomains of one address
(as it is now)?
thanks in advance for your valuable answer,
It all depends on your motivation for doing so.
Will it make life easier from an editing and
design perspective to divide up your content
into multiple sites? Does it make more sense
from a visitor or usability perspective? Then go
If your motivation is purely about the perceived
link popularity and/or search engine advantages,
then think again. Why? Lots of reasons. Here's
1) Whatever link popularity the site currently
has and the number of links to it will drop once
you start moving content away from your main
domain. Think about it. Existing links from
search engines and other sites will be broken if
you change domains, you'll have fewer links
pointing to you and you'll dilute all the
valuable link pop you have built up to date. It
will take any new domains a long time to develop
link popularity of their own.
2) With more information and content focused on
relating themes, your existing single domain is
more likely to score higher with search engines
due to the "hub and authority" factor. If you
split this content off into different domains,
you'll have fewer links pointing to your site
and fewer pages so search engines (and probably
visitors too) will see your main site as less
relevant than they did before. Also, depending
on the type of internal linking structure you
plan on using between your new domains, they may
trip the aggressive link spam filters engines
currently use (particularly Google) and cause a
ranking penalty on one or more sites.
3) Search engine strategy should not rule your
web design decisions. Site usability should be
the highest priority in that regard and you'll
usually find that a highly usable,
visitor-friendly site will end up being the most
search engine compatible. Funny that!
If you are determined to improve your link
popularity, you could start by improving the
internal linking of your existing site and
cross-link sections where it makes sense to do
so. If you haven't already got one, integrate a
full text-based site map and have a link to it
on every page. Also, keep link building on a
daily basis and only swap links with sites that
are RELEVANT to your audience.
|FAQ2: Should I use text that is visible to search engines but not to humans?|
| ||Dear Kalena...
I was reading an article by you at Pandia about
the importance of using search-engine-readable
text on the home page of one's site.
You referred to the text needing to be
"visible," and one test of that was whether one
could select the text on screen (differentiated
from graphical text). My question is about the
"visibility" of the text. My home page has
50-75% black background. If I was to place text,
black-on-black, would it still be read by the
search engine? Does "visible" mean that it
appears in the source code, or does it mean
visible to the human eye? I would like to retain
the, more or less, graphical nature of my home
page but still have the benefit of capturing the
attention of the search engine.
Give yourself a good smack and go to bed without
Using text that is visible to search engines but
not to humans is very naughty! It's retro search
engine spam: a tactic that was used obsessively
by search engine spammers way back prior to
search engines implementing the aggressive
anti-spam filters they use today.
It hasn't worked for many years, because it was
a very simple matter for search engines to
install a filter within their algorithms to
compare a site's background color with it's text
color and locate, ignore (and/or penalize)
hidden text. So not only will using hidden text
NOT HELP your site, it might actually HARM your
|Send Kalena Your Question!|
| ||Got a question about search engines? email
me and it might feature in my blog
or the next issue of The Search Light.|