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Copywriting Makeover: Making An Emotional Connection - Part 2 of 2

by Karon Thackston - 2004

In part one of this article series we began looking at the Cruise Vacation Center site: a travel site whose copy was sorely lacking in emotional appeal and visual imagry. (You can see the previous version of the copy here: In the conclusion, you'll see how all the rewrite turned out and how exciting the end results have been.

The Rewrite

It took me a while to get started on this copy. Before I began writing, I wanted to really be in the mood. I played around on the vacation search feature of CVC's site and read all about some of the places I have always wanted to go. I took my time and let my imagination run wild while reading about the ports-of-call, the activities, and the ship's amenities.

When people shop for vacations, they are typically interested in what they"ll get first and they worry about the price second. They want to feel and sense the experience of a vacation while reading about it on a website or in a brochure. It sort of falls into the same category as copywriting for brides.

Getting married, for most people anyway, is a limited experience. It's not something you do every day. While a bride may be working on a budget, she still loves to see the $10,000 Donna Karan gowns and imagine herself in one. The same holds true for those planning a vacation.

You usually only go on one vacation/holiday a year. That's why we dream. It's a limited experience. Something we plan for and look forward to for months on end. So, while a vacation planner may not choose to buy the king-sized, master, grand suite, all-inclusive, five-star vacation trip around the world, s/he sure has fun reading about it and imagining it. Why do you think shows like "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous are so popular?

Once I'd filled my mind with everything wonderful about cruise vacations, I was ready to tackle the copy.

Keyphrase inclusion was simple on this page. There was just one keyphrase, cruise vacation. I used both the singular and plural forms throughout the text. My challenge with the SEO aspect of the copywriting was to keep the balance.

Normally, when there is just one keyphrase, there is a very high tendency by most people to ram, shove, and squeeze the phrase into every nook and cranny of the copy. I beg you resist that urge! As you'll see shortly, SEO copywriting is NOT about forcing keyphrases into every possible slot.

And, of course, there was the matter of letting visitors know that they would get a better bargain and save more on their luxury cruise if they booked online.

Starting at the top, I changed the headline of:

"Planning quality discount cruises for you since 1993!"


"Book Your Exotic Cruise Vacation Online and Get Rock-Bottom Prices to the Hottest Destinations"

Next, I immediately began to entice the visitor with visions of what s/he could expect - from their vacation and from CVC.

Rather than talk about the company directly as the original copy did:

"Dreaming of a cruise but don't want to pay full price? Cruise Vacation Center is one of the nation's largest cruise agencies."

I started the copy with this:

"Just imagine you're walking along the deck of a grand cruise vessel as it gently keeps rhythm with the waves. The sun is on your shoulders and a soothing breeze wafts through your hair."

I continued to build the new copy with phrases like: "wander your way through the medieval castles, "stunning gardens of the Mediterranean, and "oceanfront luau in Hawaii, while intermixing statements including: "deep discounts, "book securely online, and so on.

All the while, I was dropping reminders to book online for the biggest savings and offering explanations about why that would benefit the visitor.

The call-to-action was designed to reinforce the idea that the customer *could* get more vacation choices for their money with CVC.

You can see the end results for yourself at

The Results

It's fun to see how these makeovers turn out. What did my client have to say? The response was astonishing and immediate. "Weekend sales tripled! Usually around 10 online books over the weekend. Last weekend had 30! [Also], they re-indexed and the home page moved up [two positions] for "cruise vacation." It has a great lead-in on the search page, too."

Man I just love my job!

About the Author

Copy not getting results? Learn to write SEO copy that impresses the engines and your visitors at Be sure to also check out Karon's latest e-report "How To Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy) at

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