Making an Emotional Connection
Part 2 of 2
Thackston © 2004
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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