By Karon Thackston – November 14, 2006
Time for a pop quiz! Name three products that sell better when a facts-based approach to copy is taken. Just off the top of my head I’d say computers, fax machines and microwave ovens. Now, name three products that sell best when the copy is romanticized. Travel, fur coats and jewelry are good examples. Knowing when to use facts and when to use fantasy was a problem JuliesJewels.com had on one particular website page. Let’s see how approaching the copy differently brought this e-commerce company greater success.
One of the hardest things to learn as a copywriter is which focus or approach to take with copy. There are general guidelines to follow, but experience will tell you that there are almost as many exceptions as there are rules. However, in the case of JuliesJewels.com’s Moissanite jewelry page, it was obvious we had a clear lack of — and a clear need for more of — emotion.
For those who may not be acquainted with Moissanite stones, they were created in a laboratory by a Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientist. They are made of a replicated mineral that was originally found in a meteorite that crashed to earth thousands of years ago. However, unlike cubic zirconia (CZ), they are extremely hard and do not form a cloudy appearance over time. Moissanite offers the brilliance of a diamond without the flashy price.
Now, the guideline goes: If you have a product that is unfamiliar to the marketplace, you will want to educate your site visitors while you sell to them. However, sometimes “educate” gets confused with “provide facts.” This was one problem Julie’s page suffered from.
As I read the original copy (PDF) terms like “replica” and “lab” and “wholesale” struck me as cold and undescriptive. Yes, they were absolutely true, but they completely disregarded the wonder and enchantment brought about by one of these manmade diamonds.
While a few words like “beauty” and “lustrous” were included, they did little to help a man feel proud and confident that he was choosing a gorgeous piece his wife or girlfriend would swoon over. It didn’t evoke any emotions in women who lack the funds and the desire to spend thousands on diamonds yet still dream of jewelry that is as unique as they are.
Another challenge was the page’s so-so performance in the search results. Considering how horribly competitive most jewelry terms are with regard to search rankings, Julie’s positioning for this page wasn’t too bad. The Moissanite jewelry page usually bounced between positions 11 and 30 on the major engines. However, the goal was to push the page as high as possible while driving visitors deeper into the category.
The key points that needed to be made on the Moissanite jewelry page were these:
1) Moissanite is the next best thing to a diamond, closely replicating a diamond’s luster, vibrance and quality.
2) Unlike CZs, Moissanite jewels are rare, not a victim of a flooded marketplace.
3) While not considered “cheap,” Moissanite is definitely affordable.
To prepare myself for writing this page, I looked over the various other pages of the Julie’s Jewels site. I wanted to dream a bit about the earrings, rings, necklaces and other pieces I could find Moissanite stone in.
As I clicked from page to page, I took notes about what I saw, what I felt and how I reacted to the pictures of the jewels. I also went to various diamond websites. Since Moissanite is almost as hard as diamonds and since it so closely resembles the characteristics of diamonds, many of the adjectives used to describe diamonds would also be applicable to Moissanite stones.
Lastly, I thought about who would be buying these gemstones and why. Perhaps a man who truly wanted to impress his fiancé, but who didn’t have the money to pay for a one-carat or two-carat diamond ring. Maybe a woman who wanted a pendant that was truly exceptional, but didn’t care to pay the extensive markup usually found on diamond jewelry. While the reasons might vary, the common denominators were that beauty and quality mattered as much as price. Once I had a good grasp of the target audience and the products, I set out to write a new category page.