Case study: How SEO copywriting helped one small business owner stretch his marketing dollars

Studio Blue logoWhen Dan Walton, co-owner of the Portland, OR based Pilates studio Studio Blue launched his Website in 2007, he faced a frustrating problem.
“I Googled “Portland Pilates” and my site didn’t come up,” said Walton. “Other studios were showing up in the top ten results.”

Walton — who isn’t a computer geek and didn’t know anything about search engines — decided to take matters into his own hands.  The Pilates instructor learned about search engine optimization (SEO), took a SEO copywriting training course, and learned how to write copy that gets better search engine rankings. Now, Walton’s site appears in the top 10 of Google for keyword searches like “Portland OR Pilates”and “Pilates mat classes”– and he estimates getting at least five new clients a week from his Website.

SEO copywriting — the art of writing online website copy that makes the page easy to find in the search engines — has been a crucial component of search engine optimization success since the mid 90’s. Unfortunately, small business owners don’t always have the budget to hire someone to write their Website copy — and they don’t think they can learn. The result: nothing gets written.

“I like to write and figured I could do this. That’s why I took a course,” said Walton. “I figure I saved about $5,000 doing it myself.”

DIY SEO copywriting is becoming the option for small and medium-sized businesses that need to be easily found in the search engines. According to Heather Lloyd-Martin, CEO of SuccessWorks, a firm specializing in SEO copywriting training, “It’s a smart move for companies to learn how to write their own Website copy. That way, they don’t have to pay someone $50 – $500 per page to write it for them.

Lloyd-Martin released her online Small Business SEO Copywriting Training course to help companies bring their SEO copywriting in-house. Although she insists that SEO copywriting is easy to learn, Lloyd-Martin does have some practical advice for time-strapped business owners:

  • Set a writing schedule. It’s easy to figure that you’ll write something “when things calm down.” Plan to spend a set amount of time each day working on your Website and stick to your schedule.
  • Check out other Websites and figure out what you like and don’t like about their Web pages. That will give you an idea how to write for your site.
  • Ask for input from customers, friends — even family members. Learn what they love about your service. Ask them to review your first writing drafts. Their advice can help you see your site (and your writing) with new eyes.

Today, Walton is planning a site redesign, which includes a blog, more site content and even a Twitter campaign.  “It’s great to know that I can do this myself,”he says. “It’s saved me a lot of money.”