Copywriting Maven’s Marketing Makeover:

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Emily’s OnceWed site offers a free listing service for (mostly) women to search/buy used wedding gowns or sell gowns to make back a little coin. Sounds like a smart deal for everyone in these tough economic times.

Since the service is currently complimentary, she’s looking for sufficient traffic to attract and generate ad revenue. She sees this site as a jumping off point to other wedding/bridal industry online media.

  • Product Summary: Free, no commission buy/sell used wedding dress listing service
  • Promotion Medium: In-house email list; PPC to come
  • Total Budget: $500/month
  • Creative Objectives: Generate $30,000 in ad revenue within 18 months
  • Offer: free, no commission service
  • Target Audience: frugal and/or budget-conscious women ages 25-45 who want a designer dress without the designer price
  • Product Price: none


The right service, the right time – Designer dresses for less is a potent draw even when times are flush and people’s pockets are full. In less than stellar times, it’s an even bigger draw. And if you’re a former bride who, for one reason or another, isn’t sentimental and can part with her dress, here’s a opportunity to recoup some of the bridal outlay.


In a competitive environment, you have to offer what everyone else does and then something extra – Your something extra appears to be the no-commission listing. If so, you want to make sure that you highlight this in every possible way. What does no-commission translate to? How much $XXX? Then be sure your visitor knows that, too. You also need a ton more content. Perusing some of your competition by popping “used designer wedding dresses” into Google, I can see your competition is pumping up their content volume with all sorts of useful articles, etc. Visitors want info, Google needs relevant content to index.

Your site can be elegant as well as motivating – You have a soft, elegantly designed look for your site. But it’s simple, one-column, blog-like design is hurting you. Bottom-line, you’re all about the dresses. So show the dresses! Highlight the new offerings, highlight dresses that have recently been reduced in price. I think you’d be well-served by a more complex, multi-box design that will allow you to display more content “teases” on the homepage and draw more visitors in. Also, you want to sell advertising as your primary revenue. Therefore your design has to incorporate ad placement locations and/or obvious sponsorships.

Expand your navigation so it’s more obvious and intuitive – The Find A Dress and List A Dress tabs are obvious, but the Home/News tab contents seem hodge-podgy. Break out the stuff folks like – OnceWed Weddings – recommended resources, wedding accessories, whatever makes sense. Check your traffic logs to see which pages are most popular/where folks stay longest. Take note of the visitor paths from this page to the next page. And who’s Emily? Provide a page about who you are, what you’re all about, etc. Knowing that there’s a real person behind the site will add to your site’s credibility and usage. Add a tab “Advertise with Us” and provide upfront info for those folks interested in reaching your growing target audience.

Capture your visitor name/email addresses – Don’t let visitors leave without leaving a little of themselves behind. Get them on some sort of list/newsletter. Get advance notice of new dresses before they’re officially posted, etc. Offer a tip sheet of what to look for when buying or selling a pre-owned wedding dress. Most of your content needs to focus on your buyers since they’ll come back again and again to shop before they ultimately buy. Your sellers are more one-shot but there may be some synergy to be built with blogs/sites that cater to those who might be motivated to sell their bridal gown – the frugal, the ex-bride/the interrupted bride, the newly divorced/separated, etc.

Add your testimonials! – Get the kudos from buyers and sellers up on your site for additional credibility.



  • “Today’s Date” Javascript doesn’t appear to be working. Says March when it should say June. I see March and I may not be back for a second look or stay to look around.
  • First paragraph adjacent to image is also an image. Can’t be indexed by Google or any other search engine. Change to a pure text box. Add more relevant text, as well.


  • In your description, you describe your site as a free listing directory for current/former brides can find/sell gently used bridal gowns. Yet your page title text (the visible text in the browser window) doesn’t include any of this information. I’d suggest something like: No commissions! Gently-used designer wedding dresses & bridal gowns free listing service :: OnceWed.
  • You’ll also want to make sure you have a uniquely descriptive, keyphrase-rich title text per page.


  • Add site search functionality for those visitors who are looking for something very specific and don’t want to click-through the navigation.

My thanks to Emily for sharing her creative plan with me and Copyblogger, and for her donation to Heifer International.

Here’s your chance to be the Copywriting Maven’s next Creative Plan Makeover!

If you’ve got a product/service ready to launch but think it wouldn’t hurt to get an expert review … AND you’re willing to share the results with Copyblogger readers … AND you’re willing to spend a little coin with a great charity — then follow your click to Maven’s Creative Plan Makeover for all the details. (Please note that I’m booked for new gratis reviews until 7/31. If you’re interested in a private critique/makeover of your marketing plan or current landing page, please email me directly.)

About the Author: Roberta Rosenberg is The Copywriting Maven at MGP Direct, Inc.

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Reader Comments (15)

  1. says

    I think she also needs a tagline or another way for first time visitors to know exactly what the site is all about.
    Maybe an about this site or FAQs page with easy navigation on the top bar would be good.
    It’s a great idea for a site. I wish I had known about it before I got married last month!

  2. says

    I like the site… thanks for the info. I have a wedding dress listed on eBay that isn’t selling. When the auction is over I think I’ll list it on OnceWed. Thanks for the tip.

  3. says

    I have a ‘service’ site for baby boomer women. I really appreciate the ideas and possiblities to make sure I am the ‘best’ for my readers.

  4. Yoav says

    Hi Roberta,

    I think you downplayed the importance of collecting email addresses.

    The tips you gave about how to do so are great, but…

    IMO building a list of brides to be, bonding with that list and selling them on additional products and services are the best way for this site to get profitable.

  5. says

    As Roberta mentioned, the one column blog style probably isn’t going to be sufficient for their goals.

    I think what’s really needed on the home page is to have the little “Find A Dress” search box in a sidebar and not 1 page deep. This is why people are here, so give em’ what they want on the landing page right up above the fold.

  6. says

    Well, if it’s any help for Emily, my wife is a wedding planner and is working right now and just asked me for the web address of “that site where you can buy gently used dresses” I told her about this morning.

    Hopefully her exposure on here will drive her a little business.

  7. says

    The email list is very important especially if you have additional products to sell to the list. Weddings happen once, or perhaps once in a while. A logical next product would be renting maternity clothing.

    I worked with a large telco in the ’90s. One of the Marketing Managers had a side business renting business maternity clothing to colleagues. She told me she made more money from this side job, which she managed from her cubicle, than she did from her salary.

  8. says

    Thanks so much for taking the time out of your day to give feedback on Once Wed. Everyone’s comments were extremely helpful and I look forward to implementing them in the next few weeks.

  9. Lindsey Hoff - eVentureBiz says

    As my husband mentioned above I am a wedding planner in Las Vegas. I LOVE the idea of this site and will happily recommend it to my brides.

    The big suggestion I have is that you need to have a way for the people shopping on the site to save the dresses they like. It is sooo hard to find the dress you like once you have clicked away from it.

    My manager liked this site as well, she said that she wouldn’t mind looking in to advertising on it. I have all the coordinators interested in this site and the adjustment I listed above would make it even better!!!

  10. says

    I like the site… thanks for the info. I have a wedding dress listed on eBay that isn’t selling. When the auction is over I think I’ll list it on OnceWed. Thanks for the tip.

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