It is easy. Your marketing message stands or falls by your headline. Your headline carries most of the weight in getting your prospects attention and no message will be read if you don’t gain the prospect’s attention. I have been able to […]
It is easy. Your marketing message stands or falls by your headline. Your headline carries most of the weight in getting your prospects attention and no message will be read if you don’t gain the prospect’s attention.
I have been able to increase the conversion rate of sales letters by up to 70% and more just by changing the title. In the same way that newspaper publishers look for the most attractive headline to put on their front pages to get people to buy their papers, you must write the best headline if you expect your products to sell.
Below, I share some of the best guidelines or principles for writing successful headlines. Most of these guidelines stem from real-world testing and evaluating the results of past winning direct marketing letters. In other words, a great headline idea is not just a theoretical entity, but a marketing tool that emerges from the crucible of real-world marketing.
Here are 10 of the most effective headline writing strategies:
1. The title “how to”. Sometimes the common and ubiquitous can trick us into taking a pattern for granted, but this tried-and-true formula for writing headlines would never lose its effectiveness. “How to” in a title implies that it will give practical instructions on how to accomplish a goal rather than just theory. Think of the many best-selling books that have “how to” as part of their titles, like “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
2. Make the topic “news.” People love to discover new and interesting things and want to stay on top of what is happening in the world. How else could you explain 24-hour news channels like CNN? If you write your headline like you’re making a newsworthy ad, you’ll grab attention. Consider: “Finally! A new way to stop hair loss.” Just make it a ‘news flash’ and you’ll get your readers’ attention.
3. Make a paradoxical statement. Consider these headlines: “How to Lose Weight While Eating More!” “How to make money online without a website!” All of these statements set up a contradiction and create a tension in the reader’s mind that can only be resolved when they read the rest of the copy, which is the main goal of any headline: to get the rest of the sales letter read. Brainstorm and see if you can come up with a paradoxical headline for your product and tell another ‘David beating Goliath’ story with your sales copy.
4. Demonstrate the main claim of your products. If you’re making a very bold claim for your product, you can try to demonstrate it directly in the title. For example, “New blogging tool made a New Jersey man $103,657 in just 30 days!” Here the claim is that these new tools can make bloggers a lot of money in a short time and the headline shows this instead of just saying it.
5. State the claim as a question. One of the most effective applications of this strategy is “Who else wants…” style headlines, such as “Who else wants to make more money than they ever made in a year in just one month?” Similar questions might be “Could you save an extra 30 minutes of marketing if it made you more than $100,000 per year?”
6. Make the affirmation easy by comparing it to something simple. Consider this headline: “If you could copy and paste, then you can get more free customers!” The task of copying and pasting is easy enough that this statement is universally accessible to the reader.
7. Warn the reader about not getting your product. You may want to state in advance the negative consequences that would occur if the reader did not get your product. For example, “Don’t buy another traffic tool until you read this report.” Because the reader does not want to make a mistake, he is forced to obtain this report, if only to reassure himself.
8. Surprise the reader by contradicting their way of thinking. This is close to the paradoxical strategy because it creates a dissonance that only reading the copy could resolve. Consider: “Article Marketing Is A Waste Of Time And Money – Here’s A Better Way!” Because article marketing is generally accepted as one of the best ways to market online, this headline draws attention because the reader initially disagrees. (TIP: People who DISAGREE with you pay more attention to you than people who AGREE with you!)
9. Show how the reader’s values and heroes match your statement. If you can find the core values and heroes of your readers and show how your statement supports them, then you have a winning headline. If Tiger Woods uses a certain golf ball, his prospect will pay more attention than if a stranger did the same thing. Your readers will listen and follow those who share their same values and beliefs.
10. Take advantage of the dominant emotion of the reader towards your market. This strategy works well for markets that have seen multiple products and multiple different claims and may be tired of products that didn’t meet their expectations. Therefore, these readers are tired of advertising. A headline that acknowledges and sympathizes with this frustration will do the trick. For example, in the MLM market, it might be good to try a headline like “Are you sick and tired of being scammed by MLM companies?” Here the prospect is enticed to read the rest of your copy because you are starting where they are to get them where you want them: make the sale.
Now, I’ve shared with you 10 of the most effective headline writing strategies, but there are as many “types of headlines” as your imagination can come up with. The bottom line is that any worthwhile headline should be able to grab the reader’s attention and get them to read the rest of the sales message. If you can pull this off, whether you’ve used any of these strategies or none, you’ve won the biggest battle, the battle for your reader’s attention.