Headlines to Energize Your Ads,
Sales Letters, and Web Site Copy
to get a prospect's attention,
build interest, and get the sale
by: Dr. Kevin Nunley
one of your marketing tools needs a headline. Headlines get attention,
make your message easy to read, get your main selling points across, and
lead your customer to a sale. Use a short three word headline for classified
ads. Use headlines frequently in your web site copy to help people get
your main message without having to spend a lot of time online.
Headlines range from newspaper "hit-you-in-the face" to more
subtle ones that don't seem like a headline at all. A hard-sell direct
mail letter might have your headline in all capitals at the beginning:
GOT FIVE WAYS TO SAVE YOU MONEY--NOW!
Or your headline can
be softer and less obvious, more like an important paragraph in bold at
the beginning of your letter:
Here's something I
know you will be interested in. I've got five ways you can cut costs 20%--today!
Your headline gets
attention when it appeals to the reader's interests. Use your headline
to point out a problem the reader has or something you know the reader
feels strongly about. Headlines aren't a good place to list the features
of your product or service. Instead, headline the benefit the feature
your site listed high on search engines. Nothing drives a flood of eager
customers to your site faster."
Studies show headlines
get even better results if they're enclosed in quotation marks like the
example above. It's a good trick to use from time to time.
Over the years copy
writing pros have found several headline formulas that almost always work
well. Try these out using the benefits your business provides.
Ask a Question. "Are you worried about filing your tax
return this year?" A question headline gets the reader to answer
in their mind. You automatically get the prospect involved in your message.
Many people will read further into your letter, ad, or web site copy just
to find out what answer or solution you provide.
Start your headline with "How to." "How to buy
a car without getting a lemon." How-to headlines work like magic.
Many of my articles start with "how to." People love information
that shows them how to do something valuable. It works for reports or
letters that provide helpful information.
Provide a testimonial. The recommendation of a satisfied customer
can go a long way in convincing others to buy from you. "This product
really works! I'm happier and less stressed. Marina Monson-Central City."
Always include the customer's full name and the city they live in. Many
readers won't believe a testimonial if it is hard to figure out who the
author is. "R.A.,LA" doesn't work nearly as well as "Richard
Allen-Big Town, LA."
Issue a command. Some classic headlines command readers to
"Aim High" and "Put a tiger in your tank." Turn your
most important benefit into a commanding headline. "Stop rushing
through life." "Make more money this month." "Feel
better about yourself."
Important news makes a good headline. This particularly works
well for big changes in your company or the introduction of hot new products.
"Richard Benson is our new CEO with a powerful vision for the future."
"Software Central introduces the new Instant Forms 2000--professional
web site forms in 20 minutes."
Headline a deadline for a special offer. Most of us are busy
and tend to put off taking action. If you don't get the prospect to act
now, you may never get the sale. Deadlines encourage people to respond
when their interest is highest. "Save Money Now" and "Get
More If You Buy Now" offers increase response.
FREE offers often pull the best response. "FREE report
on boosting web site sales" is a powerful way to get lots of interested
prospects. There is a myth that affluent or professional customers are
turned off by free offers. Not true. Simply tailor your free offer to
match the style of your customers or industry. You might subtly headline
a "no-cost initial consultation" or "a bonus Widget 2000
in each package."
Prospects are in a
hurry. They are bombarded with hundreds of ads, letters, postcards, and
commercials every day. They tend to skip or tune out any marketing message
that looks like it will take too much time or be too much trouble to figure
out. Headlines simplify the learning curve. A reader can scan down your
page, quickly digest your headlines, and figure out what you're offering.
Once the prospect knows you have something she is interesting in, she
will take more time to read your entire letter, ad, or web page.
Spice your headlines
with action words like save, act, run, feel, and do. Cut out unnecessary
words. Put subheadings in your copy to break up stretches of text. If
someone else is writing copy for you, share some of these power headline
ideas with them. In our hustle, bustle world good headlines make your
sales materials stand out, easy to use, and motivating.
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