Your headline is the gateway to your advertisement. It will eitherentice your reader to continue reading, or turn them of beforethey've read a single word about your product. A good headline translates into leads.
Headlines are the first thing the eye falls on. If it loses yourreader's attention, you automatically lose a potential lead. Thistranslates into a single fact: your headline is what sells your product.An effective headline will be impossible to resist, and it will forcethe reader to learn more about your product or service.
You only have a few seconds to seize your reader's attention. Thatbeing said, it is imperative that you earn how to write good, ifnot brilliant headlines. Let's start by examining what the function of a headline is.
A headline should grab the reader's attention, communicatepotential benefits to that reader, and set-up an expectation ofwhat will follow in the body of the ad-and the headline must do this all at once, instantaneously! Additionally, an effective headline is a filterthat attracts your target audience.
Your headline should be educational rather than overly commercial.The best headlines declare an issue or a problem faced by marketingprofessionals, and they contain the subtle promise of your product or service being able to solve that problem.
For example,"How to?" headlines work well because they appeal tothe need for information. Headlines written as a question appeal tothe reader's emotions because they will automatically want that question answered and be moved to read on. Headlines written as commands, such as "Double your traffic?" focusing on the most vital benefit of your product or service literally demands your reader'sattention.
Another strategy is using a news item as headline copy, such asannouncing your new breakthrough service. Finally, consider using thebest sentence, subtly rewritten, from a testimonial: My traffic has increased by 50% and sales are at an all time high! Testimonials, which must always be reliable and true to their source, inspire your potential customer's trust and peak their interest.
Obviously, learning how to write elective headlines is essential. But todo that, you must first understand what the qualities of effective headlines are.
An effective headline must be immediately credible. You have tomake a claim, but it must not sound impossible or miraculous. If itsounds too amazing, the reader will not believe you, and you will losethem before you get the chance to explain your product or service.
Following this line of reasoning, effective headlines must also beshort because the average reader's attention span is short. For thesame reason that sound bites work, headlines must be brief and notable. They must be easy to remember, and even better, impossibleto forget. Quotation marks work well in headlines, for example, becausethey both grab the eye and the reader's attention. This is most likely due to the conditioning people receive from reading books. A readertend to focus more on whats being said within the quotation marks.
Use no more than fifteen words at the most. The shorter the better,so eliminate all extraneous words, such as adjectives and adverbs.These words can make a headline sound unbelievable or like hype, soonly use these modifiers in your ad copy.
Headlines should appeal to the reader's emotions rather than theirintellect. Generally, strong emotions motivate people to take action, and the more powerful the emotion, the faster the action. So aim to write headlines that inspire awe, excitement, curiosity, even fear, and you will have solidly caught your reader's attention.
Write in the active voice, using the first or second person. Keep all your verbs in the present tense, as it makes the headline moreimmediate. Aim to write a headline that is in the imperative tense in order to motivate your reader to take some kind of action. In thiscase, reading on to the rest of the ad.
Think of how you grab someone's attention verbally in your life.You use strong, direct, imperative language. You use strong actionverbs and direct nouns and phrases. The same method should be
applied to your headline. You want to stop the reader in theirtracks, but then be sure to hold onto their attention.
After you have their focus, aim to entice them by hinting at whatyour product may do for them. You must accomplish this is in aslittle words as possible.
The best way to figure out how to entice your audience is to have aclear sense of exactly who your target audience is. Understand whatmotivates them, what their interests, passions, and priorities are, andwhat they are looking for.
What is it that causes this target audience to take some kind ofaction? Once you answer these questions, choose words that willarouse this audience's interest.
However, make sure that your headlines are 100% truthful, accurate,and above all, credible-and your advertising copy must support theclaim your headline makes.
It's a good idea to test market different headlines. Once you getthe hang of writing them, try out a different headline as you update your ads, and keep track of what ads received the most responses. These are the two or three headlines that you should build your marketing campaign around.
The content of your message in a safelist ad should be educational.Include case studies, research results, testimonials, anecdotes, and the relevant benefits of your product or service.
Focus on the most important benefits your customers will receivefrom your product. Be specific and stick to facts, don't use hyperbole. Be as down-to-earth as possible or you will sound unbelievable. You want to keep the focus on your product,not on yourself, and you want to appeal to a wide range of different types of people.
It's a good idea to include a compelling story. Focus on what makesyour product or service unique, and then find a story that illustrates how a customer was able to effectively make use of this uniqueness. This story should lead the reader to an offer that will compel some form of action.
Offer something upfront, such as a free article, a discount, a freetrial offer, or even a free ebook. Then immediately follow it with a link to that offer that declares: CLICK HERE FOR FREE OFFER. This will automatically bring the reader to your website where they can learn more about your product.
Keep your message within 3 screens of text. You want it to be longenough to contain all the relevant information and benefits, but not so long that it will become a chore to read.
Make sure your copy is fluent, flowing, and easy to read. Eliminateall spelling and grammatical mistakes. If you're giving out a lot of information, break up the space using bulleted lists to give the reader's eye a rest. A list should summarize the key benefits in an immediately accessible form.
Make sure the text is easy to read, in a readable font, with enoughspace between the lines. Use color only to emphasize points, and don'tuse too much of it or it will become distracting. Avoid colored backgrounds,as they are hard on the eyes. Use upper and lower case text. If you want touse caps, save it for your headlines.
Use a blank line between paragraphs instead of an indent to increase thewhite space on the page.
Keep your ad copy as brief as a single page if possible. The more emphaticand condensed, the greater the possibility of maintaining reader attention.
Using Free safelists is a great way to try out different ad headlines and copy. Monitor the results carefully until you've honed in on the most defective emails. Then go on to subscribe to the Pro lists using your most effective ad copy.
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By Dennis Whittaker