Seven headlines to energize your ads, sales
letters, and web site copy
by Dr. Kevin Nunley
Every 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:
I'VE 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 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 provides.
"Webbuster gets 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.
Seven Surefire Headlines
Over the years copy writing pros have found several headline formulas
that almost always work well. Try these headlines, putting your product,
service, or benefit in place of mine.
1. 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.
2. Start your headline with "How to." "How to buy a car
without getting a lemon." How to headlines work like magic. Almost
all 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.
3. 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 where it's hard to figure out who
the author is. "R.A.,LA" doesn't work nearly as well as "Richard
Allen-Big Town, LA."
4. 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."
5. 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 taking the helm as 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."
6. 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. "Save Money Now" and "Get More
If You Buy Now" offers increase response.
7. 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.
|About the author
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copywriting. See his 10,000
marketing ideas and popular promotion packages at http://DrNunley.com
Reach Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org
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