It’s simple. Your marketing message stands or falls by your headline. Your headline carries the majority of the weight in getting your prospects attention and no message gets read if the attention of the potential client isn’t won.
I have been able to increase the conversion rate of sales letters by as much as 70% and more by simply changing the headline. The same way in which newspaper editors look for the catchiest headline to place on their front pages so that people would buy their newspapers, so you must write the best headline if you expect to get your wares sold.
Below I share some of the very best guidelines or principles to successful headline writing. Most of these guidelines emerge from real world testing and judging the results of winning direct marketing letters from the past. In other words, a great headline idea is not just a theoretical entity but a marketing tool that comes out of the crucible of real-world marketing.
Here are 10 of the most effective headline writing strategies:
1. The “how to” headline . Sometimes the common and ubiquitous can fool us into taking a pattern for granted but this tried and true headline writing formula would never lose its effectiveness. “How to” in a headline implies that you are going to be giving practical instructions on how to accomplish a goal versus just theory. Think of the many best-selling books that have “how to” as part of their titles such as “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.
2. Make the subject “newsy”. People love to discover things that are new and interesting and want to keep abreast as to what is going on in the world. How else could you explain 24-hr news channels such as CNN? If you word your headline like you are making a newsworthy announcement then you’ll get attention. Consider: “At Last! A New Way To Stop Hair Loss.” Just make it ‘breaking news’ and you’ll have your reader’s attention.
3. Make a paradoxical claim . Consider these headlines: “How to lose weight while eating more!” “How to make money online without a website!” All these claims states a contradiction and builds a tension in the reader’s mind that can only be resolved when he reads the rest of the copy, which is the main purpose 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 your products main claim . If you are making a very bold claim for your product you can try demonstrating this claim right in the headline. For example, “New Blogging Tool Made New Jersey Man $103,657 in Just 30 Days!” Here the claim is that this new tools can make bloggers a lot of money within a short time and the headline shows this instead of just telling it.
5. State the claim as a question . One of the most effective applications of this strategy is the “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 could be “Could You Spare An Extra 30 Minutes Marketing If It Made You Over $100,000 Per Year?”
6. Make the claim easy by comparing it to something simple . Consider this headline: “If You Could Copy And Paste Then You Can Get More Customers For Free!” The taks of copy and pasting is something easy enough so that it will make this claim universally accessible to the reader.
7. Warn the reader about not getting your product . You may want to state upfront the negative consequences that would result if the reader didn’t get your product. Fro example, “Do Not Buy Another Traffic Tool Until You Read This Report.” Because the reader doesn’t want to make a mistake then she is compelled to get this report if only to place her mind at ease.
8. Shock the reader by contradicting the way he thinks . This is close to the paradoxical strategy because it creates dissonance that only reading the copy could solve. Consider: “Article Marketing Is A Waste Of Time And Money-Here’s A Better Way!” Because it is generally accepted that article marketing is one of the best ways to market online then this headline gets attention because the reader initially disagrees. (TIP: More people pay attention to you who DISAGREES with you than who AGREE with you!)
9. Show how the values and heroes of the reader match your claim . If you can find the main values and the heroes of your readers and show how these are all supported by your claim then you have a winning headline. If Tiger Woods uses a certain golf ball then your prospect will pay more attention than if an unknown did the same. Your readers will listen to and follow those who share their same values and beliefs.
10. Harness the reader’s dominant emotion towards your market . This strategy works well for markets that have seen several products and several different claims and may be weary of products that didn’t live up to their expectation. These readers are therefore weary of advertising. A headline which acknowledges and empathize with this frustration will work magic. For example in the MLM market it may be well to try a headline such as, “Are you Sick And Tired Of Being Ripped Off By MLM Companies?” Here the prospect is wooed into reading the rest of your copy because you are starting at the point she is at to bring her to where you want her-to making the sale.
Now, I shared with you 10 of the most effective headline writing strategies but there are as many “types of headlines” as your imagination can concoct. The bottom line is that any headline that is worth its salt must be able to arrest the reader’s attention and get the rest of the sales message read. If you can accomplish this-whether you used any one of these strategies or none at all-you would have won the greatest battle, the battle for your reader’s attention.