I’m sitting here tired and falling asleep. Too tired to write but, here goes nothing…
When you write a headline, make sure it’s alive.
Give the reader a reason to feel restless… stir his emotions… pique his interest till he can’t bear it, and he just has to read on to see what’s coming next.
A headline, of course, is… AN AD FOR YOUR AD! Gary Halbert
Your headline should demand to be read. It should stop your reader in his tracks and create an irresistible desire to read further and find out more.
On the average, 5 times as many people read the headlines as the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells, you’ve wasted 90% of your money. David Ogilvy
The right headline can mean the difference between doubling your readership and more. According to John Caples, one headline increased sales by 19 times against another.
When one advert brings in twice as many responses as another, despite the only difference being the headline, it stands to reason one headline is alive and the other is dead. And, when something is alive it can go to work and get results. If it’s dead, it can’t do anything.
…Your headline is the most important part of your website Michel Fortin
This is a fact regardless of where your advertising is – whether it’s online, in a magazine or a newspaper, or anywhere else. The principles of advertising are the same everywhere. There may be minor changes required from one medium to another, as in print or on television, but the principles will remain the same.
What your headline must do is to grab your prospect by the eyeballs and keep them glued to your advert. And, by the law of averages, if more people read your ad, then more will respond.
When writing your headline you always need to keep in mind that everyone is busy. Especially with the internet, no one really wants to read anymore as they used to.
So you will have to ensure your headline is like the proverbial arrow that hits your reader right between the eyes. It’s got to be so interesting to your reader he can’t tear his eyes away. When you can manage that, you know you’ve hit the bullseye.
And you don’t get a second chance to hit that bullseye. Once your prospect loses interest and leaves – that’s it, end of the story.
So here’s what you need to do – according to John Caples there are three types of headlines you should be looking to write if you want it to be successful:
- Self-interest – This type of headline is the best as it involves something that appeals to his interest, his desires. Remember that all he cares about is what he gets out of it.
- News – This can be something that is new or a new angle on something old. Combine this one with something which is of interest to your reader and you could have a home run.
- Curiosity – As the name suggests, this is the type of headline which piques the interest of your reader. This type of headline, while it can work, is more of a gamble. If the reader is curious he may or may not bother to read it as it does not appeal to his selfish wants.
Remember that the headline needs to make a big promise. You can’t afford to mess around here by trying to be funny — or clever — or arrogant – and you certainly should not make any assumptions of your reader. He doesn’t have to read your copy at all. So you need to give him a bloody good reason to take time out of his busy day to read your ad.
Take a look at these headlines (taken from John Caples’ Tested Advertising Methods)
- “NO… NO… DON’T CALL ON ME!”
- THE ODDS ARE 9 TO 1 AGAINST YOU
- “I’LL NEVER GIVE ANOTHER PARTY,” SHE SOBBED
- A TEST OF HOW “WELL READ” YOU ARE
- IS WORRYING ROBBING YOU OF THE GOOD THINGS OF LIFE?
And how about Yahoo!’s latest offering:
This time it’s personal. It’s y!ou
Now, I don’t know about you, but the only thing to go through my mind when I saw that was, “What!?”
When you think that this excuse for an ad is actually competing with successful ones it makes you wonder how long this company will stay in business with advertising like that.
I’ll bet the advertising agency has made enough to survive for some time, though.
What it boils down to is this, if these adverts fail to capture the attention of the intended audience, then the ad has failed. That’s all there is to it.
Not one of these headlines makes any big promises. None contains anything that promises any benefit to the reader, nor do they offer any news.
So keep that in mind – if you want your headline to succeed, make sure it promises something to the reader. Make sure it works on his emotions – his wants and his desires.
Oh, one last thing, unlike with my blog, when I write a sales letter I take a heck of a lot longer to come up with a headline. Not a few minutes, or even a few hours. It can take days… and involve a LOT of writing.
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