Headlines are relatively short, but they may be the most important words you write. You have only seconds to get the attention of prospects any time you write marketing materials, such as sales letters, web pages, articles and more.
The headline gets the reader’s attention and draws them into reading the rest. That means that learning to write powerful headlines is critical to your success. Here is how you can write headlines that grab the attention of readers, and keep them reading.
What Result Do You Want?
Are you trying to get people to buy? To sign up for your newsletter? To respond to a survey? What do you want people to do after they read what you have written?
To Whom Are You Writing?
Imagine your typical customers. What characteristics do they share? What problem to they have and how do you solve their problem? Does your product or service fill a want or a need? (Wants are easier to sell to than needs.)
Don’t talk about how your product works, tell them the result they get from it.
Start Thinking Up Headlines
Do not assume you will write one or two headlines and be done. Write 20, 50 or more. Keep going until you run out of ideas, then write a few more.
Here are some suggested headline formats:
- Ask a question – One popular headline starts, “Who Else Wants to…” You can fill in the blank with what your product does: Who Else Wants to Lose Weight Effortlessly?
- Use numbers – 7 Ways to Double Your Income
- Promise a benefit – Stop Your Cat From Scratching NOW!
- Suggest secrets – Health Secrets the Drug Companies Don’t Want You to Know
- Use “hot button” words – Words such as Free, New, How To, Easy, etc.
Talk to YOU
Use “you” when writing to your customers. Do not write in third-person and do not talk about yourself. Talk directly to your customers, as if you were having a face-to-face conversation.
Use emotions in your writing to further involve the reader. People tend to make buying decisions emotionally, then justify them logically. Get them emotionally involved and they will rationalize their purchase.
When writing for the web, use your keywords in the headline. Ideally, the keyword(s) should be as close to the beginning of the headline or title as possible, while still making sense to humans. Good keywords will help the search engines better index your pages.
Test, Test, Test
Small differences in headlines can make big differences in results. Test headlines to see which ones get better results. Keep testing—there is always room for improvement.