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What Does Your Headline Say?

  • By Kevin Sinclair
  • Published 05/22/2008
  • Copywriting

People who are in the business of marketing are well aware that the way that they market to potential clients is of the utmost importance. The right copy can make the difference between a making a sale and striking out. It all comes down to this – the smallest changes in a piece of promotional communications can make all the difference in it’s effectiveness. The easiest and fastest part of your sales strategy to test out and retool is the headline of your brochure, sales letters or your webpage. You can get radically higher response rates by changing this one all-important line of copy. Every piece of your marketing material matters. From the headline to the closing, all are important elements. But it is the headline more than any other line in your material that will bring in readers and hopefully interest them enough to make a conversion. It’s simple enough to grasp why this is – after all, the headline is read first. It’s right at the top of the page, inviting you in. To be effective, you need a headline which is compelling enough to suck in a prospect and get them engaged enough to read the rest of your message. Think of your headline as sales copy for your sales copy. You need to get people to read your pitch if you want them to buy from you and to do this, you need to get their attention. A friendly hello, a coy come-on, a news headline or a shout of alarm. No matter how it goes about it, a headline is there to get attention and make a passerby into a reader (and hopefully, a customer).

Writing new headlines is a matter of market research and the kind of copywriter’s brainstorming session seen at ad agenc

ies. Keep these questions in mind as you think about rewriting yours. Does your headline make a promise of some kind of benefit for the reader? For instance, “repair your credit rating without high interest” – something that readers will want. Are there specifics and testimonials from experts? This can help quell peoples’ natural skepticism. Think of something like “leading dog training expert says new ebook tells all you need to know about problem pups”. Can you work your headline to make you appear to be a champion of your market’s interests? This is a particularly effective strategy for initially grabbing the attention of readers. Does it either generate an emotional response or appeal to an issue or emotional state your target market may be experiencing? Think of something like: “Just whose interests do they really have at heart anyways?” Almost any rephrasing of “Cui bono?” can be effective. Does your headline offer something which makes your readers eager to learn more? Perhaps a trial offer or a promise of great benefits as a result of your product. You can appeal to the natural curiosity of your readers with something like “get out of debt – with the power of your mind”. People will want to know exactly what you mean; it’s alright to be cryptic with your headline if you can do it in such a way that it will compel people to read further. These are just a few of the many strategies used by marketing professionals and copywriters to create attention getting headlines.

Brainstorming up different headlines is a great way to get some different approaches to your marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid to change a headline that isn’t working for you, keep at it until you find that truly winning piece of copy that will help your business grow.



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