This is not only one of my favorite topics but one of my favorite things to do: Writing powerful, “attention grabbing,” benefit driven, knock out punch headlines that are oozing with excitement that get your prospects to TAKE ACTION! (ok, clearly got carried away right there).
The headline of your sales messages, whether in an on-line ad, in the local newspaper or in an email subject line is responsible for 70% to 80% of the response from your sales message. The success or failure of any marketing effort rests, to a large degree, on the power of your headline.
Pay very close attention…
David Ogilvy is one of the most respected modern day marketing authorities. He revealed that, with the average headline, only 200 people out of 1000 will go on to read your ad. And that is where your profit is sitting. Capture another 200 customers with an exciting headline and you will double your sales. Lose 100 readers with a poor headline and you lose half your sales. Big difference.
Headlines are just that important. Even poorly written ads have been very successful because of the overwhelming power of interesting and exciting “attention grabbing” headlines.
Your prospects will decide whether to read your sales message in only two or three seconds. That's all the time they will give you to scan your headline. Really, you and I are no different. We do not READ a newspaper, we SCAN the headlines, article headlines and ad headlines. We are looking for only what interests us at the moment.
Here are four critical tips for writing your next powerful, “attention grabbing” headline for your home business enterprise:
1. MAKE SURE YOUR HEADLINE IS THE FIRST WORD GROUP YOUR PROSPECT SEES:
I know this may seem like a “no-brainer” but I see this mistake time and again, particularly in local newspaper advertising or on web sites. And even more amazing, the ads the newspaper “experts” use to promote themselves seldom follow this rule.
Take a look through your newspaper. Notice how many businesses start out their ad with their store name and location right at the top. HUGE mistake! This is a terrible waste of their prime “real estate.” It's an ego thing and can easily cost them 25% to 50% of their potential sales.
Always keep in mind, the public could careless about you or your product. Sorry to be the one to tell you that. Tough pill to swallow sometimes, I know, but the fact of the matter is; they're only interested in themselves and fulfilling their current desires. As humans, we are all self centered by nature. That doesn't mean we're selfish, just self-centered on “what's in it for us.” Big difference.
Put your company name at the bottom. If the headline draws them in to read your ad, and you convince them to take action they will find your business name, no matter how small.
2. MAKE SURE YOUR HEADLINE DELIVERS THE PUNCH LINE:
The “punch line” is the unique and powerful part of your sales message. You aren't telling a joke here. Do not save the best part of your offer until last. Determine the most compelling part of your offer and put it right at the top of your ad in BIG, bold print. Virtually shout it out! And make the wording active, not passive.
For example: “Save 50% On Your Next Suit” is passive. “Take Home Two Suits For The Price Of One” is an active headline.
3. USE ‘WORDS' YOUR PROSPECT ARE SEARCHING FOR:
Here is another costly mistake you will see every day. Do not try to get everybody to read your ad by being vague or cute. “Everybody” is not your potential customer. Your prospects are only those who want today what you have for sale today. By trying to capture everybody, you will actually lose many of your most important prospects – the ones that want to give you money.
Your headline should sort out the buyers. Be specific. If you are selling Mens Suits, then say “Men's Suits,” not “Mens Clothing.” Do not say “Men's Clothing Sale.” Say something like: “Men's Suits – Two For The Price Of One For A Limited Time.” The more focused your headline, and your sales message, the better the response.
4. YOUR HEADLINE SHOULD BE SHORT AND SWEET:
The headline should be as few words as possible, yet long enough to tell them what you are selling and why they should read your message. Usually ten words or less is a good target. The consumer will read longer headlines if the first four words grab their attention. If you need more words, start with a large, short headline leading to a smaller type, longer worded sub-headline.
Email ‘Subject Line' Tip:
No matter what subject line you write, keep it short and sweet, because many e-mail programs cut off long subject lines. Here are the maximum subject line lengths (including spaces) in some popular e-mail programs:
AOL: 52 characters
Hotmail: 45 characters
Outlook Express: 64 characters
Yahoo: 80 characters
Here are some simple and fun ways to find profitable headline ideas:
- Look through your newspaper every day. Watch for headlines on articles and ads that really grab your interest. Think about why those headlines worked on you…
- While waiting to check out at the supermarket, read the headlines on the gossip tabloids. Those headlines are THE main reason, if not the only reason, millions of people buy them every week. Super market tabloids have the highest paid copywriting experts on staff who do nothing but write compelling and extremely profitable headlines. And these headlines are always good for a little entertainment too…
- Your junk mail is a virtual goldmine of great headlines and sub-headlines. Save the ones you like for future use. Mix, match and adapt these headlines to suit your home business. If you see a headline used over and over again, it's because it is making a lot of money for that company. You do not have to re-invent the wheel. Somebody paid $1000's to write that headline, and $1000's more to test it – and you get to use it free.
- Practice writing good headlines in the subject line of your personal emails. This is fun practice and your recipients will enjoy it too. “RE: This Weekend” is passive and boring. “RE: Let's Hit The Beach This Weekend” is active and exciting…
- Buy a good book on marketing! You should be involved in at least one marketing or copywriting related book or course at ALL times. Continuing education in this area will be a HUGE difference maker in your marketing efforts. Hands down.
If you follow these tips, you will become an expert in no time – smarter than 90% of your competitors and 80% of newspaper advertising consultants.
Andrew J. Cass is a Home Business Development Expert and Professional Marketing Consultant. To learn how you can achieve more in the next 12 months than the previous 12 years and explode your Home Business empire, sign up for Andrew's FREE Ezine at: http://www.TheHomeBusinessInsider.com