One of the most important skills in direct marketing is being able to create attention grabbing headlines. Marketers are always looking for a new slant or technique that allows them to pack more punch into their headlines.
Why are headlines so important? Because it has been proven that an effective headline can improve your response rate by as much as 1800%. If your response rate can increase that much with a good headline, it only makes sense to spend as much time as necessary to work on your headlines until you get the results you want.
Your headline is what draws people's attention to your advertisement. It is their introduction to your offer and their first impression of your company. If you can't get readers' attention, you can't make sales, so it is vitally important to create compelling, effective headlines. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Appeal to greed or self interest.
The old "what's in it for me" approach works for a reason. A good headline will cause a reader to keep on reading to find out how you will meet their needs.
2. Grab the reader's attention.
A great way to get attention is to offer something free. The word "free" gets attention fast.
3. Appeal to the reader.
Keep your headline simple, avoiding overly clever, cute or unnecessary language. Appeal to the reader to act in their own best interest by highlighting a significant benefit he or she will gain from your product or service. Keep your language and printing style simple but powerful.
4. Communicate to your niche market.
Effective advertising requires that you know your market and directly appeal to that market. This means you need to specifically target your headline to meet the needs of your niche.
5. Communicate a clear message.
You will get the best results from communicating a complete and clear message in your headline.
6. Encourage the reader to read the body of your advertisement.
Your headline should be so compelling that the reader is drawn into reading the whole of the advertisement. Tactics such as humor, intrigue or mystery have been successfully used to achieve this end.
7. Headlines should be straightforward when dealing with clear cut products.
In particular, if you are selling high interest products or offers that will cost the consumer over time, it is important that you are clear about what you are selling and the cost involved. This is not the occasion for humor, wordplay or holding back information.
8. Your sales pitch can be unique and compelling.
Creating a headline which expresses the main idea in a fresh or compelling way or with a difference, can be very effective.
9. Use your headline to announce new product information.
If your product has been improved, won an award, or if you have any other news about your product, you can use your headline to announce it.
10. "How to" headlines can attract readers to read and respond to advertisements.
When you offer to teach the reader something beneficial, offer them important information, guidance and solutions, you are likely to get an improved response rate.
11. Be provocative.
A headline which asks a provocative question or one with which the reader can empathize, will usually attract attention. When your headline is in the form of a question, make sure that it focuses on the needs and likely wants of your target audience.
12. Guide customers to take action.
Don't leave your readers hanging. Make sure you let them know what you want them to do. Headlines that tell your readers to take specific action including "buy now" are known as "command headlines."
13. Reason with your readers.
One of the easiest and most effective methods of writing advertisements is to list the features or benefits of your product or service. You can introduce your list of benefits with a "reason why" headline.
14. Use a testimonial headline.
When your headline is in quotation marks, it grabs readers' attention. When someone else speaks well of your business or product, it is a form of proof that customers are happy.
15. Combine Words and Graphics.
Headlines often work best with pictures because the combination creates a more powerful impact than either the words or pictures on their own.
16. Don't be too clever for your own good.
The purpose of advertising is to educate your target market or directly sell a product or service. It is not a platform for showing off your creative talent just to provoke interest and attention.
Finally, be willing to test your headlines and let the market decide which is best. By playing around with your headlines and advertising copy, you can obtain significantly different results. Obviously, you would keep using advertisements that obtained the best results. For the same cost of advertising, your response can improve by ten times or more by simply evaluating response to changes in your ads.