It's a scientifically proven fact that 5 times as many people read headlines as read body copy of an ad. So with the headline, an advertiser has spent about 80% of their advertising dollar. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the headline is the most important part of an ad.
Yet, most small business advertising is wasted for lack of an effective headline or, worse yet, no headline at all. Don’t make this same mistake.
The headline is the first thing that your reader or prospect sees when they open your letter, browse a magazine, or flip your postcard. In that moment, (about 3 seconds) your reader decides whether or not to read any farther.
So first and foremost, any advertisement you produce must have a headline and your headline must grab your reader's attention immediately. If you don't grab them by the throat and hold them right away, you never will.
Writing powerful headlines is not easy but it can be done if you follow some simple guidelines.
- Your headline should give the reader a reason to stop and read now instead of later – a carefully chosen word or two can create urgency
- Your headline should communicate something the reader considers valuable – they need to be able to justify the time spent reading your ad
- Your headline should scream how you might offer something that is unique or at least interesting
- Your headline should point to something very specific for the reader – use facts and how to’s
Never use boring, conventional or overused statements. Never use a headline to trick your reader into looking on.
Attention getting power words for your headlines
Look at powerful headlines and you will see that many contain one or more of the following words that sell.
Here are some headlines that fall in the "Headline Hall of Fame" category for their design and their effectiveness over time. Again, some may seem corny or simple, but they are considered great headlines because they have worked over and over again.
How many of these mistakes are causing you to work harder?
A little mistake that cost a farmer $3,000 a year
Why some people almost always make money in the stock market
How to plan your house to suit yourself
How banks play tricks with interest rates
Burn disease out of your body lying flat on your back using nothing but the palm of your hand
What food to never ever eat on an airplane
Start off by writing some headlines that clearly communicate your promise, benefit or unique selling proposition. Then look for ways to make them even more powerful by adding a power word or two and checking if they contain at least three of the guidelines provided above.