Does the headline of your sales ad or marketing piece really deserve 80% of the time you spend on writing the ad copy?
That’s the suggestion of author Ted Nicholas, one of the all time greats in direct marketing.
He figures that between 50 and 80% of the sales generated in direct advertising are attributable to the ad’s headline.
That’s a pretty amazing statistic, but maybe not totally surprising given the way readers skim copy and jump from heading to heading.
Nicholas says he writes as many as 250 headlines for one ad until he is confident that he has the best one possible for a particular situation.
Here are ten suggestions to consider when writing your next killer ad:
1. Use a conversational style.
Forget formality and college level grammar. They have their place – but it’s not in your headline.
You want to pull your reader in to the conversation and engage him as though you were talking to an old friend face to face.
2. Tell a story.
One of the most effective headline styles is the one that paints a mental picture for the reader.
Let him/her visualize how happy and satisfied he’ll be using your product. Paint the picture of the benefit the product will give the buyer.
3. Put your #1 benefit right into the headline.
You only have a few seconds to commit the reader to reading your ad further.
You want to draw him in by giving him the #1 reason why he should stick with you.
Sometimes marketers highlight product features. No, don’t do that. Highlight product benefits (What’s in it for me?).
4. Try putting quotation marks around your headline.
Studies show that doing so increases the customer response. It may not be the best practice always depending upon the type of headline you use. But give it a try and test it against a headline without quotes and see which elicits more attention.
My guess is that it has to do with drawing the prospect into the conversation and making him feel that you’re talking directly with him.
5. Appeal to the prospect’s emotions by using words that elicit a gut reaction.
Get the reader to “feel” the need to read the ad. Emotion is almost always more motivating than logic.
Many folks buy on emotion alone and you want to stimulate those buying impulses.
6. Use simple, easy to understand words.
Don’t try to be too clever, fancy, or use jargon that some readers may not grasp.
Most often, direct and to-the-point is the best approach for your headline. Most people don’t use big words or technical language in their everyday lives.
7. Describe your product as “totally new” or “just announced” or “first time ever.”
Readers are drawn to being the first to see or recognize something.
So headlines like “Discover the amazing new way to . . .” forces the reader to continue reading the ad to find out just what this new discovery entails. Other things haven’t worked in the past, maybe this new discovery will actually help me!
8. There’s a fine line between hype and excitement.
Boring ads just don’t work. The prospect will be gone as soon as he is tired of reading the headline that doesn’t spark some emotion and excitement. But there is a difference between getting excited and being “hyped” or fooled by too much of a good thing.
Good headlines make for exciting reading. They are compelling and emotional.
Look at the gripping headlines in the National Enquirer as examples of writing that creates excitement and curiosity.
9. Leave the reader anxious to get into the body of your ad.
The headline should leave the prospect curious and hungry for more. It should lead the reader by the hand into the coming copy.
You want him to be overflowing with desire to solve his problem by purchasing your product.
10. Feel the reader’s pain.
You must place yourself in the reader’s shoes. You must feel empathy for him and his problem or desire.
It doesn’t matter what your concerns are as a marketer . . . the prospect is reading your headline looking for something that interests him, or that saves him time, or that makes him feel good.
Tell him how you are going to solve his problem with your product.
I’ll give you some additional suggestions on specific headlines later; but for now, understand that headlines really are important to your Internet marketing business success.
Become a student of this subject and your expertise will soon pay you great dividends.
Information businesses rely heavily on content and generally require the use of a headline.
Learn this art well!
To your online business success,