No one knows the exact number, of course, but professional marketers generally agree that a strong and powerful headline accounts for 70-80% of the effectiveness of every advertisement.
That’s a pretty remarkable statistic when you think about it. A few words at the top of the ad can either make or break the selling power of the entire remaining ad copy.
Why is that true?
Well, if you consider that most readers sprint from one headline to the next when they “read” a newspaper you’ll understand that the viewer is randomly (or maybe methodically) sorting each entry to find clues that tell him “this might be the type of content I want read more thoroughly.”
Headlines are usually bold, easy to locate, and often they are summaries of the content of the ad or article. At a quick glance, it’s pretty easy to decide if you want to stay and dig deeper or jump to the next headline.
It’s not too hard to see why headlines are critical to the success of an ad. If a headline doesn’t grab your attention and force you to stop and read more, you’ll simply skim to the next article or ad, never to come back to the one that you just dismissed.
You can understand why successful copywriting professionals insist that every ad, every article, every bit of content include a very strong headline.
I remember reading about the process that a very famous copy writer went through to complete an advertisement. He would spend a full 80% of his time on a given project coming up with many various headlines, maybe 200 in all … really that many!
Over a week’s time, he would (through the process of elimination) narrow the list of headlines down to about half a dozen that he thought were the best.
Then he would write the content of the ad, do some refining, and set up a trial run — a test of each headline, all with the same ad content.
His test would be on a small number of respondents, but it gave him an idea of which ad would pull the best conversion of prospects into buyers. It wasn’t until there was a clear winner of a headline that he would then roll out his sales campaign in full scale using the number one headline.
As much as possible, he wanted to spend his effort and time in grabbing the reader’s attention and “forcing” him to stick around to see what was in the ad copy itself. I suppose he figured if he couldn’t at least do that much, having the greatest ad copy in the world wouldn’t amount to anything – who be there to read the remainder of the text if the headline didn’t work?
Most good copywriters keep a file (sometimes called a “swipe file”) of effective headlines, those created by others that seem to work well. They may have hundreds of examples tucked away for future reference.
In fact, one of the best ways for you, as a new business owner, to come up with a strong headline is to use the successful headlines of a previous ad and modify or adjust it to be applicable to your own product or service.
We’ll talk more in the future about the fine points of creating profitable headlines for your ads.
I would highly recommend that you begin a file of headlines that appeal to you. Dissect them and learn why they are so powerful. Why did they grab your attention? How can you “repurpose” those headlines for use in your own products or services?
How about this one found in the National Enquirer: “Boy eats his own head!” Is that powerful, or what? Don’t you just want to find out what that’s all about right now?
Until next time . . .
To your online business success!