Create Powerful and Effective Headlines
Headlines are tools we use to interrupt and engage prospects. We call headlines “the ad for the ad”. Every marketing piece or advertisement in any type of medium must have a headline. It should be an activator that interrupts the reader and paints a mental picture for the prospect. It needs to be oriented around hot-buttons.
Sub-headlines should do the same and also promise to further educate prospects that are engaged. Remember, people won’t initially read every word on your website – they’ll scan it first looking for information that interests them - meaning their hot-buttons.
Writing effective headings, headlines and sub-headlines can be the difference between a homerun and a strikeout. Which do you want for your site?
Three Unique and Effective Techniques to Write Headlines
- Say it in plain English
- Use headline starters
- Borrow from our Headline Bank
- 1. Say It in Plain English
- Using plain English means just that. Say what you have to say and formulate a headline out of it. For a garage door company the headline might read: “If Your Twenty-Year-Old Garage Is Creaking and Making Weird Sounds and You Might be Worried About the Safety of Your Children and Cars…”
- It’s powerful because those are scenarios that homeowners understand. Then we can continue the headline with problematic hot-buttons that would engage the reader: “And You Would Like To Install A High Quality Garage Door That Won’t Creak, Rust, Rot, Sag, Lean or Smash Down on Your Family or Cars…”
- Did you catch all of the hot-buttons in that headline? Now you might think, “Geez, that’s a long headline, will anyone actually listen to it or read all that?” The answer is; “Absolutely.” If people are ready for a new garage, they will be searching for educational information. Worry much more about the “hot-button” quality of your headline rather then how long it is.
- Here’s a few other plain English headlines you can look at. See if you can find the hot-buttons, and more importantly see how easy it is to know who the headline is targeting.
- 2. Use Headline Starters
- Have you ever had to light a fire and used a fire starter. It’s a little wax log that’s been soaked in Kerosene. To use it you just set it in the middle of some paper and sticks, light it with a match and watch it easily start your fire. It pretty much works in any type of weather.
- Headline starters are the same as fire starters. Whenever you are in a situation where you can’t think of a headline, use the headline starters. They will ignite a creative spark in you almost every time. We break headline starters into 4 groups:
- Inflammatory approach
- How To
- For any given topic we recommend you write anywhere from 20-30 headlines. When we create headlines we usually create 100-200 for each subject…and then weed those down to the top 10.
To write a good news-style-headline, you’ll need to use words like new, finally, introducing, at last. For a garage door company, we might write a headline that reads; “Finally, A Garage Door that Looks and Smells Like Wood, But Lasts as Long As Metal.”
- Inflammatory approachWhat we’re trying to accomplish here is to gain maximum interrupt value by saying something that’s borderline shocking to the prospect. There’s no need to be crass, rude or obnoxious. Sometime being inflammatory works real well. Here’s one for a fence company: “How To Keep Your Fence From Falling Over And Squashing Your Kids.” Here’s one for healthcare: “Learn How Hospitals Can Legally (But Not Ethically) Add $1,000 To Your Bill.” But with inflammatory headlines, don’t use them to just be inflammatory - they have to be full of hot-buttons as well.
- How-toThis is very easy to implement and you can see how many time we implemented on this web site. Why? Because they work. How-to headlines both interrupt and engage because they educate the reader.
- ComparisonHere’s a comparison headline: “How Much Would YOU Rather Pay to Process The Paperwork For Your Small Business Loan? $1,500 or 0 Dollars and 0 Cents?” Here’s another one for a fence company: Most Fences Are Only Guaranteed for 5 Years, Ours is Guaranteed for 12…And Won’t Need Replacing For 20!
- If you’re having trouble creating headlines, use any one or all of those headline starter exercises - & it will guarantee to get your creative juices flowing.
- 3. Use A Headline Bank
- The basic concept of the headline bank is to emulate existing headlines to create powerful new ones. The Headline Bank includes the top 150 headlines of all time, written by some of the world’s greatest copywriters. We use all 150 of them to help our clients. Here’s a sampling:
- The 5 Biggest Mistakes Most People Make When Hiring a Plumber.
- What The Eye Surgeons Don’t Want You To Know.
- Major Diet plans: Which Ones Actually Work … And Which Ones Are Guaranteed To Torture You, Cost a Fortune, And Leave You Fatter.
- Three Fairy Tales You’ll Hear From Brokers … Even Honest Ones!
- If Your Pharmacist Goofs, You Could Be Dead. How to Protect Yourself!
- A Little Mistake That Cost A Farmer $3,000 A Year.
- Something You Probably Didn’t Know About Rolex Watches.
- Every 15 to 25 Years, A Major Innovation Completely Change The Face Of The Copier and Printing Business. GUESS WHAT?
- Of course You’ve heard of Laser Vision Correction. But Have You Heard Of…
Mutual Fund Investment Strategies, Which Ones Actually Work, and Which Ones & are Guaranteed to Drain Your Savings, Jeopardize Your Retirement and Squash Your Quest for Financial Independence
Thinking About Buying a Digital Camera, But Don’t Have The Foggiest Clue What You Need…Or Even What’s Available?
Three Critical Characteristics to Demand From Your Attorney
Compare the Price of the Top 55 Treadmills on the Market Without Ever Having to Step Foot in the Store