“Nobody in the world (except you) is waiting for your advertisement to appear. Everybody in the world (except you) would much rather read the news, comics, stories, articles, editorials or even the obituaries.”
~ Victor O. Schwab
Nobody is Waiting for You to Appear… Even if they Already Know Who You Are
The biggest challenge businesses face with their marketing and sales is gaining the attention of prospects. This is true in any media and on every platform. It applies to your existing readers and subscribers as well as to people who have never heard from you.
One of the reasons direct mail companies often test plain, window face envelopes with only a single sheet of paper inside is that these can easily look like important communications that it would be foolhardy to ignore. Typically, this kind of letter comes from your bank, your electricity or water company, the ATO, or VicRoads and so they get opened – quickly! They are an extremely effective way of attracting attention because they are usually opened. What happens next depends on your headline.
Online, it’s even harder to gain attention because you can’t rely on an envelope to convey a sense of urgency. Just because people know who you are doesn’t mean that they are in the mood to read what you have to say.
I’m sure you have often seen posts or ads that you thought were interesting and decided to come back to later… But did you? I know that I don’t do so most of the time.
What that Means for You…
There have been many efforts to quantify the percentage value of the headline relative to the rest of your advertisement, but it’s a fruitless argument. Your Headline is effectively a pass-fail element unless there is an external reason to pay attention to your advertisement, sales letter, or lead magnet so you must do everything in your power to make it work for you.
Unless your advertising piece is a mandatory student assignment or essential reading for work the fact is that if your headline doesn’t interest the reader enough to stop and read further all your effort and expense is wasted. However, the good news on that is that if you change the headline, you can change your outcomes. On one client campaign changing 7 words in the headline and sub headline took our sales from $2,500 to $35,000 in 3 days.
It doesn’t matter how persuasive the rest of your piece is, if your readers don’t get past the headline.
What is a Headline?
Your headline is the text that is intended to capture the attention of readers. It has different names depending on the media you use:
- For an email, it’s the subject;
- For a blog, it’s the title;
- On an image, it may be text on the image or the caption;
- On a social media post, it is both the text above and the caption below;
- In a tweet, it’s the whole thing;
The sole goal of the headline is to capture the attention and offer a reward for reading that is powerful and persuasive enough to overcome all other competing attractions.
Psychology of Powerful Headlines
Positive Headlines: offer the reader an opportunity to save, gain, or otherwise increase their well-being, satisfaction or security. Eg. “The Secret of Making People Like You”
Negative Headlines: point out to the reader how they can avoid or eliminate risks, worries, losses, work, or embarrassment and decrease their fear of a specific undesirable outcome. Eg. “Why Some Foods ‘Explode’ in Your Stomach”
The most powerful headlines also manage to tell you how quickly and easily this can be performed through the appropriate use of your product or service and they also evoke curiosity as to how this can be accomplished. Eg. “How I Improved my Memory in One Evening” and, ”This is Marie Antoinette – Riding to Her Death”
Each of the examples quoted above were relevant to the product sold (not always in the way you might imagine… They also ran profitably for more than 2 years and typically returned over 10 times the money invested in running the advertisements. They have also been tweaked and twisted by others in the years since they were first written, and their variations have been profitably used in radio ads as well as online and social media campaigns. How could you use them?
It is important to remember that the promise you make and the curiosity you evoke only convert to sales when the rest of the material delivers on those promises. Getting people’s attention and then jumping immediately onto something quite different will only create more scepticism… And potentially destroy your reputation.
Creating Powerful Headlines that Convert… And more!
Dynamic Direct Response Copywriting provides an insight into how to research and write powerful headlines and advertising copy that irresistibly attracts your ideal prospect and pre-disposes them to work with you.
Purchase your copy today at https://hiltoncopywriting.mykajabi.com/offers/vLy6oYgm