There is no more valuable skill you could acquire as a marketer, than the skill of creating attention grabbing headlines. It’s a skill that once mastered, can be used anytime, anywhere, to attract more prospects, increase your sales, improve your cash flow, and boost your profits!
Headlines are your “front line” to any market. It’s the first thing most prospects see. Your headline is your one big chance to interest and influence a selected audience with your message.
If you want your messages to get noticed, if you want to be heard, if you want to make a splash in the marketplace you need to have headlines that not only work, but, work extremely well.
Below are a few tips on headline creation.
1. Grab your target prospect by the jugular! Get right to it– don’t beat around the bush. Reach out daringly and directly in a way that’s impossible for prospects to overlook.
2. Make your headline tempting, teasing, and tantalizing. Touch a nerve in your prospect. Generate a headline that’s difficult to forget so your prospect is “driven” to find out more.
3. Keep it clear and concise. Refine… rewrite… reduce… and otherwise modify until you have your headline down to a brief statement with an unmistakable message. Craft a handful of words that resonate with your prospect. Most people today prefer information in quick, easy to digest, bite-size pieces.
4. Compose your headline with an understanding of the sheer volume of competing messages that are all vying for the same prospect’s attention. You want people to perk-up… to pay attention to your message… so you need to develop a headline that advertising-weary eyes will find appealing. Entice prospects into the rest of your message with a riveting opener.
5. Consider it your most important hook– a line or two you run at the top of a display ad or marketing piece to lure attention. In effect, your targeted headline says this, “Here’s something important, unique and of value to you, dear prospect. Pay attention here or you’ll miss out”.
6. Stick to a single, coherent idea or concept with your headline. Focus on one powerful thought that is easily understood and absorbed in an instant. Think of your headline as a “grabber” that must be compelling enough to interrupt the busy prospect and get him to notice your message. Your headline does its job when the otherwise indifferent reader is pulled into the body of your message. One strong idea is all you can reasonably expect busy people to grasp in a quick glance.
7. Summarise your main selling point as a headline. Readers should get the gist of what your entire message is about by reading headlines and sub-headings only. By offering your strongest selling point up-front, you help attract prospects who are genuinely interested and you’ll help turn away the “tire-kickers”.
8. Capture attention quickly. The single, most important task of any headline is to get noticed. One way to get noticed is to stand out from the crowd. Think of your ad as a telegraphic communication, conceived for the purpose of attracting qualified attention from the maximum number of prospects. Your headline needs to hit hard and hit fast.
9. Be careful about making statements that others could easily claim as their own. Generic benefits that others offer are too common to be effective. Add an original twist with a specific promise or result. Do something radically different and you’ll get noticed.
10. Convert facts into meaningful prospect benefits. Avoid headlines that are mere factual statements about a product or service. The facts are only features and features by themselves, don’t sell. Prospects are attracted by what those facts mean. It’s the sizzling benefits and mouthwatering descriptions that draw huge numbers of prospects.
11. Be upbeat and positive. Paint a bright future. Offer workable solutions that provide hope and inspiration to your audience. Avoid gloomy, negative headlines. Raise the spirits of your audience with an upbeat, helpful approach.
12. Simplify your message so it’s easy to grasp. Don’t force people to stop and think about what it is you’re trying to say, or you’ll quickly lose the audience. Your prospects won’t waste any valuable time trying to figure it out. Make it easy for them.
13. Distinguish your message from all others. Take a road less traveled. Try an approach that’s different from the typical or traditional. You’ll attract more attention when you break the mold and do something that sets you apart.
14. Strive for a provocative headline. Formulate words that jar your prospect to grab his attention. Compel your audience to read on to get the full story. Insist on the strongest, most compelling collection of words. If your headline fails to capture an audience, the rest of your message won’t even be noticed. Be bold. Pull out all the stops to seize maximum attention.
15. Promote unique advantages or benefits down to one powerful sentence that packs a punch. One format that works is to string your top three benefits together into one statement. Choose the most important, most valuable claim or promise you can offer your prospects. The appeal of a huge promise is what lures prospects.
16. Choose the best 6 or 7 headlines from your longer list of possibilities. Then, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and select the one heading most likely to stop you in your tracks, if you were scanning a page of classified ads or flipping through a magazine.
17. Do the unexpected. You’ll arouse interest and curiosity so the reader will be drawn in to find out more. Catch prospects by surprise with something interesting. Anything out of the ordinary quickly commands attention. The worst thing you can possibly do is to offer the same old boring headlines that have a similar look to many others.
18. Zero in on the thoughts that are foremost on your prospect’s mind. The more accurately you pinpoint this mindset, the more likely you’ll engage the interest of an increased number of readers. Research is the key.
19. Spark interest by first identifying a problem the prospect has been forced to endure because until now, there was no alternative solution available. Identifying the specific problem helps target qualified prospects, builds rapport, and then sets up the scenario for your new, improved miraculous or magical solution.
20. Craft a headline that piques the readers’ interest. A good headline makes you want to know more. It induces interest by planting a seed of possibility.
21. Customize a famous quotation so it supports your sales message or enhances a major benefit. Look for quotations everywhere and save them in a file folder. When you need a headline with a different twist, pull out your file and begin playing around with different word combinations.
22. Indicate why your audience should believe your claim. Provide detailed proof later in your body copy, but at least hint up-front, at some credibility building evidence to justify your claims. A sub-heading is a great location to suggest supporting proof.
23. Trigger a powerful emotion in your audience. Add a “feel good” or “peace of mind” component and your message will be well received. Present benefits that evoke powerful emotions. Determine what the important issues are that influence prospects, and then zero in on these key concerns. Headlines that stir emotions motivate active readership.
24. Try presenting what your product isn’t, before revealing what it is. This helps to carve out a special niche in the marketplace and it arouses curiosity because the reader can identify with claims about what your product is not, which is exactly the thing many competitors are pushing.
25. Appeal to the anger and frustration experienced by prospects. This tells the prospect that you’re acutely aware of the problem and you understand how he feels. Bingo! Instant rapport.
26. Be clear enough in your wording to at least hint at the benefit you have to offer. If the main headline isn’t crystal clear on the benefit offered, use a sub-heading that directly expounds on that benefit. Avoid blind headlines that may attract attention, but aren’t followed up with a big benefit promise.
27. Turn passive, scanning readers into active, interested prospects by encouraging action by issuing a direct command somewhere in your headline. Many people, consciously or unconsciously, prefer to be led by others, rather than initiating an action. Including a call to action can help boost response.
28. Establish a position of prominence by raising the perception of your product or service to heroic status. Make a compelling promise. Elevate your new, alternative solution to a superior level. Use this strategy when offering a radical, new approach to a long-endured problem that’s costly or challenging to deal with. Anything that makes life easier, more enjoyable or less expensive, a solution that promises more gain and/or less pain, could be considered a welcome addition to the marketplace.
29. Ask a question. Provoke people to ponder. Relevant, targeted question headlines are something few can resist. They involve the reader and draw him deep into the heart of the message. Carefully constructed question headlines beg to be answered and therefore, pull prospects inside.
30. Encourage prospects to take action. Challenge the reader to make things happen, to take charge, in order to improve some condition or circumstance in their lives. Use an alluring promise with a substantial reward.