You’ve put forth the effort to craft your sales copy and gear up for pushing your product or service out into the world. But, one thing stands in the way of you grabbing hold of some much-deserved success. Any guesses?
A non-snoozy headline!
Really? A headline? YES. Really. Consider it the window display of your sales materials, helping lure your ideal customers in to read all about your offer and learn why they need, and, ultimately, should want to buy.
Hmm. Sounds like it serves an important purpose, doesn’t it? Absolutely. And, Claude Hopkins, one of the greatest advertising pioneers of all time, once explained why:
“People are hurried. The average person worth cultivating has too much to read… They are not going to read your business talk unless you make it worth their while and let the headline show it.”
Let that last sentence sink in—your ideal customers are not going to read your business talk unless you make it worth their while and let the headline show it.
Yet, that’s easier said than done. Why? Because writing headlines is something even the greatest of copywriters struggle with. I know, that’s not very comforting to think about. But, I’m here to be completely honest with you.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, we could all use a little help when it comes to writing the ultimate headline that will sell. And, that’s exactly what I’m here to do: give you the tips, headline formulas, and even a FREE tool to test your headlines for success. You ready? Let’s dive right in!
Stop the Snoozefest: How to Write the Ultimate Headline That Will Sell
Here are top tips from our friends at AdLab:
1. Dish out some numbers.
Go ahead and reel in the reader with something they can actually sink their teeth into. Incorporate numbers into your headlines when speaking to the amount of steps, minutes to be saved, rules; you name it.
Thanks to a study by Conductor, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to using digits in your titles.
Why do they work so well? You’re promising something specific, which will capture the attention of your people. Plus, dishing out some numbers in the headline makes it easier for you, as the author and face behind your product or service, to stick to the script and give your audience what you promised.
2. Step away from hyperbole overkill.
Raise your hand if you want to write headlines that garner the attention of your readers. Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be here right now! But, one mistake many make when trying to do just that is inject hyperboles into their headline. You know the ones…
This simple sales technique will blow your mind.
The new time-saving product everyone is talking about.
Entrepreneurs love this new tool.
Our business tried this new headline equation and you won’t believe what happened next.
Say it with me now… gross. They can be downright annoying.
Yes, top sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy use them in their post headlines because they work for them. Yet, they’re often overused among entrepreneurs, and can seriously pollute your product or service’s reputation if your sales piece doesn’t live up to all that hype.
So, stop tricking your audience with over-exaggeration schemes as that’s a quick way to lose the readers you worked so hard to get in the first place. To help you, CoSchedule put together a list of modest “power words” for combatting hyperbole overkill.
3. Answer the infamous “So what?” question.
Your headlines should always, always, always be centered around what your audience will get out of a simple click—responding to their question of “So what? Why should I care to take time to read your offer?”
Whether it’s to save them time, money, drive more traffic to their site, increase sales, grow their following, you name it, make it the crux of your headline.
To get you going in the right direction, take a look at some of these headlines from our own blog posts:
- 6 Tips for Creating Knockout Bonuses to Devour Some Serious Conversions—“…to Devour Some Serious Conversions” = the “So what?”
- 4 Ways to Write a Guarantee That Will Ease Your Prospect’s Anxiety—“…That Will Ease Your Prospect’s Anxiety” = the “So what?”
- How to Write a Magnetic Call to Action That Will Jack Up Conversions—“…That Will Jack Up Conversions” = the “So what?”
4. Speak your audience’s lingo.
Chances are, you want to target a specific audience and bring in those qualified leads for your product or service. Am I right? Thus, it’s important to remember who you’re speaking to and really make an effort to connect with them.
Stalk your prey, so to speak, in an effort to mimic their language. After all, the lingo Buzzfeed uses in its headlines is 100% different than that of The New York Times. So, don’t even think about spewing out crummy corporate jargon or words your audience is not familiar with.
Make them believe you understand their world, and it’ll be that much easier to get them to fall hook, line, and sinker for your headline.
5. Be transparent & fend off the “curiosity gap” phenomenon.
Did you know there’s a psychological phenomenon out there called the “curiosity gap?” Yup. It’s all about providing just enough information to make your readers curious. Then, nudging them to click in order to read more and obtain the information they’re missing.
You know what that headline-writing method falls under, however? The dreaded clickbait category.
As defined by Merriam-Webster.com, clickbait is: something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest. But, despite that, copywriters are using it.
Don’t get me wrong. In no way am I saying you should completely ban curiosity from your headlines. That is, if you’re into getting more generic click-throughs over targeted ones. Nor am I saying you should write boring titles. What you should do, however, is remain straightforward in your messaging, while still being clever enough to stand out from all the noise.
Again, take some of our own headlines for example:
- Warm Up a Cold Email List in 4 Simple Steps (& Your Tool to Defrost in Minutes!)—it’s obvious what the content is about. But, we took the opportunity to have fun with it, using creative verbiage that related back to the topic.
- How to Spice Up Bland B2B Copy to Quickly Win Attention (& Sales!)—yes, B2B copy can be boring. But, the word “boring” can be overused. So, we put our own spin on it, labeling B2B copy as “bland” and speaking to the desire to want to “spice” it up!
- 4 Copyediting Tricks to Get Big Wins Like Mayweather—we could’ve left it at “4 Copyediting Tricks to Get Big Wins,” but where’s the fun in that? The big Mayweather vs. McGregor fight was coming up, so we livened up our message by tying it to relevant events. And, Mayweather did win big!
Oh, and there’s proof in the pudding that being crystal clear in your headline messaging is the way to go. According to Conductor, the clearer you are, the higher the click-through rate will be for your sales piece.
6. Be authentic.
This rule should be a walk in the park and an important one to remember. It can be tricky to avoid succumbing to headline-writing gimmicks of other brands. Especially when you feel your sales pieces aren’t getting the love and attention they deserve.
But, remain true to your brand and continue to speak your voice. Not another’s. As a result, you’ll avoid bringing in leads that don’t necessarily match up to your ideal customer profile.
7. Draft 25 headline options to choose from.
Don’t be a “one and doner” when it comes to crafting your headlines. Instead, follow Upworthy’s lead and draft 25 options.
Yes, that may seem a bit excessive. Yet, you need to take some time to brainstorm and generate a multitude of headlines to choose from so you can evaluate which one will get you the best bang for your buck.
And, while you’re brainstorming and writing various choices down in your notebook, be sure to do the following:
- Look to Thesaurus.com when you’re struggling to come up with a less overused word.
- Try cutting back on unnecessary verbiage to keep your headline concise.
- Remember the ultimate goal of your headline: to get your ideal customers to click through and read more about your offer. Thus, pushing them further along through the funnel, and getting them closer to showing you their wallets.
If you’re feeling stuck in the draft phase, be sure to check out these headline formulas you can snag from EnchantingMarketing.com.
BONUS: a tool you can use to test your headlines for success—CoSchedule’s FREE Headline Analyzer!
I’ve shared this tool once before. And, here at ScriptDoll, we religiously use it after we’ve finished brainstorming and are ready to narrow down our headline options to the best of the best.
All you have to do is enter your headline idea (one at a time!) into the textbox and you’ll receive an overall score, out of 100. This score analyzes overall structure, grammar, and readability, ensuring the title packs the punch it needs to make people click.
Here’s a tip: aim for a headline that receives a score of 70% or higher. It’s that easy! Check out our grade for this blog post as an example.
To wrap things up, as famous copywriter John Caples once said:
“What good is all the painstaking work on copy if the headline isn’t right? If the headline doesn’t stop people, the copy might as well be written in Greek.”
Boom. There’s proof, yet again, that taking the time to write a winning headline for your sales pieces is critical if you want to make those conversion dreams of yours a reality. And, now you don’t have any excuses! I’ve supplied you with our tips to stop the snoozefest and a tool that’ll test your headlines for success. The ball’s in your court now.
Oh, and I almost forgot. What I want most is for you to write champion sales content. So, today, I’m offering you a FREE copy of our checklist: “The Copywriting Checklist That Will Make Your Offer Irresistible,” delivered straight to your inbox.
All that’s required to get your hands on it is your email. Just drop it into the box to the right-hand side of this page and you’ll get it right away!
Tell me: when it comes to writing headlines what do you struggle with the most? And, what have you found that’s helped you push through and come out victorious? Let me know in the comments section below.