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Only 1 In 5 Of You Will Read Beyond This Headline

Tricky, weird or funny headlines rarely make the cash register ring. The best way forward is to write a line that promises (or implies) a benefit. People naturally want to know "what's in it for me?" And if there is something in it for them, they'll want to find out more.

Research indicates 8 out of 10 people don't bother to read beyond the headline of an ad. That would be okay if those people had no interest in whatever it is you're selling. But they do. The fact that they bothered to read your headline at all indicates some interest - either dormant or active - in your product or service. Our job, therefore, is to write a headline that entices them to read on. Tricky, weird or funny headlines rarely make the cash register ring. The best way forward is to write a line that promises (or implies) a benefit. People naturally want to know "what's in it for me?" And if there is something in it for them, they'll want to find out more. So let's look at a few techniques to get us started. Let's say you sell a trading system that allows people to trade from home on their computer. It's feasible that people can use this system to earn $100,000 a year. And they can do this in their spare time. Your proposition is: "The trading system that earns you $100,000 a year in your spare time." Here are 5 ways to start generating your headlines. 1. Polish the proposition. The word "earn" sounds too much like hard work. And do we really need "trading system"? We can also flip the line to put our prospect first. "Make $100,000 a year in your spare time." 2. Phrase it as a question. "Would you like to make $100,000 a year in your spare time?" Or "What's stopping you from earning $100,000 a year in your spare time?" 3. Use a How-To, as in "How to make $100,000 a year in your spare time." 4. Try a testimonial. "Last year I made $100,000 in my spare time. Now you can too." 5. Problem-solution. "Need more income? Here's how to make $100,000 a year in your spare time." To explore more headline ideas, ask yourself what your prospect could do, or how they'd feel, with the benefit of your product. In our example they might resign from their day job. Perhaps they'd start trading full time. "$100,000 in your spare time! How much could you earn full time?" What do people do in their spare time? A hobby. Another headline idea: "Turn a spare time hobby into $100,000 a year." Here are a few more guidelines for successful headline writing: 1. Always put your prospect into the headline. Instead of "XYZ Design Services creates moneymaking web sites," write "Turn your website into a moneymaker with XYZ Design Services." 2. Try to keep in the present tense. 3. When possible don't use negatives - avoid negatives. 4. Be specific with savings - it adds credibility. "Save up to 38% in our software sale." 5. Avoid conditional phrases, such as "If you like healthy eating, you'll love this new recipe book." Better to write "You'll love these new healthy recipes." After you've generated at least 10 headlines put them away for a day. When you go back to them, discard any line that doesn't support your proposition. (Remember, you did all that hard work to ensure your proposition is absolutely right for making sales in your market.) Then select three headlines which you feel are the strongest and show them to someone you trust. Get their opinion, but in the end trust your own judgment.

Author:Tony Brecher Category:Advertising Published:14-Oct-2004 Tags: copywriting, advertising, direct mail, copywriting tips, copywriting hints, direct response, response rate