Four Tips for Writing Marketing Headlines Like a Pro

Here’s a question I get all the time from new clients “why are headlines so important?

To answer this question we’re going to focus on the simple fact that today, more than ever, we are bombarded by marketing messages 24/7/365.

In fact, according to the former president of the marketing firm Yankelovich, Jay Walker-Smith correctly commented that marketing today is a “non-stop blitz of advertising messages.”

That means your headlines have to work overtime to stand out in the sea of marketing gobbledygook.

In order to cut through the noise your headline
has to STOP people in their tracks

Four tips for effective headlines

Every piece of marketing is made up of smaller components, including:

  • headline
  • body copy
  • call to action

As you can see it all BEGINS with your headline.

The JOB of your headline is twofold: stop people to get them to NOTICE your marketing, and secondly to invite them (entice them, peak their curiosity) to read more.

After all, if they don’t read your main marketing message you have zero chance of making a sale (or generating a lead, etc.)

With this in mind, let’s look at four tips for writing effective headlines

  1. hooks your prospect
  2. meaning should be CLEAR and CONCISE
  3. focus on benefit for THEM
  4. pulls them into the copy

An effective headline hooks the prospect, so she is receptive to reading or seeing or hearing the rest of your sales story. In other words, you are not selling your product or service in the headline. It’s much too small for that big job. The goal, once you’ve gotten your prospect to notice, is to get them to read more.

So… first and foremost, your headline must capture the attention of your prospect.

If you don’t grab your prospect’s attention with the headline, there is absolutely no chance she will read further.

That means no sale for sure.

Next up, clarity is key – the meaning of the headline should be crystal clear, and the benefits to the prospect immediately apparent.

The message must telegraph to your prospect that there is something in it for him.

The headline should resonate with your prospect so that he thinks, “this speaks to me personally!” You can accomplish this by stepping into the prospect’s shoes and addressing his biggest concerns.

Lastly, your headline should pull the prospect into the copy, reeling her in with each word.

Here are a few examples of effective headlines that work:

  • The Truth About Costco Merchant Services
  • Does Your Home Need Professional Flea Extermination
  • How to Choose a Connecticut Cosmetic Dentist

Do you begin to see what’s at work here?

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