Friday, November 30, 2007

Writing Headlines That Grab Your Customers and Sell Your Goods!

Headlines are absolutely vital for all your marketing efforts. Whether you plan to use them on your website, your emails, your newsletters or anywhere else, they’re the hook that grabs your readers, reels them in and turns them into customers. There are dozens of different kinds of headlines that you can use and some of them are better than others. Below are the type of headlines that I use, and that I’ve found to be the most effective.

The No-Nonsense Headline

The first type of headline you can use is the simplest. No frills, no tricks, no hooks, just a straightforward description of the contents of your message. Your headline could be something like:

Tips to Save Money on Your Weekly Shopping

The Best Way to Choose Your Next Car

Real Estate Agents That Sell Properties Fast

Notice that you can still use explanations and powerful adjectives to get your point across, but these headlines do little more than tell the reader what to expect.

The advantages of these headlines is that they’re easy to write and easy to read. You don’t have to try to come up with some hardhitting sales message and customers aren’t put off by a document that looks like a piece of promotional material. On the other hand, they are a bit weak and that makes them hard to turn into cash. You can use no-nonsense headlines when you don’t need to work hard to make the sale. If you’re sending information that you know your customer will read, either because it’s free or they’ve specifically requested it, these are the kind of headlines to use.

The Question Headline

Question headlines work by asking customers a question that plays on their worries and promises a solution. These are great when you really want to grab a customer and drive your message home.

Want To Save Thousands On Your Home Insurance Bills?

Learn How To Cut Your Costs In Half!

Where Do You Look For Love? Discover The Best Places To Meet Your Match!

Suffering From Termites? Drive Them Out With The Extermite-Ator!

To write these headlines, think first of what problem your product is actually going to solve. (If it’s not going to solve a problem, then you’re going to have a problem selling it!) In the first half of the headline, you ask your customers if they’re suffering from the problem. Just by asking, you’re suggesting that they do. In the second half of the headline, you tell them that you have the solution. It’s very easy and extremely effective.

This is a really simple formula to follow: all you have to do is state the question and promise the answer. And it sells too; you’ve put the problem in the reader’s mind, now you’re offering the solution. Of course, these kinds of headlines depend on the reader empathizing with the problem. If they don’t, or if they decide that the headlines look too long to read, they’re not likely to buy. Question headlines are most effective when your product is going to clearly solve someone’s problem and when you know your customers are going to empathize with that problem. If they don’t say yes to the question, they’re going to say no to the sale.

The How Headline

This is pretty similar to the question headline, but only offers the solution. It makes for a shorter read than question headlines so you get your point across faster, but you lose the empathy. How To Fix Up Your Home Without Breaking The Bank! How I Made $3,000,000 With One Phone Call! How I Lost 33 Pounds On A High Fiber Diet And A Revolutionary New Exercise Plan! These kinds of headlines cut straight to the problem-solving aspect of your product. They’re short and to the point and can be easily absorbed with just a glance. How Headlines are great when the rest of the document is going to reveal information. That information might just be details about your product, but the focus should always be on telling customers how they can solve a problem. These work best when you’re selling information products like books or newsletters.

The Numbered Headline

There’s a good reason that magazines like Cosmopolitan use headlines like “6 Ways To Drive Your Man Wild!” They work. Most

people are put off by the sight of a giant slab of text. They want their information in bite-sized chunks. When you put a number in your headline, you let your reader know that the information you’re offering them is going to be easy to read:

7 Ways To Make Your Computer Run Faster
15 Proven Ways To Make Money From Home
23 Sales Tools That Guarantee Success
The advantage of these headlines is that they promise easy reading, increasing the chances that your text will actually be read. It’s also easy to slip a call-to-action sales message into these kind of documents: one of the promised solutions can be: “buy my product”! On the other hand, easy reading isn’t the same as interesting reading. The headline still has to grab your readers to make them want to read it.

Numbered Headlines are most effective when you’re confident your readers will find your message interesting and you don’t have to fight to make them read on. They’re best used when you’re competing against other articles or sales letters. I use them a lot in newsletters, especially when I know it’s going to be published in a joint venture partner’s newsletter.

The Testimonial Headline

These are some of the toughest headlines to write. You take a chunk of text from a letter written by a satisfied customer and use that as the headline for a sales letter: “Last Year, I Was Working 12 Hours A Day And Making Just $36,000. Last Month, I Made $32,000 And Worked Three Days — All Due To The Amazing Techniques Revealed Below!” “I’d Tried Every Weight Loss Program Ever. I’d Tried Dieting, Exercise, High-Fiber, Low Fat, High-Carbs... You Name It, I’d Done It And Nothing Worked. Then I Tried The Lose Fat Fast Program. I Lost 33 Pounds In The First Two Months And I’ve Never Felt Better!”

“Within A Week Of Sending Out My Resume, I’d Got Three Interviews And A Fantastic Job Offer. I Couldn’t Have Done It Without You!”

These headlines put your reliability right at the top, increasing the customers’ confidence to buy. They explain in detail precisely what you’re offering and what you can do for the reader. They also create massively long headlines that are difficult to absorb at a glance and can put a reader off.

Testimonial headlines are best used in industries where reliability is a bit of a problem. If you’re selling weight loss products for example, or any other life-changing service, then a headline like this goes some way towards proving to the buyer that you’re trustworthy. Those are just five kinds of headlines that I use in my businesses every day. There are dozens more, but these are the ones that I’ve found the most effective. There’s certainly enough here for you to get started. Play around with them, figure out which ones would work best for your business and try them out.

But even the best headline will only grab a reader’s eye and get him reading. They won’t close the sale. After the headline you’ll need to describe all the wonderful benefits of your product in order to get the reader to actually take the action you want.

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