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According to experts, just changing the headline of an ad or sales letter has been known to dramatically improve the effectiveness of an ad or sales letter by up to 1700 percent! Yes, headlines are that powerful--and that important!
An effective headline will do many things at once. It will attract the readers attention, convey benefits by appealing to the readers self-interest and it will set the stage for what is to come. It will also target the audience for which it was intended.
But the number one thing a headline should always do is answer the question, "What's in it for me?" Why? Because that's all most of us really care about.
So what are the characteristics of a good headline? First and foremost, an effective headline must be believable. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
However, if your product really can make me: jump higher than Kobe Bryant, attract as many women as I want, or make me millions while I sleep; if you put it in your headline, you had better be able to effectively prove it in your copy.
Many experts believe the shorter the headline, the better. I don't necessarily agree with that. However, keeping your headlines to fifteen words or less is probably a good idea.
Make sure your headlines are easy to read. When typesetting your headlines don't use fancy fonts, reverse type, all caps or italics. I recommend you utilize a simple, easy to read type style such as Times Roman. You can see an example of this on my website.
Headlines that evoke some type of emotional response are the most effective and generally make more sales. Emotions motivate people into action. The stronger the emotion, the quicker the action. Therefore, headlines that make the reader afraid of losing something or excited about gaining something will invariably produce the best results.
Using the proper words and phrases is critical. Below I've listed just a few of the words and phrases that, over the years, have proven to be very effective at grabbing the readers attention:
Save... Amazing... Finally... Love... Secrets Of... Announcing... Free... Luxury... Security... At Last... New... Bargains... Obsession... Breakthrough... Protect... The Truth About... Discover... How To... Rewards... Yes... Sale... You... Are You... Sex... Win... Improve... Do You...
After grabbing your readers attention, this is where you want to answer the question, "What's in it for me?" To do this, you have to know a little about your target audience. What are they interested in? What are their priorities? What makes them respond?
Craft your headlines to use words and phrases that will pique your potential buyers interest. If you are targeting people interested in starting their own home business, try phrases such as "Stay Home And Make Money" or "Kiss Your Job Goodbye Forever". If your product happens to be diet pills, try "Lose 10 Pounds In 10 Days".
A word of caution here. This is the point where headlines tend to get unbelievable. Make sure that your claims are truthful and that your copy supports their truthfulness.
Once you have a firm grasp of the aforementioned basics, look around your house and select several different products, and write as many headlines as you can think of for each product.
Write variations of the same headline until you have exhausted all the ideas you can think of. This will be both frustrating and difficult at first, but it will become easier with practice. Remember, nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.
After you have your list of headlines, make sure each one passes the test for the following criteria for a good headline. 1. Does it grab the readers attention? 2. Does it answer the question, "What's in it for me?" 3. Is it truthful? If a potential headline does not meet these three criteria, rewrite it or eliminate it from your list altogether.
Continue using the process of elimination, one headline at a time, until you're left with what you feel are the three best and strongest headlines, based on the criteria presented in this article.
How will you know which headline is the best overall?
Unfortunately, there's no way to know for sure until you test them against each other. The headline that pulls the most sales or responses is your winner!
About The Author
Dean Phillips is an Internet marketing expert, writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Questions? Comments? Dean can be reached at mailto: [email protected]
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