A headline makes or breaks a sales letter, website page, newsletter, email, email newsletter, blog post or twitter post. This list can go on. I’ve read numerous articles which all say that the headline is the most important part of a sales letter.
It’s the gatekeeper of the article. If it’s good, people will read on. If it isn’t, then your email or sales letter hits the recycling bin or gets the delete button treatment.
Think about this. You’re in a restaurant, you have the menu in front of you. The waiter walks past your table with the sizzling sound of fajitas. The sound is delicious so you raise your head from the menu, just to check them out. It’s the sizzle that got your attention – not necessarily the dish. The sizzle is your headline.
It should get your reader to listen up and read on, wanting more.
Here are three tips for writing engaging headlines:
1. Keep it simple
Why use 12 words when you can pack a punch in 3? Too many words can kill your message.
Think about this scenario – You see a burning building. What is the first thing you do? You would yell ‘Fire‘ or ‘Call the Fire Brigade!‘or ‘Help‘ You wouldn’t think of something funny to yell or something really creative to capture someone’s attention. You’d keep it simple.
The same applies to your headline – keep it simple. Creativity does have a role to play in headlines as you are trying to differentiate but don’t get complicated.
2. Solve a problem or create an emotion
Customers buy for two reasons – you solve a problem for them or you create an emotional response, whether it’s relief, happiness, a memory etc. You need to write something in the headline which makes a statement on its own and encourages people to read on.
If you write a problem statement or pose a problem question, the reader identifies with the problem and are keen to solve it. Ultimately, us humans love solving problems.
Take three headlines:
- Cats fouling on your vegetable patch?
- How to stop cats from fouling in your vegetable patch
- Use ‘Foul off’ to stop unwanted fouling
Which would encourage you to read on?
Well, if you don’t have a problem in your garden or vegetable patch, then none of them. If you do have a problem, then which one would make you open a sales letter?
The one with which you can identify the most will be the most powerful one. Problem-based headlines work better than solution-based headlines because of the identification connection.
Seek to solve a problem.
3. Ask a Question
Take two headlines:
- Here are five ways to make extra money
- Want five ways to earn extra money?
Which headline would you prefer?
If possible, ask a question in your headline. It may not be appropriate for every sales letter but the brain, when presented with a question, has a need to answer it.
Me personally – I know that I’d answer yes to the second headline and read on to find out more. The first headline would pique my interest but the second one would make me open straight-away.
These are just three ways to help you get those creative juices flowing.
What headlines have you used to get a return on your sales letters?