If you're interested in improving the selling results of your ads, tweaking your headlines is a great place to start. Because your headlines influence the sales results of your ad more than any other element.
A great ad with the wrong headline can bomb, whereas a great headline on an average ad will probably do OK. Let's take a look at a few techniques for coming up with sales-boosting headlines.
First things first: Avoid these proven sales-killing "headlines" like the pox:
Your company name
A generic industry or service category (e.g. "Plumbing Contractor")
Or on a website or brochure, "Welcome to ABC Industries"
The points above sound basic (and they are), but it's surprising how many ads and websites make those mistakes.
So you've avoided those mistakes. What techniques can you use to create great selling headlines that practically catapult your readers into your ad? Here are a few ideas...
1. Call out to your target audience
If your message is aimed at stockbrokers, mention "stockbrokers" in the headline.
2. Mention specific benefits
Face it - consumers are jaded. We all are. Heck, I can hardly get out of bed in the morning :) General statements like "Lose weight fast" or "Save Money on _____" are no longer effective. Specific numbers and images evoke much more potent images in your prospects' minds than generalities. That's why they sell much better.
3. Use vivid, evocative verbs
Especially online, high-energy headlines work very well.
Here's a headline that uses all 3 of the above techniques...
"New Software Boosts Stockbrokers' Income by 34, 43, even 125% - by Slashing Time Spent Chasing "Dead" Accounts and Laser-Focusing Your Energies on the Big Players"
OK, it needs a bit of work, but you get the idea. Some people don't like this type of headline - it's too "hypey". And it's certainly not right for every kind of product or service - but I've had very good success with this type of headline, especially online.
4. Use "cognitive dissonance"
That's a fancy way of saying, make your audience curious. Here's a headline we're testing for a client who sells bumper stickers:
"Do You Wonder How We Can Sell Full-Colour Stickers At A 1-Color Price, with FREE Artwork?"
This type of headline makes people curious - they feel compelled to find the answer and relieve a sense of "dissonance" with this apparent paradox.
5. Include some challenging or surprising information
Here's a headline that I wrote for a lead-generating website for a rubbish removal contractor, 1300 Rubbish:
"Fast, Professional Rubbish Removal, Sydney-wide...We'll Pay You $1 Per Minute In Cash If We're Late!"
The "hook" is the guarantee. Also bear in mind that most of the people who see this headline will have already searched for the term "rubbish removal sydney" or similar, so they are expecting to see something related to those keywords.
How are your headlines? Can you use any of the above tips to get better response?
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William Swayne is a internet marketing consultant based in Brisbane, Australia. He can be contacted at Marketing-Results.com.au.