This section you could call the make-it or break-it section. Of all parts of your advertising, the Headline is absolutely the most important piece to the puzzle.
If you don’t write a good headline, you might as well get out of advertising right now. The bad news is that You cannot make money in business without good headlines. The good news is anyone can write KILLER headines…Yes, I said anyone. That means YOU!
Some copywriters would like you to think that you have to have some kind of special skill or creativity to writing killer headlines. Guess what, there is not. You don’t have to have a special gene for creative headline writing.
What those same copywriters don’t tell you is that they wrote 10, 20, 50, 100, or more headlines for that specific piece BEFORE they chose the KILLER headline. It isn’t massive creativity that creates winning headlines. It is the right knowledge and hard work.
This section will give you the KNOWLEDGE you need to write killer headlines, but the WORK is up to you. I have NEVER heard of anyone coming up with the BEST headline on the first try. It takes Brainstorming dozens of headline ideas until you are coming up with the WINNER!
It is worth the work of writing KILLER headlines, because One headline has been known to out produce another headline by as much as 1800%. That is with no change in the body of the letter at all! That means that a promotion which made $1,000 could have made as much as $18,000 just by changing the headline! Suddenly, a promotion which could have been unsuccessful NOW is a MEGA MONEY Maker!
I don’t think that I could emphasize the importance of writing WINNING headlines enough. Without a headline, your sales letter is doomed to failure even before it starts…If you are not willing to put forth the effort of doing an effective one, then you might as well quit your business now and go work at McDonald’s. You will never make more than minimum wage anyhow without good headlines!
If I was going to give you a schedule for writing your sales letter, it would look like this. Spend 10% of your time doing research. Spend 40% of your time on the offer, benefits, bullets, and order form. Spend 50% of your time on the headline. That is how important the headline is to your success in marketing.
Over 5 times as many people will read your headline as will read your sales letter. It has to catch the attention of your targeted prospect and make them read the rest of the letter. If your headline is weak, hardly anyone will ever even SEE your sales letter, much less purchase from it.
If you are going to spend time and money on advertising, you need to make sure that people are at least going to READ your sales letter. The key to this is an effective headline. Without it, you will not get 99% of the people who see your ad to even read it.
Writing headlines is not a magical art for the select few. It is a skill that you will learn as you practice and do your work on each advertising piece you create. Here are a few of the basic rules of writing KILLER headlines:
It has to absolutely stop your target prospect in their tracks and force them to read the ad! It must answer the question “What’s In It for Me” by giving your #1 Benefit Right Up Front! It has to set the tone for the whole rest of the ad and your offer!
It is the leader for your entire ad and it will set the tone and direction for your ad. You could easily say that it is 50% of your ad all by itself. Let’s talk about each of those aspects in detail:
#1 – It has to Grab Your Targeted Prospect’s Attention
Too many ads are written for any old reader. By that, I mean that they aren’t trying to focus on anyone specifically. They are trying to sell anyone their product. When writing ads, you have to TARGET your prospects.
You have to decide exactly who your #1 customer will be. That is part of the reason for the Research that you need to do first. You had to find out who and why people were buying your product. Your sales letter needs to be written as though it was for ONE specific person.
The best ads and sales letters are always the ones which seem as though they were written JUST for you. When you read them, you feel as though they wrote it knowing your every thought and plan. It is your letter!
When a sales letter is written like that, it will sell like wildfire when introduced to it’s specific target audience. For example, if you are selling a book about child care, you may start a headline like this:
“Attention All Frustrated and Worn Out Parents…”
You could sell a weight loss product with a headline that starts with:
“If You Want to Lose 30 pounds in 30 days…”
If you are selling computers, you might start with:
“Are You Looking for a Computer At Half the Cost?…”
With those kinds of examples, we call out the audience right there and then. Those who are looking for computers will continue to read on. Those who don’t want a computer won’t. You have captured your target market’s attention.
What I like to do is to put this type of message on the top of the sales letter in smaller letters with the main headline underneath of it. This has worked best for me in the past. You will notice EVERY ONE of my sale letters is done in this format.
This way I can grab my target market’s attention upfront and then blast them with the offer in larger letters. I advise you to do the same in your advertising.
#2 – “What’s In It For Me”
All of your advertising is based on those 5 little words. The headline is no exception. Your prospect will ask this question of your headline, your letter, your offer, and your order form. You have to give it to them throughout the letter, especially in the headline. If they don’t receive it here, they will NEVER read the rest of your letter. Unconventional Yet Effective Weight Loss Measures.
When you made your list of benefits, which one stands out to your prospects the most by your research? This should become a part of your headline along with your USP (Unique Selling Position) if possible. Using this type of headline is the beginning of a KILLER ad copy. You want to overwhelm your prospects with benefits. There is no better place to start than in the headlines.
#3 – It should set the tone of the ad and the offer!
Your headline is a type of introduction of your upcoming killer copy. It needs to both grab the attention of your prospects and then get them ready to read the ad. You could say that the headline is the “Ad for the Ad.”
The headline’s main purpose is to SELL the prospect on the idea of reading the entire sales letter. Whenever you write a headline, keep that in mind. People’s time is precious and if you want them to take time out of their day to read your sales piece, then you better have something good to say in the very beginning. Otherwise, you have lost them forever!