The headline – it’s the most important part of any sales letter.
In fact, some writers spend 50% or more of their time working on this one key element of their promotion.
And with good reason.
With direct mail, you have – at most – three seconds to capture the reader’s attention with a good headline.
With web or e-mail copy…you have even less time.
So let’s take a look at five things every good headline MUST do…
1. Grab the reader’s attention – it’s not enough to have the reader think, “Gee, that’s nice” or “Isn’t that interesting?” Instead…you need to forcefully grab the reader’s attention and let him know – beyond any doubt – that what he’s about to read is incredibly important.
2. Be about the reader…and NOT the writer – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen junior copywriters make the mistake of crafting a headline they hope will impress their friends or colleagues…without focusing on the reader. Sure, a clever turn of phrase may impress a friend – but the focus of the headline should be squarely on the reader. What’s in it for him? Why should he care?
3. Deliver ONE complete idea – Under no circumstances should you leave anything to chance. Never assume that the reader understands where you’re headed with your point…take him there and show him what you mean. In fact, you should write the headline as though the reader will make his ultimate buying decision without reading any of the rest of your copy. At the same time, make sure you’re delivering ONE complete idea in your headline – not a collection of several ideas that could confuse the reader to the point where he loses interest.
4. Move the reader along to what’s next – The best headlines are those that not only grab the reader’s interest…they actually leave the reader salivating for the next idea you’re about to deliver. Many times as I’m writing headlines, I try and imagine the reaction I’m hoping to elicit from the reader – shock, anger, fear, greed – and in every case I want to not only get that reaction…but also keep them reading on for the next idea.
5. Directly connect your big idea to your product – This is another mistake I see young writers make on a regular basis. In the quest for the “ultimate” headline, they sometimes lose sight of what it is they’re actually selling. It seems like an obvious point, but…a powerful, fear-oriented headline about higher energy prices makes perfect sense if you’re selling a letter that covers natural resource stocks…but not so much sense if you’re selling a letter that focuses primarily on biotech.
Jody Madron is a results-oriented copywriter with more than 20 years of breakthrough marketing experience. To learn how Jody can deliver results-boosting copy — ahead of your deadline — visit www.MadronMarketing.com.