Today, I’m devoting an entire blog post to writing headlines. Maybe right now you’re wondering, “WHY, Michele? What’s the big deal around headlines? Are they really that important?”
First off, if you’ve ever dealt with any kind of marketing copy—written it yourself, or hired someone else to write it for you—you’ve probably wondered whether it’s really going to work: whether it will convince people to buy from you.
The answer again is “yes.” It DOES work.
So how do you master any of it, so you can get the results you want?
It all starts with writing a great headline.
When it comes to sales pages and website copy, the headline is the first thing people read.
And guess what?
The headline is probably the single most important group of words in any piece of marketing copy.
The headline is the make-or-break; the place where readers decide whether to keep reading, or to move on to a different solution.
The point of the headline is to inspire your ideal clients to read the first sentence of your copy (which should inspire them to read the next sentence, and so on).
So how do you make sure that it does its job?
Take a moment to consider what inspires you to keep reading, whether it’s a book, a magazine, or a piece of marketing copy like an email, a website, or a sales page.
In many cases, it boils down to curiosity.
Think about the books people call “page-turners.” These books almost always incorporate some sort of mystery or unknown, and a skilled author will bring in a piece of it at the beginning, and reveal more pieces throughout—never closing off that mystery until the last chapter.
A great magazine article usually hints at a story of someone making a change or transition, or overcoming an obstacle, and you keep reading to learn how they did it.
Which, of course, brings us to marketing copy.
Skilled copywriters bring out their readers’ curiosity from the very first opportunity—whether it’s the subject line of an email, or the headline of a sales page or website.
HOW do they do it?
The following 5 tips for writing effective headlines will help you inspire your ideal clients to keep reading.
Tip 1. Talk about a Solution.
So if you haven’t already, take some time to think about your ideal client and what his or her biggest pain point or problem is. (Go here to learn the important difference between target market, niche market, and ideal client.)
The best way to illustrate this is to use an example.
Let’s say you’re a life coach, and your gift is helping ideal clients get past their money-related blocks so they can finally begin receiving abundance. Your headline may read:
Finally: Live Your Life Free from Fear, and Open Yourself to Receiving the Abundance You Deserve
Your ideal clients suffer from the pain of being stuck in their fear-based feelings around money and scarcity—it’s probably keeping them up at night. Here, you’re offering them the solution they very likely seek.
Tip 2. Add Details.
Adding relevant details to your headline can make it even more enticing. For example, you may choose to add a time-frame in which people can expect to experience the solution you’re offering. Add a guarantee, or address potential objections.
Give Me Seven Days and I’ll Show You How to FINALLY Break Free from the Scarcity Cycle, and Live a Life Full of Abundance
Finally: Break FREE from the Scarcity Cycle, for Good … Guaranteed
Finally: Break FREE from the Scarcity Cycle, for Good (Even If You’ve Tried Everything Else and Nothing Has Worked)
See how those details “dial up” the curiosity factor?
Tip 3. Change up the Format.
Headlines can take on many different formats, from a standard headline like I’ve shown you above, to a “story” format to a “how to” or “if/then” format.
Here are some more examples:
How a Struggling Entrepreneur Who Thought He’d Lost Everything Turned His Financial Situation Around, for Good
How to Ditch Your Fear, for Good, So You Can Finally Live in Abundance
If You Can Watch This Video, Then You Can Move Past Your Fear and Achieve Abundance
Tip 4. Use the Trifecta—Prehead, Headline, Subhead.
I go into this trifecta in more depth in my book, Love-Based Copywriting System: A Step-by-Step Process to Master Writing Copy that Attracts, Inspires and Invites.
In short, the prehead lets people know they’re in the right place, the headline presents a solution, and the subhead adds details.
Tip 5. Come from a Place of Love.
People are being sold to all the time. Think about how many emails land in your inbox each day. Think about how many advertisements you see, how many pieces of sales copy you read in a given time period when you’re on your computer.
They’re in your Facebook feed, your Instagram feed, your radio station.
It’s SO easy for people to tune out something the read, or to quickly skip onto the next message.
That’s why everything you write should sound genuine – should come from a place of love.
Whenever you sit down to write copy, pretend that you’re writing a letter or note to a friend – someone very important to you. Write from the heart.
I know, because you’re here, on this site, that you care about the people you work with. Make sure that shines through in your copy, and especially in your headline.
Yes, it should sound/feel exciting. But it also has to sound authentic, so your readers know you truly care about the results they get.
When you master the art of writing headlines, your ideal clients will make the choice to read the copy below them.
If this resonates with you, you may enjoy reading the second book in my Love-Based Copywriting series, Love-Based Copywriting System: A Step-by-Step Process to Master Writing Copy That Attracts, Inspires and Invites. It’s available in most eBook formats, and you can get it here.