You have 2-5 seconds. That’s all…if you want your marketing promotion to be read!
The first few words of a marketing piece set the stage. Sales letters, email promotions, press releases, website home pages – whatever you use – choose your first words strategically. That is, if you want to keep the reader engaged.
Headlines compel action.
They seize you by the attention-jugular. And the gripping ones won’t let go until you’ve finished reading the copy flowing beneath them – regardless of length.
Study the copywriting that crosses your desk, workspace, or email inbox. What makes it readable, compelling…or toss-able?
Give precise attention to the creation of your headline and the lead copy that follows it. The headline seizes the moment. And the lines of lead copy that follow (typically the first 2 paragraphs) define it.
Riveting, thought-provoking copywriting captures attention. And keeping attention is vital if your marketing communications are to ultimately translate into any measurable amount of cha-$-ching!
Lowlife spammers – I’m averse to say – are masterful at attention-mongering headlines. Check out those that make it past your junk filters. Caught your eye didn’t they? There are reasons why.
Even though you quickly recognize the odor of spam there’s something compelling about the words – right? Despite their evil intentions, there’s a few things to be learned from a spammer’s technique (please don’t confuse my recognition of their technique with acceptance of their modus operandi).
Their magic is typically the subject line. Just as a print headline draws you into the message, the email promotion’s subject compels you to open and read or hit delete.
It makes strategic sense to give attention to the headline and lead in your copywriting that promotes your business, product, or services online or offline.
The following guidelines make a difference in whether your copywriting results in new client or sale…or whether it finds its way to junk-mail central!
1–Create a sense of urgency
Depending on your marketing message’s intent, give readers a reason to desire the benefit(s) sooner rather than later. The element of scarcity can lead to profitable outcomes.
“It ends tonight at midnight…!”, “Only 4 days remain…!”, etc. implies what? – “you snooze…you lose” – right? Choose words that create a necessary tension and lead to a decision.
“How to Get the Heart of 370 Business Magazines in Just 30 Minutes a Month”
Did those words communicate something useful? Check out this headline:
“32 Ways to Save Time and Money from the Pages of Good Housekeeping”
Legendary copywriter, Gene Schwartz knew the power of a compelling headline. He wrote the above two inside of a career that generated over $2 billion in advertising sales.
Effective headlines communicate something of practical value.
3–Claim the unique and specific benefits associated with your product or service.
Use words that enable you to step-away-from-the-crowd. Impress your reader/prospect with your uniqueness. And be as specific as possible. Vagueness creates indifference. Specificity compels.
And remember – a headline should never…
>State something standard, conventional, or…predictable. This stops a reader in their tracks, thinking, “Why read further…I know where this is going…”
>Mislead or trick. If you make a promise you fail to deliver in the remainder of the copy…you’ll lose trust and a potential client or sale.
Make your headlines count just like the seconds it takes to read them!