Any ideas on what it is? Hint: It’s the thing that got you to read this article – the headline.
The headline is “the ad for the ad.” It’s the device that, if well-written, will stop the right reader-prospect in their tracks and get them involved in reading your campaign and taking action. In the example above, I could have written “How To Get Your Wife To Chase You Around The Bedroom Like A Horny Teenager” and gotten even more response than with the one I used. I could have even pivoted off that as an example of the importance of headlines; however, I would have attracted the WRONG person with the WRONG proposition – i.e., a desperate husband looking for a little more love in his life (to put it politely).
- Your headline is the first thing a web visitor sees that conveys what you do and who you do it for, and will determine whether they stay or bounce.
- Your headline in an e-mail is the subject line and either communicates “You can delete me” or raises their curiosity to open and read.
- Your headline in a trade-show booth is the banner that should convey who should stop by and why. Most just have a company name.
- Your headline on a printed sales letter, postcard or other printed piece, and subsequent subheads, tells the story and raises in prospects sufficient interest and curiosity to read the entire letter (people skim-read).
- Your headline on a webinar or seminar is the title, and if it doesn’t stand alone in getting someone to show up, you’ll grossly suppress response.
E-mail: The best thing you can do is raise curiosity. One of our best-performing e-mail subject lines is “Are you there?” Another is simply their first name, mail-merged with either a question mark or an exclamation point. A few others: “This is ridiculous,” or “IMPORTANT: Please read and respond by Tuesday.” Remember, the key is *just* to raise curiosity, not to give it all away in the subject line. — Do Not: Make All Words In The Subject Line Capitalized Like This Is. That gives away that it’s a commercial e-mail. Nobody capitalizes the first letter of each word in a subject line when they’re writing a casual one-to-one message, and since that’s what you want your e-mail to appear as, don’t do it.
Websites: The most important key on your HOME PAGE is to convey what you do and who you do it for. Cute and clever won’t cut it; worse yet is being vague. I cannot tell you how many websites I’ve visited that make this egregious error – NOT conveying in simple terms what they do and who they do it for. Example: “Nashville’s Most Responsive Outsourced IT Support Company For Small Dental Practices.” Remember, you can and should use the rest of the copy on the site to expand on the headline a bit, but you MUST convey what you do and who you do it for in clear and simple terms. Keep in mind that on other landing pages with articles and offers, the rules below in “All Other Marketing” would apply. The home page should be treated differently only because it’s where most new prospects enter who are specifically looking for what you do.
All Other Marketing: Sales letters, postcards, print ads, banners and other marketing designed for lead generation do NOT have to convey who you are and what you do – unlike a website. That’s because when someone comes to your website, they’re looking for something specific, and you want to immediately convey whether or not they are in the right place. When running an AD or lead generation campaign, we’re trying to attract a specific prospect who may not be looking for what you sell at that very moment. Therefore, we need to use the headline to arouse their interest in how you can deliver a benefit they will want or solve a problem that’s troubling them.
Here’s the headline litmus test for these types of campaigns (not necessarily e-mail subject lines and the home page of your website): if you put a URL or phone number below it, without anything else, would a prospect respond? If not, you need to work on it. For example: How To Instantly Double Your MSP Close Rate Using This One, Simple Trick: www.ThereIsNoEasyButton.com
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