You’ve got just a few seconds to grab your prospects’ attention, spark their interest and motivate them to keep reading whether they’re looking at your web site, your letter or your brochure. Headlines are the first thing your prospects read. Four out of five people determine whether they keep reading to learn about your products and services on the basis of your headline.
Do your headlines capture your prospects’ attention or do they confuse them and send them away?
Are your headlines prompting prospects to learn about your products and services or click to another web site or throw away your letter?
3 Headline Mistakes to Avoid
Avoid the three following headline mistakes.
Don’t Emphasize Obscure Company Names
Most small businesses and many not so small businesses names aren’t household words. Unless your name is among the top ten most recognized brands such as, Craftsman, Waterford, Rolls Royce, the Discovery Channel, WD-40 or Crayola there is a very good chance people won’t associate your company name with anything.
Have you ever visited a web site or read a print ad where the company’s name covered the top part of the page and it was something like, “Pharos Partners”? Unless the name of your company describes what you do, it is not going to grab prospects’ attention. Move it to the side and make room for a creative headline.
Avoid Welcome Statements
On many web sites the first line you read is, “Welcome to our Site”. There is a reason you don’t see these in print ads. Welcome statements are a waste of time in marketing materials; they do little to help prospects understand what you do.
Delete Vague Descriptions and Statements
Statements like, “Our purpose is to connect you with information and resources to achieve your maximum potential”, could apply to a number of different professions. It could refer to a cooking school, a management consultant or an eldercare program.
- Are you wasting valuable space where your headline goes to feature a company name that doesn’t describe what you do?
- Does your headline include “business speak” terms your children or mother-in-law can’t explain?
- Is your description of product and services specific or is it so generic that it could apply to other types of businesses?
- Does your headline focus on the selling points that distinguish your products and services from the competitions?
Writing Headlines that Get Your Prospects’ Attention
People look at web sites the same way they look at magazine ads. They scan the page quickly to see if the product or service is something they want. On the web or in a marketing brochure, if you capture their interest, they’ll keep reading.
The best way to do this is to give them a clear idea of the problems your products or services can solve and/or the benefits you provide. Use a few carefully selected words such as:
- Leverage your expertise to attract a steady stream of clients
- Reliable Office Supplies, free next day delivery.
- In-home sports training for exercise enthusiasts
- Web and print design that helps your business grow
- Costa Rica Travel, Unique off-the-beaten track tours to jungles and beaches
Your page headline should communicate clearly what you offer clients, which problems you solve and the benefits you provide. Do your headlines:
- Clarify what you do?
- Describe the problems you solve?
- Define whom you do it for?
- Explain the benefits?
- Emphasis a key selling point?
- Compel your prospects to keep reading?
Imagine that you worked at an exercise facility and wanted to attract clients for your massage business. Here are some possible headlines you might use for your flyer and associated critiques.
- George Jenkins Massage (It’s your name but so what)
- Are You Bothered By Back Pain (Better, it defines the problem)
- 7 Ways to Get Instant Back Pain Relief (Defines the problem and a solution)
- How Computer Users Can Banish Back Pain in One Hour (Defines who your target market is, the problem and the benefit)
Grab your prospects attention in the first few seconds with your headline. Then follow with compelling copy that clarifies the value of your products and services and you’ll generate many more sales.
Recommended Books on How to Grab Your Prospects’ Attention with Your Headlines:
- Great Headlines Instantly 2.1: How To Write Attention-Grabbing Headlines That Pull In More Prospects… More Customers… and More Profits – NOW
- The Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells
- 101 HEADLINE WRITING TIPS — Easy-To-Use Techniques, Tactics and Ideas For Creating Powerful, Riveting, Attention-Grabbing Headlines (Quick Tip Series)
- Easy B2B Headlines:A guide to creating quick headlines that get results for busi
Charlie Cook helps service professionals, small business owners and marketing professionals attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up to receive the Free Marketing Strategy eBook, ‘7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business’ at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com
- How to Capture Readers’ Attention on the Web or Email!
- Take the Test: Does Your Marketing Copy Sell?
- How to Write an Effective Sales Letter
- How to Advertise: 13 Elements of Effective Advertising
- How to Write Good Web Content: The Bite, the Snack, and the Meal