Five Tips for Creating Headlines That Get Attention

Joe Gracia
October 14, 2008 — 1,570 views  
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In order to get your prospects' and customers' attention, you have to offer them something that they want. The tool that you use to do that is -- the headline. 1. THE PURPOSE OF YOUR HEADLINES The purpose of your headlines on your marketing vehicles is to grab the attention of the people who have an interest in what you are offering. It should be the most prominent words on your marketing vehicle, or the opening line of your verbal presentation. Yes, verbal in-person presentations, as well as telephone presentations should all have headlines too. If you don't grab and hold your prospects' or customers' attention immediately with your headline, you've lost your opportunity to make a sale. Look through any newspaper or magazine, and take particular note of the headlines of the articles. Why do you stop and read a particular article? More than likely, it's because the headline grabbed your attention and interest. It's no different with the headlines of your ads, flyers, brochures, sales letters, Web sites, and openings to your verbal presentations. Grab attention with your headlines immediately, or all your marketing time and effort will be wasted. 2. EVERY MARKETING VEHICLE SHOULD HAVE A HEADLINE People skim over a marketing piece quickly to determine if there is anything in it for them. They look to the headline to tell them if they should stop and read more or to toss the piece aside and continue searching elsewhere. If you don't put a headline on your marketing piece, how will they know if you have anything of interest for them? They won't -- and they'll be gone. Never create a marketing piece without a headline. We call marketing pieces without headlines, 'headless wonders.' A marketing piece without a headline is like walking up to a someone and just staring at him . . . without saying a word. 3. NEVER USE THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS AS THE HEADLINE We see hundreds, even thousands of small business ads, flyers, brochures, post cards, etc. with the name of the business as the headline, and we just shake our heads. So much time and money wasted. Marketing is about 'helping people get what they want.' If you don't let your prospects know what you have for them up front -- they're gone. Telling them the name of your business, is not what they want. Flip through a few of your local newspapers, especially those weekly shoppers, and look at the small business ads throughout the paper. You'll discover that 'many' of them use their business name as their headline. Why? Because they're not aware of the purpose of a headline, or how to create one. It's just easier for them to put the name of their business at the top of their ads, rather than learning how to write a compelling, attention grabbing headline. It may be easy, but it is a complete waste of money. No one's attention is grabbed by the name of your company. 4. NEVER USE A PUN OR A JOKE AS YOUR HEADLINE If you begin to look more closely at the marketing pieces around you, you'll begin to discover that many advertisers are fond of using puns as the headlines for their ads. 'Go Ahead, MAC my Day!' (For a MacIntosh computer store) or 'We've Got You Covered! (For a carpet store) There is an entire school of thought in marketing that says that your marketing should be clever and creative -- even funny. All you have to do is watch an evening of TV commercials and you'll see what we mean. Some commercials are very clever, and some are extremely funny, but that doesn't mean that they are effective. The advertising agencies that produce these kinds of marketing pieces, often win awards for cleverness. But they then lose the accounts because few people bought the products. Marketing is about 'helping people get what they want,' not about being clever or funny. People don't buy from clowns -- they laugh at them. 5. HAVE A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE PURPOSE OF YOUR MARKETING PIECE BEFORE YOU WRITE YOUR HEADLINE In general, there are three different purposes for marketing pieces. a. The purpose of many marketing pieces is to attract prospects to a business. b. The purpose of other marketing pieces is to convert those prospects into First-Time Customers. c. And the purpose of other marketing pieces is to sell more products and services to your current customers. What you offer in your headline is going to be 100% dependent on which purpose you choose for your marketing piece. If you choose to attract prospects to your business, then you may offer your prospects free information, or a free tips report, etc. to get them to respond. If the purpose of your marketing piece is to convert your prospects into First-Time Customers, you may offer them an exceptionally good deal on their first purchase, or a free trial. If the purpose of your marketing piece is to sell more products or services to your current list of customers, you may offer them a special, preferred customer discount, on their next order, or a special package deal. The point we're making here is that not all marketing pieces have the same purpose. And your headline is dependent on the purpose of your marketing piece. Your headline is one of your most powerful tools in attracting prospects, converting them into First-Time Customers and selling more products and services to your current customers. Learn how to use this tool correctly and your sales will soar.

Joe Gracia

Give to Get Marketing