Why are headlines so critically important to the success of any advertising, offline or online?
The biggest reason that headlines are so important is because if your headline does not stop your ideal prospect in their tracks, it is as if they never saw your advertising. This is true for print, radio, TV, and online advertising. It is said that your headline is 90% of your response in advertising, but it could be argued that it is 100% because if your headline fails to stop your ideal prospect in their tracks, they will not be returning to read the rest of the copy in your ad.
With print advertising, the prospect just turns the page if your headline fails to attract their interest. With your website, the prospect simply clicks the “Back” button or on another link, and they are on to the next search for the benefits they seek.
Here is an example. Let’s say that you were reading your local newspaper. What most people do is scan the headlines, and then go back to the headlines or subheads that interested them to read more. So if your headline does not stop your ideal prospect in their tracks, it does not matter what is in the rest of the copy in your ad because your prospect won’t see it.
Since 2004, I have been writing headlines for postcards, print and Yellow Page ads that stop the ideal target prospect in their tracks. Yellow Page representatives will tell you that the bigger ads get more response. But the reality is that most people find the beginning of the section they want. Then they scan the headlines to find an ad that interests them. They typically scan front to back covering all of the display ads. Then they go back to the ads with the most interesting benefits in the headlines for them.
The biggest mistake I see in the hundreds of advertisements I audit each year is using the business name as your headline. I have had clients insist that this is the best place to put their business name so their existing clients can find them. That is a really bad strategy. If you already have a client, the last place you want them searching for your contact information is where all your competition is listed. You need better client retention strategies than that, but that is a topic for another day.
Businesses names rarely contain the benefits your prospects are seeking. What do you think is a better headline?
1) “Joe Smith’s Dentistry, LLC”, or
2) “Who Else Wants a Dazzling Smile – Painlessly?”
Headline #2 is obviously the better headline because it contains 2 benefits your prospects are seeking, 1) a dazzling smile, and 2) painless treatment. This is true for websites too! So the easiest way to get your website to outperform your competition is to write a great headline and position it at the very top of your website.
Highly Profitable Headlines Contain the Top 2-3 Benefits
Great headlines should contain the top 2-3 primary benefits that your ideal target prospect is seeking. Your headline can be stated as a statement or a question. If you are just starting out writing headlines, I recommend you stick with statement headlines. If you are an advanced copywriter, you can use question headlines to get even more attention and response to your advertisement.
So what are some tips to isolate the top 2-3 benefits your prospect most appreciate and ardently seek? Ask yourself, “What is the incoming call question I get most?” If your prospects are constantly seeking something, don’t you think it would be a good idea to put that in your headline? You bet it would!
An advanced strategy of how to determine the primary benefits your prospects are seeking and appreciate is to do a word density study of your testimonials. If you have my Gold Mastery System, you already have a great testimonial system. That testimonial system shows you how to tweak what you are already doing to get the client to commit themselves to giving you a glowing testimonial. Go over your testimonial responses, and find out which benefits are appreciated most by your existing clients.
Here’s an example. Out of all the testimonials I have received over the years, the word, “Excellence” is the word most used to describe my work. So the primary benefit my clients appreciate is my commitment to excellence. I think that goes back to my Father’s advice that anything worth doing is worth doing to the best of your ability. So “Excellence in Advertising” would be a good benefit for me to include in my headlines. That headline could read, “You Get Excellence in Advertising!’ as a statement headline. Or, “Who Else Wants Excellence in Advertising?” as a question headline.
Avoid Using Features in Your Headlines
The other mistake I see in headlines and copywriting in general is using features instead of benefits. You always want to ask yourself, “What is the benefits of this product or service (feature) to get the benefits you should be using in your website and advertising headlines.
So does your current headline pass the benefits test? Does it contain the top 2-3 benefits your prospects are seeking to stop them in their tracks and compel them to read every word of your ad or website?
FREE Advertising Audit & 15-Minute Marketing Strategy Session ($244.00 Value!)
If you find that your headline does not include the top 2-3 benefits your prospect seek, then I recommend you have me audit your advertising for you. Right now, I am offering a Free Advertising Audit and 15-Minute Marketing Strategy Session ($244.00 Value). I can’t promise you how long I will be offering this for Free, but go ahead and email me now by going to the Contact Me tab on this website to schedule your Free Advertising Audit and 15-Minute Marketing Strategy Session. I have audited thousands of ads, and I personally promise to give you valuable feedback on how to improve your marketing message to increase your profits from all your advertising. I look forward to speaking with you soon!