How To Write Headlines That Grab Your Prospect's Attention

Lisa Packer

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It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an article, a newspaper or magazine ad, a web page, or even a Yellow Page ad. If it has a headline, that headline is the most important component of the entire package. Waste it, and you’ve wasted your time.

Your headline is like an ad for your ad. It is responsible for getting the attention of your prospect and enticing her to read what you have to say. If it succeeds, your marketing has a chance. If it fails, your marketing is over before it ever began.

So how do you create that heart-stopping headline? First off, there’s one thing you don’t do: Use your company name all by itself. You’ve got one shot at grabbing your prospect, and shouting your own name at her isn’t going to do it.

Think about it: as a living, breathing member of the human race, your prospect listens to one radio station: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) Until you answer that question with a benefit that reaches down to her very core, your name just doesn’t matter to her.

Start the conversation where your prospect lives. Get her attention by putting a knockout benefit in your headline, something you know she’ll respond to. Make a list of the benefits (not features) of your product or service, and use the very best one (your USP if you can). Don’t try to start small and build in intensity because unless you grab her, your prospect won’t stick around to find out what’s next.

To be successful, a headline needs four qualities: it must be Useful, Urgent, Unique and Ultra-specific (the four “U’s"). It must contain Useful information. It must have a sense of Urgency – read the article now, not later. It should be Unique and not sound like every other headline on the page. And it must be Ultra-specific: full of detail.

“How To Win Friends And Influence People"

“Nevada Doctor Discovers Amazing Anti-Aging Serum"

“If You’ve Got 20 Minutes A Month, I Guarantee To Work A Financial Miracle In Your Life"

“How-To" headlines are very effective, as are headlines that look like news. But always remember to make your headline believable. Put some kind of proof into it – Nevada Doctor, for example. Another way is the “If… Then" headline, which asks for some kind of effort (however slight) on your prospect’s behalf before she will achieve the benefit you promise. Effort makes the benefit seem more believable.

It takes practice. Good copywriters say they spend as much as half their writing time just on the headline. But when a change in headline alone can increase response by 300% or more, it’s certainly time well spent!

Does your marketing forge an emotional connection with your prospects? It can. Lisa Packer, author of “The Power Of Emotion: 6 Triggers That Turn Prospects Into Customers, " specializes in copy that does just that. Visit today and discover how you can connect emotionally with your prospects and explode response!


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