Whether you need to capture the attention of a potential customer on your website, convince a journalist to publish your story, increase your mailing list with your website opt-in, generate leads from an advertisement or boost your hits with a blog post, learning to write good headlines is perhaps one of the greatest time investments you can make in your business.
To help you make a start, and get more results from your marketing and advertising, here are four types of headlines that can help you connect with potential customers and convert more sales.
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1. The threat
One of the most powerful buying motivators is fear and pain. Generally speaking we move faster away from pain and potential threat than we do towards pleasure, so if you can pinpoint something your target market is afraid of losing or afraid of happening, you can really get inside their head and create a headline that is impossible to ignore.
Examples of a threat headline are “The shocking truth about what your child is really eating”, “the [x] lies your [person/brand] is telling you”, “The information/advice your [trusted person] should give you, but won’t”, “If worse came to worse and [specific scenario], would you/your family/your business be protected? Or “Did you know you could be personally liable/held accountable/at risk of/ for [threat], even if you [protective measure]?”
To craft a powerful threat headline, ask yourself:
- What are my target market’s frustrations?
- What problems do they have that my product or service solves?
- What are their pain points and worries?
- What is keeping them up at night?
- What do they fear most?
- What are the greatest threats to them, their family and their livelihood?
2. The benefit
The benefit headline, as its name suggests is driven by a benefit. The benefit can be positive, drawing your target market towards pleasure like “How you can generate more leads for your business without spending more time, money or effort”, or a negative benefit, drawing them away from pain, frustration or consequence like “Stop paying too much tax”.
Whichever way you go, when mastered, the benefit headline can be incredibly powerful. The key to its success though, depends on how well you know your target market and what they need or desire, in order to appeal to their buy buttons. It can’t just be any benefit that your product or service provides though, it has to be a benefit your target market can’t ignore or must-have in order to incite action.
When crafting a benefit headline, ask yourself:
- What does my target market want most?
- What are their dreams and aspirations?
- What do they value?
- Who do they look up to or want to be like?
- What are their frustrations?
- What do they want to avoid most?
- What can my products or services give them, save them, help them become or achieve that will help them get what they want or avoid what they want to avoid?
3. The promise
The promise headline is like the benefit headline, only more powerful because it comes with a promise of results. It could be that you can provide the desired results within a desired time frame, or the desired result with a guarantee. Of course you MUST deliver what you have promised, so handle this headline with care.
When crafting a promise headline, ask yourself:
- What results have I generated for past customers?
- What results will motivate potential customers?
- Can I deliver results in an assured timeframe?
- Can I offer a money back guarantee?
- How can I eliminate the perceived risk people have when buying from me?
4. The testimonial
The testimonial headline is one of the most powerful headlines because it uses a customer success story and their own words to sell your products and services. It gives you credibility and proves your value long before you’ve tried to establish it.
The testimonial could be outstanding results you’ve delivered, a relatable situation you helped a customer through, a common problem you solved, a testimonial that addresses common objections people have or even a celebrity or notable person who uses your products or services.
The key to a good testimonial headline is that it needs to be specific, have high impact, connect with or be relatable to your potential customer and prove your value. To do this you may need to give the customer who is endorsing you specific boundaries and prompts of what you are looking for from their testimonial.
Have you found a particular type of headline has worked well for you?