Write Headlines That Demand Attention

The ability to write headlines that demand attention and make readers take action, is a key marketing skill.

I came back from holiday recently.

You know what it’s like when you’ve been away – your email inbox is full of absolute crap.

I had best part of 1000 emails and it took me most of the day to get through them.

The fact is that I just deleted the vast majority of them.

I opened a few and I mean a few because they were either from clients or suppliers or because they stuck out somehow.

As the majority were marketing emails, they failed at the first key job of marketing – getting their target’s attention.

How do we do that?

If it’s an email it has to be the subject line but if it’s a website, an advert or a flyer it would be the headline.

So the next question is how do you write headlines or subject lines that demand attention and action.

Basically there are  three main ways:By offering your audience a rosier, better future.By talking about a problem they suffer from and offering a solution

  1. By offering your audience a rosier, better future
  2. By talking about a problem they suffer from and offering a solution
  3. By evoking their curiosity

When crafting your headline you have to consider who you’re trying to attract.

A great way to target them is via a pre head.

So if I said: “Attention All Cake Bakers”, the chances are that that very particular demographic’s attention will have been well and truly grabbed.

I could then follow that up with any one of the three different headline approaches:

“How to quickly and easily make your cakes lighter and more delicious”


“Are your cake bases too dense and heavy? Here’s a simple trick to make them more delicious and keep your family coming back for more”

Or even

“The secret all home bakers need to know”.

Now if any of the recipients of the communication weren’t cake bakers then they probably wouldn’t be interested.

That’s fine because they wouldn’t be in my target audience and what I’m selling wouldn’t be of interest to them.

But assuming they are bakers there’s a good chance I’ll have got their attention and that they would read my content.

If more of the people who emailed me while I was away had known how to write headlines, I would have been more motivated to read what they sent me and they might have made more sales.

So give it a go.

If you need help with writing headlines that will get your marketing read or any other marketing issues, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or call me on 01483 200387.

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Headlines – The Most Important Part Of Your Sales Letter

I haven’t written about direct mail for ages but I’m currently doing some for a client so it suddenly seems relevant.

Direct mail letters (or emails for that matter) can be divided up into constituent elements.

There’s the headline, the introductory sentence, the main body of the communication, the special offer, the call to action and the PS.

Each of these elements is vital in its own right, with the key role of each part being to stimulate enough interest to get the reader to read on to the next stage until they’re taking the action you want them to.

Having said that the headline can probably claim to be the most important of all.

If your headline doesn’t grab attention and hook the reader in, then they won’t ever engage with your letter and the thing will go straight into the bin.

Two headlines

One approach which often works well is to have two headlines – the headline itself and a pre-headline.

The pre-headline is a short introductory statement that appears above the headline at the top of the letter. Its purpose is to grab the reader’s attention, to pre-qualify them and to introduce them to the theme and subject matter of the letter itself.

How long should a pre-headline be?

To be honest there’s no absolute answer to that but as a rule of thumb you should aim to keep it short – no more than a few words.

Techniques that work in the pre-head are:

Identify a particular target audience – “Attention all accountants”

Mention a credible source – “As featured on the BBC”

Be controversial “Everything you’ve heard about dieting is wrong”

Quote an impressive statistic – “94% of women found this helps”

Immediately after the pre-head, you will have the main headline. This is your big bazooka. The weapon that has got to grab the reader and compel them to read.

The headline should be larger than the rest of the text and should be centred on the page. You can also underline it or put it in bold but not both. That would be just too shouty,

While presentation is important, the words – what you say is will determine the success or failure of your headline.

What you want to do is highlight the biggest benefit you’re offering and make it sound easy. We all want the results but without too much effort.

“The easy way to lose up to 2 stone in the next month without starving yourself”

If you were looking to lose weight, that headline would probably persuade you to read on.

Another very successful approach is the “Stop doing that and start doing this” format.

“Stop running an unsuccessful business and start learning how to write direct mail that delivers hordes of new customers”

I hope you find this useful.

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5 Simple Secrets To Get More Traffic To Your Blog

So, you’re a regular blogger, writing high quality content. Obviously you want to drive as many readers to your blog as possible.

There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your blog – social media being one of the most important. So you put out a tweet on Twitter with a link to the blog post and what happens?

Very little.

So why is this? You’ve got hundreds and maybe even thousands of followers. Why didn’t a substantial quantity click on the link?

Now of course at any one time not all your followers will actually have seen the tweet even if you repeated it several times.

However the main problem will be that your blog title or headline wasn’t compelling enough to persuade your followers to click on the link. We all only have so much time to devote to Twitter and we will only invest time in blogs which really attract and interest us.

The headline or blog title are the single most important part of a blog post in the same way that it is on an advertisement. The headline opens the door to the content. If the headline doesn’t hit the spot, then the chances of your content being read are greatly reduced.

5 Secrets For Successful Headlines

So if we take the title of this blog as our example, we’ll look at how you should write your blog titles.

Make the reader curious

The headline has made a promise but not given the answer. To find out what the five secrets are the reader has to click the link. The more you can arouse someone’s curiosity the more chance you have of making them take action.

The headline was relevant to my target audience

The headline relates to a marketing issue and the people I want to attract are interested in marketing. Marketing is all about relevance.

The headline made a compelling promise

The headline promised that by following the link, readers would get valuable and useful information that will help them solve a genuine problem. Of course the article must then deliver against the promise the headline makes.

The headline says it is easy

We’re talking 5 simple secrets. This isn’t going to be complicated and require specialist knowledge and skills and of course if people think something is going to be simple you are much more likely to get people taking action.

The headline is written in plain English

Many people believe the way to generate internet traffic is to stuff your headlines with key words. If you write for search engines as opposed to people, your text will read poorly and will act in absolutely the opposite way to what I’m suggesting.

So make sure you devote time to creating compelling headlines as they will definitely attract more readers.