HOW TO GRAB ATTENTION WITH YOUR HEADLINES
By Charlie Cook
You've got just a few seconds to grab your prospects'
attention, spark their interest and motivate them to keep
reading whether they're looking at your web site, your
letter or your brochure. Headlines are the first thing
your prospects read. Four out of five people determine
whether they keep reading to learn about your products
and services on the basis of your headline.
Do your headlines capture your prospects' attention or
do they confuse them and send them away?
Are your headlines prompting prospects to learn about
your products and services or click to another web site
or throw away your letter?
Avoid the three following headline mistakes.
Don't Emphasize Obscure Company Names
Most small businesses and many not so small businesses
names aren't household words. Unless your name is among
the top ten most recognized brands such as, Craftsman,
Waterford, Rolls Royce, the Discovery Channel, WD-40 or
Crayola there is a very good chance people won't
associate your company name with anything.
Have you ever visited a web site or read a print ad
where the company's name covered the top part of the
page and it was something like, "Pharos Partners"?
Unless the name of your company describes what you do,
it is not going to grab prospects' attention. Move it
to the side and make room for a creative headline.
Avoid Welcome Statements
On many web sites the first line you read is, "Welcome
to our Site". There is a reason you don't see these in
print ads. Welcome statements are a waste of time in
marketing materials; they do little to help prospects
understand what you do.
Delete Vague Descriptions and Statements
Statements like, "Our purpose is to connect you with
information and resources to achieve your maximum
potential", could apply to a number of different
professions. It could refer to a cooking school, a
management consultant or an eldercare program.
- Are you wasting valuable space where your headline
goes to feature a company name that doesn't describe
what you do?
- Does your headline include "business speak" terms
your children or mother-in-law can't explain?
- Is your description of product and services specific
or is it so generic that it could apply to other types
- Does your headline focus on the selling points that
distinguish your products and services from the
Writing Headlines that Get Your Prospects' Attention
People look at web sites the same way they look at
magazine ads. They scan the page quickly to see if the
product or service is something they want. On the web
or in a marketing brochure, if you capture their
interest, they'll keep reading.
The best way to do this is to give them a clear idea
of the problems your products or services can solve
and/or the benefits you provide. Use a few carefully
selected words such as:
- Leverage your expertise to attract a steady stream
- Reliable Office Supplies, free next day delivery.
- In-home sports training for exercise enthusiasts
- Web and print design that helps your business grow
- Costa Rica Travel, Unique off-the-beaten track tours
to jungles and beaches
Your page headline should communicate clearly what you
offer clients, which problems you solve and the
benefits you provide. Do your headlines:
- Clarify what you do?
- Describe the problems you solve?
- Define whom you do it for?
- Explain the benefits?
- Emphasis a key selling point?
- Compel your prospects to keep reading?
Imagine that you worked at an exercise facility and
wanted to attract clients for your massage business.
Here are some possible headlines you might use for
your flyer and associated critiques.
- George Jenkins Massage
(It's your name but so what)
- Are You Bothered By Back Pain
(Better, it defines the problem)
- 7 Ways to Get Instant Back Pain Relief
(Defines the problem and a solution)
- How Computer Users Can Banish Back Pain in One Hour
(Defines who your target market is, the problem and
Grab your prospects attention in the first few seconds
with your headline. Then follow with compelling copy
that clarifies the value of your products and services
and you'll generate many more sales.
2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals
and small business owners attract more clients and be
more successful. Sign up to receive the Free Marketing
Guide, '7 Steps to Grow Your Business' and the
'More Business' newsletter, full of practical tips you can
use at http://www.charliecook.net