Whether it’s an e-mail, sales letter, squeeze page or paid advertisement, headlines are the single crucial part of any marketing document. That’s because the headline is your initial and only opportunity to capture the attention of your reader – the prospective customer.
If your headline doesn’t strike an immediate impression, your reader will stop reading and move on.
The most effective headlines, like the ones that snatch you up by the short hairs just like mom used to do – share 3 common characteristics. If you make sure your headlines always include these 3 qualities, you can attract a greater number of prospects to spend more with your copy and enhance your chances of converting them into loyal clients, which is the ultimate objective of any marketing document.
Clarity Is King
The single crucial quality of any great headline is that it can be immediately understood by anybody that is reading it. The clearer the headline, the more attractive it will be to page visitors.
If your headline is in any way ambiguous, confusing, or doesn’t provide a clear and concise message that can be grasped instantly, it is going to turn readers away in droves. Clear, easy to understand headlines must be as specific as possible.
Remember, the people who are landing on your pages or seeing your ads are looking for solutions and answers. The last thing they want to do is spend more time trying to figure out exactly just what is meant by an ambiguous or uncertain headline. Be as clear as you can possibly be.
Two Parts, Headlines Have
The most effective headlines actually have two parts: The headline and the sub-headline (a.k.a. the “sub-head”). The headline is the bait that gets the fish on the hook and the sub-head is the line that keeps reeling them in.
By itself, the headline usually isn’t enough to fully engage the reader, albeit it very important. It needs a Robin, a Tonto, a Yoda – it needs help in the form of a great, informative sub-headline that boosts the clarity of the main headline.
The sub-headline reaffirms the reason why your reader landed on your page or looked at your ad to begin with. It sets the stage for the story your content is about to tell them.
The Ideal Headlines Include Numbers
Super smart people agree that folks using the Internet are way more likely to click through on a headline that includes a digit than one that is number-less, and it has something to do with how our brains are wired.
Numbers express a level of certainty; they subliminally tell the reader that the headline’s message is based on truth and fact. And, therefore, online solution and answer seekers are naturally drawn to headlines that include numbers versus sans numbers – just text.
Your headlines can include Roman numerals, percentages, times, lists and so forth. For example:
“5-Day Free Trial for All Brand-brand-brand-new Subscribers”
“Top 10 Ways to Shed Weight Pronto”
“Increase Sales by 30% in 30 Days Using 30 Secret Ninja Tricks”
Generally, the number will be in the headline, yet the information in the sub-headline should support that number. In fact, if a headline doesn’t include a number, it often won’t convert. Guru marketers used tried-and-true methodology to maximize results, because they understand exactly just what works and exactly just what doesn’t.
If you keep your headlines clear and concise, include sub-heads that support the gist of the headline, and inject numbers to give it authority and truth, you can exponentially jack up your conversion rates no matter what kind of marketing method you are using.
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MELANIE O'KANE Melanie O'Kane is CEO and Founder Melanie O'Kane Dot Com, a virtual assistant company specializing in Internet Marketing. With over 28 years' experience, Melanie has helped countless entrepreneurs, small-business owners and executives find success and grow their wealth through strategic recommended products and training, as well as her Virtual Assistant company, MAD Typing and Consulting.