What is the big deal about headlines? After all, aren’t they just a title for your ad? Headlines are so much more. They introduce your company and your product or service. Can you really afford to lose your target marketing from the first moment? Whether you are taking out a full page advertisement in your local paper or sending a newsletter to a loyal customer, you can’t afford to waste money and time with a dull headline that people ignore. Even worse, an ineffective ad can actually hurt your business.
With the holidays upon us, the residual mumblings of the presidential debate and the rollercoaster of news from our media, getting your headlines noticed is no small task. These three tried and true techniques will help you craft headlines that stand out in the buzz.
1. Keep it Short. Headlines need to quickly grab your audience’s attention so keep your words to a minimum. A good guideline is to not exceed the following:
Tag line – 5 words
Email Subject Line – 8 words
Web page – 8 words
Direct Mail Letter – 10 words
Coupon – 6 words
Article – 10 words
2. Grab ’em with Words. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Open your advertisement with action words that create a call to action. While adjectives and modifying verbs can be poetic, they can also waste your ad space. Skip the fluff and get right to the money-maker-words. Today – Careful – XX Steps – Save – Now – First – New – Easy – Guarantee – to name just a few. Don’t be afraid to sound cheesy if it gets you read!
3. Use Headlines in Everything. Subject lines for emails, letters to clients, every web page, etc. Everything should have a headline to describe quickly why the reader should read. You can even break up your copy with multiple headlines sprinkled throughout your piece.
4. Play to your Audience – is your audience serious? Do they appreciate humor? Do they just need the facts, straight and simple? Your piece should sound just like your audience…and usually simple is best. Don’t clutter your message with big words to sound formal or important.
5. Stick to Your Messaging. What is the strategic message that you want every client to know about your company? How are you different? This is your messaging, and that messaging should be the same underlying tone in every marketing detail in your business. So, for example, if your strategic messaging is that your business is fast and easy online cleaning service ordering, and you have an article about microfiber in your newsletter you are going to want a headline regarding how microfiber helps you deliver fast and easy service, instead of how microfiber is chemically created. Your article can go into detail on both of those topics, but grab the attention of the reader with a messaging that they expect from you.