How to write compelling headlines?
You know, perhaps one of the most important elements, if not THE most important aspect of any sales letter… is to hook your readers attention in with a compelling headline.
What is the purpose of the main headline?
Why it’s to create interest in whatever it is you’re offering to your target market.
Let’s just say for example… you’ve got an information product, mind blowing info which solves a particular problem which many marketers online are currently facing. And this product… by gum it’s good. Without any shadow of doubt whatsoever this IS the solution these marketers have been looking for.
Now, what you want to do is to create as much desire for this digital information product as possible.
How are you going to go about it?
How are you going to capture the attention of these marketers?
The main headline should be right at the very top of your list of priorities. This is the psychological mechanism which is either going to attract visitors to read the rest of your sales copy or reject it out of hand.
Think about the main headline like a magnet. Imagine two magnets in fact.
So we all know a magnet has two opposing forces. One magnetic polarity attracts, the other repels. Place a north polarity towards a south polarity and the two objects quickly feel attracted towards one another forming a strong bond or connection.
On the other hand, place a north-north or south-south polarity close together and the opposite happens. They both repel one another. Quite the opposite of what you want to accomplish with your main headline.
Essentially the main headline is similar to a hook on the end of a fishing line. It’s a lure, baited to attract the best fish passing by. Get it right and you have a delicious fish to eat. Get it wrong and no matter how long you wait, the fish just won’t touch your offer with a barge pole.
A main headline needs to generate interest – this much is obvious. But it also needs to be targeted directly towards your ideal target market and their wants, needs, and desires.
You want to try and raise curiosity, instilling in the reader of the main headline, giving them an excuse, a reason to justify in their mind why they they should continue reading whatever is down below your main headline.
You see, the main headline really has one objective only… which is to tip the readers attention down into your sales funnel.
Joseph Sugarman the world famous copywriter referred to the sales letter as a slippery sales slide. The object being to tip the weight in your favor to get the reader sliding down your sales copy towards your direct call to action.
This main headline then can be looked upon as an enticement mechanism or for want of a better expression, a means to nudge the reader over the rim of your sales copy to read the rest of the offer down below.
John Carlton, you may have heard of him, another world famous copywriter. He wrote this curiosity building main headline which instantly generated intrigue on the part of his readers the target market, which in this case just happened to be golfers.
With this headline the reader perceived a great storyline appearing right in front of their eyes and so felt compelled to read the rest of the sales letter to find out what the rest of the sales letter was all about. They wanted to know… ‘What’s in this for me?’
Here it is…
Amazing Secret Discovered By
One-Legged Golfer Adds 50 Yards
To Your Drives, Eliminates Hooks
and Slices… And Can Slash Up To
10 Strokes From Your Game
Instantly upon reading the first couple of lines of the main headline…
…you’re conjuring up in your mind the image of this one-legged golfer on the fairway just about to tee off.
You’re visualizing him in split second coming up with a way to solve his own problem of balance. A way to greatly improve the odds of him hitting the ball with a perfect strike, driving the ball further and more accurately than ever.
What is this amazing secret you’re thinking – wow! Your curiosity is instantly piqued. Your mind primed to find out more info. Info which quite possibly could tip the balance of odds in your favor next time you play a round of golf. You read on…
Wow and this secret (what is it?) promises to eliminate hooks and slices forever – the bane of any amateur golfer! Now you’re hooked. You’ve just got to find out more. So automatically you find yourself reading the rest of this headline.
Next there’s two things going on here, first… there’s a BIG promise. You CAN save up to 10 strokes off your game.
10 strokes? Wow! That’s amazing and then the finale…
…you receive the promise that this knowledge, this new ability can be in your possession / in your hands almost overnight. Instantly.
So what does the golfer reading this ad do next? Of course, to find out the rest of the story s/he feels compelled to read the 1st sentence. Mission accomplished. The main headline has fulfilled it’s role.
It’s tipped the reader over the rim of the sales copy and now has them sliding down through the emotional trigger points as they seek to justify in their mind a good sound reason why they should buy into this secret info.
Never settle for the first headline which jumps to mind. Many of the best copywriters, myself included, we use a stop watch / timer and set it to 60 minutes. In this 60 minutes, we have to write out 50 main headlines in the space of one hour. One main headline every minute or so. Keeping them short and to the point. Each one designed to generate as much interest as possible to get the reader to read the first sentence down below.
Your main headlines… keep these points in mind when likewise you try out for yourself the same exercise to sharpen your main headline writing skills.
Remember the Power of One
The overriding purpose of the main headline is to stir up one core emotion.
Or to emphasize one good idea.
Or to share or tell one captivating story.
Which combined together will direct the reader towards one inevitable outcome… the reader taking your desired call to action.
Another way to look at it is… your main headline must grab the prospects attention either by making a big promise.
By drawing a picture in the mind of the reader.
By clearly stating a fact.
By focusing in like a laser guided missile on your single biggest benefit.
Or simply asking a question.
Whichever trigger you use the purpose of the main headline is to get the reader to read the 1st sentence of your sales copy.