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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 of businesses?

- Does your headline focus on the selling points that distinguish your products and services from the competitions?

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 of clients - 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 the benefit)

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.

Related Articles:

How To Test Your Headlines Without Spending A Fortune In Advertising Fees
Headlines are the most critical part of any marketing campaign. Don't put money into any advertisement without first testing the Headline.

8 Tips for Writing A Knock-Em Dead Headline
There are so many elements that play a very important part in every ad, sales letter, brochure or any piece of business communication that you write. And one of the most important elements is the headline. The headline of your piece will either makes your reader so excited they'll want to read the rest of your ad, letter etc. or it will make them switch off completely.

Using Emotion for Persuasion
The use of emotion adds persuasive power to messages, by adding a personal element that demands more involvement by the reader or listener.

Increase Your Sales With 'The Big Benefit'
People buy products or services from you because they expect to gain a benefit. The benefit is more valuable to them than the money they spend to get it. You can use that benefit 3 different ways to increase the results produced by your marketing efforts.


2004 In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

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

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