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8 Tips for Writing A Knock-Em Dead Headline
By Kris Mills

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.

Here are some tips to help you do that.

1. Flag down your reader

If your product or service appeals to a select group of people, a great way of grabbing their attention is to flag your reader down. People like belonging, They like identifying themselves with select groups so by flagging that interest group in your headline, you've instantly attracted the attention of your target group.

2. Promise your reader a benefit

Some of the most successful headlines convey something unique about a business.

Are you the only business in your field that does something that the others don't do like offering something for free or giving extra service and so on.

What do you do that your competition doesn't?

Do you go through a 43-point checklist with your customer to make sure you are doing a good job?

Do you use a revolutionary process that saves your client time, money and does a better job?

Have you studied for 20 years with the world expert in your field? (If you have, certainly include it in the headline but you must show how this expertise will benefit your reader).

If you do something that makes you stand head and shoulders above your competition, use it in your headline. Likewise, if you're offering your clients something truly outstanding, mention it in your headline.

3. Use the word 'you'

The most important word in the English language when it comes to advertising is the word 'you'. It helps your reader relate to what you say. It helps them involve themselves in your selling message. This factor comes back to the fact that most people are 'me, me, me'. If you can talk 'you, you, you', you've got their attention.

Read any personal development book and you know that the key to get someone to like you is to talk about them, show an interest in them and praise them.

If you can't use the word 'you' in your headline, you can imply it by using the word 'how to' which has a similar effect because it still involves the reader.

4. What size should the text in your headline be?

The size of your text is very important. If you use a small typeface it will disappear into your body copy and won't stand out. Make sure the typeface is 4 to 8 times the size of the body text and takes up about 20 - 25% of your ad space.

5. Use an exclamation mark

The simple act of putting an exclamation mark at the end of your headline makes people feel that the statement is dramatic so there's more of a chance they'll read further.

6. Put your headline in quotation marks

Putting your headline in quotation marks makes people feel that it is a quote so they're more likely to read on.

7. Mention your offer in your headline

Giving your reader a compelling reason to respond, makes you stand out from your competitors and fast tracks sales. If you have a powerful offer in your advertising piece, in some cases, it's best to mention it in your headline.

Here are some examples of headlines promoting offers:

FREE booklet reveals the non surgical secrets this 60 year old grandmother uses to look just 40.

FREE seminar shows you how to end your $100,000 home mortgage in 4.7 years.

Buy xx get Y FREE

Buy this xxx and we'll give you xxx FREE

Yours FREE xxxx

FREE meal

FREE seminar shows you how to ...

$193 leather bound bible for just $29.95

$180 off car stereos if you buy before Jan. 26

8. Mention results

When your product delivers proven results, tell the world in the headline of your ad. The statement must be strong. It must be believable. It must be specific, and, it must be proven. If you can guarantee the results, incorporate your guarantee in the headline.

Copyright Words that Sell 1999.

Kris Mills of Words that Sell ( ) is a top selling copywriter and respected author of numerous publications. For more copywriting and direct marketing tips, visit

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