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Advertisers: Learn How To Write Better Headlines

DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
edited March 2009 in Marketing
If you want people to buy your products you have to advertise. Unfortunately, there`s no getting around that fact. Like it or not, advertising is a necessary evil.
The key to print advertising is the right people seeing your ad and responding.
However, your ad has a far greater chance of succeeding if your headline is strong.
How important is a strong headline?
If your headline is weak, no one will read your ad and it will fail. It`s as simple as that.
“The Father of Advertising,” legendary copywriter David Olgivy once said, "Five times as many people read your headlines as do your actual copy."
Whether or not he`s right about the actual percentage isn`t important. What is important is that your headline is the first thing people see, so you`d better get it right.
So what exactly does getting it right mean?
What makes a good headline?
Before you can write a good headline, you first have to understand what the job of a headline is. The number one job of a headline is to get the readers attention - period.
Now there are a number of ways that you can do this. I personally like to direct my headlines toward a specific audience. I find that to be the most effective method.
However, for this method to work, you have to understand your target market. You have to know your audience.
Now being the owner of a marketing blog, I know for a fact that advertisers are always interested in writing better headlines. How do I know this? Market research.
Always, Always, Always research your market! That can be your edge over your competition.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. My target audience for this article are advertisers interested in learning how to write better headlines. So in my headline I focused on my target audience, "advertisers" and what my audience wants, "to write better headlines." Hence the headline:"Advertisers: Learn How To Write Better Headlines"
Now only testing will tell for sure. But my experience tells me that`s a strong headline and would be successful.
Now I simplified the writing process here for the sake of brevity. But you`ll more than likely have to write dozens of headlines for each of your ads before you come up with something you like - something that`s going to be effective. It`s all part of the process.
For me personally, my best headlines are usually the ones that sort of just pop into my head. But generally speaking, you`re better off writing a bunch of headlines, until you end up with your strongest one.
So how will you determine which is your strongest headline?
Show your headlines to your friends and family. Get their opinions. Also, if you`re a member of a small business forum, show your headlines to forum members to get their feedback.
Ready to see me write another headline? Let`s do it.
Suppose I owned a pet grooming shop. Now since I already did my market research, I know that most pet owners like to pamper their pets. So I`m sure that I would get a pet owners attention with a headline like this:"Pet Owners: We`ll Pamper Your Pet Like It Belonged To Oprah!"
Now let`s discuss the fundamentals for a second. My target audience for this ad are pet owners. So in my headline I targeted my audience by using the words, "pet owners" and I gave my audience what they want by using the word "pamper."
Let me explain what else I did. I used the name of a famous celebrity in my headline, which is always guaranteed to get attention. Remember what I said earlier. The number one job of a headline is to get the readers attention.
But I also did something else. I brought emotion into the mix. In my headline, I told readers that my pet grooming shop would "treat their pets like royalty!"
And while I didn`t use those exact words, the implication is there.
That headline has strong emotional appeal. After all, what loving pet owner doesn`t want their pet treated special, right?
By the way, emotional appeals are very powerful in headlines. So use them as often as possible.
So are you starting to understand this headline writing thing yet?
Well, let`s write one more to make sure.
Suppose I owned a pizza shop. Again, start with the fundamentals. My target for this ad is a general audience. After all, nearly everyone eats pizza.
But despite that fact, I`m still going to target my audience by using the word, "pizza" in my headline
Now this one`s a little trickier because pizza ads are a dime a dozen.
So I need to do something to make my headline different - to stand out. I`ve decided to give my headline instant credibility by using a feature that is unique to my pizza shop. Here`s the headline I came up with:"Jackson`s Pizza: Voted the City`s Best Pizza For 10 Straight Years!"
Do you know what the reaction of most people reading that headline would be?
"Wow...voted the city`s best pizza for 10 straight years! It must be good!"
This headline also has strong emotional appeal. Why? Because everyone likes to be associated with a winner. It`s human nature.
Wrapping everything up, I`m going to summarize what it takes to write effective headlines into 5 simple steps:1. You must know and understand your target audience. Research your market!
2. Target your headline to that audience.
3. Give your audience what they want.
4. Your headline must get the readers attention. Be creative.
5. Use emotional appeal whenever possible. Again, be creative.
One last thing. when writing headlines don`t try to trick or mislead people. Get people`s attention, yes. Be creative, yes.
But above all be honest!

David Jackson
DavidJackson3/17/2009 10:29 PM


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