Sales Headline Copywriting - Two Quick Steps to Success
Get a Good Start for Sales Success
The headline to a sales letter is like the doorway to a store. The purpose of both is to draw people in. To get people in the store, a doorway has to be both attractive and inviting. To get people to read the letter, the headline has to both make the prospect take notice and make them want to know more.
When you write a headline to sell something, make sure it does these two things:
How to Get the Prospect's Attention
If you're out in the street and you want to get someone's attention, it's easy enough. Just yell at them, "Hey, YOU! They"ll turn and look at you to see what you want.
A lot of headline writers think they can do the same thing in print. The sprinkle "you and "your and "you'll around and figure that's all it takes. It's not that easy.
What gets attention is something that truly interests the prospect - it solves a problem for them or meets a compelling need.
For example, if you're addressing someone who wants to get rich quick and easy, a headline like this could work "You'll Make Millions Selling Our Christmas Cards Part-time." Now this headline has some problems that we'll address in a minute, but at least it would get attention if the prospect were interested in making millions.
Remember though: Interest - like beauty - is in the eye of the beholder. If you were sending a sales letter to monks and nuns, an appeal to their greed probably would not get attention. That's why it's so important to know your prospect. One way to do that is to research your product. Often asking what the purpose of the product is will give you insight into the prospect's thinking. That's because the product's designers were trying to solve a problem or meet a need.
Golf clubs designed with gigantic titanium heads appeal to golfers who want a tool to help them hit the ball farther. They could probably do better by spending the money on lessons but they want what they want the easy way. The headline can get their attention by acknowledging what they want:
"With Our Big Pig Titanium Driver, You'll Hit The Ball At Least Fifty Yards Farther - Without Changing A Thing About Your Present Swing."
This headline will get attention because it appeals to the prospects interest. But it shares a problem with the earlier headline. Maybe you already know what it is.
The Missing Element - Curiosity
The problem with both our headlines is that they don't arouse curiosity. In the first case, we're told how we can make the millions - by selling Christmas Cards for the company. There's no mystery.
In fact, if I've had any experience selling Cards in the past, I'm liable to trash the letter because experience says it's not a good idea. Your sales letter will never get a chance to weave its magic spell.
The same problem exists with the second headline. We're familiar with the Big Pig Titanium Driver. We actually had a friend that bought one and it didn't help him increase the distance of his drives at all. Again, rejected before we have time to make our pitch.
How To Arouse Curiosity
You arouse curiosity by hiding, obscuring, veiling, hinting but never revealing. Let's change the first headline to read:
"Make Millions With A Joyful Product Everybody Needs - And LOVES!"
Now we're going to want to read the letter to find out what the joyful product is. Our curiosity has been aroused.
And our second headline could be changed to:
"Hit The Ball Fifty, Even One Hundred Yards Farther - Without Changing Your Swing!"
Wow, lousy golfer that I am, I'm going to read the letter and find out how I can do this!
The important of arousing curiosity is the main reason for the old copywriter's adage: Never Mention the Brand in a Headline.
Just Two Quick Steps to Headline Success
If you'll just apply these two simple steps, you'll be able to write great headlines. They"ll get the prospect's attention and they"ll pique his curiosity and make him want to read more.
That's the whole point of the headline - to make them want to read more.
Ronald A Murphy is a Copywriter and Graphic Designer specializing in Direct Response, Multichannel Marketing. Murphy writes and designs sales letters, direct mail packages, inserts, web sales pages, direct email, newsletters for marketing, Internet articles, white papers, and other sales focused materials. He provides expertise to clients serving financial, business, technology, health, opportunity and fundraising markets. For more information on copywriting and marketing, visit his site at http://RAMurphy.com. At the site, you can subscribe to his newsletter, R A Murphy's Copywriting and Design Tips. Murphy also writes a Blog at http://RonaldAMurphy.com.