Thursday, March 28, 2019

Are you a headline reader?

If not it might be a good hobby. Pick up the newspaper and pay close attention to the headlines. Which ones grab you and make you want to continue reading? Which ones do you pass over and why? Sort through your spam file and look at the subject lines.  Do you know that the folks in Hollywood will pay as much as one million dollars for a one-word title if they think it is the right one? That proves the value of the headlines we use to sell our products and services.

The how-to headline:

People are looking for answers. When your head line promises to tell them how to solve a problem they are having, you will have captured a customers attention. Be sure your copy fulfills the promise, even if the final answer doesn't lie in your copy but in a catalog you will send if the reader requests it, you have fulfilled the promise in the headline.

The news headline:

New and now are words that are so overworked that most readers discount them almost immediately. However, all readers are seeking something new and they want what they want now. Your product may be new, but anything you can do to get rid of the overworked word "new" will help make your news headlines draw more readers. The solution to boring advertising is to make news instead of filling space. News is almost never boring. News is a benefit. The news that can honestly tell your potential buyer what he wants to hear.

The picture headline:

A strong visual can often be used to tell the story, and all the headline is expected to do is provide the transition to the copy. The headline may just state what is seen in the picture-in terms of benefits-or it can be used to begin the copy. Don't worry about redundancy in advertising. Tell em' what you're going to tell 'em, tell 'em, and tell 'em what you told 'em.

The prediction headline:

When you use this approach, you will find it most effective to use the second person. That is, use "you." This headline makes a positive prediction and includes a very strong benefit. ‘You will save over 50% with our system’.

The command headline:

When you can use a commanding statement that is in the reader's best interest, you will have a strong headline. In a sense, the command headline is the prediction headline without the "you." To be most effective, command headlines should be relatively short. Consider this example: ‘Cut your processing time in half with our system’. This approach will work, but your copy should follow the style of the headline. If you use the prediction approach, continue to talk in terms of what will happen when the product is used. The command approach lends itself more to direct copy and a closing that suggests an immediate further investigation by the reader.

The testimonial headline:

Most people like to know how others have fared with the product being advertised, and a testimonial can be a productive way of answering the question and getting the copy read. Be careful that you quote someone who will be respected by the readers. The person may not be well known, but as long as he or she has a position that will be respected, you will be on safe ground. Make sure that the quote sounds natural. If the person being quoted says something out of character (the quote was obviously created by the copywriter), you will have a very weak ad. Of course, the testimonial doesn't necessarily have to be the words of an individual. If you get permission from a user to say that the company increased production by 60 percent when your product was used, you will have a strong testimonial.

The short story headline:

The short story headline must lead into a short story or a brief piece of copy that gets the message across in story form. Although the story approach often features people, it is not necessarily used to give testimonials. More often than not, this approach is best used with a human interest angle. For example, a tax consultant could use something like this: ‘Joe Young saved six thousand dollars on his taxes’.