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To Brands That Want to Write a Killer Headline

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar." – David Ogilvy. The headline is arguably the most important aspect of your ad copy. Without an effective headline, you will not be able to effectively deliver your message to your audience, let alone selling your products or services. In order for your headline to be effective, it should achieve these four goals:
  1. Grab attention

    A headline is the first component your consumers see when they view your advertisement. To grab your audience’s attention, your headline must appeal to their self-interests. Here are three approaches you can use to grasp your consumers’ focus.

    • Give news. A headline that provides news can arouse fascination and interest. To effectively showcase news, you can use terms such as discover, introducing, announcing, now, it’s here, at last, or just arrived. Examples of a “news” headline include “Google Partners is here at last” and “Google introduces its new search algorithm: Hummingbird.”
    • Create urgency
      A headline that produces urgency can lure consumers to learn more about your products or services immediately. A headline that uses terms such as “last chance” and “quick” can encourage consumers to respond to your advertisement imminently.  
    • Use the how-to tactic
      Although a how-to headline is the oldest trick in the book, it has been proven over and over again as one of the most effective tools in riveting consumers’ attention. The reasons are a how-to headline promises to deliver news, information, advice, or solutions to consumers’ problems. An example of a how-to headline is “How to Improve Your AdWords Campaign Drastically with a Traditional Marketing Theory.”
  2. Select the correct audience

    “The headline is the 'ticket on the meat.' Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.” – David Ogilvy. A proper headline can help you select the correct audience. By explicitly identifying your target audience, you can filter out unwanted customers. For instance, if you are an insurance company aiming to serve senior 65 and older, you can create a headline which states “We provide excellent insurance coverage for all men and women over 65.” This tactic is particularly important in Google AdWords campaigns where you are paying for traffic on a click basis. By deterring unqualified leads from clicking your advertisement, you can reduce your advertising investment drastically.

  3. Showcase your product’s benefits

    Your headline should highlight the usefulness and benefits of your products or services. This will not only further help you reach qualified clients, but also encourage more prospects to learn about your brand. After all, consumers always seek products or services that can resolve their problems. Examples of a benefit-oriented headline are “Reduce Your Utility Bill by 50% by Switching to Us” or “Increase your Revenue up to 20% by using our Digital Marketing Roadmap.”

  4. Lure the audience to read your body copy

    Your headline should attract more consumers to read the rest of your ad copy. This is crucial if your body copy contains important information that your consumers need in order for them to make a sound purchase. To encourage your audience to read the rest of your ad copy, your headline can promise a reward, showcase news, or deliver useful information.

By comprehending the primary goals of a headline, you will be able to understand the essential elements of an effective ad copy. This is vital in today’s digital age where hundreds of millions of businesses worldwide are all competing for consumers’ attention. By utilizing the suggested approaches above, you will be able to maximize your advertising results based on the few seconds of attention consumers pay to your digital advertisement.