I see a lot of marketing in what we do as business coaches. Obviously we critique a lot of people’s marketing pieces and it always surprises me how little people understand about marketing. In fact most people learn about how to write an ad by looking at somebody else’s ad. They don't check to see if it’s working, they don’t even ask themselves the question, “Do I like this ad? Does this ad work for me?”
What I suggest you do is next time an ad compels you to buy something note it down. Note down exactly what they did.
Headlines are important!
I'm going to talk to you a little bit about marketing here, but only at a very high level. We’re going to have a look at the different components of writing a headline that’s going to work for your advertising campaign. You see the headline is really 25% of the importance of the ad, in fact maybe even 50% of the importance of the ad. This is because, if you don’t grab the reader’s attention or the viewer’s attention or the listener’s attention with your headline, they’re not going to stick around long enough to hear the rest of your message. So if you don’t get the headline right in your marketing, then no one’s going to stop by to see what the rest of your message is.
Let’s have a look at a few of the different ingredients to a successful headline to head up your campaign.
1. What’s in it for me!?
The first thing is think about what your prospect is thinking. I've written up here W-I-I-F-M. Now that’s not a radio station, that stands for “What’s In It For Me?” And that’s what your prospect’s going to be thinking about. When they start reading your ad they need to be feeling that they’re going to get a benefit from the minute they start reading the ad, not 30 seconds in. They need to know from the very beginning there’s a benefit for them. Otherwise you’re not going to keep their attention, they’re not going to continue to read the ad. So what’s in it for me? And we'll come back to these after I go through each inner point and we’ll look at some examples.
2. A point of you
The next one is what I call a “point of you.” That means using the word “you” or “your” in your marketing. Because whilst you feel like you’re writing to or advertising to your entire target market, you’re only communicating with one person at a time.
I think it’s a mistake a lot of people make with their marketing is that when they’re right there advertising and broadcasting, they’re using the words like “their” and “people love what we do,” and, no! You want to use the word “you” just like I do here. You are going to gain great benefit from reading through these points and watching this video. I can guarantee you are going to get results. It’s really only me and you. Even if there was 5 people watching this video, there’s you, you, you, you and you.
It’s still personal, right? So from the point of view it has a much bigger impact if you use the word “you” or “your” in your marketing.
3. Size does matter
The next one is make it big! If your headline is going to have an impact, whether it’s in a webpage or a newspaper, whether it’s on the radio, television, anywhere… make your headline stand out. When I say make it big I’m not just talking about big type, I'm talking about make it big and bold. Make it a big statement. Make it something that’s going to make people stop in their tracks and go, “Wow! That’s a great headline! That’s got my attention.”
4. Don’t use your company name
Make sure it’s not your company name. I’ve seen a lot of people put their company name as the headline in an ad and really there’s only a couple of people that your company name excites. First person is you, gets you excited when you see your company name in the yellow pages or webpage or the top of something. And the second person is maybe your mum. It’s not going to excite your prospects, it just doesn't. Not unless you’re a big company that has a brand name, like a McDonald’s or a Coke or Apple or IBM or one of those companies that have built a great brand over all the years. For you as a small business owner, no one knows who you are.
Some of you might be getting offended and arguing with this, but I've been doing this for years and years and years. I can tell you that if you've got to put your company name in your marketing make it small and out of the way. It doesn't really matter. Your headline should not be your company name. It should be something that you, once again “what’s in it for me?” is what the prospect’s going to be thinking.
5. Make it attention grabbing
The final point that I would like to make is make it attention grabbing. You have probably seen some of those ads like, in fact it was banned and there were billboards I saw a couple of years ago on the free-ways, and it just had the word “sex,” just those three letters in really big, bold print. Well it certainly got everyone’s attentions out driving past. I think it got banned, that whole campaign. But the point is that you have got to make it attention grabbing because that ad got news coverage and people are still talking about it today in sales videos.
Example Marketing Headlines
Let’s go through a couple of examples. What if you were a plumber? Your headline could be, “At last, a plumber you can trust,” or something along those lines. Remember it’s got a point of view, there’s a benefit in it because they want to be able to trust them. That could apply to just about any business. Some other headline starters, like “seven reasons why you should read this ad,“ or “seven reasons why you should talk to us before buying a fence from ABC.”
There’s a lot of different ways we can build in a point of view into our headline. But by putting the word “you” or “your” or both in the headline it is going to feel like you’re talking directly to them.
So that is really really important!
You now know how to write killer headlines
Hopefully that’s sort of helped you to get your head around how to write killer headlines. Think about what it is that you’re trying to say to your prospects and what the benefit of dealing with you is. Because once you put the benefit into your headline rather than your company name or make it boring, then people are going to want to be with you. No one wants to know that you've been in business since 1964. Or no one wants to know that you’re accredited with 9-double 0-2i or whatever it is. Those things don’t matter to your prospects as much as you’d like to think they do.
What they want to know is “what’s in it for me?” So make sure next time you're writing your advertising campaign, or you’re thinking about any of your marketing, make sure that your headline makes an impact.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.