Headlines are important to every business. From the ads you create to your blog posts, they are what grab people’s attention.
If yours is like most businesses, you are competing with a lot of other people who also want to grab your potential customers’ attention.
It’s probably common knowledge that it’s hard to write a good headline, and the basic advice is to start simple.
I know that I struggled with crafting compelling headlines for many years. But then I discovered a few tricks…
In order to explain more fully, let me tell you a little story.
My Start in Blogging
I started blogging back in 2007, so I’ve been at this game for a while, and I know a little bit about the struggles of creating a successful blog site.
To be honest, Domino Connection is actually the 7th blog that I’ve created. One of my passion projects, Work Happy Now (WHN) was #5 and where I learned a lot about writing headlines to grab people’s attention.
With my first several blogs, I wrote headlines without thinking about what’s in it for the reader. When I learned to think about and write headlines that explain what’s in it for the reader, I my traffic soared.
I’ve brought this and other techniques over to my landing and sales pages at Domino Connection, as well as for my clients’ blog or web sites. I’ve been able to build up my online traffic and conversion rate pretty quickly here while posting 66% less than I did at WHN for many years.
Today, this is where I put a large portion of my efforts. If I don’t craft a headline good enough to grab my readers’ attention, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the article is.
So a question to you is: How much time do you put into crafting your headlines?
Your Domino Effect
What’s in it for them?
You could really boil things down to your answer to that question when writing your next headline.
I wrote much better headlines that grabbed people’s attention, creating a better domino effect. More people shared my articles, signed up for my email list and become clients because of the time I took to craft my headlines. Great headlines quickly lead your readers to the benefits they will receive by connecting with you, and your landing pages need to do the same as great headlines.
Once you have your finger on the pulse of what people truly want, you can craft a headline they can’t resist.
I believe there are 3 concepts that writing great landing page headlines:
1. Answer the question: How are you going to help them? (The headline and body of landing page should focus on benefits instead of features.)
2. Be specific. (The headline and body of landing page should convey details that show people how valuable your product and service could be for them.)
3. Infuse Action (The middle and/or end of every landing page should have a Call to Action)
People need to know exactly how you are going to help them and if you explain to them the what and the how, they want to learn more.
For example, my two most popular posts are:
10 Tips to Create a Sales Page that Converts Prospects to Customers (132 Tweets and they stay an average 9 min and 42 seconds.)
31 Ways to Generate High Quality Leads to Your Landing Page (85 Tweets and they stay an average of 4 min and 17 seconds.)
These articles fit the 3 criteria above.
But in addition to putting myself in my customers’ shoes and making sure my headlines and body of my landing page meet the 3 criteria above, I want to share with you another 5 great techniques to improve your headlines.
The key to any great landing page is to get them to deepen a connection to you. A high converting landing page can come in the form of a blog post, contact capture page, about page, etc.
1. The “How to…” Landing Page Headline
“How to…” headlines are one of my favorite ways to approach a headline because they are the easiest.
Copyblogger is a web site that is the master of great headlines
Here is one of my favorites from them (and it’s another great resource for headline tips):
They explain exactly what you will get when you read the article. Let’s move on to the next techniques.
2. The Number-Based Landing Page Headline
Using my two most popular pages as examples (see above), they are “number-based” headlines because they tell people what they quantify and how much they will get of it.
This builds trust with your reader. For example, if you have a blurb that promises them 10 Brilliant Ways to Start a Novel, they know exactly what they will get if it links to your blog or web site..
My friends Marc and Angel use numbers in a brilliant post. Here is one example:
The headline also grabs your attention because we’ve all been through situations where we feel like everything is going wrong. I know that I want to read this article because I’m pretty sure that there will be at least one piece of advice that will help me cope with a difficult situation now or in the future.
3. The “Who and What” Landing Page Headline
I learned this formula from my good friend and copywriting expert Amy Harrison.
A very simple headline template is:
[target market] interested in [goals]? [call to action]
For example, “Career moms, are you interested in reducing your stress so you can have a better relationship with your kids? Sign up for email updates today!”
You simply need to tell people who might be interested in your product what they will get out of it and what they can do next to start obtaining the benefits.
4. The “Question that compels the reader to continue reading” Landing Page Headline
I recently developed a sales page for a client. We tried to figure out the right mix of being specific as we mentioned before, but also maintaining enough intrigue to get people to continue to read. I think we did a great job.
The key with this headline is to show people what benefit they will get while also getting them to read down the page.
5. The Why Technique Landing Page Headline
If you have ever been around a 5-year-old, you know they are inherently very curious creatures, as we all are. We love the question “why”, and the answer to it is very important.
I did a little test on myself to see what caught my attention when I googled. “Why is good design so important”.
I picked the fifth article down because I felt it had the best chance of answering my question.
The headline answers my question and they say they have stats to back it up. Yep, that was the winner because it was specific in what it was going to give me without giving me the answer.
Intrigue Is a Must
Writing a good headline means explaining what you will give them, but also whetting their appetite for more.
Curiosity is your best friend. You must make your readers feel like they are getting a peek into your treasure chest of goodies and can’t believe they are so lucky.
Your landing page should grab their attention with the headline, but also want them to learn more, leading them into the copy below that details as much of the what/when/how as can be said succinctly.
It’s really a simple concept, but hard to execute.
The hard part is getting all your dominoes lined up. Your site’s pages need to be written in such a way such that they tip into each other, building up interest until your readers can’t help but want to deepen their relationship with you.
2 Things You Must Never Forget
Images are the support to every great headline. People need an anchor so they feel like they you can back up what you say you will deliver.
The second thing is every landing page you have that has a lot of traffic coming to should be split tested. If you aren’t split testing your landing pages you are probably missing out on a lot of conversions.
I talk about the single most important thing you must do when split testing on this post. If you are thinking about starting your split testing I suggest reading that article first.
What type of headlines work well for you and your audience? (Please leave a comment that explains your readers’ personalities and how you craft a headline that does more than just grab their attention, but also is irresistible in leading them further.)
** Image courtesy of upworthy.