When it comes to the way people read on the Internet, the stats can get pretty depressing. It’s been confirmed time and time again that many people unfortunately read only the headlines. So if you’ve gone out of your way to write what you think is stellar, long-form content for marketing purposes, chances are that your leads may not even give you the time of day!
Before you despair, though, there’s a surefire way that you can overcome this obstacle: Simply write killer headlines above the content, whether that content is a blog post, a white paper, an advertorial, a case study or anything else you want your leads to read.
Challenger brands that have to make every opportunity count and can’t waste money on expensive ads to attract leads therefore need to hone the skill of writing high-converting headlines. As advertising executive David Ogilvy once noted: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” Ogilvy was in his ad heyday in the 50s, 60s and 70s—which just shows you how long-standing this need to write great headlines has been.
We’re going to take you through a thorough clinic on crafting powerful headlines that convert.
Put a Value Proposition in Your Headline
A value proposition is a simple and straightforward statement that explains to customers why your company’s product or service is better than the competition’s. In essence, it should communicate what specific benefit customers receive with your company that they can’t get anywhere else. For instance, the LOOMIS Agency’s value proposition is that it’s a challenger-brand ad agency that helps the underdogs compete against the leaders in their industry by finding creative solutions based on outside-the-box thinking.
Blue Nile is a diamond e-tailer that competes against the heavyweights in the diamond retail business, such as Tiffany & Co. Naturally, Blue Nile has no chance at outspending Tiffany & Co., so it has to rely on a quick and direct way of grabbing leads’ and customers’ attention.
It accomplishes this by using a headline on its homepage that’s packed with an in-your-face value proposition.
The headline “Value You Won’t Find Anywhere Else” is extremely effective because it communicates Blue Nile’s Value Proposition by making a case for affordable diamonds that its competitors can’t match.
Tell Customers Who You Are (Bonus: Include a Sub-headline Testimonial)
Bob’s Watches is a Huntington Beach, California, operator of a Rolex exchange. Essentially, customers can buy, sell and trade luxurious Rolex watches for affordable prices. People who’d normally be put off by the brand’s lofty prices are now able to consider owning a Rolex for the first time in their lives.
This company uses the direct, straight-to-the-point approach of catching site visitors’ eyes. Using no frills or gimmicks, Bob’s identifies itself to its customers with the straightforward headline of “The Pre-Owned Rolex Exchange.” Right off the bat, people know that they can expect to pay less for the Rolex watches for sale here because they’re not brand-new. In addition, they understand that it’s an exchange, which also implies buying, selling and all-around trading.
Further, the company ingeniously uses a sub-headline to make people all the likelier to purchase from its exchange. By including testimonials from business-publication giants like Forbes, Bob’s is also telling its customers that it’s very trustworthy. Nothing beats having this kind of one-two punch in your site’s headline!
Communicate What’s Important and Urgent
We’ve established that people on the Internet mostly read headlines because they’re likely to skim and so miss the bigger picture. Even when they’re reading headlines, they may miss the gist. That’s why killer headlines should also communicate importance and urgency. If they can do it using just a few words, then so much the better.
WebUndies.com succeeds at this type of headline very well. An online retailer competing with the many companies that are larger and better funded than it, WebUndies.com can’t waste time with any extra wordiness in its headline. When leads get on the company’s homepage, they need to understand immediately where their precious time and attention should be directed.
Because of the site’s use of importance and urgency in the pithy headline “What’s Hot Now,” shoppers won’t need to waste time searching the site for the latest and best deals.
Also worth an honorable mention in the headline’s construction is the use of bold contrast and color. Besides catching a shopper’s eye with the actual copy, the headline also catches the eye due to the white-red color contrast and the fact that red, in marketing speak, usually communicates themes like excitement and boldness.
It’s Rhyme Time!
Since headlines that convert are headlines that are memorable to people, it pays to make your headline rhyme, if you can. Since headlines are where your readers spend most of their time upon first glance, you should hook them in with something that connects to them, almost on a subconscious level.
That something that connects is a rhyme. Advertisers have known for the longest time that things that rhyme have a greater potential to be recalled than things that don’t. This can even be extended to radio ads—just think of how many jingles you’ve heard that you can still recall to this day because of the rhyming scheme. So it is with headlines as well.
Door to Door Organics is a service that delivers ultra-fresh, organic produce and natural groceries right to customers’ doorsteps as an alternative to not-so-fresh food from the supermarket. On its homepage, the company presents a rhyming headline that makes it impossible for site visitors to miss.
Not only is this easy to remember, but that quick recall also segues into communicating the benefit that Door to Door Organics brings to customers (no-hassle, fresh groceries delivered to customers’ homes).
Headlines Are the Key to Improved Conversions
Whether you’re showing your leads white papers or hoping that they find your company on your corporate blog because they got there through Google’s organic search traffic, the end goal is always the same: You want them to convert so you can move them down the sales funnel. The conversion can be a so-called mini conversion that’s merely leaving their contact information on your web form or a more significant conversion like an all-out purchase.
In either case, your aim for more conversions will be greatly helped by your challenger brand’s ability to write compelling and attractive headlines that hook customers and persuade them to continue dealing with your brand.
The above tips and strategies are meant to do just that. They’re tried, tested and true methods of crafting headlines that have proven their effectiveness time and time again. By training your copywriters or in-house people to spend a bit of extra time in devising a killer headline, you’ll make a positive impact on your company’s conversion rate. So the next time you feel like rushing through a headline, don’t. Take some time, think it through, and watch the positive results happen!