How You Can Prevent 4 out 5 Customers Dismissing Your Ad Before They Even Read It

After developing lots of marketing materials as a business coach I’m even more convinced about the importance of one key aspect of your advertising – the headline.

Headlines are the ad for your advertisement.  The research shows that five times as many people read headlines as read the rest of your advertisement, article or letter.  Just think about what you do when reading the newspaper.  You scan the page, check the headlines and then read the articles that interest you based largely on the headline.

So know this!

The only purpose of your headline is to target the person you want to reach and to sell them on wanting to know more.

What does this mean for you writing your ads?  First and most important, your name and your company name are unlikely to give you a killer headline!  Why?  Because it’s just not that interesting or exciting for your potential customers, it doesn’t pick out your target market and there is certainly no benefit promised.

Let me give you an example of a headline that does hit the target market firmly between the eyes!

“Looking for a $3,500 Value Lounge Suite for Just $1,950?  We Have 67 in Stock Right Now!”

Now this headline will grab the interest of people thinking about purchasing lounge furniture much more strongly than a headline such as “Sale Now on At Best Value Furniture.”  The first headline promises a specific benefit (saving over $1,500) as opposed to the general and so commonly used “Sale Now on” type headline.

Another incredibly simple and powerful way to pick out your target market is to name them.  A successful newspaper ad we have run starts “Attention Business Owners.”  Straight away the target market is picked out.  The full headline looks like this:

Attention Business Owners:

Are You Guilty of the 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing that 93% of Business Owners Commit?

Try this for another compelling headline that speaks directly to the target market with strong benefits.

 100% Insurance Coverage For People Over 45 With No Physical, No Waiting, No Restrictions

 So that’s all well and good for the expert copyrighter but how do I get started on creating a headline that will really “pull” for my business?  I have included here 5 essential tips for writing effective headlines here to get you started.

  •  Headlines should appeal to the reader’s self-interest by promising a benefit or by creating irresistible curiosity to keep reading.
     Don’t worry about length.
  • 14 word headlines get almost as much readership as 3 word headlines.  It is much more important to get the message across that worry about the length of the headline.
  •  Put news into the headline.  The news can be an improvement to an old product, the announcement of a new product or service.  As people we are always on the lookout for something “new” that will benefit us.
  •  Never use headlines that are tricky, confusing or incomplete in their message.  Most people are busy and reading too fast to take the time to figure out what you are trying to say.  They simply move on!
  •  Never use headlines that need the readership of the rest of the advertisement to be understood.  You will lose most people here as again most people are simply too busy to take the time necessary read on if they can’t see the benefit immediately.

 So what does all this mean?  Well not all headlines are created equal and for your ads to cause severe expansion of your bank account they need a killer headline!  The process does take effort and skill not to mention some test and measure.  But get started and please don’t put your company name in the headline again – your prospects are interested in the benefits you offer not your name.

To Profitable Advertising


Tony Fraser-Jones

Profit Growth Specialist and Business Coach


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