From social media and blogs to e-commerce and emails, marketers must create headlines that compel people to click. For example, headlines account for up to 50% of a blog post’s effectiveness. Fail to make it clickable, and the rest of your marketing efforts for that post are just a waste of time.
“A catchy headline is your entry into your reader and potential customer’s world–and that’s a very busy space they occupy.”
“Every headline should call for attention,” says Neil Patel. “You’ve got to convince your customers and prospects to keep reading . . .That’s actually the headline’s true purpose. If you accomplish that goal, the introduction, the subtitles, the bullet points and the storytelling will take care of the rest and convert the reader into a customer.”
So how do you write attention-grabbing headlines that get people to read the first sentence?
Read on for 4 tips to make it happen:
1. Make Your Headline Unique
As mentioned previously, headlines are everywhere—on banners of website homepages, in email subject lines, on social media posts, and in print ads. Headlines are how you capture your audience’s attention. That means in order for your headline to stand out, it must be unique.
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
“People love rare and unusual phrases. They stick out like a sore thumb and pique people’s interest so that they just have to click, suggests Neil Patel.
In a Forbes article on headlines, the author mentions the following headline, “We Buy Ugly Houses.” It’s different, it grabs your attention, and it spikes curiosity to know more. Interestingly, it’s uniqueness is the very thing that speaks to the brand’s target persona.
2. Make Your Headline Highly Specific
“Your prospects have questions and they want answers,” asserts Neil Patel. “If you can provide them with an ultra-specific headline and the answer to their questions, you can convert them into loyal readers and customers.”
The more specific you are with your headlines, the more authority you can command in your industry. Plus, it will help you find and build a better connection with customers.
Avoid being vague or using confusing language in your headline. Instead, get right to the point. After all, specificity is what gives the reader insight into what they can expect when they click to read your content.
Need an example of good headlines that are also super specific? If your target keyword phrase is “small business plan,” Neil Patel suggests variations like the sentences below:
- 3 Simple Steps to Write a Small Business Plan for Beginners
- Step-by-Step Process for Writing a Small Business Plan in 30 Minutes
3. Infuse Your Headline With a Sense of Urgency
According to Derek Christian (founder, Cleaning Business Today), “effective marketing boils down to creating a fear of losing out on an amazing deal.”
By creating a sense of urgency with your headline, your readers are less likely to put off reading your content—the purpose of your headline is to make people read it now.
Because humans are hardwired to buy based on emotions, they typically respond quickly to urgency.
Here are a few examples of headlines infused with urgency:
- Get Your Free Sample Now…Supplies Limited!
- This Deal Ends December 31st!
- Sign Up Today—Only Two Seats Left!
By incorporating the strategic use of urgency in your marketing copy, you can improve conversion rates.
4. Make Sure Your Headline Is Useful
“If you want your headlines to grab attention and get the job done . . . make them useful,” states Neil Patel. “The above three rules—uniqueness, ultra-specific and urgency—all correlate with usefulness.”
Patel goes on to say that “there is no way to write a specific and unique piece of content, without it being useful at the same time.”
So what do we mean by “useful”? The following words will give you a good idea: helpful, valuable, informative, worthwhile, beneficial, advantageous, etc.
If you consider the headlines that you typically click on, they’re probably ones that offer something that can help you in some way. Your headlines must offer people the same useful value. They must identify a problem and offer a solution, just as the content that goes along with the headlines should.
Some examples of headlines that are useful include how-to articles and listicles like:
- 5 Ingenious Ways to Make Your Lashes Look Longer
- The Beginners Step by Step Guide to Writing a Small Business Plan in 30 Minutes
This strategy can work for service-based or product-based companies, since they both have the potential to solve the readers’ problems.
David Ogilvy—the “Father of Advertising”—once revised a headline 104 times. That’s because he understood the importance of a strong headline. Indeed, your headlines determine whether or not your desired audience is going to read the rest of your content.
It’s not enough for people to click your headline. You’ve got to compel your customers and prospects to keep reading, and you must include the information you promised them in the headline within the body of your content.
It all boils down to this: a powerful headline is the difference between reaching your audience, or having your content lost in the noise of print, email, and social media marketing.
Use the four guidelines above to create strong headlines that will get your content noticed!
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