5 Secrets to Writing Winning Headlines

dont copy my ads

Today I’m going to share with you some of the best tips and tricks I use personally to write compelling headlines in my ad copy in order to garner the best conversion and click-through rates (Conversions are the only thing that really matter though!).  Writing headlines is an art form in itself, and if you don’t think about the end user you are marketing to, you will be shooting yourself in the foot from the start.

To write a quality headline you need to understand the power of persuasion. Robert Cialdini anyone? If you don’t know what I’m talking about stop everything and go read “The Power of Persuasion“. In it you will find some clues as to the weapons of influence and how to compel a person emotionally. It basically comes down to 6 key shortcuts to persuasion:

  1. Comparison: Using the bandwagon effect and the power of peer pressure to influence others.
  2. Likability: How attractive you make something will often increase the power of influence.
  3. Authority: If you are a thought leader, key player in your space, and have the utmost credibility…well then others will intrinsically trust you. Boom goes the dynamite.
  4. Reciprocation: We give away pens to all our clients and prospects in hopes they remember us, and it works!
  5. Consistency: Also known as commitment, eliciting small actions in return for a larger request. Known as the “Four Walls” technique.
  6. Scarcity: You have 5 minutes left to act, this is a limited time offer while supplies last and its going to be over soon!

Secret Tip #1: You’re more likely to read this line because its a secret tip. Don’t worry the next secret tip will be better.

With the consumer psychology on the forefront of our focus, and now that you understand the basic weapons of influence, we can get into the guts of these 5 super credibly tested & proven, secret killer ad headline mind hacks.

1. Speak to the Consumer, Emotionally

dove adIf you are selling mens work socks, then you should understand the need you are fulfilling and address it accordingly. Ad copy that speaks to this end user may read: “Feet sore after a long day at work? Try super socks FREE today!” The target consumer will relate to the FEELING that they are experiencing and hopefully buy/try your product.

When split testing your ads ensure to use different emotional pulls in order to gauge their effectiveness. Women respond to different emotional pulls than men so you need to test in order to find winners. Once you are to able to convey or evoke a feeling in your headline you will psychologically relate to the consumer and they are much more likely to turn into a conversion for you.

You will also want to call out the user and speak to them directly. One of the most popular words used in headlines is “You” and “Your” surprisingly enough. When you are helping other people, calling them out is going to get their attention, calling them out emotionally will typically get a reaction as well.

2. Use Words of Power & Want

Did you know certain words are more powerful than others? There was a study done on some of the most viral sites on the net (BuzzFeed, ViralNova, UpWorthy and Wimp) and they found some interesting insights as to which words and phrases performed the best. To see the full results of the study go here. Basically it came down to having an emotional hook and a power word matched with that hook.

Some of the best power words used effectively that were the most popular are: Shocking, shortcut, free, killer, secret, proven, exposed, warning, unbelievable, and more recently “1 weird trick”. Ok I made the last one up, but I still see it being used all over the place so people are buying it. Take another look at the headline of this article, notice a trend?

Secret Tip #2: 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your content.

3. Ask a Compelling Question

emotional pull question

Nothing works to grab a users attention more than a snarky, upbeat, and compelling question that breaks into the moral fabric of their existence. Direct response is all about getting the targeted consumer to achieve a certain result, why not forgo the fluff talk and get right to the meat and potatoes?

“Want to lose 5-inches of belly fat in 5 weeks?”
“Want to meet the love of your life, tonight?”

Want to grow your pen…well you know where this is going. Click now or forever hold your peace. Everyone has needs and wants, if you are able to tap into one of those specific needs with the right question you will have the end user at your disposal.

4. Comparisons

Using something someone already has a familiarity and trust to as a comparison can help create interest and inevitably trust in your product or service. When you are using comparisons in your headline you will engage the consumer directly by calling them out with something they recognize and they will (hopefully) be more attentive and interested in what you have to sell.

“Meet more woman than on Tinder!”
“Works better than Creatine!”
“Safer than Malaysian Airlines!”

Ok so maybe the last one is a bad example, but you get the idea. We are simply comparing whatever we are offering to something the end consumer is aware of and garnering interest from them based off this. I do it all the time, and this method/angle works incredibly well.

Secret Tip #3: This isn’t so much a secret tip, no its better, look left, now look right! Its 100 amazing examples of ad copy headlines!

5. Use Specific Examples

When you are busy calling out the end user with emotional pull while using comparisons and asking compelling questions, what the hell else are you supposed to fit into a headline? I’ll tell you what..specific examples of what your selling, because in the modern world people do not have time to wait and everyone is looking for the NOW NOW NOW. So give them exactly what they want! And what better way to give people what they want than by calling out exactly what they may or may not be looking for!

We see it all the time used by big brands. “Save 15% by switching to Geico” says the little lizard. He isnt saying that by coincidence, millions of Warren Buffet’s earnings have been used for research to find out what “headline” will turn into more business for them. While this is more of a motto or a slogan than a headline, it is still relatable. Use specifics to narrow down the focus of your headline and you will see that it will garner you more conversions overall.

Whew. 5 stellar strategies you can implement right away to start writing ad copy like a rockstar. I could have probably written a couple more but my carpel tunnel is acting up, I hope you found this post informative and if you have any other examples or suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments below. Happy headlining!

P.S. Notice how this article was a numbered list of 5 things, yeah that stuff works.

P.P.S. Adding a P.S. to the bottom of your copy, yeah that works too.

P.P.P.S. Now were pushing it, but I saved the best for last.

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