In a previous article I wrote about the five “discovery questions” and the importance of answering them carefully so you can innovate your business to be more competitive. After you have completed that step, you need to build your strategic plan. That often sounds ominous to some, so I like to break it down into steps. The first thing I recommend is writing headlines. These become a powerful tool to help you with the other steps I’ll write about in the next few articles.
In the “marketing equation,” headlines are the ad for your ad – they are the interrupt. They should always be in Title Case. The interrupt is based on hot buttons that are connected to John Smith’s need or desire to have what it is you sell. Whether used on its own as in print ads or emails, or when used in conjunction with visual and sounds that interrupt John Smith – the purpose is to compel him to want to read or listen or watch further. There are multiple ways to develop powerful headlines.
A powerful headline can often include the “engage” part of the marketing equation. Engage is the part that makes the promise that if John Smith reads further he will get enough information to make the best decision possible for buying what you sell. We will cover more detail about engage, educate and offer in future articles.
There are three basic ways to approach writing headlines. The first is just saying it in plain English. Use your own words and tell the story in one line. For a fence company I could use: “Are You Frustrated When The Gate On Your New Fence Starts To Sag In Less Than Two Months?”
The second is to use headline starters – These are simply categories under which you fill in your information. For example: news, how-to, questions, testimonials, comparisons, guarantees, bold claims, solutions to problems, statistics and offers. Here’s a “how-to” for a fence: “How To Ensure You Won’t Be Buying Another Replacement Fence In Less Than Five Years!”
The third is to borrow from a headline bank – there are hundreds of proven headlines that have worked for years and continue to work today. You simply use them and replace certain words that match your strategy to make them your own. I have developed my own headline bank starting with headlines from other great marketing people. One that John Caples wrote in his book “Tested Advertising Methods” was: “They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano. But When I Started To Play…” Now let’s morph this for our fence company: “They Laughed When I Told Them Their Fence Could Last More Than Ten Years. But When I Showed Them These Results…”
Now using this information I recommend you create at least 100 headlines of your own to cover all the hot buttons from your discovery questions.
As published in the Napa Register