Now think about the last time you read a news article. Why did you read that specific article? It probably had something to do with the headline. Maybe it was relevant to your life or what you were thinking about at that moment. Maybe it was “Clickbait”. Maybe it was something so incredible that you couldn’t help but read the whole thing (Newly Identified ‘Hellboy’ Dinosaur Sported Unique Horns, Scientists Say). Out in the real world, we make decisions about people in seconds. In the world of advertising, these previous seconds are used to gather and retain a potential customer’s attention.
So what are some key aspects of writing a good headline that will gather the attention of your customers?
- Be relatable - Your customers are going to buy from you because you are solving a problem. They’re hungry, their car broke, they want to look better, etc. Tell them about this! Let them know that you are there to solve their issues.
- Give a directive - Tell your customers what you want them to do - while phrasing it in a way that relates to their goals. Making the process as smooth as possible will help increase conversions, not to mention set out a definable goal. “Follow this plan”, “Protect your. . . .”, “Download Now”, “Read All About It” are all good examples of directives to give your audience.
Bonus tip: Questions also work really well. They get your audience thinking about the answer (assuming they are relatable - see #1).
- Be flavorful - Give your headlines some subtle pop and pizzazz . . . .and make sure you give it the right pizzazz. If you’re describing cupcakes, “tasty” may be accurate, but won’t stand out as much as “savory”. If you’re describing a salon, “stylish” doesn’t have as much behind it as “trendsetting”. If you’re describing a tip for a blog post, “descriptive” doesn’t have the same effect as “pizzazz”.
As Winston Churchill said “Knowledge of a language is measured by the nice and exact appreciation of words. There is no more important element in the technique of rhetoric than the continual employment of the best possible word”.
- Try different things (and test them) - Upworthy.com writes 25 headlines for each of their posts. If you can, try a few different options - and then test them on [potential] customers. Find out what works and what will resonate with your customers.
We recently ran an experiment (using our own Cidewalk platform) with two promotions. One used the headline “Cidewalk.com” with a description of “Launch Hyperlocal Ads. Smartphone marketing that allows you to target your specific town”. The other used “Launch Hyperlocal Ads” as the headline and “Cidewalk.com - Smartphone marketing that allows you to target your specific town” in the description.
Simply by giving users a directive that related to them (and using a word like hyperlocal), we doubled our engagement on average - and in some cases did even better. (Make sure to remember this when you try out Cidewalk here . . . .. . . . see, told you it was coming).
Be sure to check in next week for another new tip!