The headline on your offer or lead magnet has one of the most important roles of all. It’s the attention-getter. It’s the thing that takes a visitor/reader from “why should I look at this” to, “I’m hooked, let’s dive in!”
There are several key components to build a compelling headline – the kind that get’s people to take action and read on. Here’s a breakdown of what it takes to make a powerful headline that converts.
5 Top Headline Writing Tips for compelling headlines:
Make an ultra-specific headline
This one is pretty simple but it’s one that most course creators and coaches will shy away from. Adding a timeframe for results or a dollar amount makes something feel real and attainable. This can be as simple as “In under 7 days” or “5k months” depending on what you’re offering.
Make your headline results driven
What is this thing going to do for people if they sign up, download it, watch it, or take the quiz (whatever it is that you’re using your headline for). If they don’t instantly know what this page is about then what are they doing here? Most people aren’t going to say, “Hey, I don’t understand what this does for me … I’ll read more to find out.”
Results-benefit is a great approach here. This usually uses the words “so that,” but not every time:
“Launch your first online course in one day so that you can start selling and making profits this week!”
And here’s an example without “So that”:
“Get a full body workout in 20 minutes and embrace your new healthy (and trim!) figure!”
Short and focused headlines win every time
It’s not about the total amount of words in your headline – unless you’re writing too many words. Keep it short so that your target audience will actually read the thing to pique their interest. The rest of the copywriting on your sales page or lead page can do the heavy lifting. The headline is really just the desired result in a certain time-frame, and should get your visitors reading your content.
What makes an engaging headline?
There’s a fine line when it comes to creating a headline that engages people. The line is between over-promising and clickbait, and attention-grabbing. It’s easy to overshoot the attention-grabbing style and create something that’s WAY too salesy and feels fake. The best way to approach this is by making sure it’s truly obtainable and that the promise CAN deliver this result for most people who put in the efforts. The sad fact is that even if your system or promise feels fool-proof when followed, most people won’t follow it through or get the results they want.
Contrast is essentially the yin-yang of a headline. It’s easy to show contrast when you use terms like “even if.” This contrast shows where they currently are and where they are hoping to go. Here’s an example of an “even if” headline:
“Build a website in under 30 minutes, even if you’ve never built a website before.”
Another approach is “without”:
“Become a confident driver on snow and ice without risking totaling your car as you practice.”
Under your headline you can add a smaller font sub-headline. This is an area to go just a little deeper into details. They’ve read the headline by now, so this is an opportunity to continue engaging and holding their attention – especially if you’re offer is a bit tougher to explain initially (If it’s too tough to explain in a headline/sub-headline, you probably need to do some more work here!
Super Simple Headline Creation Approach
Let your headlines flow freely! Most people get way to hung up on the details when writing headlines. They focus on one at a time and aren’t experimental. In truth, you could change your headline any time you’d like. When you view it from this angle you realize that if it’s not working, it just needs some tweaks or a new angle.
Headlines can generally only address one main problem, and whatever you offer might help with multiple things. If it’s not the problem your target audience is looking to solve, it’s not going to work.
Here’s a quick breakdown of my approach to developing headlines that grab attention:
- Write a list of the problems that your offer/solution solves.
- Identify the top 3-5 that stand out based on your experience.
- Freely write 20 headlines with a timer set for 10-15 minutes. You really have to relax here as you write these!
- Review the headlines and narrow down what FEELS the most solid and enticing. Pick a few that you’ll use as your tests.
- Add your headline and test it out. If it doesn’t convert, pull one of your others!
- Test and retest. There’s always room for improvement!
Headlines aren’t the only factor in conversions.
There are so many point where someone will drop out of a funnel or offer. It’s important to use tools that track engagement on your site and see if people are scrolling down past your headline. If they are, than the problem is in the copy below. When testing funnels, look through everything one step at a time, from that first click on Google (if they get there via SEO) or that first FB ad click, all the way to that final “buy now” click.
One last important note for marketers:
Headlines are also used in SEO as the title tags and meta descriptions that Google reads. Using these skills you can make sure the pages on your site drive more clicks by creating titles and meta tags that anyone visiting a search engine would want to click. This indirectly influences SEO through CTR or click-through rate! Click-bait is an expression for anything that drives clicks, but it’s usually viewed as a bad approach. However, in the case of SEO and generating sales, you want people to click and learn more!