If you want people to actually read your stuff, then you first have to get their attention. The number one way to do this is by leveraging the attention pulling power of a headline.
You’ve no doubt been walking by a magazine rack or newsstand and done a double take because a headline did it’s job… it grabbed your attention and pulled you in.
Unfortunately, most folks only think of using headlines in sales messages but… don’t you want folks to pause and at least take a moment to see what you’ve got to say? Then you need to sell them on that course of action.
With that in mind, here are 12 places to use a headline in order to attract eyeballs to your message.
- Postcards – most folks send these straight to the trash. A compelling headline gets it read.
- Blog Posts – unless you’re blogging for an audience of one, you want to punch up your post titles to reel in readers.
- Website – first off, your name isn’t a headline. Stop using it like it is. Instead, use a real headline to capture clickers within the first 3 seconds of arriving on your site.
- Landing Pages – a landing page is targetted towards a specific group taking a specific action. A headline qualifies the visitor and sets them up for taking that action.
- Emails – your email will not get read unless it gets opened. Your subject line is the headline to create that click.
- Listing Kit – sell your prospects on why your listing strategy is one worth reading. Conpel them to read your presentation and they’re halfway towards being yours.
- Articles – folks won’t know you’re an expert unless they get a chance to experience how brilliant you are. Your article title gets your brilliance read.
- Twitter – want click-throughs from Twitter? A compelling headline turns tweets into traffic.
- Reports – the title of your special report will increase downloads and sign-ups and prevent your report from collecting dust.
- PPC Ads – pay-per-click ads are highly targeted traffic generators… if you have a headline that creates clicks. If you’re using Adwords, Google will even reward you for having a highly clickable ad.
- Classifieds – I’ve seen many classifieds start off spouting features. Use a headline to set the context and make those features shine.
- Print Ads – you’re paying for this ad space… wouldn’t it make sense to get the most return on your investment as possible? A headline does more to increase ad response than anything else.
So, there’s 12 places to use a healdine but I’m sure I’ve overlooked plenty more. Where else does a headline make sense?
October 27, 2008 at 10:58 am
Thanks Mark. Very valid points yet ignored by so many.
October 27, 2008 at 2:54 pm
Mark, your email signature is so important. I use to call to actions on my email signatures.
Read my Blog about Ann Arbor
Search for houses in Ann Arbor Area.
Mark Eckenrode | HomeStomper
October 27, 2008 at 7:04 pm
@missy: email sigs! wonderful addition to the list! throw a headline above those calls-to-action hinting at what folks may learn or arouse their curiosity and you’ll get more clicks
October 28, 2008 at 4:33 am
Very good points Mark, but I have to say, it wasn’t the headline of this article that drew my attention…it was the picture!
The Argus was my local newspaper for many years when I lived in Brighton and Hove, it always filled my train journeys to London with glee with it’s ridiculous local news stories. I must say, as far as sensationalist newspaper headlines are concerned, us Brits do them with style!
Great article 😀
October 28, 2008 at 8:56 am
Great Article Mark. Do you have any insight on what has been successful for others regarding email headlines…For example, using a question, or negative spin, or specific words?
Thanks so much for your wisdom!
Mark Eckenrode | HomeStomper
October 28, 2008 at 10:13 am
@poppy: yeah, i had fun browsing through all the photos on flickr of The Argus.
@elizabeth: these all work – question, going negative, curiosity, controversy contrarian, newsy, big benefit.
oftentimes i’ll turn to the news and see what’s topical… one of my favorite headlines i used lately was “My fellow prisoners…” right after the McCain gaffe. that got open rates!
here are a number of myemail marketing articles but my process boils down to this…
– determine my purpose for the email
– come up with a hook
– write the headline
– write the email
just keep in mind that the purpose of the subject line is to simply get the email opened – not tell the whole story