Aug 30

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Headline News And How To Get Noticed!

So we seem to have had a false start with the ad for my concreter friend. It has somehow not made the paper which in some ways could be an opportune time for me to expand on headlines.

So, what is the importance of headlines?

Let’s see what some of the greats have to say on the matter.

David Ogilvy (in his book, Ogilvy on Advertising) has this to say about headlines:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.”

Dan Kennedy (Glazer/Kennedy Insider’s Circle blog, February 15, 2010) states

“The headline is the most important component part of any type of advertising. It must work or nothing else matters.”

Ted Nicholas (The Success Margin Archives, Thursday, July 3rd, 2008)

“Why are headlines so important? Remember, at least 75 per cent of the buying decisions are made at the point of the headline. Without a powerful headline, your promotion stands no chance whatsoever to be successful. Zero. Nada. Indeed, it’s absolutely crucial. Without a “killer” headline, you may as well forget the promotion completely.”

So I ask, if the headline is this important, why do so many small business owners insist on using their company name? I can only conclude that they just don’t know any better. It is issues like this that have brought Buzzmatics Emotional Marketing into being. (See the about us page for more info)

Headline Basics

There are many formulas for creating winning headlines and they are as diverse as the number of experts who profess them. Here are three tips which could well address the issue if you have no idea where to start.

  1. The headline must address a benefit which your product or service provides. Alternatively you could ask a provocative question which your product or services can solve. (You could even use both together)
  2. Keeping your headline concise will improve curiosity and most copywriters suggest that 15 words or less is optimal.
  3. Make sure that it is a complete statement/question in itself. It needs to make sense and be aligned with the specific needs of your market.

Here is an example that will illustrate what I mean. Let’s use the headline from my concreting friend’s ad for example. The final copy read:-

Before You Spend a Cent On Your New Slab, Can You Answer This Question? What Strength Cement Do I Need?

As you can see I went for a provocative question here aiming to arouse fear through lack of knowledge. This also served to help raise my buddy to expert status because he would know the answer.

The first question is 14 words and leads into the second question. Like all questions, they are open ended and humans being inquisitive, demand closure. This pretty much ensures that the second question will also be read.

To get closure to the second question the reader will have to take action and read the remainder of the copy which basically directs him to call.

We have decided to split test this headline with a variation of it which has a little more desperation to it and instructs the reader to answer the question. It reads as follows:-

Don’t Risk A Cent On Your New Concrete Slab Unless You Can Answer This Question! What Strength Cement Do I Need?

Wow, another topic for a future post, Split Testing.

Ok, this post has blown out a bit so I will close with a request.

If you have a headline idea for a concreting service, please feel free to post it in the comments and we can discuss the pro’s and con’s of your suggestions.

See you next time…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.buzzmatics.com/2011/08/headline-news-and-how-to-get-noticed/


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  1. Andrea Drew

    How about:

    Don’t spend a Cent on Your New Slab unless you’re sure about shrinkage and Cracking………..

    Are you 100% sure of your Concrete Slab Quality?

    Don’t go to Backyarders….We’ve been pouring Concrete Slabs for a Lifetime………..


    4 Questions you should ALWAYS ask before getting a New Concrete Slab….

    1. Gary

      Particularly like the 4 Questions You Should ALWAYS Ask… one.

  2. Andrea Drew

    P.S. A couple from “Words that Sell”

    The startling Truth about Concrete Slabs…

    Some Cold, Hard Facts about Concrete Slabs…

    A Major Breakthrough in Concrete Slabs…

    anyway, just playing around! 🙂

    1. Gary

      Good stuff their Andrea. Its fun playing with headlines and the more I write the more simple and succinct I manage to get them to be. Must get myself a copy of “Words That Sell”. Thanks for your responses.

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