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How to Write Killer Headlines That Convert

The Most Important Part of Your Sales Letter.
Paul Smithson - 27th November 2008
paul smithson The headline is probably the single most important part of your sales letter.  It’s your chance to grab attention, captivate your audience, and cause them to eagerly read the rest of your ad copy.  If your headline is a winner your revenues can go through the roof, but if your headline is poor your conversion rate will probably be abysmal and your profits will take a big hit.
Writing great headlines does take a little practice, but there are a few things that you can do to help you increase the chances of writing a headline that grabs the visitors attention and encourages them to read on and not click the back button and return to the web page from which they came.

The first step is to think of the potential problems your buyers might face.  Ideally these should be problems that your visitors are desperate to find an answer to, and problems that your product or service can solve. 

Write out a list of all the problems you can think of and then sort them into an order of importance as far as the number of people having that problem are concerned. At the top of the list will be the problems that the majority of your target market are having and at the bottom of the list are the minor problems that only a handful of potential customers will relate to.

Now make a list of several headlines you think might address the issue that you believe is of most importance to your visitors.  These headlines should address their primary concern, and mention your product as being the solution either directly or indirectly (i.e. It is implied that by reading on they will get an answer to their problem).

You could use numbers in the headline as many people love statistics. Headlines such as the following can work very well.

- Reduce your tax bill by 43% in just 12 months
- Why do 8 out of 10 veterinary surgeons now recommend XYZ rather than the leading brand
- Use Widget Wonder for just one week and watch your sales triple and your refunds go down by over 50%!

Using verifiable statistics can grab attention and also lend credibility to you and your product. Don’t make up numbers as that is dishonest. Use only figures and statistics that could be verified if the need arose.

Another technique for writing eye-catching headlines is to use a teaser to entice visitors to read further. People don’t like to be left in limbo. They prefer to have the whole story. By using teasers in your headlines you are creating a subconscious desire to complete the story and this leads people directly into reading your copy.

Here are several examples of teaser headlines.

- Find out how one 73 year old woman used a common household item to cure her arthritis.
- What do one out of every ten New Yorkers do that all Italians do every day of the week?
- A guaranteed way to retire in 10 years no matter how old you currently are

It’s hard to read any of these headlines without wanting to find out more, which is why teasers can be so effective.

It’s also worth remembering that people buy based on emotions, and then justify their purchase with logic.  When writing headlines try to focus on emotions and impulses, because logic doesn’t sell products - it justifies purchases after they’ve been made. 

Once you have your initial list of possible headlines you need to test them out to see which one performs best. Don’t just guess - test, test and then test again. You may think you know which one will perform best, but you could be very wrong, because what you think will work isn’t necessarily what will work most effectively with your visitors. Don’t take that chance. Test each of your potential headlines to see which one works best in terms of maximizing conversions and sales.

It can take a while to settle on a winning a headline, but it is time well spent that is guaranteed to reap rewards.

About Paul Smithson - Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe’s leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.

For more information about this, and many other Internet Marketing-related topics, visit Paul Smithson's site, www.xsitepro.com.

Source: http://www.xsitepro.com/how-to-write-killer-headlines-that-convert.html

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