How To Make Your Ad Sell 19X More Stuff
I am going to tell you about the most important part of an ad and how you can make it much more effective at selling your goods and services.
It is the headline.
Legendary advertising copywriter John Caples said he saw an ad multiply sales 19.5X when the headline was improved.
Everything else in the ad was identical. Just altering the headline skyrocketed response.
The reason is simple.
A good headline draws more people into the ad. If more people read your ad you will get more sales (assuming the ad is selling something people want and the rest of the piece is competent).
And it works in the opposite way too. If you have a poor headline, it is very unlikely people will bother to read on. If they don’t read it, you don’t sell.
Do you operate in a competitive field?
Well, I have some good news for you.
By improving your headline, you gain an enormous advantage in your market.
Because the companies you go head to head with every day are doing a terrible job with their advertising.
I know this because about 95% of all companies in all fields run awful ads – so if you produce even decent material – you’ll blow them out of the water.
And it all starts with the headline.
There is one word that sums up how to judge whether a headline is good or bad:
Right off the bat if your headline is relevant to the market you’re trying to reach, you’re ahead of the game.
You want to single out your reader so he thinks, ‘This is just for me.’
The more specific you can get, the better… as a wise man once said, ‘Figure out what people want and give it to them.’
Here are a few questions to ask that can help you narrow down your audience so you are better able to create a headline that’s relevant to your market.
What do they want in a product like yours?
What benefits can you offer?
What can they gain by using your product?
What problems end when they use your product?
Do the people in your market share common characteristics? What are they?
Basically we want to figure out what the prospect looks like and what they hope to gain in their lives or what problems they want to get rid of.
Once you’ve figured out who you’re selling to specifically and what they want, we can begin to write the headline.
I’m going to go over the three most effective headline ‘types’ to help you get started.
Caples, the man I mentioned above, put these categories together after studying what worked and didn’t work in headlines.
1.) Self-Interest – Answering the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ is a powerful technique for getting instant attention. And the fact is, people buy for their reasons – not yours – so if you can demonstrate what they will get by reading your ad, you’ve got a good chance of someone continuing into your body copy.
2.) News/Information/Announcement – People are often interested in reading about new things. So if you are able to set up your headline in a news-style format, you are in a good position.
3.) Curiosity – This can be a very effective headline approach if done correctly but can also be risky. A pure curiosity head might pose a question, ‘Do You Make These Mistakes In English?’ which forces the reader to think – ‘What mistakes?’ and ‘Am I making them?’. It practically forces people to read on. That’s a real headline that killed by the way.
What to Avoid When Writing A Headline
The danger areas include being too cute or clever and relying on creativity to jumpstart readership. This usually leads to irrelevance.
People are not going to puzzle out what you are trying to say – it has to be clear on the first read through.
For example, in an older post I discussed a financial advertisement that used the headline:
Let’s Disagree To Agree
This is what I mean when I say people rely too much on being clever or creative.
Who is this for? The audience is not identified.
What benefit do I get from reading on? None that I can see.
It is confusing to read.
I suppose you could call this a curiosity headline but it’s poorly conceived.
The Bottom Line
I would much prefer a ‘boring’ but relevant and hardworking headline to a piece of creative fluff like the above.
Don’t worry about impressing, worry about getting people to read past the headline – it’s the only way you stand a chance of creating a winner.