Sunday 2 May 2010

Advertising 101 - Lesson 3 The Power of Headlines

One of the most influential factors in any successful ad campaign is your choice of headline. Studies of
readership patterns show that 80% of people will read the headline of a piece but only 20% will go on to read the rest.

After the headline the next most viewed body of your ad will be the p.s or footer portion.
Bearing all of that in mind before you right your headline you must be sure to keep its purpose in mind:

The purpose of your headline is NOT to sell your product, the purpose of your headline is to get people to read your ad (unless your headline is your ad).

Some fatal mistakes made by many advertisers in writing their headline:

• Too much information – Your headline needs to be punchy, particularly for magazine and newspaper
   advertising where space may be limited.

• Too little information – If you want people to read on you have to give them a reason why.

• Too many superlatives – Great, Smashing, Super - are you convinced?

• Too many exclamation marks – Exclamation marks, capital letters and garish colouring are the print
  equivalent to shouting. Let your product speak for itself.

So what does work?

Research into the 100 most successful headlines of all times has revealed a high consistency of certain
key words and phrases, these include:

• How to
• Do you
• You/your
• New

- Remember to remain honest I your headlines, if you reader feels duped they will soon lose interest no
  matter how good the product.

- Appeal to a personal sense of fear. Fear of loss, cost or inconvenience and your products ability to
  eliminate that will draw greater attention.

- Mention your product in your headline. You may be using the Headline to get people to read the ad  but its important to let them know what theyre going to be reading about.

- Clever is good but cocky is not. Avoid over egging the pudding with too many clever puns as it can be extremely off putting to readers.

- Positive language sells better than negative.

- Remember you re writing your ad to appeal to a person, an individual consumer with the ability to   make their own buying decision. Try out a few headlines and ask your friends and colleagues to tell you which one appeals more.

- Always test and measure your headline responses, changing just one or two words can increase your response rate by 50-100%.

"When you are assigned to write an ad, write a lot of headlines first. Spend hours writing headlines
or days if necessary. If you happen to think of a headline while walking down the street or while
riding the bus, take out pencil and paper and write it down.”

- John Caples

"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."

- David Oglivy

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