Think of writing killer headlines and your mind immediately perceives of print media. However, writing terrific headlines for the web is way different than creating one for your local newspaper. If you want your sales copy or blog posts to perform well, you’ve to create a great headline.
I bring this up because if you want to generate leads, your first duty is to grab the attention of the reader.
Kissmetrics increased their conversions by 40% simply by tweaking the headline.
Let’s face it…….
All of us have been guilty at some point or the other for sharing a post which we haven’t read. In fact, a recent study confirms that 59% of all links shared on social media aren’t actually clicked on at all, indicating the majority of post shares aren’t based on actual reading.
According to Copyblogger, 80% of readers read the headline copy before clicking on the post, with only 20% reading the actual content.
In Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy states: “On an average, five times as many people read the headline as they read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Isn’t the body of an article supposed to be the most crucial part?
For now it seems the headline is the winner.
Because it’s not difficult to love headlines like these:
Sharing a post is supposed to take place after a reader finds it to be valuable or interesting. However, there are two factors of online human behavior that makes this onerous.
First let’s understand the motivations behind this phenomenon. The average attention span for a goldfish is nine seconds. A new study from Microsoft Corp, states that people normally lose concentration after 8 seconds, showing the effects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain. And most users make their decisions based on their first impressions, which in this case is the article headline.
The second important factor is effort as it takes very less effort and time to share an article than to read it. Plus it comes with great rewards; you may win accolades from your friends and followers.
Reading, skipping, scanning, sharing-our reading habits have changed intensely in recent years. Despite the drastic change in our reading and writing habits, there are many tactics to improve the probability of something getting read.
In an analysis of approximately 250,000 individual headlines and 100,000 headline tests, Chartbeat, a company that harnesses genuine audience engagement, found the following traits of effective and impotent headlines.
They also found how a headline can impact the performance of an article.
Today I’ve something that will make you feel like a super copywriter:
5 insanely actionable tips to write great marketing headlines
Tip # 1: Offer A Solution
People want to purchase your service or product because you’re offering a solution to their problem. So, if you can identify the problem and come up with an innovative solution and represent it in the headline, you’ll possibly boost your conversion rate.
Solution selling is a pretty old concept and it’s a prime sales tactic.
First, focus on your customer’s pain points, wants and desires instead of focusing on the product itself.
Let’s say that a reader has an aggravating problem of weak organic traffic and can’t bring enough organic traffic to fuel his website growth.
Instead of highlighting the benefits of your SEO tool, you’d do well by stating something like: Get more organic traffic within a month by creating engaging content with this tool.
The main concept here is to sell the solution to the prospect’s pain point and not merely your product.
Marketing Profs tested this concept and found a 28% growth in their conversion rates.
The main takeaway here is that benefits always outperform a product-focused copy.
One of my favorite techniques is to add a threat to the headline and provide a solution. It can be difficult to stoke a problem and then provide a solution in a single headline. When done well, however, this technique can offer a great emotional one-two punch.
Here’s a terrific example from CoDesign:
Firstly, it introduces a problem; something which many readers may not recognize instantly. It then shows a viable solution.
Now it’s time for tip 2……
Tip # 2: Include numbers in your headline
Your headline accounts for nearly 50% of the effectiveness of your blog post. If you fail to make it seductive and clickable, every other marketing effort you make will appear like running around like a headless chicken.
Introducing specific numbers and data into your headline can make your headlines stand out. There have been plenty of studies, discoveries and split tests which clearly show that headlines with numbers generate 73% more engagement and social shares.
As it turns out, numbers can work wonders.
If you’re still not convinced, ask Jonah Peretti, CEO of Buzzfeed. He invests approximately 2.8 hours each day crafting great headlines.
Now what about the even vs odd number debate?
According to an analysis of 150,000 headlines by Outbrain, headlines with odd numbers have a higher clickthrough rate of 20% compared to headlines with even numbers. It seems that odd numbers help readers digest and recall information more easily.
Tip # 3: Create A Sense Of Scarcity And Urgency
Urgency is a robust tool in the world of content marketing.
If you look anywhere, you can quickly notice it. For instance, Amazon uses a faint sense of urgency to drive conversions and close deals that users normally abandon.
The headline, “Want it tomorrow?” is urgency at its prime.
The e-commerce giant uses the same technique by notifying visitors of how many are left in stock:
And that’s absolutely brilliant.
Since the rates of cart abandonment for e-commerce sites are high, suggesting a customer that they need to buy as soon as possible on account of low stock is marketing at its height.
Here’s another example from Groupon.
Marcus Taylor from Venture Harbor increased sales by 332% by creating a sense of urgency in his headlines.
So how do you create a sense of urgency into a headline that acts as a strong converting machine?
- Set a Deadline
Nothing conveys a sense of urgency like a deadline. Bolster the deadline in your blog post headline, email subject line, CTA and sales copy. Use words like “Offer expires on Friday,” “Ends tomorrow,” or “Grab before 04/04/2018.”
- Use time-sensitive language
Using time-sensitive phrases like “last chance, “only one spot left,” or” “time is running out” in tandem with a deadline will entice your reader to click on it.
- Include a CTA that induces urgency
Accompany your headline with an urgency-focused CTA to entice readers.
HubSpot tested their CTA button on their website and found that changing the color of the CTA button from green to red,bumped up their conversion rate by 21%.
- A/B test your headline
Now don’t worry about purchasing an A/B testing tool. Thrive’s Headline Optimizer is a favorite headline-testing tool for many marketers. It helps you test your headline for each blog post on your website.
The next time you start writing for your landing page, a PPC advert, or an email subject line, try to add an element of scarcity and urgency to what you’re offering.
Tip # 4: Make It Keyword Friendly
SEO sucks but it’s a strong reason to write a longer headline than “Jack Wins.” Search engine giants like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc use your keyword phrase to help reader find topics of their interest.
And what use is writing a perfectly-tailored article, creating a video, or running an ad if people aren’t interested in the topic?
When writing headlines for the web, you need to target a specific keyword with a high search volume. This ensures that your headline is optimized to drive targeted traffic through paid or organic search and also shows that people are actively seeking for information related to your topic.
While creating this post, I entered the keyword “great headlines” in Google’s Keyword Planner and found it to have an average monthly search between 100-1K, which was perfect for me, considering that it’s a brand new blog.
At this point, I want to target keywords with low competition and a decent number of searches per month.
Next, I headed over to Ubersuggest, a free tool that reveals topic ideas and entered my chosen keyword. It quickly brainstorms and finds keywords in your industry that people are actually looking for.
I found the keyword “great marketing headlines” attractive and decided to integrate it into my headline.
An important element of creating a great marketing headline is to use the keywords along with many other variations to attract more reader. For example, “US Senate, “Roxanne Smith” and “US Senate” are terms that search engines easily notice and remember. Also, these are the words users are more likely to key in. Now joining them together with the relevant words will draw more readers to your post.
Tip # 5: Be Clear
Your readers have questions and they’re craving for answers. If you can provide them with a precise headline that addresses their questions, they will slowly turn into your readers and loyal customers.
Remember that you can gain more authority in your industry if your message is clear.
There are times when you wish to mask the content’s actual purpose from your audience and use click triggers like strong adjectives and power words in your headline.
Nothing wrong with this approach…..
But if your headlines are ultra-specific, it gives the reader a sense of what they can expect from your content piece. Don’t perplex your readers with your headline. Get straight to the point and avoid vagueness.
If you’re sharing 10 steps to achieve something, make it clearly known in the headline.
So how do you write an ultra-specific headline?
You only have to brainstorm.
Let’s say your target keyword is “Copywriting tips.”
Here are some variations:
- 3 Copywriting Tips For Beginners
- Top 10 Copywriting Tips That Work Well
- Build Your Copywriting Tips From Scratch
- Learn Copywriting Tips For Social Media In 30 Minutes
As can be seen, the bolded portions make the headline ultra-specific. The reader easily knows what the content is about.
Steve Kamb, a blogger at NerdFitness, writes specific headlines about meals that help people stay fit and healthy.
The headlines of ConversionXL are equally striking. Here’s one example of their clear message.
If you write a headline that doesn’t match the content, people will go back to the search results.
Even though the headline is an integral element of your content, your overall focus should be to educate your readers by teaching them things which they didn’t know. The best approach, besides writing great marketing headlines, is to use data-driven content and storytelling, while solving their problem. Be consistent and keep yourself updated by turning a headline into something that begs to be shared.
What are your other headline writing strategies and what’s been the most productive for you?