No matter what channel you are using — direct mail or signage, email or print advertising — a great headline grabs the reader and won’t let go. It makes them stop what they are doing and say, “Wait! I need to pay attention to this!”
Here are five “marketing insider” tricks that will increase the stopping power of your headlines.
Jolt the reader.
Jolt the reader out of complacency. For example, along one major highway is a billboard with a smiling senior woman and the headline: “I didn’t want my chest cracked open!” The billboard is for less-invasive heart surgery at a local hospital. Such headlines should not be used for the sake of shock value alone, however, but tap into deep emotions and move your audience from complacency to action.
Tie into breaking news.
Tying your products and services to current events increases the relevance to your audience and the urgency for them to act. Financial services take advantage of uncertainty in the stock market. Retailers of snow blowers and electric generators tap into predictions of early winter storms. What current events can you tie into?
Be an advocate.
Everyone wants an advocate—someone who will look out for them. The message is: We care. This is a technique used to great effectiveness by accident lawyers. “Hurt in an accident? We can help!”
Be a name-dropper.
This technique takes advantage of people’s inherent interest in celebrities and inside gossip. You may not know the star personally, but you can use a line from a movie, a TV show, or a newsy interview. For the financial market, it might be a quote from Warren Buffet. From the sports world, it might be LeBron James. In your market vertical, it might be a well-known industry leader.
Say, “I get you.”
Share the reader’s frustration. “Don’t you hate it when…?” Then solve their problem. Sharing in their frustration creates identification. Showing that you can solve their problem moves them to action.