We all use headlines to save time!
Whether we are conscious of this fact or not.
How do we do that? We read the headline and if it doesn't grab us we move on to the next thing in our day.
This is true for news articles. This is true for emails. This is true for Facebook messages. This is true for videos. This is true for podcasts.
Headlines give us an excuse to ignore a message. They also give us an excuse to ignore our priorities and our to-do list... and read a message that appeals to our passions.
You see, a good headline is a drop everything message. It makes your ideal customer excited to read your message. It makes your ideal customer forget about their priorities because they have to read your message right now!
Now that you understand why headlines are critical to your success. Let's look at how to write a head-turning headline...
Before you sit down to write. Before you get lost in the brilliance of your message and the mouth-watering value in your offer. Stop and think about your reader or viewer.
They have too many things to do and not enough time. They have a never-ending to-do list. And a long list of "I'd love to do that if I had time..."
Why should your ideal customer give you any of their precious time? Why should they even consider reading your message?
Your headline needs to answer that question by grabbing your reader's joy-button. They must have an emotional reaction to your message.
It's not enough to say, I've got something that can help you. You've got to do it in a way that makes your message the most exciting thing your customer reads today.
If the customer doesn't have an emotional response to your headline. They will ignore your message and move on to the next thing.
So... how do you write a message that is the most exciting thing your customers reads today?
So what does your ideal customer want?
If you don't know that. Then you can't write a drop everything message. You can't write a message that grabs their joy-button and makes them excited to read your message... because you don't know what they want.
In my experience, there are 5 universal wants.
Would you agree that your ideal customer wants several of these things?
Now, don't take that list and think you understand what your customer wants. You have to use each of the items on the list and personalise it for your ideal customer.
For example, if they want more money... how much money do they want? Do they want to make £100K in a year? Or do they want to make a £100K a month? Every month like clockwork?
What are they going to do with their money? Are they going to buy the car of their dreams? If so, what does that look like? Is it a 2 seater sports cars that satisfies their childhood fantasies? Or will their husband or wife overrule that decision because they have a family?
So, would they buy a Porsche Panamera because it's a 5 door sports car? Or would they buy a Tesla because they want to have fun driving while being an eco-warrior?
Would they buy a motorhome because they want the freedom to travel?
You see, something as simple as buying the car of your dreams has many facets. Facets that you must understand if you want to know your customers.
Similarly, what does more time look like for your ideal customer?
If you want to teach people how to invest in property then that is Passive Income. You need to show your customers how to buy property with none of their money and manage it with none of their time so they can sit on the beach.
Fortunately, entrepreneurs don't live in that fantasy. Entrepreneurs want more time so they can choose where and when they work.
I've never met a business owner that's afraid of hard work. They love what they do and do not want to give it up. Spending the rest of their days on a beach is not what they want.
But... few people want to work 80 hours a week for many years.
You don't want to miss your kids growing up.
My daughter is 4 years old. I know how lucky I am that I can spend an hour with her in the morning before PreSchool. I know how lucky I am that I can take her to PreSchool and I don't have to worry about rushing back to the office. I know how lucky I am that I can pick my daughter up from PreSchool.
I haven't added up the time, and it's easily 2 hours a day of quality time that I've got with my daughter every day. And I can still work 60 hours a week.
The freedom to work where I want and when I want is what I value most. It means I have time for work and my family and my health. That makes me the luckiest guy in the world.
We've veered a little off from writing a headline and I hope you can see the importance of knowing what your customers want.
Now let's look at how you can wrap a story around a benefit to write a headline.
I'm going to show you some headline that I've written and headlines written by copywriting giants so you can see that the best headlines are stories.
Here are some headlines that focus around making more money...
Broke Student Makes £6 Million In Just 3 Years
Bankrupt Cambridge Photographer Accidentally Discovers The Secret To Make £672,989 In 9 Days
The Amazing Money-Making Secret Of A Desperate Nerd From Ohio!
The Amazing Selling Secrets Of The World's #1 HIGHEST Paid Speaker
The Greatest Business Wisdom I Can Impart... On A Most Solemn And Celebratory Day
Starting Off With $56,000 In Debts... A Young Divorced Mother Tells How She Became A Millionaire In Only 34 Months. Here She Explains How You Can Start Earning Enough Money - Easily - Working From Home, To Retire A Millionaire In 5 To 10 Years!
Do you see how these headlines start a story? Do you see how the headline is a mini-story itself?
I wrote the ones with a specific number in them. Copywriting giants wrote the others.
So, how can you do the same?
You need to know where your story starts. And you need to know where your story ends. Then you fuse those points to create a thrilling tale.
So where do the stories start in the headlines above?
Broke student is the first story starting place.
Bankrupt photographer is where my story starts.
Desperate Nerd From Ohio is where Gary Halbert's story starts.
A Solemn Day is where Perry Marshall's story starts.
In the case of Perry Marshall's story, it is not the start of his entrepreneurial journey. The story in this example starts somewhere else. It's an everyday story with a powerful message for every business owner.
The final headline leaves nothing to chance. The story starts with a young divorced mother deep in debt. This headline works like magic because it attracts many different audiences. Some will relate to it because they are or were in debt. Some relate to it because they are divorced.
You can tell any story you want in your message. The easiest to tell is Your Epic Story because it's the biggest. The hardest to tell is an everyday story because not much can happen in a day. But... you could tell the story of a chance coffee-shop conversation that led to a £100K consulting deal!
That's an everyday story that I want to read!
The point is that the story in your headline must be a condensed story of the one you tell in your message. The headline pulls the reader in and your message tells them the whole story.
Let's look at some headlines from weight loss...
Free Book By 57 Year Old Swin-Suit Model Reveals A Top-Secret Way To Lose Weight... Extremely Fast!
The Amazing Diet Secret Of A Desperate Housewife
How A Texas Housewife Lost 23.5 Pounds In 32 Days
High School Student Loses Almost 600 Pounds And Now Devotes His Life To Helping Others Get Skinny!
Gary Halbert wrote all those headlines. I still remember the first time I saw his ad about the 57 year old swim-suit model.
I dropped everything to read that message even though I'm not interested in diet secrets. I wanted to read the story of how you could be a swimsuit model at that age.
What did the headline do?
It shocked me. It forced me to question what is possible. And it forced me to read the ad.
That's the power of a good story.
And writing a story in a headline is all about distilling the story down to the beginning and the end.
What's the painful start to the story... and what's the happy ending. Once you can see those two points in your mind. You can write a story driven headline.
There's one thing you should know about writing a headline that makes your customer excited to read your message. It's not easy! That's why I'd like to tell you about...
The blank page is the most terrifying place to start any writing. That's why it's useful to have some formulas to help you get your ideas flowing.
I always start with a How To headline.
This could be as simple as How to make £672,989 in 9 days or How to lose weight fast.
You get the idea.
I always imagine that I'm sat in a cafe and I overhear the conversation next to me. That's how I know that this is my ideal customer and they have the exact problem that I can solve.
The headline that I write has to make them say Wow! Tell me more.
So I start with something like, Excuse me but I couldn't help hearing your conversation. If you're struggling to find customers then I'd like to tell you How To...
So do you see how this is a great starting point for a headline?
It's an easy way to get your ideas flowing and to think about what is going to make your ideal customer interested in what you have to say.
Here are some other headline formulas
The Amazing Secret...
The Truth About...
What Every [Insert Your Ideal Customer] Ought To Know About...
Who Else Wants...
How You Can...
Key Secrets To...
The headline formula that has never failed me is The Amazing Secret...
If I'm ever in doubt, I use that.
As I've already said, it's not easy to write a great headline.
How do you do it? What's the secret?
The secret to writing a good headline is to write 10 and pick 1.
The secret to writing a great headline is to write 50 and pick 1.
John Carlton is one of the giants of direct response copywriting. I've been lucky enough to have him mentor me. He told me that he often writes 100 headlines and then picks 1.
This is someone that has been writing winning ads for over 30 years. He still writes 100 and picks 1.
Because he knows the difference the right headline makes to the performance of your ad.
The truth is that it doesn't matter how good the rest of your message is if your headline doesn't make your ideal customer excited to read your message. Because they won't read it.
The headline is the most important words you will ever write. Yes, the rest of your message is what makes people feel good about buying. But the headline pulls them in.
You now know why the headline is the most important words you will write.
You now know that a headline must be the most exciting thing your prospect reads that day.
And... you know how to do this - wrap a benefit in a story.
You've now got some starter formulas to get your ideas down on paper.
The only thing left to do is to get busy. So please use this information to write your own drop everything headline.
If you've found this useful then please leave a comment below.
If you know a business owner that struggles to get their name out there then please share this with them.
Until next time...
P.S. When bankruptcy stole my first business. I made a commitment to myself to discover a repeatable system to turn strangers into customers on demand. A journey that ended when I made £30,105 in 9 days… without making a single sales call.
It’s a system that I’ve used in many industries. To sell products and services ranging in price from £5 to £12,000.
A system that I’ve used repeatedly in campaigns that have dwarfed that initial success.
I’d like to show you how to use my simple 3 step system in your business so you can turn strangers into customers on demand. And build your dream business. A business that gives you the income and lifestyle you want.
Unfortunately, I can't show you how to use my simple 3-step system here. The post would run too long.
That's why I've written the book Consistent Profits Pyramid. The book shows you how to use my simple 3-step system in your business. So you can turn strangers into customers... on demand.
I’d like to give you a FREE copy.
To download your FREE copy now. Click the link below.
To download your FREE copy now. Click the link below.
I'm a copywriter and marketing expert that turns expertise into cash.
For the last 5 years, I've helped business owners to sell products and services in many industries. The products and services have ranged in price from £5 to £12,000.
My most successful campaign made £672,989 in 9 days.
I took that result and transformed it into a simple repeatable system. A system that I teach to ambitious entrepreneurs that want to make money on demand without a sales team.