Following are the best types of headlines according to many studies that have been done by direct-response marketers. These individuals create ads or mailing pieces that ask for an immediate response - “call (800) 555-555.” Or “Send your check or money order to...”
Direct-response marketers eat or starve in direct ratio to the number of responses to their ads or mailers. They know what pulls and what doesn't. And they are always testing their ads.
Benefit Headline -- “What's in it for me? What benefit or advantage will I get by responding to your ad?” People buy people benefits , not product features.
“Earn Extra Money At Home... In Your Spare Time”
“Protect Your Property”
“Get Better Gas Mileage”
Other examples of benefits are: save money, feel better, look better, have more self confidence, acquire a new skill, avoiding negatives (avoid worry, drudgery, discomfort, etc.)
Overall, benefit headlines are the best. The techniques of writing a good headline and the topics may change with time. But the basic sales appeal of benefit headlines is ONGOING.News Headline -- This gives news about a new product or announces a sale or the latest model, etc.
Storytelling Headline -- This can intrigue people because it promises to lead them into a story. Stories are interesting. “How I Went From Bankruptcy To Financial Security In Less Than Two Years.” This headline also has an implied benefit: financial security.
Advice Headline -- The heading of this report is an advice headline. It gives tips or advice. Another example: “7 Tips For Lowering Your Fuel Bill.” (Also has a benefit).
Curiosity Headline -- “Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Employees?”
Testimonial Headline -- These can be very powerful. They have the added credibility of a third-party endorsement.
“I earned $40,000 in six months using your wealth-building techniques!”
You attract attention with the ad's headline and appearance. Then you create interest right away by tying into the headline and expanding on it with a first sentence or two in the body of the ad. You tell people why they should be interested. The first sentence is key and must engage the reader right off the bat. Followed by the second sentence, also key.
You build desire for whatever it is you're offering by describing its various features and turning them into benefits for the reader . You MUST itemize and describe all benefits.
“This phone has a sliding volume control on the handset so you can easily adjust the volume .” (In this example, the benefits are “easy volume adjustment” (ease & convenience) and the implied benefit of “better hearing”.)
You add convincing statements -- perhaps customer testimonials -- to support what you are saying and make your offer more believable. To further removes doubts and make your ad or mailing piece more believable (build conviction) you must also address and overcome each key objection that the reader could come up.
Then you ask for action. “Don't Delay! Call today for your free examination!” If you don't ask for the order, the response, the call, or whatever, you won't get it. You must tell people what you want them to do.
Example: “For a limited time only, we are offering our ‘Fit And Healthy Lifestyle' program at a specially reduced price of only $199!” That's your special offer.
Sometimes the offer is part of the headline....
"Get fit fast with our ‘Fit & Healthy Lifestyle' program. Spouses half-price! (Limited-time offer.) "
This would likely be aimed at capturing clients who were already aware of the program but had not responded thus far.
Offers can consist of “Two for One” deals, “coupon good against purchase”, “Fly Now, Pay Later.” And so on. Offers are very IMPORTANT if you want to get responses.
Example: “Lightning struck the boy as he was crossing the bridge.” NOT: “The boy was struck by lightning while crossing the bridge.”
Example: “Buy 3 get one free!” NOT: “You'll receive one free if you purchase three!”
Get to the point. And use simple sentences and phrases. On the whole, people aren't as literate as they were years ago. And the well-educated will also appreciate it when you state things simply and get to the point!
Do the same in your ads. Make them conversational. Hard-hitting, to the point, but conversational. Pretend you're talking to someone right across from you and read your ad out loud. Would you actually talk that way? If not, you probably need to rewrite it.
Unless they are professional or technical buyers, people do NOT buy product features. They buy benefits. So you turn the features of your products or services into customer benefits. Like this:
“Because this garment has double-seams throughout (feature), it won't unravel .” (benefit)
“Now you can get a 60-month car loan. This gives you more months to pay, so you pay less each month.”
NEVER ASSUME YOUR READERS WILL “GET” THE BENEFIT INSTINCTIVELY. Spell it out for them in plain language.
Also, watch to see if the person who's reading it tunes out at a certain spot or “doesn't get” something. Chances are, others will not get it either. You need to fix every spot where the reader could tune out so you can keep them flowing through your ad.
you, free, yours, easy, how, now, how to, people, money, save, new, who, why, announcing, gift, hurry, handy, useful, big, large, secret(s), want
AD SIZE: # OF INQUIRIES
spread ads: 107
full page: 76
2/3 page: 68
1/2 page: 56
1/3 page: 47
1/4 page: 52
From this you can see that you usually increase your responses when you increase the size of your ad. HOWEVER, you have to keep in mind costs. If you could get 52 responses from a 1/4 page ad, is it worth it to run a full page to get 76? Only you can decide based on your objectives, what it is that you're selling, and your budget.
Notice also that a 1/4 page ad pulled more than the larger-size 1/3 page ad. Again, this could all vary depending on what's being sold, the publication the ad appears in, the target audience, etc. Use it as a rough rule of thumb.
In a small ad, you can simply have a photo of a person looking out at the reader -- either a straight ahead shot or at an angle.
NOTE: If you do use a photo, be prepared to have a “half-tone” made. Without getting into all the technical aspects of this, the way a half-tone is made is by photographing the original photo through a screen mesh. The result is another photo that is made up of thousands of little black dots. The darker areas of the photo have lots of black dots. The less dark areas have fewer dots.
All of the dots are solid black, but your eye blends the black dots with the white paper and sees the photo as having, black, gray and white tones. If the half-tone process wasn't used, your original photo would show up in print as stark black and white - no gray tones.
That's it. Use these quick tips to improve your ads and pull in more business.