Do you know that you only have 5 seconds to gain your prospects’ attention? Consumers scan information quickly, after 5 seconds of reading your ad and they find nothing of interest to them, they abandon it.
Headline is a very important part of your advert because its job is to grab the attention of your prospects. Consumers are bombarded with advertisement everyday, a typical woman’s magazine has at least 200 adverts and 50% of post a business received is advertisement. Unsolicited direct mails are referred to as junk mail because people perceived it as unimportant and do not offer them anything. Consumers are having information overload and they are becoming more selective of the information they read and take in. Therefore, if you want to be noticed among the hundreds of information they received everyday, you need to standout from the pack to grab their attention.
So, how do you give your ad a fighting chance? You need to give it a powerful headline, a headline that says to your prospects ‘Stop, this is something you need to see’. Many marketing gurus will tell you that if you want your prospects to take notice of your ad, it has to offer them something if they read it. It has to satisfy their needs.
How do you ensure that your headline has what it takes to convince your busy prospects that your ad is worthy of their time? According to Robert Bly, author of ‘The Copywriter’s Handbook’, a strong headline should have 4 elements: urgent, unique, ultra-specific and useful.
Urgency makes your prospect act now, not later. If you let them wait until later, they will see it as unimportant; your ad is filed and never revisited and then forgotten. You’ve lost your prospect. To put urgency in your headline, you can include a time element in it. For example, ‘Read this and discover how you can retire in a year’s time’ instead of ‘Read this and discover how you can retire early.’ Another example is ‘Shop now and get 20% discount, offer last until 31st of November’ instead of ‘Shop now and get 20% discount.
Unique headlines with something new to say or say something in a different way can be powerful. ‘Why Italians live longer’ can be a unique headline for an olive oil advert instead of ‘olive oil is healthy’.
Ultra-specific, headlines that offer very specific gain for the reader will interest them more. For example, ‘Keep 10% more of your earnings’ is a very specific headline that an accountant can use.
Finally, useful headline appeals to the self-interest of the readers. It offers them a benefit. For example, ‘Eat these foods and look younger in 30 days’ appeals to the want of the reader to look young and good.