In order to stop readers in their tracks, capture their attention through every word of your copy, and persuade them to click that “Add to Cart” button without a second thought, you need to master the “headline reading psychology” of your soon-to-be customers.
Once you understand why magnetic headlines pull readers in, you’ll know how to do it for your own sales pages, every time. Follow along with me for the next ninety seconds and I’ll show you exactly how you can turn a casual browser of your sales page into an avid reader, curious to drink in your copy until ultimately hitting the “Buy” button.
First, get relevant: Tell your readers’ they’re in the right place
So many people create clever turns of phrase hoping to pull people into their sales copy and wonder why their catchy headlines just don’t work. The answer is simple: Readers are busy people, and they don’t have time to study your sales letter to see if it’s relevant to them. Instead, they rely on you to do that work for them.
But how do you do that? The answer to that is simple as well: You ensure your headline is clear, not clever, telling the reader exactly what your sales copy is poised to deliver.
Use specific keywords that show without a doubt that your page is relevant to people with a specific need or a specific problem – and don’t over-think it. If you’re a blogger, you probably already do this with your post titles, so apply that same thinking to your headlines.
For example, look at the title for this post – it’s about “how to write headlines.” (Ever wonder why you always hear such high praise for “How to” headlines? It’s because they’re extremely relevant by nature. Keep in mind, however, that a “how to” headline might not be the most powerful choice for your particular sales page.
When it’s time to write your headline, think of the primary, top-of-mind problem or result your readers are after and make that the foundation of your headline. Do this right, and your readers will automatically know that they’re in the right place – and save your cleverness for later.
Next, add the carrot: Attach a powerful result to your headline
After you establish relevance to your readers’ immediate needs, you need to help your readers connect to a mouth-watering result that comes from addressing that need. The often quoted “How to ____ so you can ____” is a great example of bridging relevance to result.
Never forget that your readers aren’t looking for products or services – they’re looking for beneficial outcomes, and the relevant keywords you write into your headline are often the means to that outcome. So ask yourself why your readers want to take that relevant action, and you’ll be guided to a promise or two that you can make in your headline.
I’ll use this post as an example again – you’re reading this far because you want to know how to write headlines, but what you’re really after is getting people to buy from your sales page. Look at your browser title bar and you’ll see I worked that into this post’s headline as well.
Finally, dress it up: Add emotionally stirring and action words to your headline
Once you’ve married relevance to outcome, it’s time to add a little flavor to your headline by hand-picking compelling words to make those two features “pop.”
In this post I modified “headlines” with the adjective “eye-catching” to add some life to the text. I’ve also used the powerful transitive verb “transform” to suggest actionable change, which intensifies the promise of desired results.
Pick words that make the relevant keywords or the desired results seem more powerful and attainable – or simply add a third component to the headline like a timeframe or a variation of “easy” or “simple” (if it applies).
I could go into additional examples here, but you’ll find all that you need in the Magnetic Headlines series. Take a few moments to read through the posts there with a more educated eye, looking for how each example uses relevance, results, and powerful modifiers to make you want to read each post to the very end.
Which, now that you think about it, you’ve just done with this post.
Sharpen your skills – how can you improve your own headlines?
If you want to get better at writing sales page headlines today, take another ninety seconds right now and use these three tips on a recent headline you’ve created. In the comments below, show us your original – and improved version – and get those headline writing muscles working!