Four headlines that engage and convert customers

Whether you need to capture the attention of a potential customer on your website, convince a journalist to publish your story, increase your mailing list with your website opt-in, generate leads from an advertisement or boost your hits with a blog post, learning to write good headlines is perhaps one of the greatest time investments you can make in your business.

To help you make a start, and get more results from your marketing and advertising here are four types of headlines that can help you connect with potential customers and convert more sales.

1. The threat

One of the most powerful buying motivators is fear and pain. Generally speaking we move faster away from pain and potential threat than we do towards pleasure, so if you can pinpoint something your target market is afraid of losing or afraid of happening, you can really get inside their head and create a headline that is impossible to ignore.

Examples of a threat headline are “The shocking truth about what your child is really eating”, “the [x] lies your [person/brand] is telling you”, “The information/advice your [trusted person] should give you, but won’t”, “If worse came to worse and [specific scenario], would you/your family/your business be protected? Or “Did you know you could be personally liable/held accountable/at risk of/ for [threat], even if you [protective measure]?”

To craft a powerful threat headline ask yourself:

  • What are my target markets frustrations?
  • What problems do they have that my product or service solves?
  • What are their pain points and worries?
  • What is keeping them up at night?
  • What do they fear most?
  • What are the greatest threats to them, their family and their livelihood?

2. The benefit

The benefit headline, as its name suggests is driven by a benefit. The benefit can be positive, drawing your target market towards pleasure like “How you can generate more leads for your business without spending more time, money or effort”, or a negative benefit, drawing them away from pain, frustration or consequence like “Stop paying too much tax”.

Whichever way you go, when mastered, the benefit headline can be incredibly powerful.  The key to its success though, depends on how well you know your target market and what they need or desire, in order to appeal to their buy buttons. It can’t just be any benefit that your product or service provides though, it has to be a benefit your target market can’t ignore or must-have in order to incite action.

When crafting a benefit headline ask yourself:

  • What does my target market want most?
  • What are their dreams and aspirations?
  • What do they value?
  • Who do they look up to or want to be like?
  • What are their frustrations?
  • What do they want to avoid most?
  • What can my products or services give them, save them, help them become or achieve that will help them get what they want or avoid what they want to avoid?

3. The promise

The promise headline is like the benefit headline only more powerful because it comes with a promise of results. It could be that you can provide the desired results within a desired timeframe, or the desired result with a guarantee. Of course you MUST deliver what you have promised, so handle this headline with care.

When crafting a promise headline ask yourself:

  • What results have I generated for past customers?
  • What results will motivate potential customers?
  • Can I deliver results in an assured timeframe?
  • Can I offer a money back guarantee?
  • How can I eliminate the perceived risk people have when buying from me?

4. The testimonial

The testimonial headline is one of the most powerful headlines because it uses a customer success story and their own words to sell your products and services. It gives you credibility and proves your value long before you’ve tried to establish it.

The testimonial could be outstanding results you’ve delivered, a relatable situation you helped a customer through, a common problem you solved, a testimonial that addresses common objections people have or even a celebrity or notable person who uses your products or services.

The key to a good testimonial headline is that it needs to be specific, have high impact, connect with or be relatable to your potential customer and prove your value. To do this you may need to give the customer who is endorsing you specific boundaries and prompts of what you are looking for from their testimonial.

Have you found a particular type of headline has worked well for you?

Amanda


Six ways to generate publicity (that you may not have tried)

When it comes to generating publicity for your business, news releases are by far the most popular option. But they aren’t the only option. There are a number of tools you can use and angles you can take to capture the attention of journalists and editors.

To give you some ideas, here are six additional tools or angles that you may not have thought to use in order to generate more publicity for your business.

1. Trend Releases

Trend releases are often the most valuable to the media and will help you establish a reputation as a source. These releases contain information on developing trends, breaking research or other industry insights that would be unknown to the media or difficult for them to obtain.

These are ideal for industry specific publications though also for mainstream media provided the angle is highly newsworthy and affects or impacts a wide audience.

2. Expert Comment/Piggyback Releases

Expert comment releases are issued when a story breaks that would require a statement or comment from someone with your expertise. These are also great for positioning yourself as a source.

It could be a statement of support with additional information or an opposing view with facts to back up your opinion. Whatever your response, be sure to state you are available for interviews.

3. Letters to the Editor

Writing Letters to the Editor can be an effective venue for establishing yourself as an expert, addressing controversial issues, discussing industry developments, responding to claims and of course offering your opinion. To capture attention and increase your chance of being published make sure your response is insightful, sharp and articulated well.

4. Op-Ed Articles

Op-Ed articles are longer opinion pieces that (usually) appear on the same page as the Letters to the Editor. Just like the Letters to the Editor they are a great way to showcase your level of knowledge and insight. Once again carefully consider your position and make sure the opinion you put forward is insightful, researched, logical and well written.

5. Public Service Announcements

Public service announcements are messages in the public interest sent out by the media without charge, with the objective to raise awareness or change the public’s attitude or behaviour towards an issue or event. While they won’t suit every business, issue or event, it’s good to be aware of this option.

6. Reviews and giveaways

Many publications will review new or existing products for their “what’s new”, “things we love” or “check this out” sections so it pays to send a sample of your products or at least alert relevant publications to your products.

They will also hold regular giveaways either in their magazine, newsletter or on their website. Some happen monthly while others happen around key times of the year like Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Back to School, change of season and so on.  So it is good to send out a news release with the option to do a review and/or giveaway around these times.

Keep in mind that most publications will require a reasonable value or specific quantity of product to be included in a giveaway. To decide if the investment is worth it take into consideration the target audience of the publication, how large the audience is and the level of coverage and promotion you and the giveaway will receive.

Have you tried any different ways to generate publicity for your business?

Amanda


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