Direct Selling: Read Me First!
The importance of headlines cannot be underestimated. They are a critical part of the success of a campaign, the most important copy in the entire piece and often, they're written last—almost as an afterthought. The headline is more likely to be read than any other copy in your marketing materials, so don't waste the opportunity to make it as powerful as possible.
How compelling are your headlines? Understanding some general rules will help you create headlines that truly help sell your product or service.
Consider the headline's purpose. Depending on the medium, the headline is prompting a different action on the part of the reader. On the back of a catalog, the headline is enticing the customer to look inside, whereas a postcard headline is vying for the reader's attention in a stack of mail.
Is it clear what you're asking the reader to do? If you are selling a product, tell customers how to order it. If it is a traffic generator, make sure customers understand they must redeem the offer in your store—and make sure you tell them where the store is.
Focus on the positive—instead of describing your airline neck pillow with a headline that says, "Avoid neck strain," announce the positive with, "Feel refreshed when you fly!"
Avoid first person point of view. Customers respond better to "you" and "yours" than "me" or "I." And don't forget that the two most powerful words in advertising are "you" and "free."
Make sure it's easy to read—remember, the customer has to "get it" in an instant. It's tempting to get clever with headlines, but be careful with humor because your customers must get the joke or they're going to miss your message entirely. Don't assume that the customer is going to read all of the copy in order to be in on the joke, because most won't get that far.