The Fantastic Five - Headlines To Boost Your Bottom Line

By Harry Barber

When you are appealing to the greater common denominator, meaning the readers and not yourself, you are adapting the right mindset as a headline writer. These headlines are designed to put the *POW* in *KAPOW!* and grab the reader's attention through a clear and concise discussion of the main selling points, thus leading to more sales.

Think of copywriting as basketball - since I know not all of you are sports buffs like I am, let's just say both have five as a magic number - five great headline ideas, five players per team on the court. Here are the fab five:

The Question, "Are You Worried About Your Financial Future?"

What's good about the question headline is that it goads your listener to think, making them participate in the message you wish to convey. And once your readers are drawn in, all they have to do is keep reading your newsletter, Web copy or advertisement to find out more information. Again, make sure the question focuses on the reader's interest, not yours. What not to do - "Do You Know That We Have A Neat New Product?" (Nobody cares, silly!)

The How-to, i.e. "How to Reduce That Flab in One Month Flat

The how-to headline is a coach on the copywriting floor as it teaches people how to do things. The words "How to..." have been staples of book titles for time immemorial. Just ask yourself what benefits your product/service can give and get to work on those how-to headlines!

The Testimonial - "Runnin' Roger Roberts of Roanoke, VA Helped Me Shave Off One Second In The Hundred!"

This here headline is a top performer because it enables others to play, or in this case, sell better. Positive praise can help your clients gain more customers in due time. Include the city where your clients are based in and of course, their complete names.

The Command - "Gain Five Inches On Your Vertical Leap!"

Turn your most important benefit into a commanding headline, such as "Make More Time for Your Family," "Look Younger Instantly!" and "Get 7 New Clients This Month." (Incidentally, you may want to toss in a number or a name into your headline - sound strategy. And readers seem to like odd numbers as opposed to even.)

The News, i.e. "Presenting Our Sure-Fire Guide To Super Sales!"

Word of warning - you only want to do this if you have some really breaking news that is sure to satiate a reader's interest. Try something that could be of actual benefit to a person or business entity. This is NOT the time for smoke and mirrors - TELL THE TRUTH!

Once your readers know you have something they're interested in, they'll take the time to read your entire article, brochure, letter, ad, e-zine, or Web page. So what are you waiting for - cajole those readers into actually reading!

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