Online business is about information. A visitor to your website will almost certainly have some sort of problem to solve. They may be looking for a way to make more money. They may have an issue with a particular interest and they are hoping to find a solution somewhere on the internet. They may be looking for a change of employment, even advice regarding a health problem.
Whatever your niche, the question you must ask yourself is: “What does my customer want?” The answer to this question will obviously differ widely depending on your particular area of business. Your visitor will usually have been directed to your webpage either by a search engine or through a link in another website. Either way, they will be wondering whether you have the answer to their problem. The Headline of your webpage or sales letter must immediately make them think; “Ah, yes! This is exactly what I have been looking for.” Their instinct will then be to explore fully what it is you are offering them.
Given that your headline can only have a few words in it, those words have to count. You quite literally have a couple of seconds to catch the visitor’s attention before he or she moves on to another website. Think hard about what you are offering in the way of products or services. Try to put yourself in the place of the customer; – what words are most likely to catch them in the light of their particular need. What words will give your visitor the desire to look beyond the headline. After all, that is what a headline is meant to do!
It has been long accepted that the word “FREE” in a headline will at least make your visitor look more closely. However, this has been rather done to death in recent years and customers have become hardened to it. By all means use it but in conjunction with other eye-catching phrases. Try to incorporate one of the chief benefits of what you have to offer within the headline too. Use emotive language rather than simple factuality. The impact of the headline needs to inspire curiosity in the reader.
The headline should emphasise your Unique Selling Point (USP). This is something that will help you to stand out in the crowd. The use of subheadings too can help to communicate with a potential customer by qualifying the statement of your headline in some way. Each subheading should identify further benefits of your product or service. It is the benefits more than anything that you need to get across as quickly and as powerfully as possible. That way you are far more likely to draw someone into reading your full webpage or sales letter.
Before crafting your headline it is worth sitting down and drawing up a list of benefits of your product or service. Identify the most important, the most emotive and incorporate them into either your headline or subheadings. Don’t use long words! The language of a headline should be punchy and to the point. Many of the most famous headlines of all time have been grammatically appalling but hit home because of their impact on the imaginations of the readers. Don’t use hyperbole and be totally honest about what you are offering. Never try to mislead your potential customers, it will backfire on you.
Don’t be too impatient to rush your headline into print. Take a day or two for it to gestate in your mind. Come back to it from time to time and give it a tweak. To use an old saying: “Sleep on it!” It is well worth the effort to take the time and really get it right. If your headline doesn’t work, your business doesn’t work!