5 Secret Formulas for Writing Headlines That Sell

Regardless if it’s a promotional marketing material or a landing page copy you’re writing, your headline can and will decide whether your business will attract attention or be left behind without a second glance.

Regarding the importance of writing great headlines, here are some interesting stats:

Stat 1:  On average, 8 out of 10 people read headline copy, yet only 2 out of 10 will read the remainder of the article (Source: Copyblogger)

Stat 2:  50% of sales and website traffic are lost due to poorly crafted headlines (Source: MOZ.com )

Stat 3:  More than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your Call To Action Copy (Source: Unbounce)

Conductor.com performed a study of the behaviors of blog readers. In this study, readers were asked to view 5 different types of headlines, then choose the one that jumped out at them the most.

Well, here are the results of that study:

Source: Conductor.com

Source: Conductor.com

If you want to guarantee your copy’s success, you should remember these secret formulas for writing headlines that sell:

Formula #1: Classic 5Ws and 1H

Who, what, when, where, why, and how—these question and statement starters never fail to hook readers. This is especially the case when they are paired with the right keywords and strong adjectives, and if they clearly state the benefits that readers will recieve. Here are some good examples of this type of headline:

•   How to Sell Your Home Like a Professional Real Estate Agent
•   Why Your Website Doesn’t Get Any Traffic
•   What Every Newbie Email Marketer Needs to Know to Guarantee Sales

Formula #2:  Shocking News

You might not be writing a news story, but you certainly have some new and vital information that your prospective customers are dying to know about. Creating a news or announcement-like headline will surely get you closer to acquiring a new follower or sale. Here are some examples for this headline formula:

•   Finally, an Easy Way to Lose Weight without Sacrificing Your Favorite Foods
•   Best Shampoo For Acne Prone Skin

Formula #3:  Numbers Game

People love lists because they make article reading a lot faster and processing information easier. Given that fact, it’s not surprising that number or list-type of headlines always get clicked and read. Here are some ways to create powerful list headlines:

•   7 Ways to Increase Your Opt-ins by 200%
•   10 Must-Have Items for Aspiring Globetrotters

Formula #4: Pun Intended

Word plays are also among the best-selling headlines since they tend to pack information while offering a healthy dose of wit and humor. Although highly likely to grab attention, you have to be very careful in choosing and arranging your words in such a headline. After all, you don’t want your target audiences to get confused or, even worse, offended. These are some nice examples of effective, pun-y headlines:

•   Waist No Time, Start Losing Inches
•   Blogtastic Writing 101

Formula #5: Up for a Challenge

Quite often, people are stuck trying to solve a dilemma they’ve been continuously encountering for months or years. Deep inside, they might have an idea of what they need to do, but they don’t have a strong enough motivation to keep them running toward their goals. Aside from providing thorough and actionable information, you can push readers to achieve their goals with a headline that challenges them to show and do their best. Here are some good examples of this type of headline:

•   Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
•   Effortlessly Beat a Gym Buff in Wrestling
•   Learn How to Play Piano With Piano Key Labels

It doesn’t matter if you’re actually selling a product or if you simply want to present your brand; you should always create persuasive headlines to really connect with your prospective customers. Start making headlines that sell with the simple tips I shared above.

Enjoyed this post?  If so, I would love for you to share it with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn! Thanks Yall.

Annika Bansal

Annika "The Chick Geek" is the founder of AnnikaBansal.com. Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.

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