Power Copywriting Essentials Lesson 2 of 7: The Science of the Headline

Copywriting Headlines - danielcortes.com

Copywriting is a skill that is easy to learn, but hard to master. But it is something that you absolutely must start developing if you want to make money online. Unless of course you want to spend thousands of dollars hiring a world class copywriter to do all of your pages.

Fortunately, learning to write stunningly great copy isn’t really all that difficult. There are a few tips you can use to learn to write copy. You may not be a master copywriter overnight, but you can vastly improve your skills if you focus on your headlines.

So let’s get started.

YOUR HEADLINES

The most important part of any sales letter or Internet Marketing Offer is the headline. A really fantastic headline has the power to grab attention and encourage viewers to keep reading. A poorly-written headline has the power to drive visitors away before they have a chance to read anything else.

Headlines should generally be 2-3 lines, written in a large font, and should be in quotes. Quotes greatly increase response, because it makes people read the headline more carefully. Headlines should also typically be written in red, because red really stands out and gets noticed.

I highly recommend split testing several different headlines to see which one gets the best response. You can do this for free using Google’s Website Optimizer

There is no big secret to writing killer headlines every single time without testing. In fact, that is the big secret! Testing headlines is vital.

Of course, you can use a formula to devise headlines quickly for testing purposes. Make sure the text really speaks to your target audience.

Use one of the following formulas:

  • Who Else Wants to _____________? 
  • How to ________________
  • WARNING: _______________
  • The Secrets ____________ Don’t Want You To Know!
  • How a ___________  Went From ____________ to _______ in _______

Here's some examples:

  • How a Single Mom Went From Flat Broke to Seven Figures in Just Six Weeks!
  • The Shocking Secrets Car Dealers Are Hoping You Will Never Find Out!

Benefits vs. Features

Many novice copywriters focus on features rather than benefits. Customers don’t want to know about the features of a product. They want to know what it will do for them!

Let’s say you are selling a cell phone. Features of that phone might be:

  • 60 hours of talk time per battery charge
  • Built-in web cam
  • Built-in email

These are features. They aren’t really enough to get someone to buy. But you can turn those features into benefits quickly and easily.

  • “With 60 hours of talk time, the Motorola XX55 will keep you in touch with your friends and family three times longer than a standard cell phone. And with a built-in web cam and email at the touch of a button, you can get intimate with your loved ones faster and easier than ever.”

Do you see the difference?

Benefits are what most people really care about. Sure, they want to know the technical specs of a product. But they want to know what those specs mean to them!

Let’s look at how to translate features into benefits:

Feature: Built-in calorie counter

Benefit: Never go over your daily calorie count again!

Feature: Glow in the dark buttons

Benefit: Never lose your remote in a dark room!

Feature: Vibration setting

Benefit: Don’t miss an important call because your ringer is turned off in church or a meeting!

Any feature can be turned into a benefit with a little creativity. Speak to your audience and they will respond!

Language

You should try to be as descriptive and exciting as possible without using a lot of technical terms or industry speak. You’ll obviously want to make sure your headline isn’t boring, but you should also take care not to use a lot of big words that your readers might not understand.

When you use technical terms, many of your readers won’t understand what they mean. For example, instead of saying “10 megapixel resolution” you could say something like “ultra high-resolution images for perfect images every time”.

Try to write your headline as though you are speaking directly to the reader. Don’t write as though you are writing an advertisement. Instead, pretend as though you’re writing a letter to a good friend.

Don’t say “the top of the line microprocessor brings blazing fast speed”. Instead, say “this computer is so fast it will process commands faster than you can blink!”

Swipe Files

One of the best things you can do is to put together a swipe file for headlines and study it. Find copy you really like and copy it down word for word by hand. Don’t type it, but grab a pen and paper and write it down.

When you write it down by hand, it will soon become second nature to you. The act of writing with a pen helps cement the process in your mind much better than typing.

You can also look at copy for examples. Go the the many successful sales page out there and analyze their headlines.  Don’t copy them, but use them for ideas. You can get inspiration or headlines, bullet points, and even ideas for stylizing text from existing copy you know is successful.

Don’t worry that you are somehow plagiarizing. As long as you only use the copy for general ideas and practice, there is no problem. All of the top copywriters have swipe files they turn to for ideas and inspiration! 

After all, everyone needs a little help now and then, and looking at top of the line examples of copy is perfect for getting the creative juices flowing.