Writing an effective copy headline is a challenge if you know you’re going to issue a call to action in the end, and that action is something that people will be initially reluctant to do like subscribing to an e-newsletter or buying a product. If you want your readers to do something, you need to convince them right away and starting with the very first word of your headline.
Offer Something Right Away
If you have something to offer to your readers, something they need and in exchange for what you’re going to ask them to do, make it immediately clear with your headline. When people start reading something online and they aren’t actively seeking information, they want to know what they’re going to get if they continue reading and they want to know what it is right away.
Make It Urgent
People are generally prone to take action if they know they’re running against time. Create a sense of urgency with your headline by telling your readers that your offer only stands up to a certain date or that you’re fast running out of stocks. You can also make it a do-or-die offer; if they let this opportunity slip them by, it’s gone forever.
Take care, however, when using this type of headline as it comes with certain responsibilities. Make sure you withdraw your offer at the stated time. If you’re going to extend the deadline, you better have a good explanation ready so as not to lose your credibility.
Keep It Simple and Powerful
Online copies have to be simple and as headlines are a part of the copy, it stands to reason that they have to be simple as well.
Don’t bother using long and difficult words. They won’t make a difference if no one comprehends them. Aim for powerful words instead. These words inspire action and call strong images immediately to mind. “Make Your Business Live Longer” as a copy headline can be improved, for instance, if you replace passive-sounding words with forceful ones. “Make Your Business Survive” has greater impact compared to the previous headline, don’t you think?
Keep It Short
Yet another requirement for online copies is brevity and naturally, headlines must follow the same rule. As a rule, online readers scan what they read and consequently, they’ll be able to understand a five-word-headline more quickly than a ten-word one.
For a good copy headline, try to lessen the use of particles, prepositions, linking verbs, and other words that won’t make a difference to your readers.
Don’t Try Too Hard
Naturally, funny and witty headlines are better but trying too hard could backfire on you. If there’s no way to make a headline funny or clever then leave it simple. If you manage to get your message across then you’ve done your job.
They’re easier to recall and they sound more impressive. Instead of simply headlining a copy with “Tips for Gardening”, you can substantially improve it just by adding a digit. “6 Tips for Gardening” encourage people to read more because they know they have six (more than one’s many!) tips to look forward to in a single article.
Review and Revise
You may think you’ve made a perfect headline upon typing the last word, but give it a minute or two and you’ll be able to view it more objectively. Good luck on writing those headlines!
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