Today’s post on copywriting headlines is all about simplicity.
Because everybody is busy.
(Even when they don’t appear to be…)
We may not all be as busy as, say, James Franco, who gets up to crazy stuff like recording an album, publishing a book, exhibiting his art, earning a pilot’s license, training to box, learning to sword-fight and (for all I know) writing a damn blog about headlines…
…all while presenting and winning shiny statues…
But when it comes to those vital 24 hours, 1440 minutes or just 86,400 seconds in your day, you have to contantly choose what you have time for.
And your prospects/customers are the same…
Which means they don’t have time to read every piece of ad copy they come across.
(Besides time issues, they’d go mad. Totally, batsh*t crazy.)
So your headline has to promise a benefit or reward in exchange for their valuable time…
You have to make it worth their while.
“40% Off BetaMax Tapes”
Which is a headline bound to have any 70’s-loving crap-ware fan salivating for your killer copy to tell him when, and how.
Direct Headlines like these go straight for the jugular… they promise the ‘what’ and then your copy delivers the ‘how’. They’re great for when you have a terrific offer you feel outstrips the competition, and is bound to get attention on its own.
Got a great offer? Tell people about it…
You don’t have to be clever, just have confidence that your offer itself is worth a couple of minutes of somebody’s time.
Sometimes something a little subtler is needed…
“Movie Lovers: Can You ‘Beta’ This?”
Like the question headlines we looked at last week, hinting at content without giving too much away gets the reader’s curiosity juices flowing…
…they may not be sure about what the header means to them, but they’re intrigued enough to want to read on and find out.
You could also use a Command Headline to keep things even simpler, like:
“Fill In This Order Form To Get Your Free Creedence Eight-Track”
(I dunno, I just got a thing for retro formats today…)
It may seem obvious, but a common mistake made in marketing on a ridiculously frequent basis is failing to make a call to action.
By using a headline like the above, you’re putting the request for action right at the forefront of the reader’s mind…
You’re telling them what they must do to take advantage of your offer – and again, this works best if you’re confident your offer will really benefit them.
After that, they just need a little friendly guidance in the right direction.
Our final example of keeping things simple in headline writing today is the How To Headline, used over and over again by marketers across the world because… well, because it just keeps delivering the goods.
Test after test, this kind of headline often wins out:
“How To Convert Your Horse And Cart To Solar Energy”
(A retro-format too far? Ok, perhaps…)
Put ‘How to’ in front of a line stating your prospect’s core desire… make it snappy… and you can’t go too far wrong.
But remember: use specificity…
Or your message risks getting lost amongst all the other ‘how to’ messages out there, all competing for your reader’s eyes and ears.
‘How to win friends and influence people’ wouldn’t have worked half so well if it had been as woolly as say, ‘How to be better’.
Make sure you know who you’re talking to, and what they desire.
Simplicity: sometimes, if ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it…
Keep things straightforward…
Be clear about what you have to offer, and what your customer needs to do to get hold of it…
That way the message can’t get confused, and everybody walks away happy.
Now, where’s that laserdisc player..?