How To Write Effective Headlines In Sales Letters

Five seconds.

That’s all you get to convince your prospect to continue reading your sales letter.

And since all sales letters open with a headline, it is, by far, the most critical part of the sales letter.

Almost all advertising gurus agree that headlines will make or break your sales letters. Here are a few of their observations:

“Five times as many people read the headlines as they read the body copy.” – David Ogilvy, Ogilvy & Mather

“Headlines increase results up to 17 times.” – Jay Abraham, Marketing Mastermind

“Headline is 50 to 75% of the ad.” – Don Belding, Foote, Cone & Belding

In short, your headline must grab your readers’ attention and compel them to read the rest of your sales letter. If your headline fails to do that, you lose the sale. It’s as simple as that.

Five Tips On Writing Effective Headlines

Tip #1: Long headlines can be more effective.

Contrary to traditional wisdom in copywriting, short headlines seem less effective than longer ones. Your headlines should be as long as it takes to communicate the benefits of your product.

Tip #2: Break up your headlines if they’re too long.

On the other hand, if your headline is too long, it can be difficult to read. So, consider splitting up the headline into a main headline and a sub-headline.

Tip #3: Consider your target audience and their problems.

When you write your headlines, try to understand the person you’re writing to. Put yourself in their shoes. What is he looking for? What are his problems? How will your product benefit him?

Once you have the answers, ensure that your headline mentions your product benefits loud and clear.

Tip #4: Brainstorm as many headlines as possible.

One of the keys to writing great headlines is to write down as many headlines as you can. If you are stuck for ideas, use one of the following techniques:

  • Use “How to” or “How not to”. E.g. How to become a millionaire by the time you retire. How not to worry about educating your child.
  • Make bold statements. E.g. For less than $100 a month, you could have a peaceful retired life.
  • Pose challenges to the reader. E.g. Discover 10 ways to save money while managing your budget.
  • Ask thought-provoking questions. E.g. When is the best time to invest in the market?

Tip #5: Headlines must be clear.

If your reader has to guess what your headline means, chances are slim that he will go through the entire sales letter. So, make your headline so clear that even a 12-year old can understand it.

Now that you know how crucial headlines are, make sure you spend 80% of your time getting them right.


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