A recent issue of BusinessWeek included a two-page ad from Siemens. The spread was attempting to promote the company's "Smart Grid" energy distribution solutions. One full page of the ad was devoted to the following headline:
Can a grid leave a mark
but not a footprint?
It seems to me that this is less a headline than a secret message that needs decoding, and make no mistake. Writing an ambiguous headline like this can destroy readership of an ad, email, Web page, brochure, you name it.
John Caples, the great direct-marketing copywriter, always stressed the importance of writing clear, effective headlines. He put it this way:
"If you create a good headline, your task is more than half completed. It will be a relatively easy matter to write the copy. On the other hand, if you use a poor headline, it doesn't matter how hard you labor over your copy because your copy will not be read."
Do you ever get stuck trying to come up with a strong headline? Here are some time-tested, Caples-inspired headline approaches I think you'll find helpful:
1. Begin with "Introducing" or "Announcing"
Introducing a high-performance scanner for just $49.95!
Announcing a whole new way to edit color images!
2. Start with "Now"
Now the hottest PDA on the market is yours at half price!
Now you can try our brand new management tools risk free!
3. Start with "At last" or "Finally"
At last! A network security solution with all the features you've been looking for!
Finally, a proven way to boost Web seminar attendance!
4. Start with "How to"
How to back up your PC in half the time.
How to slash the cost of managing your network.
5. Start with "Why"
Why you should call for a free Virus Alert Report.
Why we're offering a no-hassle three-year warranty absolutely FREE!
6. Start with "Which"
Which flat panel display is really the best buy?
Which of these back-up services can you trust with your precious data?
7. Start with "This"
This tiny chip can double the performance of your PC.
This half-price upgrade is for DataKeep customers only!
8. Ask a question
Are you making these five data-storage mistakes?
Want to stop software pirates once and for all?
Want me to write some headlines that make money for you? Pick up the phone and let's talk. I can dramatically increase your response rates. By how much? Please keep reading . . .
On July, 17 I received the following email from a new client:
I'm pleased to tell you that the direct mail piece you recently
wrote promoting ADT security systems was an enormous
success. You thrashed our control and we're getting over 100%
more leads. Thanks for a job magnificently done!
CEO, A.D.S. Security, Inc.
Los Angeles, CA