I recently came across an attractive full-page ad for Tempur-Pedic matresses.
The ad featured a large color photo of a bed and a big, bold, two-word headline:
The ad went on to explain that "The miracle is on the inside" and that "Our bed utilizes natural principles of physics. Nothing mechanical or electrical. No motors, switches, valves, air pumps, or water heaters. It can't break, leak, short-circuit, or stop working . . . Inside our bed, billions of microscopic memory cells work in perfect harmony to contour precisely to your every curve," and so forth.
So what do we have here?
We have an ad that is a perfect example of a purely "educative sell."
Tempur-Pedic does a great job when it comes to explaining how the mattress is constructed. However it is awful when it comes to providing the reader with benefits. And benefits are what move product.
What benefits should have been highlighted?
Well, this isn't rocket science. The copywriter should have said that with the Tempur-Pedic bed, you sleep better than ever before and wake up every day feeling rested and energetic.
What's important is the promise of a good night's sleep. (The lesson in mattress-making should be handled in a short, supporting copy block.)
Just for fun, here are some headlines I just cranked out that I think work much better than the headline that Tempur-Pedic ran. Compare each of these to the headline "Inner strength" (which is nothing but a teaser line).
How this miracle mattress from Sweden
can help you get a great night's sleep.
How to get a great night's sleep, every single night.
Sleep tight every night on the Tempur-Pedic mattress.
Sweet dreams start on a Tempur-Pedic mattress.
Next time you have to write or evaluate some copy for an ad, email, web page, direct-mail piece, or whatever, don't start writing headlines right away.
First, think about the problem your reader has and how your product or service can solve it. Then start writing benefit-oriented headlines that are clear, not clever. Believe me, you'll come out a winner!