Writing ads for the motivated seller (part 3-headlines)
A headline is considered the highest value “real estate” of your ad.
However, your headline is not used to sell. It might not even contain anything about your service. Its job is not to sell anything except to get the prospect to read the ad.
It has the most important job, however: to grab the attention of the busy prospect and get them to take a few minutes of their time to read your ad.
That’s the only job of the headline.
And the job of the next line is to get the reader to read the next line. Then the job of the next line to get the reader to read the next, etc, etc.
This is the part where I actually spend a lot of time on. And if you struggle with coming up with a unique headline that grabs attention, then below I’ve included 5 ways to build some headlines.
5 uniques ways to assemble better headlines
1.The Bullet Technique
Sometimes, your headline is none other than your best bullet.
Here’s how to do this:
Start brainstorming. List of all the features and benefits that you give to market. All the unique features of your business, personality, solutions, and benefits. After you’ve finished that, you now have a list of bullets you can fit right into your copy.
Bullets are found in a lot of ads. In fact, it’s said that the bulk of an ad is the bullets. So, if you have a list of bullets for your ad, find the best one. The best one can be the boldest bullet, or the one with the most proof element, or the one that has the most curiosity/fascination attached.
Then, use that best bullet as your headline.
Choosing a bullet for your ad really depends on your market and where they’re at right now.
2. The Spoiler
This is something I used when I was writing for Investor Carrot.
When I had a client who actually purchased homes rather than wholesaled them, I would exploit the wholesaling business (if you’re wholesaling you can exploit your own business and “make the skeleton dance”… honesty lends itself some deep credibility).
Or, if the client actually used his own money to purchase homes, I would exploit the flippers who used other people’s money.
Then, I would write a headline about the exploitation that would stop a seller at their tracks, like, “ Learn How these ‘Home-Buyers’ have NO MONEY to buy your house”, or, “Are these Investors Scammers? Do They even have money to buy your house?”
You can take a characteristic that’s common in the industry but is strange or uncommon to outsiders, and write it in a way that makes them look twice and ask, “what’s this about?”.
You’re spilling the beans on the what goes behind the scenes in your industry.
3. The Fascination Headline
This is similar to what I call “the spoiler”, in which you write a headline that makes them wonder what the heck you’re talking about.
They’re designed to make the reader want to know more and find the answer.
Remember, a headline is designed to get someone to stop whatever they are doing and read the sentence after the headline.
But, word of warning, don’t write anything that has nothing to do with your ad. Or don’t write one that’s a blatant lie. The worst thing you can do is lose the trust of the reader once they find out you tricked them.
It must relevant.
And you can still write very relevant headlines but make people scratch their head wondering what’s this all about. Mel Martin, a great copywriter, was well known for these type of headlines.
Here are some example of fascination headlines:
– What never to eat in an airplane
– How to clean the drawers without ever opening them
– How the best ideas come from underwater
– How doctors are screwing you
These aren’t just limited to headlines.
They are used frequently in bullets as well. They are effective, but how effective depends on your market. If your market is exposed to cheap tricks and bad fascination headlines it may not work as well. However, currently in the REI market, I don’t see many of this used.
However, thinking of one for REI market is a little tricky.
Here are some examples in this market:
– How 1% commission actually costs you more money
– How investors are just middleman
– How to sell your house with no inspection
– What agents don’t tell you
– How to get a cash offer in 24 hours
If you notice, the “style” of the headlines lends itself to more of an interesting article than an ad. Which is fine. There are plenty of very successful ads that look like articles and those have been the best-performing ones.
4. Going Bold
This is one is very simple. Take your boldest and biggest claim, and put it right in the headline.
Whatever feature you have about your business (that’s true and not a blatant lie), put it right at the top.
It could be how fast you buy houses.
It could be a unique service you give.
– Consider your house sold in 24 hours
– Sell and get your stuff moved for free
– Wired money in less than 3 days
– Cash offer in 5 minutes
– Full price sale
You get the point. If you don’t have a unique feature in your service, make one.
However, like all the other tactics, this depends on your market. If your market is seeing non-stop big and bold claims, and each house-buyer is trying to out-do the other (seen a lot in the weight loss niche), then it’s probably a good idea to NOT copy what they do.
Your market at that point would be skeptical of big, bold headlines.
5. The Proof Element
“Proof” is what counters disbelief. And (according to Gary Bencivenga titled the greatest living copywriter) believability is the most important factor. It’s common sense but greatly overlooked. Bottom line is, your prospect needs to believe what you say. Especially with bold claims and a competitive market.
So how do you add proof to an ad?
When you write a claim, ask yourself, “how believable is this?”. “ What can I add to boost the believability?”
Here are some examples of before and after headlines with added content to increase believability:
“How silver will increase 30% this year”… “How silver can increase 30% this year “
This is one of Gary Bencivenga’s control ads, in which he has said that adding the word “can” dramatically increased response. And that’s because the silver market at the time was very skeptical and hearing a definite “will” instead of “can” made them doubt.
“Take this for tension headache”… “What doctors have a headache this is what they take “
Not only is the second headline just more powerful than the first, but it adds an authority figure. And a real authority figure increases the credibility and believability to that phrase. The phrase also adds a curiosity element in which makes the reader want to read more.
“we buy houses fast” … “How this investor doesn’t actually buy houses fast”
The first is an obvious generic headline used by many. The second has a few powerful elements. One is a proof element that actually brings out flaws. Anytime you bring out a flaw in yourself, that boosts believability. The second headline I did something called “making the skeleton dance”. It’s actually taking an aspect of the business that might be portrayed as negative and showing the reader how it’s a good thing later in the copy.
I know that it sounds hard to do and you’re thinking “why would I tell them I don’t buy houses”, But imagine the reader in a competitive market that’s comparing the first headline, with your second headline. They are almost guaranteed to want to know more.
Then, in the copy, you can go into the whole “behind the scenes” of the home buying business where you use partners, or other peoples money to buy their house. Or you actually have a list of the best cash buyers in town which means fast sales.
“This will be the easiest selling process in your life”… “Give me 10 minutes on the phone and I guarantee this will be the easiest selling process of your life”
The first is an OK headline, and can certainly work. But the second adds much more punch in the believability department. The reason why is because it adds something easy that the prospect can do. The first is just a straight claim. But the second tells you to do a simple task to achieve that claim, which for one, gives off curiosity, and two, it naturally makes it more believable even though it’s a bold claim in-of-itself.
There’s a lot more to headlines, and honestly it can get pretty overwhelming if you study every single type of headline out there. So I left you with 5 simple ways you can create or improve a headline. And you don’t want to take this part too lightly.
Remember, the headline is the most value piece of real estate of an ad.