Here are some more proven headline constructions you can use to boost response rates. Notice that many of them have an editorial feel. Skepticism has soared as people get bombarded with sales messages in all directions. This is particularly true on the Internet, so most people browsing today have a finger on the trigger (the mouse) ready to click away in a nanosecond if they sense another hype-driven message.

They will read your copy, but they first need to be enticed or seduced into spending the time to read your message. They need to feel they’ll get something out of it.

One of the best ways to work around that skepticism and resistance is to provide a more editorial approach – a headline that clearly indicates there is valuable information in the text below (but make sure to pay it off with real value in the copy).
1) What [ different kinds of people ] need to know in order to accomplish something

(example) What everyone needs to know about getting their first job

(example) What entrepreneurs need to know about succeeding on the Internet

(example) What investors need to know about the gold market today
(“today” adds topicality and urgency to the information you are delivering)

2) [number] signs you’re [something negative]

(example) 8 signs you’re headed for financial disaster

(example) 4 signs you could be headed for a heart attack

3) Asking a provocative question with dire consequences

(example) When are you most likely to have a heart attack?

4) Little known or hidden ways _______
(another way to tap into the desire to know what others don’t know)

(example) Little known ways to win at negotiations

(example) Hidden ways to lower your pay per click costs

5) If you think [assumption]
(makes people examine their assumptions)

(example) If you think your computer is free from viruses, wait till you read this

6)Give me ____ and I’ll give you_____
(Quickly shows the reader that there is a quick way to achieve the benefit

(example)Give me 1 hour and I’ll set you up with a money-making website that runs on autopilot

7) If you have _____________ then [benefit]
(“If you have” lends a reasonable tone to big claims. Helps overcome skepticism and resistance because it asks something of the reader in order to achieve the benefit)

(example) If you have 30 minutes a month, I guarantee to make you feel 10 years younger

8) Test the reader
(classic engagement device)

(example) If you fail this test, you could have gum disease
(adding a visual element as I did in this ad makes this construction even more compelling. Visual showed a model’s teeth. Around the teeth were captions in the form of test questions witharrows pointing to gum disease symptoms in the teeth.)

(example) Test your market savvy with this quiz

To read the rest of this article, click copywriting headlines


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© Altman Communications 2008

One Response to “15 More Headline Structures to Ratchet Up Your Response Rates”

  1. ZaggedEdgeon 03 Aug 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Little known ways is my favorite!

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