Mary Sweeny, Copywriter - Words that sell!

Mary Sweeny marketing headlinesWhat Makes a Great Headline?      
How one headline improved the response rate of an ad by 276%.

Headlines can make or break your ad, e-mail or letter. If the reader finds nothing in your headline to motivate him to keep reading, the rest of your ad doesn't even matter.
What makes a great headline?
The promise of a benefit that is valued by the reader. 

When I see a headline that features a company or product name, I cringe. It's a rare case in which a company name has the influence to draw the reader in. Here's an example of a headline in an actual ad that a client of mine was running:

"Legacy Chest."
That's it. The name of the product. The response rate was disappointing. When my client told me that, I wasn't surprised. The words "Legacy Chest" don't mean anything to most readers, so why would they read on? And if they don't read on, they can't respond. Here's what I changed the headline to:

"Mom says if you treasure your marriage, it will last a lifetime."
The ad with this headline brought 276% more responses than the first one. That's a dramatic difference! Why? Both ads were run in the same bridal magazine. But the first headline didn't speak to the reader like the second one did. What new bride doesn't want her marriage to last? This headline made readers (primarily brides-to-be) want to read on to see what Mom had to say.

When you're tempted to showcase your company or product name in the headline or subject line, think again.Most likely there are words you can choose that will be much more effective.

Ask yourself what's important to your prospects. What is the greatest benefit of your product to them? Once you determine that, use it in your headline.

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