Writing better headlines to attract more customers

Participating in conversations, adding value and engaging with customers and prospects on social media is crucial today if you want to build your business. For example, if your ultimate goal is to encourage a click from a social site to a product’s landing page, or content about your print shop or its many services and products, your first concern should be to write compelling headlines. Understanding how to create these headlines is essential to digital marketing. It’ll improve your results in nearly every aspect of your marketing. These headlines generally fall into one of the following three categories – Social Proof (Piggyback), Threat and Gain.

Social Proof (Piggyback) headlines. Social proof utilizes the likelihood for people to make choices based on the choices of others. Basically, the more people making that choice and the more influential those people are, the more influential the social proof. Consider these two headlines – 1. Why thousands of printers will gather in Chicago September 10….and…2. What Canada’s top printer used to reduce paper and ink costs by 25%. The first is a social proof headline. The second “piggybacks” off the success of a leading Canadian printing company. Both beg to be clicked on.

Threat headlines. In these cases, you motivate prospects to take action to avoid pain, rather than gain some type of benefit. Well-crafted threat headlines, like the following, promise that you’ll be able to protect yourself from a threat if you take immediate action. For example…..”How the small print in your used equipment contract could cost you thousands.” Or, “Don’t buy another MFP until you read this.”

Gain headlines. One of the easiest and most effective ways to write a compelling headline is to simply state the benefit and make a promise that, if the person takes action, they will gain this benefit. For example….”Who wants to increase productivity by 20% and reduce waste by 35%?”…..or….. “If you can press a button, you can reduce paid employee hours by 15%.”

Here are three other ways you can encourage action via your headlines:

1 = Add the words “how to” to headlines. It implies easy-to-use guidelines from and expert.

2 = Communicate time urgency and other limitations (i.e. offer ends tomorrow, space is limited).

3 = Add intrigue by teasing the reader’s curiosity (i.e. what you don’t know about consumables could cost you a small fortune)

Also, make it a part of your daily routine to copy and paste good headlines from other websites that you find particularly compelling. After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery (especially if no one knows where you got it from)!



Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.