1. Research how your prospective customers think and work out where they want to go. What do they really want. When you answer that question you have a headline. For example, you have a product to long term smokers to stop smoking. “Feel like a 20 year old in 6 weeks”, “Stop that morning cough before it is too late” You do not mention your product right at the top of the copy, instead, you lead them onto the solution. So for our example, don’t slap ‘Nicotine Gum’ or ‘Nicotine Patches’ at the top of the ad. The great copywriter, Gary Halbert – referred to the product as ‘Mud’ which he didn’t want to know about. He just wanted to know about the market. What is my customer thinking; right now.
2. You must know the product back to front. Live and breathe it for a few weeks. Learn everything about the product, the company, the system, and the Unique Selling Point. Gary Halbert used to invite company sales reps to his house for the weekend and just chat to them. You must know the products you are selling so well that this understanding is locked into your subconscious. This will make the creative thinking process much easier.
3. Add self-interest into the headline. It has to talk directly to your specific prospect. Use their name if you know it and the format allows. Find out what the problem is and what the solutions are.
4. Include news in headlines. Something new or topical is more interesting. Use terms like ‘brand new’ as it makes it cutting edge. Some newspaper headlines are outrageous. E.g. ‘Divorced after 1 hour’, ‘Archbishop of Canterbury loses faith in God’, ‘Boy Eats Own Head’, ‘Bring Your Wife To My Restaurant and I Will Blow Her Ass Off’. Papers like ‘The Sun’, ‘National Enquirer’, ‘Cosmopolitan’. Apply these to your own niche. You want people to ask ‘What is this about, is this guy for real?’.
5. Avoid curiosity Headlines – If they have to think about what the headline means they will move on.
6. Not too gloomy or down either or they will move on.
7. Pack with benefits
8. Avoid features of the product. These come much later in the copy
9. Make a big promise in your headline. You can justify it later in the copy.