Can Build Your Business
By Jay Abraham
headline is unquestionably the most important element
in most advertising.
is also the most singularly important element of any selling
message "live or recorded, in person or by phone,
audio or video" your company ever uses.
is the opening sentence or paragraph you use in any sales
letter or written communication you ever send out to customers,
prospects, suppliers, or staff. It's the first words you
or your sales people (including in-store clerks, order
department or telephone marketers) utter, when they engage
anyone in a sales presentation or one-on-one discussion.
the "headline," or its "equivalent,"
are the first phrases you begin your conversation with
when a customer or prospect comes in or calls in. It is
also the first paragraph you state when recording a commercial
or when meeting people at your trade show booth display.
purpose of a headline is to grab your prospect's ATTENTION.
When I say your prospect, I mean that your headline should
zero in on precisely whom you want to reach your target
market. For example, if you want to reach homeowners,
put the word "homeowners" in the headline.
headline should serve as an ad for your ad. It should
tell the reader immediately and clearly the essence of
what you're trying to say in the body copy. The headline
should give the reader a Big Benefit or Big Promise. So,
create a headline that tells the right people precisely
the benefit you're offering them.
you write or decide upon your headline-or it's opening
equivalent-you have spent at least 80 cents out of your
dollar. Stated differently, 80% of your outcome-four fifths
of your result... all but 20% of the success of your selling
effort is effected positively or negatively by how and
what you communicate in the beginning. A change of headline
can make a 20 times improvement in response or acceptance
by your customer or prospect of your proposition. Every
headline or opening statement should appeal to the prospect's
or reader's or listener's self-interest. It should promise
him or her a desirable, powerful and appealing benefit. If possible, try to inject "news" value or "educational"
value into the headline also.
Many Words Should a Headline Contain?
may have read about the desirability of having no more
than a certain number of words in your headlines. Yet
I want to point out here that many of the headlines quoted
here are, by ordinary standards, quite long. Yet, despite
their length, they were successful.
it is not wise to make a headline any lengthier than its
primary function actually requires. However, you should
not worry if your headlines are longer than usual-provided
the headline's high spots of interest are physically well
broken up and clearly displayed-and provided the personal
advantages promised to the reader are presented so positively
that it is almost as though his own name appeared in the
recounting is the story of Max Hart (of Hart, Schaffner
& Marx) and his advertising manager, the late George
L. Dyer. They were arguing about long copy. To clinch
the argument, Mr. Dyer said, "I'll bet you $10, I
can write a newspaper page of solid type and you'll read
every word of it."
Hart scoffed at the idea. "I don't have to write
a line of it to prove my point." Mr. Dyer responded.
"I'll only tell you the headline. That would be...'This
page is all about Max Hart!"'
Words Produce-Powerful Results
two most valuable words you can ever use in the headline
are "free" and "new." You cannot always
use "free," but you can always use "new"-If
you try hard enough.
words that work wonders are: "how to," "now,"
"announcing," "introducing," "its
here," "just arrived," "an important
announcement," "improvement," "amazing,"
"sensation," "remarkable", "revolutionary,"
"startling," "miracle or miraculous,"
"magic," "offer," "quick,"
"easy," "simple," "powerful,"
"wanted," "challenge," "advise
to," "the truth about," "compare,"
"bargain," "hurry," and... "last
turn up your nose at these clichés they may seem
trite and shop-worn-but they work!
incorporate your selling promise into your headline. And
make that promise as specific and desirable and advantageous
to the prospect as you possibly can. This requires longer
or detailed news, educational and information-worthy statements.
Research shows that most negative headlines don't work-unless
you use negativity to underscore any undesirable results
the prospect can expect to eliminate or avoid. (See the
box on page 3.)
are looking to gain more advantage, result, benefit, pleasure,
or value, from their lives ... from their actions ...
from their jobs or their businesses and definitely from
their relationships. And they want to avoid more or continual
pain, dissatisfaction, frustration, mediocrity, and unpleasantness
from their lives.
blind headlines-the kind which mean nothing unless you
read or listen to the whole proposition: because-if you
don't gain your prospect's attention and desire immediately
with your headline, that prospect won't listen, read or
pay attention to the rest of what you, your ad, letter,
or sales message says.
of the Specific
Let us stop here to impress upon your mind how significant
a part the "specific" plays in so many good
headlines. It appears in many of our initial headlines.
You will visualize how magnetically it helps to draw the
reader into the body of an advertisement.
observe, as you continue your reading, how many of these
headlines contain specific words or phrases that make
the ad promise to tell you: How, Which, Which of These,
Who, Who Else, Where, When, What, Why. Also note how frequently
exact numbers are used: number of days, evenings, hours,
minutes, dollars, ways, types of something. This "attraction
of the specific" is worth your special attention-not
only as relating to words and phrases, but also concerning
headline ideas themselves. For example, compare the appeal
of "We'll Help You Make More Money" with "We'll
Help You Pay the Rent"
Kind of Rewards Do Good Headlines Promise?
answer is that good headlines explain how the reader,
listener or viewer or live sales prospect can save, gain,
or accomplish something beneficial through the use of
your product-how it will increase this: his or her mental,
physical, financial, social, emotional or spiritual stimulation,
satisfaction, well-being, or security. In short, good
headlines spotlight the greatest "benefit" you
are offering a sales prospect.
if you take a deliberately negative tack, they point out
how the reader can avoid "reduce," or "eliminate"
risks, worries, losses, mistakes, embarrassments, drudgery,
or some other undesirable condition for the use of your
product or service.
how it will decrease this: your prospect or customer's
fear of poverty, illness, or accident, discomfort, boredom,
and/or loss of business or social prestige or advantage,
success, prosperity, richness or wealth.
product or service you may think you are setting, always,
when constructing your headline or opening statement,
customer is not buying a product or a service. They are
buying a result or benefit or advantage or protection
or increased pleasure or etc., etc. your product or service
or company can offer or provide them. Always, always focus
your headlines on the benefit or specific result your
prospect will be receiving.
Tips About A "Negative" Approach
short subject interjection is about negative headlines.
"Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative,"
said an old song. For years that has also been the refrain
of the advice often given to copywriters. Discussion about
negative headlines has sometimes sparked more fire than
our 37 headlines include a number which are completely
negative and several others that start with a negative
approach and become positive. So the negative approach
must have some good reason for existence. It has. What
of the primary objectives of a headline is to strike as
directly as possible right at a situation confronting
the reader Sometimes you can do this with greater accuracy
if you use a negative headline which pinpoints the reader's
ailment, rather than alleviation of it. (For example,
"Is YOUR Home Picture-Poor?"-"Have YOU
a 'Worry Stock?"'-"Little Leaks That Keep Men
when you face that kind of situation, you can "accentuate
the negative" Let's move on to more headlines and
guidelines to effective headline writing.
Headlines To Work
You can multiply the effectiveness of any ad you run,
letter you send out, sales call your people make, retail
sale your store does, or size of transaction your practice
generates merely by changing and improving the power and
effectiveness of your headline.
are 33 critical ways to make your headlines or selling
proposition great. They're the result of research into
the work of the greatest copy writers of all time.
the highly effective job each of the following great headlines
Blooms from a single plant!
Measures the size of the claim
two seconds, Bayer Aspirin begins to dissolve in your
Measures the speed of the claim
times whiter washes
Compares the claim
away ugly fat
Metaphorizes the claim
like you just picked it
Sensitizes the claim by making the prospect feel, smell,
touch, see or hear it
60 miles per an hour, the loudest noise in the Rolls-Royce
is the electric clock
Demonstrates the claim by showing a prime example
laughed when I sat down at the piano-but when I started
Dramatizes the claim or its result
a bald-headed barber saved my hair
States the claim as a paradox
hemorrhoids without surgery
Removes limitations from the claim
of our 10 decorators use Wundaweave Carpets for long life
at low cost Associates
the claim with values or people with whom the
prospect wishes to be identified
congestion in all 7 nasal passages Instantly
Shows how much work, in detail, the claim does
what you do to get rid of pimples fast
Offers information about how to accomplish the claim
what doctors do when they feel rotten
Ties authority to the claim
Wheezo hay fever medication made you drowsy-with Wheezo
you can have relief and be alert
Before-and-after the claim
Guided missile spark plugs
Stresses the newness of the claim
Alone! Persian Lamb originals $289.75
Stresses the exclusivity of the claim
she or doesn't she-only her hair dresser knows for sure
Turns the claim into a challenge for the reader
you believe It? I have a cold!
States the claim as a case history question
yourself a new engine
Condenses the claim-interchange your product and the product
July 5th-the Atlantic Ocean becomes only one-fifth as
Symbolizes the claim-replace the direct statement or measurement
of the claim with a parallel reality
fat right out of your body
Connects the mechanism to the claim in the headline
everybody ought to know about the stock and bond business
Offers information in the ad itself
Mary, who never married...
Turns the claim or the need into a case history
you're weary with daytime fatigue, take Alka Seltzer
Gives name to the problem or need
Invest one cent of your hard-earned money until you check
Warns the reader about possible pitfalls if he doesn't
use your product
man you can lean on! That's Abraham
or: Nobody, but nobody teaches like Abraham
Emphasizes the claim by its phraseology-break it down
into two sentences, or repeat all or part of it
you can count to eleven, you can increase your speed and
skill at numbers
Shows how easy the claim is to accomplish by imposing
a universally overcome limitation
difference In premium gasoline is in the additives
States the difference in the headline
what happens when you crush our Executive luggage-nothing!
Surprises the reader into realizing that former limitations
have now been overcome
you've already taken your vacation, don't read this. It
will break your heart
Addresses the people who can't buy your product, but by
limiting its target, it entices all to Learn the secret.
took 24 years and genetic engineering to make this product
Dramatizes how hard it was to produce the claim
should be immoral to make money this easily
Accuses the claim of being too good to be true
are twice as smart as you think
Challenges the prospect's present limiting beliefs
A Vital Word in Power Headlines
The most obvious mistake most people make when writing
or creating headlines is they forget to adopt the "YOU"
attitude. To create a powerful headline, your message
must telegraph benefits the prospect himself or herself
can expect to receive. Your headline or message never
should talk about "we or "our" product,
service, or company. Each and every possible benefit or
result must be written or expressed with the individual
reader or prospect's selfish, direct interests in mind.
are some other formulas for formulating writing or creating
great headlines or opening statements.
Begin your headline with the word, "Announcing".
Use words that have an announcement quality to them.
Begin your headline with the word, "New".
Begin your headline with the word, "Now".
Begin your headline with the words "at last".
Put date into your headline; i.e., January 18th.
Feature the price in your headline.
Feature the price reduction or a reduced price.
Feature a special offer.
Feature easy or more attractive payment terms.
Feature a free offer.
Offer information of value.
Tell a story.
Begin with the words, "How to".
Begin with the word "How".
Begin your headline with the words "Why" or
Begin with the words "Who else".
Advise to offer the reader a test. Use a two-word headline
that refers to a need or situation.
Warn the reader to delay buying until they compare benefits
give you an idea of how important the headline is, and
to help you to write good ones, I'll present some of the
best headlines I, as well as other great headline writers,
have written. Now, let's start our tour of the 37 Million-Dollar
Headlines and try to discover why they were so effective.
You Don't Know Me, I Realize ... But I Want You To Have
This Before It's Too Late
* This headline stresses the need for quick action.
To the Men and Women Who Want to Quit Work Someday
* Selects its readers without wasting a word
How to Develop a Silver Tongue, a Golden Touch and a Mind
Like a Steel Trap
* Highlights the large audience of those looking for improvement
New Diet Burns Off More Pat Than If You Ran 98 Miles a
* A headline that anticipates incredulity in order to
What's Your Best Chance to Make Money in Real Estate?
The Answer Below May Surprise You
* A stopper ad that will challenge the reader to read
headlines presented here advertise many different kinds
of products and services. Some are sold in retail stores,
some by sales representatives, some by direct mail to
the customer. But regardless of what the product is, or
how it is sold, the principles discussed here apply. We
are about to learn by real-life example, instead of through
a long and less exciting discussion of general concepts.
Rule Number One for high impact headlines is "State
to use a powerful benefit-or result-based headline can
cost an advertiser 80% to 90% of the potential effectiveness
of that ad because the prospect will pass over it. Headlines
must make a promise of a highly desirable result the person
will receive in exchange for reading the ad or listening
to the message. The headline is the ad for the overall
ad. It must incorporate your company's Unique Selling
Proposition or USP. If your USP is 'broad selection,"
here are some headlines you could use:
We Always Have 200 Different Widgets in No Less than 15
Different Sizes and 10 Desirable Colors and With a Selection
of 20 Optional Features in Prices Ranging From $6 to $600.
the Selection, 4 Times the Color and Size Choice, 3 Times
the Number of Convenient Locations, 2 Times the Guarantees
and Warranties, and Half the Markup of Any Other Dealer!
"discount price" is your USP, or corporate advantage,
these headlines could skyrocket your sales:
We Sell the Same Brands of Hardware as Company A or Company
B at 25% to 50% Less.
Top-Quality Widgets Usually Sell for $250 to $1,000. We
Sell Them for $95 to $395. Which Would You Rather Pay?
Most Professionals Start Billing You the Moment You Walk
in Their Door. That Can Add Up to Thousands of Dollars.
At PDQ Services, Our Fee Is Always a Modest $99. No Exceptions.
are some very useful and effective headlines for a "service-oriented"
When You Buy a Compact Disc From The Warehouse or Sam
Goody, You Own That Disc, Whether You Like It or Not
you buy a compact disc from us, you get a 90-day, 100%
money-back guarantee, just in case it's not what the critics
made it out to be. And you get bonus credits toward any
other album, cassette or compact disc we sell for every
disc you buy and keep.
If Your Car Breaks Down, We'll Tow IT-FREE! (Always use
that word "free" as much as you can.)
added benefit of placing your car's insurance policy with
Most Locksmiths Work From 9 to 5 But Those Aren't the
Hours When You Can't Get Into Your House or Car.
Locksmith Company will send a locksmith whenever you need
one. We have 20 service people on 24-hour call, seven
days a week, 52 weeks a year-including holidays. No extra
about the "Snob Appeal" USP?
an interesting possibility of a headline that offers snob
Only 1,200 XYZ Deluxe Midas Sedans Are Produced Annually.
in Europe where they originate. Of the remaining 300,
50 go to Japan. Of the remaining 250, 100 go to Canada
arid Australia. Each year, only 150 come into the United
States. Of that 150, only 20 are sent to New York-and
WE'VE GOT 15 OF THEM. We'll offer them at very fair prices
to our best customers, as long as the sedans last.
your best headline (as determined by testing) in every
ad and in every letter to your prospects, customers and
should also use a headline, or "mini-pitch,"
in every commercial.
kind of headline works best?
that promises the reader a large and attractive benefit.
headline that offers topical "news" is often
very successful. If your product or service is newsworthy,
put that special news announcement right at the top of
you are promoting a product to one particular group, include
a "red flag" in your headline that will single
out these prospects.
remember this: Specifics out-pull generalities. Personalize
a headline by singling out the city, state or group to
which it's directed.
humor and double meanings in headlines; they waste space
and are nonproductive 95% of the time.
key point is: The simple failure to test headlines against
each other could cost you more than half of your profit
ever run an ad without a headline. And test to see which
headline pulls best.
Primary Viewpoint-The "Point Of You"
This is a short break in the action because it is a lesson
that you already know well. But to stress its importance,
let me point this out to you: Over 1/3 of these 37 headlines
contain one of these actual words- "you" "your"
or "yourself." Even when the pronoun is first
person singular (for example, "How I improved My
Memory in One Evening"), the reward promised is so
universally desired that it is, in effect, really saying,
"You can do it too!"
of words have been written about the "point of you"-but
let me remind you that, given a fountain pen, 96 percent
of 500 college women wrote their own names; shown a map
of the USA, 447 men out of 500 looked first for the location
of their home towns! Howard Barnes, of the American Newspaper
Publishers' Association, really was on target when he
said: "To call up an image of the reader, all you
need to do is pin up a target. Then, starting at the outside,
you can label his interests in this order: the world,
the United States, his home state, his home town, and
we'll lump together in the center his family and himself..
me. Myself I come first. I am the bulls-eye."
are several more of the most successful headlines I've
used over the past 24 years of helping companies improve
their marketing leverage:
Almost Everyone Has a $10,000 Idea. Here's How to Make
Heart Attacks Can Be Foreseen From Minutes to Months in
An Easy Way to Change Jobs
How to Increase Your Standard of Living Without Changing
Send Me to Any City In the United States. Take Away My
Wallet. Give Me $100 for Living Expenses. And in 72 Hours
I'll Buy an Excellent Piece of Real Estate Using None
of My Own Money.
latter headline made a great deal of money and created
a media blitz for Robert Allen, a skilled marketer and
author who made the term "No Money Down Real Estate"
Three Powerful Reasons Why Diamond Prices Are Soaring
To a $15,000 Man Who Would Like to Be Making $25,000
I'd Like to Give This to My Fellow Man ... While I Am
Still Able to Help!
Headlines Produce-Powerful Results
You may find it incredible how the use of a headline can
alter the results of the entire ad or letter. I have tracked
and compared hundreds of headlines and been amazed at
the vast improvement in results that one headline can
produce over another headline. Let me illustrate this
principle here with a few real-life examples:
insurance company tested these two headlines against each
What would Become of Your Wife If Something Happened to
You? and Retirement Income Plan
it or not, the second ad pulled 500 percent more response
than the first. It's a simple yet effective headline.
famous correspondence school tested these two headlines:
Announcing a New Course for Men Seeking Independence in
the Next Three Years
Up-to-the-Minute Course to Meet Today's Problems)
The first headline (which started with that magic word
"Announcing") trounced the second headline by
insurance company compared these two headlines:
Auto Insurance at Lower Rates if You Are a Careful Driver
to Turn Your Careful Driving Into Money
The first headline was 1,200% better in testing.
could go on ... and on! In all these cases, you would
not have known that the vast difference in results would
occur without testing first. The results are often quite
let me get back to providing you with more of my 37 Million-Dollar
Headlines, and some explanation of what makes these headlines
effective. Now we must pause and examine one of the techniques
of writing a headline. It is called VERBALIZATION. And
it is the art of increasing the impact of a headline by
the way in which it is stated.
the previous sections, we have looked at what we want
to say in a headline. And now we have to determine how
to say it.
most obvious way, of course, is simply to state the claim
in its barest form. "Lose Weight," or "Stop
Corns," for example. And if you are the first in
your field, there is no better way.
where you are competitive, or where the thought is too
complicated to be stated simply and directly, then you
must reinforce that claim by binding other images to it
with the words in which you express it. This is verbalization.
And it can accomplish several different purposes:
It can strengthen the claim-by enlarging upon it, by measuring
it, by making it more vivid.
It can make the claim new and fresh again-by twisting
it, changing it, presenting it from a different angle,
turning it into a narration, challenging the reader with
It can help the claim pull the prospect into the body
of the ad-by promising him information about it, by questioning
him, by partially revealing information.
of these goals are accomplished by adding variations,
enlargements or embellishments to the main headline claim
of the ad. These additional images are bound into the
main claim by the sentence structure of the headline.
They alter the main claim, to make it more effective.
There are, of course, an infinite number of these variations
(every good copywriter invents a few himself. But there
are general patterns that most copywriters follow. Here
are some of these guideposts, for your own consideration:
the size of the claim
25. I am 61 Pounds Lighter by Using XYZ Product
the difference in the headline
26. The Difference in Premium Gasolines is Right In the
the newness of the claim
27. Now! Chrome Plate Without Heat, Electricity, Machinery!
the claim as a question
28. Who Else Wants a Whiter Wash With No Hard Work?
the claim into a challenge for the reader
29. Which Twin Has the Toni? And Which Has the $15 Permanent?
the prospect's present limiting beliefs
30. You Are Twice as Smart as You Think
your prospect directly
31. To the Man Who Will Settle for Nothing Less Than the
Presidency of His Firm
the people who can't buy your product:
32. If You've Already Taken Your Vacation, Don't Read
This. It'll Break Your Heart
the claim of being too good
33. Is It Immoral to Make Money This Easily?
the reader about possible pitfalls if he doesn't use the
34. Don't invest one cent of your hard-earned money until
you read this guide!
the claim as a case story quotation
35. Would You Believe It-I Have a Cold!
36. Melts Away Ugly Fat!
the speed of the claim
37. In Two Seconds, Bayer Aspirin Begins Relieving Rain!
It New And Improved?
The Headline Should Tell!
tutorial is meant to remind you that in a great number
of effective headlines you will find the word "new"-or
a connotation of it, such as "new kind of,"
"new discovery," "new way to," etc.
Americans are quite partial to the new or novel; they
do not suffer from neophobia. To the average American,
the mere factor of newness seems to be prima facie evidence
affection for the old and tried may be strong in other
countries; in ours, the desire to try the new is stronger.
The great achievements of our inventors and enterprising
manufacturers have trained us to believe that if it's
new it is likely to be better. However, the word "new"
in a headline should be backed up by copy pointing out
the merits of something really new and advantageous, not
some transparently trivial difference.
Leads to Success
Test! Test! Test! You can have far more sales, inquiries
and store traffic for the same money just by cross testing
alternative headlines, format and copy:
By testing different ways to say the same thing
By trying different copy
By testing the pull of one magazine against another
By testing one mailing list against another
By testing one radio time slot against another
By testing one offer against an other..
One price against another
One guarantee against another
One sales pitch against another
One direct-mail package against another
you use a headline, or offer, or price, or guarantee,
or medium, or mailing list or sales pitch without testing
it against another version, you are denying yourself and
your company the potential of increased sales and profits
that cost no more than you are currently spending. Remember,
ads or sales letters cost the same to produce, whether
you get a 1% response or a 35% response. Now that is leverage!
relatively easy to test and track ad results and to ruthlessly
leverage every marketing dollar.
to test, retest and test again is tantamount to admitting
that you aren't the business person you should be.
of my first clients, a silver and gold broker, ran a headline
to announce a new and very appealing marketing breakthrough.
Unfortunately, he never tested his headline (and, unluckily,
the headline was boring).
I entered the picture, I first came up with 10 different
headlines to test. One of them out pulled his headline
by more than 500%.
of spending $30,000 a month to produce $1 million in sales,
that same $30,000 started producing $5 million in sales
per month and more!
simple act of testing one headline against another made
an annualized difference of something like $50 million
in gross sales-and at the very least, $2.5 million in
additional profits. Testing your headlines can pay handsome
assuming we see eye to eye on objectives, let's now learn
how to test.
Let's talk once again about basic aspects of your
marketing that you should constantly be testing.
you run display ads, first and foremost test your headlines
against each other with the exact same body copy.
the best possible headline and start testing body copy.
only one variable at a time. This is the scientific principle
of control: It means isolating the variable, so that you
are sure of the source of different results. If you're
testing a guarantee, don't change the headline. If you're
comparing one price against another, don't change any
Response-The Key to Testing
If you have two different approaches that you're testing,
you must design your test to give you specific results
keyed to each approach. You must know which ad each and
every prospect is responding to.
can do this in different ways:
Use a coupon-a differently coded coupon for each version
of your ad.
Tell the prospects to specify a department number when
they call or write-(there doesn't have to be an actual
Ask the prospect to tell you he/she heard it on radio
station in order to qualify for a discount or special
Include a code on the mailing label returned with the
order-the code identifies the source of the label, or
the version of the ad you mailed.
Use different telephone numbers for respondents each offer
is accompanied by a similar, but distinct phone number.
Make different package tests and note which bonuses or
prices people ask for.
Have the caller ask for a specific person-(the name can
must be able to attribute each response to one of the
approaches you are testing.
should also make a point of keeping meticulous track of
each response and its results: simple inquiry, sale, amount
of sale, previous customer. Keep track of every piece
of information that you need in your marketing. And be
sure to differentiate in your record-keeping between responses
and actual sales. Prospects are fine, but sales are what
you are after.
when you have all the results tabulated by method "K"
or method "B" compare the two approaches and
select the better one. Then test again, using your winner
in competition with a new contestant. Always compare the
new effort against your proven winner, and look to beat
the current winner.
So far, we've talked mostly about display advertising,
but if direct mail is your preferred method, read on.
probably use direct mail to inspire people to:
Come immediately into your store,
OR call your order desk,
OR send a coupon so that you can call back or send a salesman,
OR send a check or charge card order.
the same principle as in testing display advertising,
do an "Nth-name" A/B test. An "Nth-name"
sample is a theoretically perfect cross section of the
quality of the list you're testing.
you mail to 100,000 untested people and spend $25,000
or $40,000 in postage and printing, do a 5,000 "Nth-name"
test sample of one version of your mailing piece against
the same mailing pieces with two different headlines.
Repeat the headline on the outside of the carrier envelope.
Try different body copy with the same headlines. Try different
different physical components, along with the basic sales
letter: such as a folded "read me" note-or an
accompanying brochure or a reply device with a postage-paid
reply number-or a coupon, etc.
as many things as possible in the smallest possible arena
before you risk a big part of your advertising budget
on one expensive marketing approach to a large audience.
guess what the market will welcome, or what price they're
willing to pay, when the marketplace is willing and even
eager to tell you the answer?
same fundamental approach applies to TV, radio commercials,
field sales, in-store ads and telephone sales as well.
Why, for example, run five 60-second TV commercials each
day saying something only one way, when another presentation
of the same message might pull in many times the customers?
If you use TV, wouldn't you want to know whether showing
your product or service in use makes a difference?
the cost is the same, whether that 60-second commercial
produces 10 customers, or 110, isn't it worth your while
to find out answers to questions like these?
Let's Write a Headline for Your Business
It's easy. Get out some paper and a pencil and start
by doing the following. First, ask yourself this question.
"What are the key or primary reasons why ("reason
why" is a key recurring theme in everything I'll
share with you) your customers acquire, desire or seek
your product or service? In other words, what is the primary
benefit or advantage or value or performance, result or
improvement or reduction or avoidance or advantage they
end up receiving or getting when they use your product
service or business?
should have multiple answers to this question. When you
get them, rank them by the most valuable and specific
and the most frequently desired.
many ways can you specifically measure or compare or denominate
the effect or benefit your product or service for a customer?
Write as many as you can down on a sheet of paper.
go through each one of the elements I just shared with
you and apply it by modifying it to your situation. For
example, pick out a few of the words that work wonders,
and try adding them to the result or benefit or advantage
your product or service produces. Example, how to rid
yourself of stress overnight ... announcing a way to get
twice the productivity out of every hour you drive to
work. "Amazing discovery, get the job of three people
done for the cost of just one," etc.
each one of these "wonder words" and try your
hand at writing a powerful headline.
the same thing with the tested "key word," making
sure you write each statement or cluster of thoughts down
stop now-the fun has just begun.
important word about your return on investment.
copywriters and legendary sales trainers spend days...
sometimes weeks... laboring over the details of a headline
or opening statement for an ad, letter or sales presentation.
those "pros" know how much of pay-off this process
limit yourself to creating just one single headline.
great masters I've learned from would write no less than
100 different approaches before they kicked out the three
to five best, most powerful selections they would test
should not settle for anything less.
more headlines and opening propositions you write, the
more this mind-set will become your own.
it's a little uncomfortable at first, that's perfectly
this simple exercise if you get stuck: Ask yourself to
fill in the blank describing the most powerful result
or benefit your product produces. If you were talking
to a prospect about this result you'd be telling them
how to what? Once you fill in that blank with the answer
to the result your product or service produces, you've
written your first really good headline-so keep going!
News to the Advertiser May Be Fresh News to the Reader
is the last tutorial on headlines presented here. Don't
think because it is the last one it is of least importance.
In fact, its value becomes apparent when you realize how
many of the most effective headlines employ it. "Get
news (or new value) into your headline" is probably
the best way to define it.
you can't pack everything into a headline, stick to your
principal appeal-but give it news value if you can. And
remember that what may be stale news to the advertiser
may be fresh news to the reader. The advertiser is, of
course, thoroughly familiar with his manufacturing methods,
the ingredients he uses, the function of the product.
topics may have no news value for him. They may even be
similar to those of his competitors. But that is not true
of the readers of his advertisements. Something about
the product or the service it renders may be entirely
new and sensationally persuasive to the public. And the
advertiser who features it first captures its appeal for
himself, regardless of the "me too" efforts
of competitors who may have heretofore failed to capitalize
companies have found an element of their product or manufacturing
process, even if it was commonplace in their industry,
and produced huge advertising results by highlighting
the feature or process.
Power of Emulation
In the beginning, you don't have to recreate the
wheel. Merely go through each reference area, like the
headline multipliers, and the formula for creating headlines
and modify each one to your situation.
ready to begin development of your first successful headline.
Read other headlines, consider your benefits, uniqueness,
and advantage, draft dozens of headline ideas, formulate
and eliminate less valuable ideas and test your best headlines.
you've written 25 to 50 good headlines or opening statements,
organize them the way you did the results you wrote down
in the beginning-picking out the best five that make the
advantage/result apparent to the customer.
guarantee you this: If you only do this with me and create
50 to 100 trial headlines and choose the best five-one
of those five will out-produce your current headline or
sales opening by 35% to 1,000% or more.
luck and headline success!
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