How To Instantly Double The Response of Any Ad,
Letter or Web Promotion
by David Garfinkel
Masters of marketing
know a secret that most business people don't. I'm going to share it
with you now: You can go from losing money to making money -
sometimes, a *lot* of money - just by changing a few words.
What words are those? The first words... in any letter, ad or Web
page. The words that make up the headline.
Recently I was speaking to a business group about writing killer copy,
and to make my point, I took that day's edition of USA Today and
covered up all the headlines on the front page with inch-wide white
correction tape. I asked them what was wrong with the newspaper.
"No headlines!" they blurted out, almost all at once.
"Then why," I asked, "do so many of your ads not have headlines?"
It's a fact: We have been conditioned to decide what to read based on
the effect a few choice words have on our thoughts and our feelings.
With books, it's often the title. With articles in the newspaper, it's
the words in a headline. With a magazine on the newsstand, it's the
headlines on the cover.
Whether you know it or not, we decide whether or not to read ads,
letters and Web pages the same way.
So, if that's the case, how do you write headlines to make people want
to read your copy, and get interested in doing business with you?
Make your headline create a vivid picture and/or stimulate a strong
In your business, many of your conversations are logical and factual.
That's the nature of business - and to do otherwise would be
However, about the worst thing you can do for your promotion is to
have a strictly factual, logical headline at the top of your Web page,
letter, ad, flyer or postcard. Oh yes, the headline has to be
believable and make sense. And what your headline says has to be
supported by logic and facts later in your promotion.
But remember that the purpose of your killer copy headline is to stir
the emotions of your prospect in the direction of buying what you have
to sell... and to get your prospect interested in reading what comes
next in your copy.
Here's an example for a hypothetical product that helps children do
better at school.
First, an ineffective headline:
Children who don't do well at school will have many problems later on
in their lives
Now, a more effective headline:
"Daddy! Daddy! I got straight A's!" he said proudly. Suddenly my son's
future was looking much brighter...
Notice how the first headline states a fact but does not stir emotions
in a big way. The second headline, using the same number of words
1) excitement 2) pride 3) hope for the future
and it also creates a beautiful scene in the reader's mind of a happy
Action: When you are preparing or revising a promotion, take the time
you need, or get the help you need, to write a great headline that
creates a vivid picture and stimulates strong feelings in the mind of
Use headlines that make your prospect instantly understand your most
One of my favorite pieces of advertising is a headline (and an old
slogan) for a plumbing service. I'm not that big on plumbing,
personally - it's the kind of thing you wish would work perfectly all
the time so you never have to think about it!
Why, then, am I so fond of an old plumbing headline? Because it's a
great example of making your prospect instantly aware of the benefit
of your service.
The company is Roto-Rooter.
The headline is as follows:
Call Roto-Rooter - that's the name - And away go troubles, down the
Wow - is that perfection in a couple of lines, or what? You get
1) a call to action 2) company identification and 3) a visual
description of the benefit.
That's hard to beat! If you've ever had a stopped-up drain, you know
exactly why this would be of benefit to you!
Killer Copy Point: Show your headline to people who are unfamiliar
with your product and company, but who would be good prospects for
what you are selling. See how slowly or quickly they understand what
you are saying - especially, what would be the benefit to them. Keep
rewriting your headline until these people instantly "get it!"
Make your headline pass the "Shortcut Test"
Imagine all you were allowed to do was run your headline plus a
toll-free number... as a classified ad. Ask yourself this question:
Would it generate inquiries for you in that form?
I'll give you an example from my own business. I'm taking the headline
and subheadline from a long-copy print promotion for my product called
Killer Copy Tactics:
Money-Making Secrets Every Business Owner Needs
For years, sales copywriting experts have quietly made millions with
these little-known secrets. Now you can use this information yourself.
Call (000) 000-0000
I used this example for purposes of illustration. Read it again, and
ask yourself if these words alone, printed in the right location,
wouldn't prompt qualified prospects to call for more information?
Killer Copy Point: Put your headline and subheadline through the
Shortcut Test. Make sure that these words alone plus a toll-free
number are likely to generate a response from qualified prospects.
The art of writing headlines is a special skill well worth the time
and effort it takes to develop. There are many known statistics in
direct marketing that bear repeating here:
Five times as many people read the headline as read the ad or letter.
Changes in headlines have produced documented increases in sales of
200%, 500% and, in one extreme case, 1,850% more sales!
It's a good idea to write 15 or 20 headlines for your letter or ad,
and use the "leftover" headlines as part of the selling copy itself.
Become a student of headlines and a connoisseur of great headlines.
Collect them, think about them, practice writing them. The reward for
your efforts will show up every time you get another order or inquiry
that you never would have gotten if you didn't make the effort!
(c) 2000 David Garfinkel. All rights reserved.
David Garfinkel is
widely recognized by many "marketing gurus" as their secret weapon.
That is, he is known as "The World's Greatest Copywriting Coach";
because, he can, like no other, teach you how to turn words into cash.
David is also the author and narrator of Killer Copy Tactics, the
Web's first and only totally interactive audio / visual learning
system for writing killer sales copy.You can master these killer copy
tactics by going over to
Click here for more information.
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