You might be wondering why I emphasize the importance of headlines. I feature it on my website’s home page and talk about it at networking events. The reason is simple.
Headlines can make or break your message.
I am amazed by the amount of websites that have no headline. And I’m talking about every line of business from golf courses to financial planners. I’ve come across many sites that could use some help and recently, one in particular that definitely could use an overhaul. I’ll share a few observations.
First, the size of the typeface (or “font” for all you non-geeky graphic artists out there) is miniscule. I mean, tiny! Like 11pt, which looks as though it’s 4pt font on a browser screen. (For more insight regarding why larger fonts on websites work better, read my post, “One of the Biggest Mistakes You Can Make With Your Website Design.”)
Second, there is waaaaay too much text on the home page. Think of your home page as a teaser of sorts. You don’t want to explain every little thing you do on the home page and why a potential customer needs you. You have to give a high-level overview. On this site, there are two columns of long paragraphs in tiny font positioned under a graphic. Yikes. I highly suspect that very few people have read all that copy.
Third, the headline is okay but really doesn’t grab attention. We’ll be talking about how to grab attention in future posts, but for now, I’ll focus on why grabbing attention is so important.
Why You Want To Spend Quality Time On Writing Your Headlines
For starters, people are busier than ever when searching the Internet. If they’re on a mission to find information about a product, service, or even checking up on your website after meeting you in person— you need to speak to them fast. And the fastest way to do that is by featuring a headline that will pull them into your website or other marketing collateral you’re using. (i.e. brochures, handouts, marketing slicks, case studies, white papers, emails, and even sales letters.)
Another reason why headlines are so important is that your prospect skims most of the reading material that she comes across. This especially includes headlines. There are certain words that will stand out to your prospect and a powerful headline will use such words to catch the attention of the skimmer. An example of such words are: New, Introducing, You, and How To.
Headlines are a wonderful way to give a quick snapshot of what you can do for your perfect customer. It’s the place where you show you “get” her. You understand her problem. You know what keeps her up at night. You recognize her greatest hopes and fears for her life.
In other words, you’re showing your prospect that you’re on her side.
That is powerful.
Come out of the gate immediately as her champion and you’ve got someone interested in learning more about what you can do for her.
When to Write Your Headline.
Some people write their headline before anything else. Some write it afterward. The choice depends on knowing what you’re selling. If you know your product or service inside and out, you could write the headline first. But if you’re not sure, go ahead and write your copy first and then study it after you’re finished. Within the copy are likely a few good ideas for a headline.
A common approach to writing copy that sells is to imagine you’re talking to a good friend or a relative about your product or service. You wouldn’t use complicated words in that case, would you? I suppose you would if you were trying to impress your brother with a PhD but unless your target audience have PhDs, you’d likely talk in a down-to-earth manner. When you write in such a way, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be speaking your prospect’s language and as such, will create headlines that get attention.
We’re going to have some fun during this series! Feel free to comment and include some headlines. We can discuss whether it’s a good headline or an average one.