to Instantly Double the Response of Any Ad, Letter or Web Promotion
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
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
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 considered
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
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 (17),
conveys 1) excitement 2) pride 3) hope for the future, and it also
creates a beautiful scene in the reader's mind of a happy parent-child
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
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
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
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
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 learn more about this
course at KillerCopyTactics.com.
Secret Behind Million-Dollar Ads
Want a little secret to turn
your advertising into an irresistible magnet for customers?
Dale Carnegie knew the secret,
and that’s one reason his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People,
has sold more than 15 million copies. In
fact, British Airways recently named it, “The Business Book of the 20th
It’s a great book. But if Dale had titled it “How to Remember People’s Names and Curb
Your Incessant Urge to Argue,” do you think it would have sold as well? Probably not. There’s
great power in good titles.
What you may not realize is the
words “How to Win Friends and Influence People” are not only the title
of the book. Those words were also
the headline of a mail-order ad, which sold the book. The ad ran successfully for many years and sold hundreds of thousands
So what does this have to do
with turning your advertising into an irresistible customer magnet?
Here’s what. Behind the title and headline is a “secret code” that makes it
powerful. Dale knew it. Great advertising copywriters know it. And now, you’re going to know it, too.
The “secret code” is
actually a generic formula that gets attention and creates desire in your
prospect’s mind. Every winning
headline has a unique generic formula hidden inside. Here’s the formula in Dale Carnegie’s book title and headline:
How to _____ and _____.
Let’s see the formula at
work. Say you are an executive
recruiter, and you help companies find new executives. In reality, your biggest problem is finding the executive candidates in
the first place. So, to increase
your group of candidates, you decide to run an ad in your local business
journal. Here’s how you could use
this formula to write a headline for your ad:
How to Get a Better Job and Make More Money
right after reading that headline, anyone who’s even a little interested would
want to read your ad immediately. Then, if your copy (text) is even
halfway decent, you’d get plenty of calls.
Or, let’s say you run a
martial arts school. Here’s how
you could apply the formula in an advertising headline to get you new students:
How to Stay Fit and Protect Yourself
Do you see how powerful that
is? You’ve just zeroed-in on
people who are likely to be interested in learning martial arts.
The brutal reality of
advertising: An ad with a good
headline and even mediocre copy will get you a response and generate
sales. But with a poor headline,
even the most brilliant copy will get you little or no response. Why? Because without a good
headline to get their attention, most people won’t read any further.
The good news is, once you have
identified a good headline that works in one industry or market, you can adapt
it (like we did with the Dale Carnegie headline, above) for your own business. Great headlines work as subject lines in emails, titles on Web pages, and
of course as headlines in print ads and sales letters. Great headlines will literally transform your sales.
How does this work in today’s
Recently a client asked me to
help him introduce a new service to Internet Service Providers. (Note: To understand what you are about to read, you should know that
ISPs call their suppliers “backbone providers.”) I wrote a direct mail letter and my client sent it out to ISPs. Because my client was revealing new information his prospects hadn’t
heard before, we used the following “teaser headline” on the front of the
What Your Backbone Provider Isn’t Telling You
Was this an entirely original
headline? No. I had seen a similar “teaser headline” on a successful mailing to
promote an investment newsletter:
What Your Broker Isn’t Telling You About
So I merely identified the
“secret code” in the original winning headline, and applied it to my
client’s market, ISPs.
The response to the mailing was
overwhelming! Nearly 10% of
the entire ISP industry responded to our letter – and my client has added eight
figures of new annual revenues as a result of the business that developed.
I’m telling you this not to
brag, but to point out the awesome power of good headlines. While many people spend hours and hours trying to come up with “the
perfect headline” for their ads, there is an easier way. Find proven headlines that already work for another business in another
industry, and adapt them to your business.
prepare for a flood of new customers!
David Garfinkel has
been described as “the world’s greatest copywriting coach.” He’s a successful results-oriented copywriter and the author of “Advertising
Headlines That Make You Rich,” which shows you how proven
money-making headlines customized for your business can
increase your profits by 1700%.