Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How to Stop Wasting 80% of your Ad Budget

So, did the HEADLINE of this post, make you want to read more?

Joe Dager of Business901.com recently wrote this piece concerning HEADLINES:

You're flipping through this publication as you wait for your latte, when suddenly you decide to stop and read an ad. What made you stop? I'll bet it was a headline.

It is a scientifically proven fact that 5 times as many people read headlines as read the body copy of an ad. So with the headline, an advertiser has spent about 80% of their advertising dollar. It doesn't take a genius to realize then the headline is the most important part of any ad.

Yet, most small business advertising is wasted for lack of an effective headline or, worse yet, no headline at all. Don't make this same mistake.

The headline is the first thing that your reader or prospect sees when they open your letter, browse a magazine, or flip your postcard. In that moment, (about 3 seconds) your reader decides whether or not to read any farther.

So first and foremost, any advertisement you produce must have a headline and your headline must grab your reader's attention immediately. If you don't grab them by the throat and hold them right away, you never will.

Writing powerful headlines is not easy but it can be done if you follow some simple guidelines.

1. Your headline should give the reader a reason to stop and read now instead of later - a carefully chosen word or two can create urgency

2. Your headline should communicate something the reader considers valuable - they need to be able to justify the time spent reading your ad

3. Your headline should scream how you might offer something that is unique or at least interesting

4. Your headline should point to something very specific for the reader - use facts and how to's

Using these points as a guide to create your headlines allows you to create headlines that hook your reader quickly, offers them a benefit they want, and gives them a reason to read on.

Never use boring, conventional or overused statements and never use a headline to trick your reader into looking on.

Attention Getting Power Words for Your Headlines

Look at powerful headlines and you will see that many contain one or more of the following words that sell.

Discover Easy

Free New
Proven Save
Results Introducing
At Last Guarantee Bargain Easy
Quick Sale
Why How To
Just Arrived Now

Here are some headlines that fall in the "Headline Hall of Fame" category for their design and their effectiveness over time. Again, some may seem corny or simple, but they are considered great headlines because they have worked over and over again.

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Start off by writing some headlines that clearly communicate your promise, benefit or USP. Then look for ways to make them even more powerful by adding a power word or two and checking if they contain at least 3 of the guidelines provided above.

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