How important are headlines?Written by Bob Osgoodby
Studies show that you have less than five seconds to get attention of a reader. Think about your daily newspaper. Most people scan paper. If headline gets their attention, they will probably read rest of article. If it doesn't, they probably skip over that story, and continue scanning until they see something of interest.
The first thing that should be seen is your headline. If you look at your Newspaper, headlines are usually short, in a larger type, bold print, and give a good idea as to what article is all about.
The same holds true when writing an advertisement. If your headline is weak, your ad probably won't get read. Your headline can make or break your ad campaign.
Probably most difficult copy to write is for a classified ad. You only have four or five lines to get your message across including your headline. If you can put your headline in bold print, that will make it stand out. If you can't, consider adding special characters such as ## your headline ##. We are conditioned to read letters and numbers, but not special characters. This will help your headline to stand out.
Another trick is to use white space. A headline that is centered on first line of ad is more noticeable than one that is buried in rest of text. If your headline is short (3 or 4 words) consider using ALL CAPS. Notice I said - consider. Never put your entire ad in all caps as we are not conditioned to read something written that way. Also, many people take offense to something written in all caps. That is considered as SHOUTING, at least on Internet.
Don't Blame the MessengerWritten by Bob Osgoodby
I recently had a call from a fellow in Scotland and taking into account time difference, it was about 2PM there. He called to complain that ad he placed with us two weeks ago, hadn't produced any leads. While he was venting, I looked up ad he had submitted.
He was in an affiliate program, and they provide a personalized web site, which not only gives information about program, but also tracks leads. He didn't include web site in his ad, and his only method of contact was by email. The ad he originally submitted was full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, which we had cleaned up prior to posting.
As he slurred his way through conversation, I realized that he probably had a very long liquid lunch, and when I tried to explain what he needed to do, he called me a "con artist" and hung up.
Now is this to be expected if you provide web space, or run an ezine which allows advertising? Not usually, but as in real life, there are people like this on web. Ad space in an ezine or on a web site, is just that - space, and web has no magic. If you write a bad ad, you will not get responses. The same ad in a print publication, such as a newspaper or magazine, would yield same results. You can't blame messenger, in this case space provider, if your ad doesn't produce.
Many people have fantastic results with this type of advertising, and they all have a few things in common. They are selling a quality product at a reasonable price, and have taken time to develop a good ad. They also realize that only purpose of ad is to get someone to request more information. They all have a web site that gives complete details, and where they make actual sale.
Just having a quality product or program at a reasonable price is not only thing you need. You must advertise it in an intelligent manner. The ad you place is referred to as "tease". If this is done properly, it gets you to next step in sales process, and that is "education" stage. People want information about product or service they are about to buy.