When a visitor arrives at your website, first thing they look at is headline. You have just a few seconds to make a good impression. Otherwise, they may not stick around to read rest of page.
Unfortunately, most small business websites waste huge opportunity to be gained from their headline. Typically, at top of page you’ll find company’s name. Or perhaps something like “Welcome to our website”.
Don’t make this mistake. If you’re serious about marketing your business on Internet, start by writing a truly compelling headline for your site.
I’m not saying it won’t take some effort to write a good headline. I sometimes try up to 100 different options when writing a client’s website before coming up with a headline that’s just right.
But here are 6 tips that will make headline writing process a whole lot quicker and easier for you.
Tip 1. Identify biggest benefit of your product or service.
This is foundation on which a top-notch headline is built. You need to take a piece of paper and write down all benefits your customer will receive from your product or service. What’s unique about your product or service?
Don’t neglect this step, or you’ll end up with a mediocre headline. If you’re already in business, you can ask some of your satisfied customers what they think biggest benefit of your product or service is. If you’re just starting out, you need to put yourself in shoes of your prospective customer and think what is biggest benefit you’re offering them.
Once you have a list of benefits, narrow it down to one most powerful benefit. This is starting point for your headline. A headline that’s centred around an appealing benefit is much more likely to attract interest than one that’s not benefit-centred.
Tip 2. Borrow ideas from other websites.
Don’t overlook obvious source of headline ideas that other successful websites can provide. I’m not suggesting you steal a headline word for word. That’s plagiarism and it’s unethical. But no one can take exclusive ownership of any word or phrase.
Most professional copywriters have what they call a “swipe file”. It’s full of great ideas they’ve picked up from other people’s copy, which they can then modify to fit particular situation they’re writing for.
You can do same. Look around at other great headlines that get your attention. Get some ideas. Then try to work them around your own product or service.
Here’s a couple of examples of how copywriters have adapted an original headline for a different purpose:
Original: “They laughed when I sat down at piano but they stopped when I started to play”. (John Caples)
Adaptation: “They laughed when I sat down at piano. They stopped when I picked it up.” (Gold’s Gym)
Original: Breakfast of Champions (Wheaties cereal)
Adaptation: Breakfast of millionaires (Forbes Magazine).
There are countless ways you can adapt a headline for your own purpose. Or even combine part of one original headline with part of another. Just use your imagination.
Tip 3. Brainstorm headline ideas with others.
I’ve found this enormously useful when I’ve been stumped for a headline. Another person can often add an insight that you’ve overlooked. Sometimes, I will run a possible headline past my wife and she’ll come up with a slightly different twist that is much better.
Just let ideas flow. It’s amazing what these kind of brainstorming sessions can come up with, even in just a few short minutes.