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Your Headline Is Your Ad For Your Ad!

Apr 13, 2008
The only purpose of a headline is to target the person you want to reach and to sell that person on wanting to read the rest of your ad. You have zero chance of closing the sale unless you get a hearing with your prospect.

The name of your company is NOT a headline! The name of your company belongs in the signature (usually the bottom) of the ad. Remember how people read a newspaper: they look for headlines and illustrations that interest them.

I could fill an entire book with rules for writing good advertising headlines. Instead, I will make the case for how important your headline is in your ad.

Five times as many people will read your headline (if you have one!) as will read the body copy of your ad.

An effective advertising headline is NOT just a word or a few words in bold type at the top of the ad.

And it is NOT the name of your company.

Effective headlines are rarely set in ALL CAPS. Upper and lower case are much easier to read. A few real-life headline examples:

It Is National Safety month
Who cares except possibly you? No reason to read this ad. B-O-R-I-N-G!

Safety is Job #1 for all homeowners
Really? Who says so and why should I care? Page turned. Ad gone.

Is keeping your family safe worth 54 cents a day? Now we are getting somewhere. That is an engaging question. I might give this ad some further attention. See the difference?

USED CAR BONANZA! EVERY CAR ON OUR LOT ON SALE!!! LOWEST PRICES EVER OFFERED ALL YEAR!!!
Have you ever wondered why 99.9% of auto ad headlines scream and shout? So have I! Somewhere there is an unknown auto ad college that teaches courses like Cram it and Jam it 101!

Is car bargaining worse than a root canal?
This headline is somewhat of an extreme departure, but given some compelling copy, I will bet lunch that this one would attract more attention than the sky-rocket-lowest-price-ever-best-deal-on-the-planet headlines you see in every newspaper in every town.

Your headline IS the advertisement for your advertisement.

Never worry about whether your headline is long or short. Use the number of words you need to get the attention of your target audience.

Write and re-write your headline several times. Here is a case where you truly do not have a second chance to make a first impression.

Once your headline gets the attention of your target audience, copy closes the sale... or at least gets the phone to ring or persuades a person to come into your business.
About the Author
Bob Schumacher books and articles give entrepreneurs a clear coffee-shop English perspective on how to steer their business or profession into the top 20% who achieve 80% of the business and profits. Visit http://www.20do80.com for a complete directory of his articles and books.
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