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Friday, July 23, 2010

INTERNET MARKETING: THE SCIENCE OF SUCCESS: How to Get People to Do What You Want - The Top 5 How-To's for Effective Headlines

Internet Marketing: The Science of Success with Joyanne Sloan

Internet Marketing Success Guide

One of the difficult truths we all face as authors is toiling away at your masterpiece, only to have it linger in the world of countless unread e-mails, newsletters, and well-intentioned articles. And while your finished piece may be nothing short of eloquent and compelling, if you don't have a powerful headline, your writing may never find its way into the minds of your readers.

Even if you don't consider yourself to be a genuine “author”, any writing you do for business purposes demands careful attention to your all-important headline. After all, when the reader opens, consumes end enjoys what you've written, then and ONLY then, is there a chance that they might forward your work to their contacts. In other words, you can never leverage the power of viral marketing without FIRST distinguishing your writing from the ocean of lackluster content that makes up the web.

Headlines can take many forms including e-mail subject lines, article or blog titles or the name of that book you always wanted to publish. No matter which way you look at it, headlines are ultimately window dressing; providing an enticing peak at what's in store. Your assignment (should you choose to accept it) is to lure your prospects into your sales funnel through the use of persuasive language.

Writing truly effective headlines is more of an art than it is a science. And writing powerful headlines means finding the right combination of ideas that don't merely attract attention, but encourage ACTION. And the action that you want your readers to take is up to you.

The importance of influencing IF and WHEN your readers take those actions YOU DECIDE are desirable, cannot be overstated. But of course, whether or not you can get people to do what you want begins with how you begin that communication.

Here are the top 5 how-to's for writing effective headlines

  1. Make it engaging: throughout the ages of marketing, there are three sales devices which professionals recognize as being reliable at driving consumer action. Those devices are curiosity, scarcity, and controversy.

    Controversial headlines are the ones that consistently sell tabloid newspapers including fantastic claims such as 'Three-legged Child gives birth to pygmy goats'. Unbelievable? Yes. Effective? Indeed!

    Scarcity-based headlines are most commonly employed by big retailers because they know how supremely effective the idea of “not enough” is when it comes to driving demand. You've seen this marketing device in circular fliers and commercials promoting 24-hour sales. Those deep discounts compel the earliest-birds to duke it out with other shoppers for the best (but limited!) bargains.

    Last, but certainly not least, the use of headlines that trigger curiosity are probably the most commonly employed sales device both in print and online. You will certainly recognize the use of curiosity in titles such as “How I tripled my income and told my boss to kiss off” or “Discover this little known tip for melting belly fat as you sleep”.

  2. Make it specific – Truly the best headlines are those that speak directly to the needs and desires of the varying segmented markets that comprise your consumer base. Simply put, a targeted title will significantly increase response rates because it connects so directly with your customer's pain point.

  3. Make it personal – Every good headline is one that focuses not on your business, brand, or offerings but on how the information contained in your writing impacts the well-being of your readers. As you experiment with different headlines, always ask if what you've written sufficiently answers your your customers' primary question: What's in it for me?

  4. Make it keyword rich – The point of using in-demand keywords within your headline is that, if you're writing is published online, you will realize considerably more search engine benefit if you avoid using fanciful titles or other forms of creative writing. What I'm saying is that you need to go with the flow (and the flow is where the greatest number of searches are being conducted for a given keyword or keyword phrase). You can use Google's free Adwords tool to quickly determine the global search volume for any keywords you're considering.

  5. Make it benefit rich – Far too commonly, entrepreneurs love to extol the virtues of their products and services. The problem with this approach is that the focus typically ends up on the features of your offering instead of highlighting the benefits that any given feature provides to your clients. The producers of infomercials have absolutely mastered the use of benefits. If you have cable TV then you know that a huge number of channels are dedicated to nothing but infomercials. As you flip through those channels, you don't see shows titles such as 'Abdominal Power Machine'. Rather, they orient their titles to the product benefits and give their shows a name like 'Look Good Naked'.

For further reading on this topic I suggest The 100 Greatest Headlines Ever Written by Jay Abraham which is a particularly useful article because it explains WHY each of these headlines is effective.

Joyanne Sloan is a strategic marketing expert sharing insights on effective Internet marketing for low-tech entrepreneurs. Her articles and information products provide practical, plain-English marketing solutions that get real results. For private consulting, you may reach her at 206.388.3882 or by e-mail at

For more information, please visit Joyanne's TNNWC Bio.

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1 comment:

Grandma said...

Joyanne - Welcome to TNNWC. I love this article. You've shared the specifics with clarity and it's easy to follow. I'm committing to doing a better job to capture my readers. Well done and will be eager to learn what you next have to offer! Your writing colleague, Bonnie Ross-Parker

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