When Your Headline Sucks, It Doesn't Really Matter How
Good The Rest Of Your Copy Is. Here's What Not To Do:
1. Don't be clever. Most of the time, the urge to be clever is a short-cut to avoid doing the work of creating an enticing promise that will prepare the reader to take the action you are looking for. Resist the temptation; a straightforward headline almost always works better than a clever one.
2. Don't be boring. Remember that ultimately, what you are looking for is action. Action involves motion. Motion is prompted by emotion. And emotion is generated by excitement. Don't settle for a headline that is more likely to produce a yawn than anything else.
3. Don't assume your prospect knows what you know. It's easy to fall into the trap of forgetting all the time and effort you put into building the knowledge and expertise you have on the product, service or information you are marketing. Make the effort to turn back the clock, in your mind, to when you knew far less. Don't write your headline for sophisticated people; write for the person who needs to learn more.
4. Don't focus on your process. The founder of Scott's, the company that sells lawn care products, once said "People aren't buying grass seed from us. They're buying greener lawns." What this means is, people are not interested, initially, in how the seeds are selected, or developed, or, for that matter, stored or shipped (the process). People are interested in greener lawns (the end result). Don't focus on your process; focus on what the prospect gets.
5. Don't merely try to arouse curiosity. You have to do better than that if you want your prospect to get up enough of an emotional head of steam to be ready to buy, or take some other crucial action, after they finish reading your copy. Curiosity at the outset won't do it. Curiosity's good, but what's more important is desire. And intrigue.
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