So you’ve got a piece of marketing collateral you’re working on (an email, landing page, direct mail piece or ad perhaps) and you just can’t figure out what to use for your headline. You’ve asked your friends and associates and they’ve given you some ideas, but you’re not sure which one is right for what you’re doing. How do you decide?
Separate your headlines into four groups
The whole offer-response experience (from ad to checkout/signup page) uses headlines similar to how a bento box uses a variety of different tastes at different times in a single meal (see picture):
- There are four major headline types
- Just about every type will be used somewhere in your offer response process (the meal)
- Some will do really well at certain stages of that process compared to others
So, take all the headlines you’ve got and organize them in these four groups. Some will have some overlap (think of combining tastes), so be sure and place those particular headlines in each group that it’s a part of. Your goal is to figure out the best tasting headlines in each category and then to place those tastes into the steps of the process where they work most effectively.
Group #1: Headlines that get attention
This particular breed of headline is one most used when someone is doing something else. It’s the kind that points to something (the other half of your marketing collateral), to say:
“STOP, don’t ignore me or get rid of me – I’m important”
Example: Save up to $100 a month on your electric bill
These are often used at the beginning of your funnel when you’re competing against other things like ads, articles, messaging, other life activities, etc. Also, they usually only tell just enough to get you to commit to click (half of the story). Think online banner advertising and direct mail: The headline is one of the only chances you have to stand apart.
Group #2: Headlines that show competitive superiority
This group of headline assumes an objection or hesitation to convert or even engage. It tells me:
“Choose me because I’m better (or even the best)”
Example: Get 25% More Energy from Our Patent-Pending Solar Panels
Sometimes it can focus on a specific competitor or even on a general perception in the competitive landscape (reconsider my type of product because I actually do it better than everyone else). These are sometimes combined with group #1 for a powerful beginning or used in the middle where the big decision is made.
Group #3: Headlines that emphasize the key benefit
These headlines are mostly for visitors that are at a major decision point. This type of headline usually says:
“This is why you should care,” or “This is the big idea: get it?”
Example: Cut Your Electric Bill by X% with Energy-Efficient Solar Panels
I’ve seen these used on landing pages and offer pages alike where the big decision is made (in the middle) to take the plunge into the form field funnel or not. This is different from group #1 in that completes the story or summarizes it in whole. In every offer-response experience, visitors have to truly get the real value exchange before they’ll give in.
Group #4: Headlines that identify location
Sometimes you just can’t convince a potential customer to engage simply because they have no idea where they are at or what’s being addressed. The sole purpose of these headlines is to bring clarity, to say:
“This is where you’re at/what we’re talking about”
Example: Most Popular Energy-Efficient Solar Panels
These are often used in the middle or even at the end of your funnel when genuine interest is present (generated and pre-existing). Once someone knows what they want they just need to know where they are at and where they need to go.
Choose the group that works best for your piece
Figure out what stage of the offer response experience your marketing collateral is in (beginning, middle or end) and confirm which taste of headline does the best job in getting the action you need.
If that goes well, you’ll likely be working on the other stages of the offer response experience and can start testing what you didn’t use on the previous collateral piece.
What other headline groups would you argue are integral in the complete offer response experience?
Images vs Copy: How getting the right balance increased conversion by 29% – Web clinic replay