Are you sabotaging your marketing efforts before they even have a chance to work? You could...be if your blogs, newsletters, reports, ads, and emails have boring headlines.
Research shows that the average internet user will read eight out of 10 headlines but that only two of 10 people will read the actual articles. A study by Columbia University and the French National Institute also reveals that 59 percent of Twitter users retweet links after reading only the headline.
These statistics demonstrate that your potential fencing customers are making snap decisions on whether to read your content or move on to something else. And they are using your headlines as the determining factor.
It does not matter how good your copy is if people do not read it, right? So how can you make a better first impression and grab your reader’s attention with this valuable tool? Here are 10 tips for writing killer headlines for all your marketing materials.
1. Know your customers.
Here is where it pays to know your demographics. What are your fencing customers in your community looking for? Sale prices? Free installation? New colors? Fences for home security? Fences for their animals? Headlines that attract attention offer something new and exciting to your readers. Here are a couple of examples:
Five new vinyl fence colors just in time for spring gardening
Did you adopt a puppy? Here is how to keep him safe in the backyard
Write a headline that incorporates the “focus keyword” or “keyword phrase” of your content. This Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactic will help your article appear higher in Google and other search engines. Keep the keywords and phrases short and to the point for best results.
3. Offer knowledge.
Your potential customers are looking for answers to their questions and problems. Help them know that your content is worth their time with a headline that shows they will learn some valuable information. Here are two ideas:
Five Ways to Keep Your Kids and Pets Safe in the Backyard
These Fences Will Make Your Life Easier and Safer
4. Ask a question.
You can use the problems you solve in your content to write a question as your headline. Here are two examples:
Are you tired of painting your aging wood fence?
Does your property need a face-lift?
Do fences really make good neighbors?
5. Use numbers.
You may have already noticed that a couple of the examples we have used have numbers. Readers gravitate to articles with numbers in their headlines. Why? Numbers give us an idea of how long the article will take to read and how much information it offers. They help us feel that reading the piece will be a good use of our time.
6. Become a headline reader yourself.
Start noticing what makes you click into an article or an email. Do you notice any trends or patterns in your behavior? Try using your own tastes and preferences as a guide for writing catchy headlines for others.
7. Embrace technology.
There are some cool online tools to help you come up with catchy headlines. For example, for this article, we tried a tool called Portent’s Content Idea Generator. We plugged in “How to write killer headlines” and got the following suggestions:
Writing Better Headlines Could Get You on The Today Show
Where Writing Better Headlines Is Headed in the Next Five Years
A Foolproof Guide to Writing Better Headlines
20 Surprising Ways Writing Better Headlines are More Refreshing than New Socks
Hmmm. We’re not sure about our chances of getting on The Today show, but we did like the sense of humor in some of the suggestions we found. And it only takes a few seconds to get results.
8. Use a quote from the content.
You can pull a quote from the article or ad copy itself to make an attention-grabbing headline. Just remember that if it is a direct quote from a source, place it in single quotation marks.
Statistics taken from your content can make your headline pop too. Here’s are examples:
80% of Readers Read Only the Headline
New Study Finds Vinyl Fences Last 30 Years
9. Brainstorm a list of options.
If you find yourself stuck on writing a headline, try making a list of whatever comes to mind. Be creative and just let your ideas flow. Play with words and phrases. You might be surprised by what you come up with.
Run a few of these ideas by friends or colleagues to see what appeals to them.
Another idea is to do a test run of two different headlines to see which one gets the better results. You can use what you find out to write better headlines in the future.
10. Write the headline last.
You can use a proposed headline as a guide for preparing your content, but you should feel free to change it later. You may come up with something that is more relevant or more eye-catching after you have written the article or ad copy.
For example, we started with “How to write headlines that get results” for this newsletter. We decided to follow our own advice by tweaking the title to “10 Tips for Writing Killer Headlines.” If you made it this far, we made the right headline choice!
One more thing: test your headlines. You readers will not lie. They will tell you—based on their response—whether or not your headline worked. That is the true test!