Choosing Headlines That Make Users Click

By: Ashley Young Headlines that grab the eyeballs of your readers and practically force them to devour your content are the only ones that count. A good headline will be responsible for getting a user from the first sentence to the last - where you make your call to action. But, so many companies screw up the headline because they’re afraid to be audacious. They’re afraid to be edgy. Ultimately, they’re being afraid to make money, and that’s not good for any company.

Read The Greats

The great marketers, like Gary Halbert, still have something to say - even from beyond the grave. Old classics, like Scientific Advertising, by Claude Hopkins, are still relevant - even though the book was published at a time when the Internet hadn’t even been conceived.

Why bother with history’s greatest marketer? Because they taught principles, and principles are timeless. For example, buried in Gary Halbert’s writings is the mantra that headlines account for about 80 percent of an ad’s success. It doesn’t matter whether it’s email-based ad, a print magazine ad, or a blog post. The principle is the same. Nail the headline, and the reader is yours.

Be Relevant

Local business marketing consultants, like Yodle, focus on being relevant for their customers. They have to in order to succeed. If you do business in a local context, the best thing you can be is relevant to your audience - to your target market. Why is relevancy important? Because users who are looking for local businesses will only look for local businesses.

So, when you write your email subject lines, or your blog posts, include the name of your city or town in there. It will let readers know that you are the go-to business for that area.

Even if you’re not local, you can still make your posts and subject lines relevant by being clear, concise, and to-the-point. Also, don’t do the whole bait and switch thing. Consumers are wise to that trick.

Be Audacious

Audacity is something you have to learn. You know that word or phrase that’s in your head, that’s not “PC,” that you know everyone else is thinking but won’t say? Say it. It’s going to offend some people. Those people aren’t your customers. The ones who are attracted to your controversy are and they’ll be some of the best customers you have. They’ll see you as a “straight-shooter” - someone who doesn’t pull any punches and “tells it like it is.”

Tease Your Audience Without Hype

There are a lot of ways to tease your audience without hyping your product or service. For example, if you run a pet supply-themed business, a headline like “5 Dog Toys That Hypnotize Any Jack Russell and Will Keep Them Occupied For Hours” will be an immediate turn-on for any owner of a Jack Russell Terrier. If you’ve ever owned one, or been friends with someone who owned one, you know they have a lot of energy.

And, owners are constantly trying to figure out ways to tire the dog out so it calms down. They can be quite unmanageable otherwise.

Use The Two-Parter

Headlines that come in two parts tend to work well for blog posts. For example, instead of using “Seven tips for…” you might write “The Dirty 7: How to…”. You see how both headlines conveyed the same or similar idea? But, in the “two-parter,” with the “:” as a separator between ideas, you’re able to work in a little more information and the headline doesn’t look like a hypey ad for something.

Address The Reader Directly, But Subtly

Never write in terms of “we” or “I” unless the nature of the post forces you to. It’s best to address the reader directly using “you.” Talk to them like they are the only person reading your email or blog post.


Ashley Young is a web marketing whiz. After years of honing successful strategies, she enjoys blogging about the innovations and effective methods for building great online marketing plans.


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