Get The Reader’s Attention
You have three seconds to persuade potential clients to visit your website and to take the action you had carefully described in the previous chapter.
You need to grab attention in today’s busy world. Many business websites start their homepage with a big, bold Welcome. However, this doesn’t attract readers. It’s quite clear that if you don’t grab readers’ attention immediately, there’s a good chance they won’t bother to read the rest of your web copy, no matter how great it is.
A benefit-rich headline is the key to a home page that stands out. You can also overcome the all-too-common Short Attention Span Syndrome, (SASS), which causes website visitors to leave without signing up for your newsletter, requesting a consultation, or investing in your solutions.
A 3 Second or Less Exercise to Grab Website Visitors’ Attention
When creating a headline that is hot, there are 10 formulas I use. We’ll be covering them in a moment. Before you start writing your headline, you need to brainstorm the MESSAGE that you want to convey.
When brainstorming your headline, think about the transformations that your clients have experienced. It’s not enough to simply talk about the services you provide, but you should also talk about how you can help your readers achieve their goals.
This is a quick exercise that will help you get your wheels turning. These are the blanks.
I can help you (or your target market) to get rid of pain_________.
I can help you achieve/accomplish/receive your ___ (target market)___.
Your headline will focus on either the PAIN they are feeling or the RELIEF that they seek.
Perhaps you’re a career coach, and your homepage is used to offer a free report about finding a better job. They might feel trapped in a job they don’t like or aren’t earning enough. RELIEF may be to find out how to get their next job interview or land their next promotion.
(Hint) You should alwaysuse a catchy headline, even if they see the copy, to make sure they are interested enough to read your message. The example below is an older version of my homepage. In case you don’t understand the headline, it reads “Is Ho Hum web copy sabotaging your efforts to get clients online?”
A poor headline might not get people to stay long enough to read your copy, and then to take the action you want. If your headline is compelling and speaks directly to their goals or challenges, it will grab their attention and get them excited about what you have to share.
The question is now: HOW do you write a headline that stands out? Let’s get to the bottom of this issue.
How to stop website visitors from following you
Your homepage should have a headline that will grab attention and keep them engaged with the rest of the copy. This is very important because it will make it more likely that your readers don’t grasp the full impact of your message. They won’t read as much if they aren’t captivated by your headline. In the previous chapter, we discussed how to focus on the benefits of your products and services. This is what these headlines will help you to concentrate on. It is important to identify the main pain points of your target market.
You’ll let them know that if they are struggling with something, you are available to help. This will make them feel that you are listening to them and help them to find the right solution. This is why headlines are so crucial. That’s where you will use the benefits you have found. For example, if you are a coach for business, it may be that your target market’s biggest challenges are finding clients and growing their business.
These are the problems you can focus on, and then you’re ready to offer your solution.
Many people struggle to find the right words to get website visitors to take action. But it doesn’t have be hard when you use these headline formulas. These are many of the headlines that John Caples has adapted from his Tested advertising Methods in which the best advertisements were studied and shared. Although you might believe that your home page is not related to advertising, the truth is that copywriting and advertising (which is the art of writing words that sell) heavily rely on studying human nature and how people make decisions.
These proven methods can be used by smart marketers to create persuasive copy for your home pages. Let’s now discuss the best headline formulas for your home page headline.
The Top 10 Headline Formulas That Stand the Test of Time
Let’s get started. We’re going talk about the top headline formulas I use in my business. Today, we will go over 10 of them. As I mentioned, these are powerful headlines that work. These powerful headlines have been tested and proven to work over time.
Headline Formula #1: Start with the word “Introducing”
Okay, the headline formula we want to discuss today is the “Introducing” word.
The word “Introducing” will help you grab their attention. This is because the human mind wants to learn about anything new. If you tell people you are introducing something, it is letting them know it’s new, unique, and something they might not have known before. It’s going to at least grab their attention enough for them to ask, “Okay, so what is this?” That’s when they will pay attention to what you are talking about.
Let’s take, for instance, a career coach who is promoting a course that helps people land their next promotion. A headline could read, “Introducing a little-known shortcut to landing your next promotion.” This headline actually has a few things going on. The headline formula uses the word “Introducing” and some power words are used. We’ll discuss these later. Let’s return to our example: “Introducing a Shortcut to Landing Your Next Promotion.”
This statement is powerful for anyone who is looking to move up the career ladder, and may be interested in working as a career coach. This is how you reach out to your top prospects. You need to ask them what they are thinking right now, and then focus on it. That’s the first, so start with “Introducing”.
Headline Formula #2 – Use other announcing statements
You can use “Introducing” instead of “Introducing”, or you could look for other words that communicate the same announcing quality as:
* “Announcing…” is similar, because we are still talking about the new, announcing quality. It means “here’s something you shouldn’t miss” or “here’s something you should check out”. For example, you might say “An Important Announcement to Website Owners”, if you have a guide that will help website owners get more conversions. Your website copy should then explain to readers what your product is, how it works, and provide all the information they need to purchase your product.
* “Finally…” This could be “Finally Business Coaching That Doesn’t Break The Bank” or something similar. You want to let people know that what you are offering is a long-awaited solution. People have been waiting for the solution, and now you are finally releasing it.
* “Just published…” This is an email marketing guide for solo entrepreneurs. This is a new product that’s just being released. This is a brand new product, so encourage people to try it. Because it is something new, it will grab their attention.
* “Presenting…” As an example, “Presenting an Email Market Guide Only for Lawyers.”
* “At last…” Another big one you might have seen. “At last, a free report that is choc-full of content, at last business coaching that doesn’t break the bank, whatever, because people are still waiting for this and they’re getting it.
Headline Formula #3 – Start with the word “New”
You might try “New Method of Maintaining Your Personal Finances.” This might work well for you if you are a financial planner or bookkeeper and have a brand new service that makes it easy and cost-effective for them to review their personal finances. This will grab the attention your target market.
Headline Formula #4: Add a Timeframe
Let’s suppose you have a course, system, or program that teaches people how to speak a foreign tongue in six weeks. This timeline will appeal to someone who wants to learn a foreign language. It’s fast and achievable.
Perhaps you offer a free report on how to create a resume in just 15 minutes. You can also quit smoking in two weeks.
People feel more connected when they have a defined time frame. It feels more realistic and achievable to reach their goal. You find yourself thinking “Okay, I’m taking this course and I’m going learn how to do X in X timeframe.” Your system will be more convincing if it is tied to deadlines. This is because you need a process to prove that people can reach certain goals by a given deadline. It subconsciously increases your credibility.
You can also combine multiple headlines if you want to go crazy. A good example would be “New Audio Course teaches you how to learn conversational Spanish in just six weeks.”
This is the fourth headline formula. Be sure to include a timeframe.
Headline Formula #5 – Write your headline in News Style
By that, I mean to write it as if you were writing a news story. This will be especially powerful as readers love to read information that isn’t just a bunch of advertisements. If your headline is written in news style, readers will be more inclined to read it. It’s telling them they’re going learn something useful. You could write, “Better Website conversions are finally here” and then discuss new software that will help them get more conversions.
Headline Formula #6 – Feature the Price
You should also include the price in your headline. Let’s suppose you have an ebook that costs $24. This e-book has a variety of formulas and techniques that your clients and you have used to increase revenues by at least three times. Your processes have helped people to make an average of $2,000 more each month or $24,000 annually. Your e-book has simple ways that people can increase their income by thousands. For example, you could write a headline like “Would It Take $24 to Gain $24,000 More Revenues?” This powerful statement is because it’s so obvious. I mean, really, who wouldn’t spend $24 to earn $24,000?!
Headline Formula #7 – Tell a Story
Most people love reading stories. This is why we read magazines and newspapers. We want to be educated, but also to enjoy the stories of others. These stories can be fiction or nonfiction. But we love reading about the effects of things on other people. A newspaper ad that ran for many years featured the headline “How I improved my memory in one evening” as a great example.
The body copy described how the reader used this new memory course to significantly improve his memory in just one night. This is quite powerful.
Another headline was “How I became popular overnight.” Popularity is another hot topic. This ad promoted a course that teaches people how to be liked by others.
Use your story if you have one! Consider a story about a business coach that doubled his income in one year. You might also include the secrets you have learned to get clients and grow your business. A headline might say, “How to Double My Business Growth in One Year” or “How to Bring in a steady stream of new clients Month after month.” People will be more interested in something you did or did. This also encourages the notion that others could achieve similar results if they could do it themselves.
It’s a non-pushy way of telling them, “Here is what I did…”. This also plants the seed in their heads that if they can accomplish something for themselves, then so can they. Then you can tell them your story to reinforce their belief and excitement about going from point A to B as you did. This is how it should look. We’ll discuss how to do this in a later chapter.
Let’s just say that telling your story is a great way of capturing interest. It’s also much easier to write this style because it’s not forced. In website copy, you’re simply writing from the perspective of someone who was in difficulty to another person who is in distress.
You are not trying to manipulate anyone or push anything, but you are simply sharing your story.
This might sound like “I was struggling.” I was struggling to make ends meet, so I tried this, that and this and got more clients. Then I began increasing my income and people began to come to me. And then I got more clients. Now I have all these wonderful clients with which I am happy and I want you to do the same.
You can paraphrase, but I hope you get the idea.
Headline Formula #8 – Start with “How to…”
Although this formula might seem straightforward, it’s extremely powerful both in advertisements and in content (such your website content). People love how-to information. Many of us are self-sufficient and want to be able to improve our lives. This is a very popular technique. Here are some examples:
How to gain a steady stream of high-paying clients
“How to end your money worries for good”
It’s intriguing, right? Then, you will give some practical information in your copy. While you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) give the farm away, you should give some tips and tricks. This is a slightly different approach to your homepage. The information is informative, but you then direct them to a specific call to action. Then you invite them to find out more.
This headline formula will require you to provide actual information, not just marketing copy. This is going to be a benefit to your cause as people will see that you are knowledgeable and appreciate the fact that you shared information. If they are ready to accept your invitation, they will be more likely take you up on it.
Headline Formula #9 – Begin with “Who Else?”
For instance, “Who Else Wants to Find the Love of their Lives in 60 Days or Less?”
I used it on my home page as a reference. It is “Who Else Wants a Website that Attracts Clients Authentically and Nearly Effortlessly?”
The idea is that you have the knowledge and the ability to share it with others. It’s a kind of exclusivity thing that is very big, if there’s a way to make it so people can be part of this group.
This formula is a way to say, “All these people know this secret, and they are already benefiting by this secret; who else would want to know?” Then, other people who are interested in those results will be motivated and excited to sign up to receive your free gift, buy your product, or take any other action that you desire.
Headline Formula #10 – Use a Testimonial
This formula would allow you to use a testimonial-style headline. You could use the example of “I Was Going to Fail Until I Discovered The Secret To Success.”
If you are a financial planner or help people save money, then “How Sally Saved $1 million in 10 Years” is the right title. (Officially, you should always ask permission to use customer testimonials.
You can use this formula, as with the others, to get readers interested and possibly seeing the same results.
If you have clients who are willing to give testimonials and case studies, this formula can be very effective. If a client comes to you and says, “Oh my goodness, I was on the road to bankruptcy. The tips and techniques you shared during our business coaching really helped me turn the corner.”
Side note: If you use a third-party testimony, you should put quotation marks around it so that readers know right away that the statement is not from you. You can also start your body copy by describing how Jane Doe’s testimonial was written and how she helped you. This will allow readers to see themselves in the shoes of your client and show you how you can help them.
How to use power words to make your web copy shine
Let’s now talk about power words! These words are words that elicit emotion, excitement, and so on. They are words that spark emotion, excitement, etc. in readers. You can engage them by making your readers feel and see your message, rather than just reading it. This makes them more likely to read your page, hopefully to the call to action at the end.
Let’s begin with the headline. You absolutely need to use power words if you want it to make sense.
(If you are interested in a free copy of 101 Power Words that you can use in your website copy, please visit http://writeassociate.com/101powerwords.
These powerful words should be included in your headlines to increase the interest of passersby.
Example: (power words are underlined), Explode Product Sales with Facebook Ads.
Power words can be used in benefit statements. We’ll discuss this in detail in a later chapter. Side note: I love love to use power words in benefit statements. They can be used to get your message across and get readers excited about your solution. It’s so powerful. (Learn more.)
These power words can be used in many different ways. They are used primarily as adjectives to help people understand what you offer and get excited about it. These words can be used in the title of your book/product, such as “10 Stunning Success Strategies the Gurus aren’t Teaching You” or “10 Shocking Secrets that the Most Successful Authors Don’t Know You Do.”
Because people want to feel part of an elite group, “Elite” is another powerful power word. If you plan to promote your membership site on your home page, you could promote it as an elite VIP group of rising business stars. This is because it’s something that people who want to become a top-rising star in business would love to be a part of.
You can also use words such as elite or VIP to highlight your inner circle. People who are accepted into the program are considered special, exclusive and special. This phrasing should be used only if you are truly accepting only a limited number of people or people who fit a specific profile. It’s about making the right appeal to the right people, and not trying to force or mislead.
If you have “insider knowledge,” you can tell them if you have worked in the same industry for years. This can help you get ahead. One example is my client who was an editor at a major NYC publishing house before starting her own publishing consulting company. She helped authors write books that were noticed by busy editors. As a former editor, she was able use this “insider knowledge” to assist her clients.
When to use power words to get noticed
If you have a descriptive phrase or word, think about how it can be improved to make it more interesting for your readers. Your home page should have both power words and plain-jane phrases. Otherwise, it will be too flashy. These words and phrases can be used at your own discretion. However, they do have power. These are the power to engage, excite, and intrigue.
Take a look below at some examples where I have “juiced up” (a.k.a. power word) alternative to otherwise painful words and phrases. You will notice how power words can inspire images, sounds and even physical sensations.
Plain Jane example
Alternative to Power Word
Hot, white hot, boiling, on fire.
Tap into, discover, reveal, master, perfect, unveil
Amazing, stunning, blinding, sensational.
New, cutting-edge technology, available now, never seen before.
Only for your eyes, confidential, insider and secret, behind the curtains, VIP, classified, underground
How to choose a domain name that stands out
Let’s not forget about power words in your domain name. This is how you can quickly draw attention to your website from people who might not otherwise notice it.
You could have YourName.com as your domain name, but if you see a post on social media that contains YourName.com, what chance do you have of visiting it? If the post is compelling, it’s unlikely.
Let’s imagine, on the other hand that you visit a Twitter account listing a domain of MoreWebsiteProfits.com.
This domain is for you if you are interested in using it to grow your business and attract customers. You should at least visit the site to read more.
The website GetReadersOnDemand.com is a similar example.
Because it is a problem they are trying to solve, authors will likely stop right there.
There are many benefits to using Power Word domain names:
They can be used when you don’t have much time to explain your ideas. In-person networking is when you only have 30 seconds to make a lasting impression. People will remember your domain name if they are familiar with it.
People who are interested in your services will ask for more information or visit your site later.
They can give a brief overview of your work and the people you help. For example, MarketingForHealer.com.
You can purchase a cheap domain and point it at your existing website. This eliminates the need to build a new website.
You can still have YourName.com and YourBusinessName.com as your main domain, but pointing a power-word-enriched domain to it as well as promoting that domain wherever possible is a simple and quick way to be noticed by the right prospects.
All the pieces are in place
Now, your task is to:
If you have not yet, complete the exercise to create your headline message.
Select a headline for your homepage.
To download your 101 Power Words Report, visit http://writeassociate.com/101powerwords
You can choose from 2-3 headlines to use on your homepage. If it isn’t the hit you expected, you can always modify it later.
You can brainstorm 2-3 URLs for your website and then decide which one to use. (Hint: Get input from colleagues/clients before purchasing the domain).