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Creating powerful headlines is perhaps the single most important aspect of any marketing copy you create. The way they are crafted will determine whether prospects stand up and shout "tell me more" or just surf on by without a second thought!
Here are some important areas where you need to use powerful headlines in your online marketing materials...
E-mail Signature lines:
Your e-mail sig. file should always be a compelling headline. Considering that email marketing is such a highly effective medium and it's used on a daily basis a powerful headline is a necessity. Extremely long signature files that scream out to a reader "I'm an ad and I'm trying to sell you something" are less likely to produce the response that a short attention-grabbing headline will.
When creating banner ads one needs to keep in mind that its the words being used that determine whether a banner will have a high click through ratio. Sure flashing graphics will draw people's attention towards the banner but ultimately it's your use of words that will put people in the clicking mode. A short and to the point headline that delivers the most important benefit of clicking on that banner is a must.
Search Engine Listings:
This is an area that is disregarded by many. Both the title and description of your listing need very careful planning. Considering that these are basically headlines which people simply scan, your listing must stand apart from the competition and demand attention. While being listed in the top ten search results will bring in traffic... a top ten listing with powerful headlines used for both the title and description is likely to be clicked on two or three times more frequently. The trick here is to craft your headlines in a way that includes important keywords but also continues to deliver the ultimate benefit.
If you publish articles in ezines, magazines, or newspapers, then an effective headline will ensure that article is read by a greater audience. If you're trying to deliver valuable information and want as many people to have that information as possible, then you should always include a well thought out headline and one that you might even use for a sales letter!
Sales letters are certainly the most important place where a powerful headline should be used. A dynamite headline can increase the readership of your sales letter ten fold and in turn increase your sales. After all, the more people that are encouraged to read your sales letter through the use of a powerful headline, the more people you are likely to convert into customers. When it comes to sales letters you should take the time to create a large number of headlines and continually test them to discover exactly which ones are producing the greatest response.
Your Web Site:
It doesn't matter whether your web sites sole purpose is to sell or its a content rich porthole, an effective headline should always be the first thing your visitors see. No doubt the purpose of any web site is to encourage visitors to explore it thoroughly and it's through the use of powerful headlines that enable us to dictate the path our visitors will take.
Ezine and Classified Ads:
Both ezine and classified ads should be considered expanded headlines. There are two important reasons for this. The first is that it's likely your ad will need to stand out in a pile of others running in the same publication. If it doesn't have a powerful headline then chances are your ad wont even be seen. The second reason is due to the fact that you're never going to be able to sell anything to anyone with such restricting word limits. The purpose of your classified ad is to get readers to click through to your web site or request an autoresponder for more information and that's where the selling is done. Even if your ad happens to be read, if the reader isn't curious enough to request further information or click through to your site then it's worthless.
If you exchange links with other web sites or you pay to have them displayed; if they aren't compelling headlines... then nobody's going to click on 'em. Take a look at the imagined links below for example:
Joe's Solar Powered Flashlights: We've been making quality flashlights since 1935. If you need a light when you're lost in the dark then please visit our web site for quality flashlights you can trust.
Joe's Solar Powered Flashlights: New! Solar Powered Flashlights... Twice as bright as standard flashlights and with no batteries to buy EVER... not only will you save money but you'll always be able to find your way home in the dark. CLICK HERE NOW!
Which of the above links would you be more inclined to click on?
There's no question about it; headlines are one of the most important aspects that will determine the success or failure of any online marketing material you create. This is even more important due to the pace at which most people surf the net. If you have text links on others sites, if you create banner ads, if you want to dictate where visitors travel through your site, then you need to pay careful attention to creating effective headlines.
Duncan Carver is a full-time online marketing consultant. Visit his web site at http://www.exchangingideas.com for free marketing advice and a free copy of "Secrets to Scientific Internet Advertising". A new eBook currently being sold online for $29... yours free just for stopping by