How to write headlines

copywritingWhen it comes to writing a sales letter for your business, you must always remember the importance of the headline. It’s the most significant part of any piece of sales copy, as it’s the first thing the prospect sees when they land on your web page. As a result, it needs to intrigue, excite or shock, and pull the reader further into the letter. To help you out when writing your own headlines, here are a few useful pointers:

1. Get the length right – The headline itself should ideally be around 15-40 words long. Anything less and it won’t contain enough description to hook in the reader. Anything more and it will become overly long and tedious.

2. Be central, be bold – In terms of style and layout, it’s best to centre the headline on the page and use a large, bold font type. I normally go for black or red as I like the clean and tidy look. Plus, I find it stands out better on the page, although you can always go for equally strong colours like blue or green, depending on the background colour of your web page.

3. Make it easy to read – It’s always a good idea to stick to classic typefaces for your headlines, such as Arial, Georgia, Times or Tahoma, for example. The simple reason for this is that they are the easiest to read. The last thing you want to do is put your visitors off by using indecipherable fonts!

4. Tap into their emotions – The most successful headlines generate an immediate emotional response on the part of the reader. Buying decisions are frequently based on emotions, rather than actual needs, so if your headline can push your readers’ emotional hot buttons, you will make sales!

5. Push the main benefit – In order to give your product the best possible chance of selling, you MUST include the main benefit in the headline. I see so many headlines that fail to do this, where the writer instead attempts to work the clever, quirky or memorable angle. Whatever your product, there will always be one BIG benefit that will make it sell to its target market. Use it.

Follow these basic tips and you’ll stand a much better chance of constructing a powerful, eye-catching headline.

Nick Cobb

Useful Resources:

How to draw people in and make them want to buy
Bad copywriter, great headline!
Great headlines that brings results

Copywriting and the WIIFM question

copywriterWIIFM? “What the hell does that mean?” you’re probably wondering…

Well, it stands for “what’s in it for me?” and it’s a question that your visitors will always be asking, and one that you must always be trying to answer.

Any successful piece of direct response copywriting will focus squarely on the prospect, letting the reader know exactly how THEY are going to benefit from the product in question, and ultimately, how it’s going to provide a solution to their problem.

The fact is, the prospect’s needs and wants are the most important thing to bear in mind when writing any kind of copy…

After all, every single one of your visitors will want to know how your product will help THEM. They won’t really care who you are and what you’ve achieved. They won’t care about the length of time it took you to create whatever product or service you’re selling, or how thoroughly clever you are! They only care about how YOU can benefit THEM.

Ah, benefits…

Yes, exactly. Benefits.

That’s what you should be focusing on. The benefits your product can bring to the consumer.

Let’s say that you’re selling a muscle building product, for instance. The obvious benefits would be increased strength and confidence, washboard abs, bigger guns, greater sex appeal, more lovely ladies hanging on your every word. You get the drift.

Make those benefits the centrepiece of your material. Hammer them home. If you focus on the benefits and answer every visitor’s #1 question; “what’s in it for me?” I can absolutely guarantee that you’ll sell more products.

Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter

Useful Resources:

A copywriting shortcut: WIIFM?
WIIFM or what’s in it for me?

Sales psychology in copywriting

You don't need to see his copywriting...When I was growing up, the great Star Wars films of the 1970s and 80s competed alongside my Dad for the role of official teacher and mentor. They helped set my moral compass, taught me the difference between good and evil, the importance of loyalty, friendship and trust, and that freezing myself in carbonite will result in no, long-lasting side effects whatsoever.

Just like many other young boys growing up during those years, George Lucas succeeded in transporting me from my nerdy little house-bound existence full of SMP booklets and knob-filled Tricolores to a faraway galaxy choc-full of funny-looking monsters, saxophone playing aliens and a talking, self-propelled wheelie bin. Then came the prequels, the onset of CGI and the end of good old fashioned film-making as we know it. Boooo.

Anyway, what’s my point?

Do I even have one?

Ah, yes. You see, the (original) Star Wars trilogy left such a lasting impression on me that it’s served as inspiration for a phrase I’ve coined specifically for direct response copywriting.

The Jedi Mind Trick!

To give you an example of the Jedi Mind Trick in action, take a look at the following copy, often seen towards the end of a web page or sales letter:

Yes David, I would like to buy your awesome [product name] eBook right now!
I understand that this product will help me lose weight/make more money/build bigger muscles, etc
I also understand that the secrets revealed in this book cannot be found anywhere else…
Please send me a copy of your fantastic e-book before you have to raise the price…

Do you see how the style of the copy makes it look as though the customer has already made the decision to purchase? So, as funny as it may sound, you’re literally putting thoughts into people’s heads, just like Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Yep, there’s the link… finally!

And believe it or not, it really works!

It’s a very powerful psychological technique that essentially constructs the prospect’s response for them so that they’re more likely to buy the product in question.

This style of copy should typically be used towards the end of your sales letter or on your order page when you’re trying to convince an interested visitor to take the plunge and click on your “buy now” button. After all, if the reader has reached this far down the page, they are clearly very interested in the product and just require that final push.

So don’t be afraid to use something similar when trying to encourage your customers to buy. After all, if they don’t want the product, all they have to do is click away from your website.

But they won’t. Trust me. I’m a Jedi.

Well, that’s what the census says anyway.

Nick Cobb – Sales Letter Copywriter

Useful Resources:

Psychology is power
Use psychology to communicate with your customers

Why you should outsource your copywriting…

The fact is, not everyone can be a copywriter. It’s a skill like any other, and a discipline that takes time to learn and master. We all have certain areas of expertise, and other areas that we should steer clear of, because, generally speaking, most of us recognise our limitations.

Go on, outsource your copywritingIf I tried to rewire the electrics in my house, for instance, I’d probably blow the house up or fire myself through the nearest wall. So when I need something like that doing, I call up an expert and pay them to do it for me.

They get the job done 100 times faster than I would ever be able to, and they leave a lot less destruction in their wake. I could give it a go, sure. But it’s not something I’d enjoy, and it’s not where my skill-sets lie. I’d rather pay a professional, which will then leave me to concentrate on my business, and focus on what I’m actually good at.

And that’s what I mean by “outsourcing”.

If you’re not the best writer in the world, and you don’t have any experience with things like sales letters, digital products or website copywriting, then hire someone who does. That way, you’ll be able to free up more of your time to concentrate on what you’re good at, like building your business, for instance.

And don’t worry about the cost…

The fact is, a good copywriter will make you A LOT more money than you’ll have to spend in hiring them, because you’ll be investing in far superior sales material which will inevitably lead to more visitors staying on your web page and more orders for your business.

You know it makes sense!

Useful Resources:

Outsource your copywriting
Outsource your copywriting project and save bucks
Should you outsource or do it yourself?

My Freelance Copywriter Launched!

My Freelance Copywriter is go for launch!

Hi everyone, and welcome to the My Freelance Copywriter blog. The aim of this blog is to provide business owners and online entrepreneurs with handy tips and advice for improving the readability, visibility and money-making potential of their websites and sales letters.

In fact, the following blog posts will cover practically everything you’ll ever need to know about the art of copywriting for business! I’m going to be revealing a whole host of techniques and tactics that I use myself to write eye-catching, profit-pulling copy for my clients, so be sure to bookmark this blog and come visit me as often as you can!

And remember, if you really don’t want to spend time researching and writing your own copy, I can always do it for you. For a small fee, naturally!

I hope you enjoy the blog.

Nick