How to Write Effective Ad Headlines

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.“ David Ogilvy

Very simply, online ads need to do three things:

  • Target the right group
  • Capture attention
  • Prompt action (click through)

An effective headline, therefore, is critical to having a successful online ad campaign.  Here are a few tips taken from writers, famous advertisers and researchers:

Use headline templates, which are based on headlines that have worked in the past:

  • Who else wants …?
  • The Secret of ….?
  • Little known ways to …
  • Get rid of <<problem>> Once and for All
  • Here’s a Quick Way to Solve <<problem>>

Be short and to the point. Less is more, so spend the time to cut out extras or swap out ho-hum words. (Who hasn’t at least read the “Cut Out Belly Fat” ads?)

Trigger strong emotion. Include language that appeals to core aspirations or fears. This useful Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer can help you test out several results.

Use questions. Some recent studies show that questions perform better than statements  by building intrigue and enticing a response from the reader. So consider leading with “What If you could…?” or “Would You…?”

Use specific numbers. Numbers and percentages (the more specific, the better) automatically lend a feeling of authority and measurable results. Consider “How to” –headlines such as “How to save on average $72.35 on your monthly electric bill”

Highlight real testimonials.  Faces and stories have natural appeal. Use a real quote and photo from a happy customer showing how “this product changed my life”.

Show big rewards. For example, “Be the #1 Sales person”.

Run A/B tests. After generating several compelling headlines, run smaller trials to see what performs best with your target group. Ideally you should test a combination of two images and four headlines. While it may add a few weeks to your ad campaign launch date, you will save money and improve click thru results.

Jeanne Rossomme
<p> Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.<br /> <a href="" style="line-height: 1.385em;" target="_blank"></a><span style="line-height: 1.385em;"> | </span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.385em;" target="_blank">@roadmapmarketin</a><span style="line-height: 1.385em;"> | </span><a href="/author/jeanne-rossomme/all-posts" style="line-height: 1.385em;" target="_blank">More from Jeanne</a></p>


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