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Profitable Headlines: How to Hook Your Customers From the Start

By Modern Postcard

The importance of having an impactful and attention-grabbing headline cannot be overstated. But just like anything of high quality, crafting an effective headline takes time, focus and an open mind. This article covers the most critical aspects you need to know.

The Power of One

People value their time and don’t want to waste it by reading about all of your company’s services and products—that’s what a booklet or your website is for. If you try to list everything, the reader will see it as “we do this and this and this and this." And isn’t that so boring to read?

The most effective advertisements choose one valuable point to communicate and use every element to heighten it. From the design to the copy, it should all work like giant arrows pointing to the one thing you want the person to know. The headline itself, should be the most interesting summary of that one point, so even if they forget the details, they will at least remember that.

This way, after a day of being exposed to hundreds of other adverts, they will be far more likely to recall your company and what you offered. Our free Direct Marketing Guide goes into this in more detail.

But creating recall is just the first component prompting someone to act. Your headline needs to get them to feel something too.

Emotion Trumps Information

When you write your headline, avoid facts or flat statements. Instead consider what value your customers get from your business. What problem or anxiety does your business alleviate?

For example, imagine a mailer advertising tailoring services. If the headline read ‘We can cover all your tailoring needs!’ it wouldn’t connect with anyone emotionally or give them a reason to use the company’s services.

But if instead it read ‘Never struggle to fit into your favorite clothes again.’ it will suddenly remind readers of any time they had this problem. The word ‘favorite’ may even prompt them to think of one item in particular they wished fit better to take to the tailor.

People spend money to address their needs and feel better. So your headline should help them imagine a situation where those needs or problems are addressed. Of course, your ads are only effective if they are speaking to the right people, that’s why using big data and tailored mailing lists is so essential.

Writing the right headline isn’t easy, but there are certain tips that can help you get there.

Write Ten Headlines (Then Write Ten More)

Imagine someone in a forest searching for food who finds a small berry bush. They could keep searching, but the berries are good enough so they get what they can and head back. What they didn’t know was that if they’d gone further, they would have found a large fruit tree surrounded by animals.

This is similar to how people write headlines. They write a few out until they land on one which is “good enough” and stop there. If you ever feel this way about your own headline it’s a major red flag that you’ve settled.

To get to a great headline you need to push yourself to think harder and write more. Try different angles, different lengths, use periods, dashes, and play with the structure itself. Every new, good headline is another step closer to the great one. The one that makes all your hard work worth it.

When you find the perfect headline you shouldn’t feel okay about it, you should feel proud of it. And sometimes you write out a list of headlines only to realize that one you wrote in the middle is the best. What’s important is that you kept trying and gave yourself plenty of strong options to consider and compare.

After you’ve written your great headline you have one last thing to do: walk away.

Write it. Leave it. Read it.
One of the major risks of writing is becoming so involved in your own train of thought and logic that you end up writing something that makes perfect sense only to you.

To ensure you haven’t fallen into this trap, it’s essential to walk away from the task and work on other things. If you have the time, don’t look at it until the next day.

You will come back with a clearer mind and a fresh perspective on your own work. Often, you’ll see that your headline needs a few tweaks to get it just right.

If you still feel stuck and want expert help, Modern offers tailored creative services to help you launch effective print promotions and direct mail campaigns. Contact one of our Direct Marketing Specialists at 800.959.8365 to get your next project started

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I'm an amateur photographer in Brooklyn. My neighbors love my Brownstone neighborhood photos, and this year I took the leap and started a small greeting card business using my photos! At first, the process seemed intimidating, but the customer service at Modern made it easy. I used the phone and email for help, and everyone was very nice, professional and supportive. The finished product speaks for itself...the cards are gorgeous! I am using them for my personal holiday cards, as well as selling them online and in small local businesses. I can't wait to prepare my second set of photo cards with Modern Postcard.
Edie Hoffmann