5 Reasons your eye-catching headline is killing conversions

***Don’t forget, “Beat The Blank Sales Page” worksheet is free and up for grabs right over here…”****

If your headline fails to get the attention of your target market, then potential customers aren’t going to read your advert, or your sales page, your newsletter or your blog.

But most people get fixated on the “getting attention” part and think that their headline has to be wacky, or deeply laced with the kind of psychology that will make people automatically buy from you in a hypnotic-trance.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot that you can do with your headline, but if you’re just starting out writing, you can’t go wrong by keeping it simple, and yes, it might even look a little boring to you…

But not your customer.

I had a quick glance at Twitter to see what headlines were being used, and have shown you examples that help explain some of the 5 reasons below.

Twitter is a great resource for headline testing and research

They separate buyers from browsers

Using the simple formula of:

Might give you a dullish headline such as:

“Stressed about hair loss? Now a pain-free cure for male balding that doesn’t cost the earth”

Nothing wacky going on there, but does it appeal to your target market of a man worried about losing his hair? does he know straight away that this is going to be relevant to him? You betcha.

They excite your customer (if not you)

Look at the above example. It might seem dull, there’s no fancy word play going on there, but it’s not dull to your customer. Remember, your headline isn’t there to win awards or gain praise, it’s there to get people to read, and not just anyone, people who are likely to buy from you

They save you time

Following the simple formula above lets you create a headline in a relatively short amount of time. Yes you can put in hours to crafting a headline and for some cases that would certainly be appropriate, but if not having a headline is stopping you make an offer, make something simple and get it out there.

They increase trust

If someone has to figure out what “the catch” is in a fancy headline such as “discover a new way to make free money,” they’re less likely to trust the content. If the claim seems over the top or seems like it could be twisted in another way, people can expect the content to disappoint them.

By keeping it plain and simple, you’re letting people know exactly what you have and don’t risk turning away your ideal client.

Recently I ran a split test on an email headline.

  • Headline 1 read: Quick reminder that I’m doing a free webinar on writing your web copy tonight
  • Headline 2 read: Don’t forget I’m offering complimentary help with your web copy tonight.

Headline 1 outperformed headline 2 with 57.5% open rate compared to 41%.

I’m confident it was because it stated clear and simply what to expect in the body of the email whilst the 2nd headline could have had a “catch”.

They are  great for SEO and Search

If you create a list of blog posts that have titles such as “how to reduce male balding”, “how to comb your hair to disguise balding” etc. They’re not the most interesting of titles, but let’ say someone is searching for a product that does exactly that. When I was chatting with Laura Roeder we talked about the importance of covering the basics in your blog to attract the attention of people who are more likely to buy your stuff (which is a good thing).  You see, not only is your site likely to rank higher with relevant content, but also your headline speaks directly to the answer they are looking for, which makes your service easier for them to find.

So what about you? What kind of headlines draw you in? What kind do you use in your business?


  1. says

    As a copywriter with a severely receding headline, I like Amy’s original hairline.

    ‘Stressed about going bald?’ is a good, emotive lead-in to the subject. Going bald isn’t fun. It erodes identity and makes you feel old. At the very least, you have to adjust to it somehow. I think empathising with sufferers is a great way to elicit some interest.

    I’d probably have put ‘Depressed about losing your hair?’ or similar. I think a lot of balding guys would be saying ‘yep’ in their heads when they read that. ‘Losing’ adds some urgency to the proposition without evoking the word ‘bald’, which is exactly what receding men don’t want to think about in relation to themselves. Even though I am bald(ing), I don’t think of myself that way except in sadder moments.

    ‘Depressed about losing your hair? Keep it instead with this affordable, pain-free new solution.’

    • harrisonamy says

      Love the “losing” angle Tom. And reading back the original, the word “bald” now seems a little clunky and is more likely to alienate the target market (step one – understand your target market)

      Also like how “losing” works well with the emotive aspect of being depressed or stressed.

      Top notch :-)

    • says

      Well, thats an important lesson in copywriting, isnt it? Being able to identify with the audience is a HUGELY important aspect of writing a good copy. Good entry Tom :-)

  2. harrisonamy says

    Dino, you have me licked hands down on this one!

    Yes, a far superior headline, (and I also changed the headline on this blog post… who says you can’t learn from your own stuff? :-) )

    Love it. It’s snappy, it identifies the target market and sets itself up with plenty of space for multiple retweeting.

    And as for the “cost-the-earth” phrase, that’s great to know! I thought I was pretty down with my US idioms, but you’ve shown me there’s plenty of room to grow.

    Feel free to drop by and give me a copywriting-off anytime. I welcome the sparring. :-)

    Now can it be improved further?

  3. says

    Hi Amy….awesome post :-)

    As a headline craft-smith myself, I couldn’t help it…maybe we can have a headline-off :-)

    Here is yours:

    “Stressed about hair loss? Now a pain-free cure for male balding that doesn’t cost the earth”

    Great headline. As you pointed out. Targeted, clear, benefit stated, a copywriter couldn’t ask for much more…or could it? lol

    The headline is too long. Barely fits in a tweet. There is a real danger that the reader (of the newspaper for example) will give up before reaching the end of the headline.

    The other thing was the “doesn’t cost the earth” bit. That struck me as very odd. Perhaps it’s a common expression in England, but in US it’s not a phrase that “rings”.

    How might I construct this headline you ask? How about:

    “NEW and Affordable, pain-free cure for baldness. ”

    What do I like about my headline?

    Its shorter while not losing any of the clarity and still focusing on the target.

    It starts with an old copyrighter’s friend, the word “NEW”.

    The word “Affordable” caries well across all English speaking locales.

    The phrase “pain-free” was borrowed from your headline and I love it because it has the message that the procedure is painless, but instead, we say its pain-free, as in FREE!! As in , subtle mental manipulation reinforcing the notion of “affordable” .

    Cure is a great and powerful word. And then we identify the target market with the word “baldness”.

    What I like about my headline, is that I broadened my target audience (explicitly stating “male baldness” eliminates “female baldness”) to include women as well.

    So I put out a challenge to anyone daring enough to step up to Amy and I.

    We started with a great headline: Stressed about hair loss? Now a pain-free cure for male balding that doesn’t cost the earth.

    Made it little bit better (I hope) with: NEW and Affordable, pain-free cure for baldness.

    Who can come up with a better headline still?

    The gantlet is down my friends

    • harrisonamy says

      Hey Richard, lovely to see you here as always.

      Glad the live examples helped – am going to try and incorporate more of that stuff in future posts. Specific sells as they say :-)


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