How often do you get an advertisement in the mail when right at the moment you are about to toss it out, something about the ad keeps it in your hand? More times than not, it is the ad's headline that subconsciously piqued your interest. Properly written headlines are without a doubt, the single most important part of a well-written ad. Without a great headline, readers won't make their way into the body of the copy.
Grab the immediate attention of the person who is glancing at the ad. Most people spend about two to three seconds looking at an ad before throwing it away, so in short, your headline has three seconds max to grab the reader's interest. For this to happen, the headline needs to be punchy, emotionally engaging and easy to read.
Understand who you are targeting with your advertisement. You do not want to focus an ad on men when you are trying to sell women's vitamin supplements.
Your ad headline should answer a couple of key questions. For instance, will the headline provide the reader enough interest to continue reading the ad? Does the headline imbue the potential value of the product or service? Does the headline explain the uniqueness of the product or service? If possible, the headline should give a taste of what the reader can expect from the product, like a benefit that is specific and realistic to the product or service.
Be direct in your headline. For instance, "7 Proven Foods You Must be Eating to Prolong Your Health!" This headline tells readers exactly what they are going to discover in the copy. By using the word "must" you are telling the reader that this is urgent, their health could be at risk. Plus, by being specific about the number of foods (7), it provides the reader with a sense that this is easily do-able.
Headlines that ask a "yes or no" question are a risky move. The headline that reads, "Are You Happy With Your Current Health Insurance?" could get as many "yes" answers as "no" answers. In this case, you could lose half of your audience in mere seconds. On the other hand, if the headline read, "10 Ways to Tell if Your Health Insurance is Killing You!" then the reader is interested. Detail the 10 ways many health insurances are hurting customers and then prove how your client is different.
Use words that readers have a hard time ignoring in headlines. These words include Discover, Proven, Guarantee, Introducing, Easy, Quick and Results, among others. If you can include one of these words in your headline, you increase the chances of the reader being interested in the advertisement.