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You’re on your way to getting better results with the 1st of 5 Ways to Increase Your Response just by changing the words you use! (You may want to take a moment and read that introductory post if you haven’t already.)

1. Use a Headline

Without question, this is the single most important place to focus your efforts first. Some people estimate that as many as 70% or more buying decisions are made from the headline.

What? You’re not using one?

Hmmmmm… could be a clue. Get started. And do it today.

In our work with clients and students, we routinely analyze marketing efforts that aren’t performing up to par. And it’s very common for us to run across great marketing copy that’s absolutely bombing.

The simple fact is: no one will care about (or even read) the rest of the brilliant stuff you write about if you don’t get their attention and pull them in right up front.

  • In your e-mails, the headline is the subject line.
  • In radio and TV spots, it’s the first phase or sentence the audiences hears or sees.
  • In print (and on the web), it’s the 1st, boldest, biggest element of your copy.

It’s your job to sell the reader/viewer/listener on why they should pay attention. And this means that you need to know what’s going on in their world. You need to understand their needs… and more importantly, their wants. You need to understand how what you have to offer them — regardless of what it is — addresses those needs and wants.

And then you need to find a way to use the most compelling, attention-getting words you can muster in order to stop them in their tracks.

If you’re already using a headline and you’re not happy with the results, then it’s time to implement one of the cardinal rules of effective marketing: test everything.

This means write a new headline and test it. In fact, I write dozens… sometimes hundreds of different headlines before deciding which one to test first. And then… even if I’m getting great response, I will test another one. If the response goes up, then guess which one I keep? If it goes down, we go back to the other one. Either way, I’m always testing. Just remember to only change one thing at a time (don’t test a new headline and a different color scheme, for example).

Devote some time to your headlines today. And watch this space for more ways to get more effectiveness out of your marketing!