The headline is the most important part of your content. It’s the first thing people will see and sets the tone for everything that follows.
A successful online headline should be short, snappy, and easy to read. And should also be catchy and engaging enough to make people want to look at the rest of your site. You only have approximately 8 seconds to grab and keep someone’s attention.
Imagine you have your own physical shop. Your headline is like the sign above the door. It should jump out to your ideal client, making them think; this is for me, I need to go inside!
However, a website’s headline is often overlooked, and common phrases are used, such as “welcome to ….” which isn’t the most engaging, is it?
Furthermore, a headline does more than encourage potential clients or customers to look around your site. It’s also great for SEO as it tells Google what your site is about. And Google loves original content, so it’s worth spending time getting your headline as perfect as possible.
And that’s why I wanted to share my simple steps for writing the perfect headline – so you can start attracting your ideal clients.
#1 Identify your 3 Ps – Promise, Problem, Payoff
Creating your headline will become much easier once you can identify these 3 Ps. For each P, I have broken down a brand statement from Author and Coach Denise Duffield-Thomas, as it’s a great example of how she has used this same formula.
Every service or product you offer makes a promise to your buyer, and it’s essential to communicate this promise in your headline for two reasons.
Firstly, when shopping or looking for a solution to our problem online, we are very much in a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) mindset. So, you won’t grab their attention if you aren’t clearly communicating your offer.
Secondly, your promise makes you unique and sets you apart from other businesses similar to yours. Competitors may have a similar offer to you. Still, they won’t do exactly what you do, so don’t be afraid to add some personality to your headline. This is how people will really connect with you.
A new way to grow your business, make millions and change the world.
What problem does your product or service solve? Take some time to think about what keeps your ideal client or customer up at night.
Once this problem is identified, it becomes much easier to communicate how your product or service provides the solution.
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And finally, what transformation do you provide? How will your potential client or customer feel after they’ve used your product or service?
Similarly to identifying their problem, take some time to think about how they want their lives to be and how they want to feel after you have solved their problem. This is the payoff you provide.
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Now, here’s that complete example put together as a brand statement:
A new way to grow your business, make millions and change the world.
For women who feel burned out by their business and stuck hustling to make more money. Make twice as much money with half the work. Recognise your worth, and become a successful
entrepreneur on your own terms!
This is much too long to be your actual headline. Still, once you have this brand statement clearly written (and it can be used in other parts of your content, so it’s certainly not a wasted exercise), you can condense it into a magnetic message.
#2 Avoid unnecessary words
Now you’ve got your completed brand statement, it’s time to reduce it to an actual headline. There is no exact science of how long a headline should be (although there will be many differing views online). However, you won’t go far wrong if you keep it punchy and easy to read.
Let’s use the headline of this article as an example. When I first wrote it, it went something like this:
“5 Top tips on how to write the perfect headline to connect with your audience”
So, it does do what it says; however, it seems long and clunky to read. After removing unnecessary words, the final title is only five words shorter. Still, it’s a lot easier to take in quickly.
“Write the perfect headline for your website in 5 simple steps.”
Furthermore, avoid long words, puns, or wordplay (unless this is your brand type). Whilst some businesses use puns and wordplay, these are usually well-known brands that don’t have to rely on getting their message across as quickly as possible.
If someone visiting your website has to stop and think about your headline, there is every possibility they will move on to the next. That’s why using language that resonates with your ideal client or customer is essential.
#3 Make people feel
It has been proven in numerous studies that when we decide to make any purchase, we are doing so with the emotional side of our brain first. The logical side will kick in later, but the emotional side makes us say, “I want that.”
So, when you’re writing your headline, using descriptive language to describe your payoff is uber-important. Here are some examples – I have highlighted the power words or phrases:
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You can also read more about using power words and find 20 headline templates in my blog here.
#4 Competitor analysis
Please don’t get this twisted; I am not recommending you copy someone else’s headline. A. it’s not professional or moral, and B. the whole point of your headline is to make you stand out above your competition.
I am suggesting, though, to look at how your competitors or even those in a similar industry use their headlines and make yours better. This is particularly true for businesses ranking above you in search results for the keywords you want to rank for.
This advice goes for all of your content as well, not just your headline. Identifying what’s working for other businesses and then building on that to make yours even better is a powerful way of improving your marketing.
#5 Take imperfect action
There’s no such thing as the perfect headline. Your headline will change as your business, offers, or even ideal clients evolve.
So, follow the steps here and take action. Done is better than perfect.
You can also test different headlines over time to find what works best. Whatever you post can easily be changed, so don’t spend months trying to perfect it.
Ultimately, if your headline is punchy, engaging, clear, concise, and emotive – it’ll work for you.
If you would like an audit of your homepage content to ensure it’s the best it can be, along with a rewrite of your headline, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – it’s just £75.00
As a content and copywriter, helping businesses attract and nurture their ideal clients to grow their sales lights me up. Drop me a message today if you need help identifying your perfect client, perfecting your messaging, or marketing your services.
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