When someone receives a direct mail piece or an email, what is the first thing they see? The headline or subject line! The success of your marketing effort hinges on the power of those words to hook your audience and draw them in. If your audience never gets past the headline, it doesn’t matter how great the offer is. They’ll never see it.

Here are five tips for writing headlines that engage your audience and make them want to read more.

  1. Think “action.” Use words that evoke imagination and create a sense of movement. Avoid generic phrases like “Climb the Mountain!” and opt for more active ones, such as “Attack the Mountain!”
  2. Leverage numbers. People are always looking for easy ways to get information quickly, so using numbered tips can be an effective way to grab their attention. For example, if you’re selling heating and cooling equipment, try “Three Reasons Your Air Conditioner Might Fail This Summer,” or if you sell men’s wear, “Five Ways to Make a Woman Look Twice.”
  3. Stir emotions. While some people may buy something because of necessity, most purchases are made due to desire or perceived need. To capture this emotion, focus on headlines that ask questions or present solutions in surprising ways. Examples include “Six Ways You Think You Are Keeping Your Kids Safe (But Aren’t)” or “Is Your Home Safe from This Toxic Gas?”
  4. Support with data. Data is always more convincing than words alone. If you incorporate credible sources and statistics into your headlines, recipients are much more likely to pay attention. For example, a study conducted by Conductor found that readers were 36% more likely to prefer headlines with numbers over other types of hooks.
  5. Work backward. Visualization can be a powerful tool in marketing. Before sitting down to write anything, take some time to consider your desired outcome for the campaign. Visualizing the desired result can provide valuable insight into how to craft a headline that will get you there.

Creating powerful headlines and subject lines is part art and part science. Whatever approach you use, create multiple versions of each and test them against controls. If you get stuck, give us a call. We can help!