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Get Engaged – At Work and In Life!

How To Get Your Readers to Act By Writing Engaging Headlines For Your Ads, Sales Letters and Web Site Copy

Introduction to headlines (below)

11 Types of Effective Headlines

Getting Started Writing Your Headlines.

Introduction to headlines

How do you capture your customer's attention sufficient to give you the opportunity to make your presentation?

You need an effective headline that:

  • Grabs the attention of the customer who is within the specific target audience the ad is aimed at.
  • Tells the reader specifically,  "what's in it for me, what benefit will I get out of reading this?"
  • Sets the tone for the remainder of the sales piece.

Everything you write needs a headline that gets attention, builds interest, gets your main selling points across, and pulls the reader into the copy where you can make your offer (or present your educational material, if that is the purpose of the piece).

Directly address your target audience.

Who is the customer you are aiming at?  Target your potential customers and aim directly at them.  Address them directly.  Write your headlines and copy as though it was for one specific person.

The best ads and sales letters are always the ones that seem as though they were written just for you. When you read them, you feel as though they wrote it knowing you. It is your letter!

For example, if you are selling book about child care, you may start a headline like this:

"Attention All Frustrated and Worn Out Parents..."  or


You could sell a weight loss product with a headline that starts with:

"If You Want to Lose 30 pounds in 30 days..."

If you are selling computers, you might start with:

"Are You Looking for a Computer At Half the Cost?..."

The members of the affected audience will read on because the topic is of interest to them.  But you need to be specific. 

  • If you are trying to sell your product to parents of 3 year olds, then you should say that in your headline, such as: "Attention all frustrated and worn out parents of 3 year olds......." This could be the start of a headline.
  • If you are selling a computer...."Are you looking for a computer at half the cost?"

Write your headlines based upon your market research which has revealed the primary interests of your target audience.  You will capture the reader's attention NOW if you directly talk to him about something he is vitally interested in.

You can put this type of message on the top of the article in smaller letters with the main headline underneath it. This way you can grab your target customers' attention immediately and then further draw them into the copy with the headline in larger letters.

Tell them exactly how they will benefit from reading on.  Answer immediately "What's In It For Me?"

All of your advertising is based on those 5 little words. The headline is no exception. Your prospect will ask this question of your headline, your letter, your offer, and your order form. You have to give it to them throughout the letter, especially in the headline. If they don't receive it here, they will NEVER read the rest of your letter.

An effective headline is going to tell them what the number one benefit of your product or service is. What's the biggest benefit of your product or service? Tell them what is in it for them. If your headline doesn't tell me what's in it for me, I will not read your sales letter. If your headline doesn't make me stop and read the rest of your sales letter, then everything else you wrote is wasted.

When you made your list of benefits, which one stands out to your prospects the most by your research? This should become a part of your headline along with your USP (Unique Selling Position) if possible. Give them the number one benefit in the headline and then go on to show them the rest of the benefits to them of your products or services in the copy.  You want to overwhelm your prospects with benefits. There is no better place to start than in the headlines.

Beware of the difference between features and benefits.  For a review, go to "Why Your Customers Buy". Mention how the features will make the customer feel, how they will benefit, and not the features themselves, no matter how much in love we get with the technical features.


Set the tone of the remainder of the sales letter, ad, or copy with you headline.

The sole purpose of the headline is to get them to read the remainder of your sales letter, ad or article.  It must grab their attention and pique their interest.  This may be done in different "tones".

A hard-sell direct mail letter might have a newspaper-like "hit-you-in-the face" headline in all capitals at the beginning:


Or your headline can be softer, less obvious, more subtle ones such that it doesn't seem like a headline at all.  It has the feel more like an important paragraph in bold at the beginning of your letter:

"Here's something I know you will be interested in. I've got five ways you can cut costs 20%--today!"