So what are we referring to here? Answer: the absolutely essential need to create your advertisement headings carefully. Key tip: if we see and ad, we might also look at a wonderful picture, but only a heading can tell us what action to take as a result.
Why Sometimes the Heading is the Ad
Results of recent studies suggest that 60% of folks who read advertisements scan the headings only - ignoring the main text in the ad, UNLESS they detect an immediate and relevant benefit in the heading. Likewise, in business communications, headings are especially important and can really mean the difference between success and failure of a publication or web page. No wonder millions of dollars are spent every year on copywriting, from which written messages are tested and perfected to deliver maximum returns.
Why Ads Need That Something Extra to Work
Today, the global public is cautious, suspicious and more complex than only 20 years ago. The ads that might have worked wonderfully in the 1980s may fail miserably today. Ad headlines need to provide sufficient reasons (benefits) to compel readers to at least examine the first one or two paragraphs of an ad. Yet to really win, an ad needs that something extra: originality and high relevancy to the target market. One reason why our favorite celebrities can often command huge influence is that many people simply like them - sometimes for the most bizarre reasons - and so are more likely act upon any ads that are endorsement by star performers.
Key tip: the successful ad is always different in at least one important way to those of its competitors, even if at first glance, it appears to follow the same pattern.
How to Create a Superb Heading for an Ad
An ideal heading should:
- Contain one clear and simple benefit. Example: "Yes, you really can save money right now. Here's the proof ..."
- Promise or claim something concrete. Example: "Use your discount coupon today and save 27% instantly!"
- Avoid cramming in too many words. Instead, choose your words carefully. Make every word count.
- Create urgency. Example: "40% off - but only until midnight 30th January!"
- Not try to be clever, appear vague, abstract, or appear to try too hard. Example: "Have we got a surprise for you!!" Why? Overexposure to media advertising from television, newspapers, magazines, radio and the web, mean that buyers today can simply be immune to such tactics and rarely fall for such empty fabrications. Arguably, once most prospects read an empty sentence like the quote above, they've already made a subconscious judgment and "switched off." At this stage, getting them back into the spirit of the ad is probably next to impossible. Such is the power of words!
- Also note that in the first line of the last item in the list above, we deliberately included two exclamation marks (!!) to illustrate how irritating and unprofessional "over punctuation" can appear. In fact, the last result you want, is for your advertisement to resemble some rendition of a snake-oil salesman. Moreover, since many email messages now contain multiple exclamation marks, Spam filters are routinely set to automatically identify and mark such communications as Spam by default. Therefore, use normal grammar and let the power of your ad persuade hearts and minds.