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Ladies, let’s get real.

Writing for the web is kinda incredible. When it’s done right, it can do insane things for you and your business (and consequently, your clients).

But there’s a not-so-glamorous truth about web writing, which is this:
Once a reader pops on your page, you have about 7 seconds (or less) to harness their attention.

Which means your headline – especially on sales pages – is kind of a big deal.

But like, how the heck do you make sure you’re crafting a haute headline that’s as succinct, snappy and sizzling as humanly possible, so you don’t lose your readers to puppies, kittens or Mannequin challenge videos? I got you. 😉

Here are a few notable things to know about headlines:
+ You don’t have to open with “pain points.” Yes, some sales pages open with what most marketers call “pain points” because psychology says humans are more motivated by fear of loss than gain. (For example, a health coach might open with a line about how awful it is to “turn down brunch dates with your babes because you can’t handle yourself in front of a plate of pancakes” rather than how amazing it will feel to “fit into an itty bitty teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini.”) But if that idea gives you the heeby jeebies, I need you to know you have another option: opening with the benefits. Speaking to what your dream client desires (rather than what she fears) might not be scientifically as effective, but it definitely works. And it’s worth a try when it comes to your audience. Play around! What does your dream client respond to?

+ Use the Rule of One: I follow something called the “Rule of One” when writing my own headlines. In non-marketing speak, that means I try to keep my headline focused on the most powerful emotional benefit of the offer, rather than trying to pack 3-5 big benefits into one sentence. Pick one benefit to highlight, and use the rest of the page to dig into the others.

+ There are like a zillion different ways to whip up headlines. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find hundreds of articles full of “proven” “magnetic” headline formulas. But one of my favorite ways to whip up a wicked headline is by looking at print mags – espesh Cosmo – for headline inspiration. No joke, Cosmo’s got headline-writing down to an art. All you have to do to ‘borrow’ their genius is to look for a headline that fans your flame – say, “4 Signs He’s the One” and make it relevant to your industry a la “4 Signs This Client is ‘The One.” It’s simple and it’s hella fun.

Oh, and just in case Cosmo isn’t exactly your jam, here are a few other “proven” headline styles to get you goin’, adapted from the (incredible) book Great Leads:

The “Painless” Lead – “Get [most desired result] without the [biggest struggle they face while trying to achieve desired result]”

The USP Lead – “[Offer] is the only [what it is] to [most desired result]”

The Fantasy Lead – Imaginative phrases like, “Imagine if [thing they want most]? ” or “What if…[thing they want most]?” or “How would life be different if [thing they want most]?

The Fantasy Lead – Imaginative phrases like, “Imagine if [thing they want most]? ” or “What if…[thing they want most]?” or “How would life be different if [thing they want most]?

The Big Secret Lead – “The easier way to X” or “The top-secret way one woman radically achieved [most desired result]”

The Proclamation Lead – “Did you know more than 80% of startups fail within the first three years?” or “A good – even great – sales page ISN’T all you need to sell your stuff online.”

+ Finally – just like when it comes to trying anything new – don’t expect perfection, especially the first time! I’m a big fan of writing my headlines last – after I’ve refined the page’s overall message and positioning. And then, I usually brainstorm about 10-20 okay-but-not-awesome options before I truly “nail” it. Don’t put the pressure on to get it “just right” because honestly, there’s no such thing, and you’ll be writing yourself into burnout or severe hand cramps. 🙂

And that’s it! Over to you, beauty town.

What questions do you have around creating killer headlines? 

xo, E