To maximize impact for your headlines and subheads, writes author and copy consultant Robert Boduch, keep these five facts in mind when you are preparing a mailing piece:
Headlines Grab Attention
Headlines and subheads – set above and separate from the text that follows – attract your reader’s eye and pull it toward the copy that follows. David Ogilvy, an unmatched font of practical advertising wisdom, observed that five times as many people read headlines than trudge through body copy. Then why focus on polishing body copy and – like too many advertisers – neglect heads?
Heads and Subheads Cue Readership
Headlines signal readers if your message is worth their time. They either attract or repel interest in what you are offering. Without enticing heads and subheads, you are forcing the reader to do the chore of wading through body copy to understand your sales message. That risks losing the reader altogether. “In effect,” Boduch notes, “having no headline will cost you at least 80% of your potential audience.”
Headlines Boost Interest
Heads “start the reader’s motor running,” Boduch says. “A good headline sets up a feeling of expectation as the reader anticipates discovering more and can’t wait to get it!” High-impact heads and subheads open the reader’s mind to new possibilities … expand his level of enthusiasm and interest. The best headlines involve the reader in a way that almost guarantees sustained attention.
Heads and Subheads Simplify the Reader’s Learning Curve
Effective headlines succinctly communicate the essence of the messages that follow. Your headlines and subheads should provide the reader with the gist of your entire advertisement – which makes it easier for the reader to understand and remember it.
Your Headline Delivers your Biggest Bang Up-Front
Stress your strongest, most desirable selling point in your headline. If it fails to pull prospects in, Boduch writes, “nothing else you could ever say would do the trick.” “Take a good look at the headlines you’re using in your own advertisements, brochures, sales letters, and Web pages,” Boduch counsels. “Make your headlines impossible to miss and difficult to ignore and watch your results soar!”
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