The headline is the most important element of most ads. It determines whether the reader will read the main text or not. The number of people who read the title is almost 5 times more than the number of people who read the main text. It turns out that you spend eighty cents on the dollar when writing a headline.
If you don’t say anything sales-oriented in the headline, you’re wasting 80% of your customer’s money. The biggest sin is writing advertising text without a title. Such illogical miracles can still be found, I will never envy such advertising writers.
A single change in the title can affect sales up to tenfold. I never write less than sixteen headlines for an ad, and I follow a few rules when writing:
1) The headline is the “product label.” Flag your headline to attract the attention of readers who will buy the product you are advertising. If you are selling a product for BLADDER PROBLEM, use the phrase BLADDER PROBLEM in the title, this will catch the attention of anyone with such a problem. If you want MOMS to read your ad, use the word MOMS in the headline.
By the same token, don’t write phrases that will exclude your product’s target audience. If the product you’re advertising is meant to be used by both men and women, don’t just target women in the headline, as that means missing out on male customers.
2) Each title should appeal to the reader’s personal interest. For example, after the age of 35, wrinkles begin to appear on women’s faces. However, they still desire to have a fresh complexion like in their 20s. The product presented to those ladies should be presented in accordance with their wishes.
3) Always try to include news content in the headlines because the consumer is always looking for a new product or new usage instructions for an old product or an improved innovation on an old product.
The two most powerful words to use in a headline are FREE AND NEW. FREE may be used less often, but with more effort, you can use the word NEW wherever possible.
4) Words and phrases that work wonders in advertising are:… HOW-TO, UNEXPECTED, NOW, INFORMED, MEET, HERE, NEW, IMPROVED, FASCINATING, SENSATION, OBVIOUS, REVOLUTIONARY, AMAZING, WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL, MAGICAL, OFFER FAST, EASY, DESIRABLE, WANTED, CHALLENGING, RECOMMENDED TO …, REALITY ON …, COMPARE, BEST PRICE, HURRY, LAST CHANCE.
Don’t give up on these clichés. It is true that they are used a lot, but they still work. That is why such headlines are often found in the ads of direct selling companies and other advertisers who measure the results of their advertising.
You can make it stronger by adding emotional words to the titles like DEAR, LOVE, AFRAID, PROUD, FRIEND, and CUTE.
5) Headlines read five times more than body text, so it is very important that you at least tell the reader what brand you are promoting in the headline. That’s why you should always use the brand in the title.
6) Include your sales pitch in the headline. It needs a long hood. Headline research conducted by the New York University School of Retailing and department stores found that 10-word headlines containing news and information lead to more sales than shorter headlines.
Headlines of 6 to 12 words are more effective than shorter ones, and there isn’t a huge difference in readability between a 12-word headline and a 3-word headline. Thirteen words in the best headline I’ve ever written: The loudest sound from a new Rolls-Royce at sixty miles an hour is the ticking of an electric clock. If you grab attention with your headline, people might read the body text as well. That’s why you should end your headlines with a “bait” that will entice them to read on.
8) Some text writers engage in word games in the titles – they use double-headed sentences, literary allusions and other incomprehensible expressions. These are sins.
In an average newspaper, your headline has to compete with 350 other headlines for attention. According to research, readers go through this jungle so quickly that they don’t stop to find the meaning of unclear titles. Your headline should convey what you want to say with telegraphic simplicity. Don’t play games with readers.
In 1960, “The Times Literary Supplement” criticized the habit of puns in English advertising and described it as “the kind of middle-class jokes that run away from comfort, designed to amuse the advertiser and his customers.” Indeed, it is.
9) Studies have shown that using negative words and suffixes in titles is dangerous. For example, when you write a headline like YOU CAN’T FIND ARSENIC IN OUR SALT, most people don’t see the negative suffix and read the headline as YOU CAN FIND ARSENIC IN OUR SALT.
10) Avoid blind headlines. These are headlines that cannot be understood without reading the main text below, not to mention that most people do not read the main text.
TEXT When you sit down to write the main text, imagine that you are sitting at the dining table and talking to the lady next to you. From you: “I want to buy a new car, which one do you recommend?” – he asks. Write your text as if it answers that question.
1) Do not say the word indirectly. Speak your mind directly. Avoid “like that, this one…” type analogies. Dr. Gallup revealed a misunderstanding of two-part logic structures.
2) Do not use superiority, generalization and simplified judgments. Be firm and informative. Be enthusiastic, friendly and memorable. Don’t be boring. Tell the truth, but dress it up charmingly.
How long should the ad text be?
It depends on the product. If you’re advertising chewing gum, there’s not much to say, so keep your text short. But if you are advertising a product with various features to be recommended, write a long text: the more you list, the more you will sell.
The man in the street believes that people don’t read long texts. The reality is very different. Claude Hopkins once wrote a five-page text for Schlitz beer. “Schlitz” rose from fifth place to first place in a few months. I also once wrote a large page of text for Good Luck margarine and got a very good result.
Studies show that readership drops off rapidly after the first fifty words, but there isn’t much of a difference between fifty and five hundred words. In the first “Rolls-Royce” advertisement, I used 719 words that gave interesting information about each other. In the last paragraph, I said: “Those who avoid driving a Rolls-Royce can buy a Bentley.” Judging by the number of drivers holding and spreading the word “pull over”, I realized that the ad had been read cover to cover. In the next advertisement I wrote, I used 1400 words.
Every ad should be some sort of sales pitch for your product. It seems unrealistic to think that a consumer will read a lot of advertisements for the same product. If we think that every ad is one chance to sell your product to the reader, you have to use what you have: it’s now or never. Dr. “The more information you give, the more you sell,” Charles Edwards tells New York University’s Retailing graduates. As the information about the product to be used in the advertisement increases, the opportunity for the advertisement to be successful also increases.”?
I used 961 words in the first of the Puerto Rico ads covered by Operation Bootstrap and was able to get Bidsley Raml’s permission to publish. Fourteen thousand people clipped the coupons from this ad, and most of them later opened factories in Puerto Rico. Seeing the prosperity of Puerto Ricans who had been starving for four centuries prior to my ad has been the greatest satisfaction I have ever had. Nothing would have happened if I had limited myself to a few pointless generalizations.
We were even able to read long texts to people about gasoline. One of our ads about “Shell” had 617 words. 22% of male readers read more than half of this text.
Vic Schwab recounts an argument between Max Hart (Hart, Schaffner & Marx) and his advertising manager, George L. Dyer, about long texts. “I’ll bet you ten dollars that I can write as much text as a newspaper page, every word of which you’ll read,” Dyer said.
Hart scoffed at the idea, and Dyer replied, “I don’t need to write a single line to prove that I’m right, just the title: THIS PAGE IS ALL ABOUT MAX HART.”
Those who put coupons in their ads know that short texts do not affect sales. An experiment was conducted by placing an ad in various newspaper publications with slight differences and it was found that long texts give better results than short texts.
I’ve heard it said that no copywriter can write long copy unless the media department creates a wide enough ad opportunity. In fact, there should not be such a problem, because, before media planning, you need to get acquainted with the opinion of the advertising writer.
3) You should always add references to your texts. The reader finds the opinion of a consumer like himself more convincing than the exaggerations of an anonymous advertising writer. Jim Young, one of the greatest advertising writers alive, says, “All advertisers have one problem: persuasion. Direct sales advertisers know that there is no more effective way to do this than referrals, but other advertisers rarely use this method.
21 The reference of famous people attracts readers to a significant extent. Moreover, if the text is written honestly, it is never difficult to believe. The more popular the referrer, the more people read the ad. We used Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill in the Come to Britain campaign. We convinced Mrs Roosevelt to appear in TV commercials for Good Luck margarine. In Sears, Roebuck’s credit sales ad, we showed Ted Williams’ credit card and said, “Ted Williams transferred from Boston to Sears.”
Sometimes the advertising text can be made entirely from the reference. The first ad I wrote for Austin cars was in the form of a letter from an “anonymous diplomat”. This diplomat sent his son to Groton with the money he saved for driving an Austin, a combination of luxury and frugality. Unfortunately, the eye-catching editor of “Time” magazine thought that the unnamed diplomat was me and asked Groton’s director for an explanation. Dr. Crocker was so angry that I decided to send my son to Hotchkiss.
4) Another profitable manoeuvre is to provide useful recommendations or services to the reader. This will attract 75% more readers than purely product-related text.
One of our Rinso ads told housewives how to remove stains. This ad has been read more (Starch) and remembered (Gellap) than any detergent ad ever. Too bad the unique sales pitch didn’t highlight “Rinso washes whiter”, so it shouldn’t have been released.?
5) I have never liked the “belles lettres” trend of advertising. This concept was brought to the fore by Theodore F. McManus’ famous “Leadership Punishment” ads for Cadillac and Ned Jordan’s classic “Somewhere West of Laramie”. It turns out that forty years ago, the business world was very impressed with this rambling prose, but I always thought they were absurd. Because they don’t give the reader even a single piece of information. “Writing sensitively about it is a noticeable disadvantage. Special literary style too. They distract attention from the topic,” I support the opinion of Claude Hopkins.
6) Avoid fancy words. Raymond Rubicam’s famous motto for Squibb, “The priceless ingredient of every product is the pride and integrity of the manufacturer,” reminds me of my father’s admonition: “If a company prides itself on integrity, a woman’s honour, give up the first, get the second.”
7) Unless you have a special reason to sound serious and important, write the ad in the everyday language your customers use. I haven’t learned American colloquialism well enough to transcribe it and use it in commercials, and I admire the copywriters who do. As in the beautiful example of an unpublished pearl of a dairy farm: It is
wrong to speak triumphantly when addressing uneducated people. I once used the word “obsolete” in the title, but I later learned that 43% of housewives do not know what it means. In another title, I used the word “ineffable”, but I found out that I don’t even know what it means.
But most advertising writers of my generation make the mistake of underestimating the education level of the public. Philip Hauser, dean of the Faculty of Sociology at the University of Chicago, draws attention to the changes taking place in society as follows:
The increasing number of people receiving schooling (…) is expected to lead to major changes in the advertising style. Messages aimed at the “average” American, who is assumed to have less than a primary education, will result in the reduction or disappearance of this customer.
By the way, all advertising writers Dr. He should read the book “The Art of Plain Speaking” by Rudolf Flesch. This book will convince them to use shorter words, sentences and paragraphs and write highly specific ads.
Aldous Huxley, who once tried himself in the field of advertising: “Any literary imprint is fatal to the success of advertising. Advertising writers can never be poetic, incomprehensible and in no way mysterious. They should be universally clear. “Good advertising has a common aspect with theatre and public speaking that it needs to be immediately understandable and sensitive to the point of being able to move,” he said.
8) Don’t write an ad to win a prize. I’m happy when I win an award, but most successful campaigns don’t win awards because they don’t focus on themselves.
The judges who make the awards are not given enough information about the results of the ads they are asked to evaluate. In the absence of such information, they rely only on their personal opinions, which leads to pettiness.
9) Good copywriters have always been anti-funny writing. Their success is reflected in the number of new products they have successfully introduced to the market. A school in its own right, Cloud Hopkins is to advertising what Escoffi is to cooking. Although by today’s standards an unabashed barbarian, Hopkins was technically a master. After Hopkins, I can cite Raymond Rubicam, George Cecil and James Webb Young. Far from Hopkins’ merciless salesmanship, they make up for it with honesty, a wider range of work and, when necessary, more cultured texts. Next, I want to mention John Caples, a direct sales professional who I learned a lot from.
These giants wrote their ads for newspapers and magazines. It is still too early to determine who is the best television writer.