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What is a Headline in Advertising?

In short, a headline is the title of an online or printed story. The headline is typically printed in large font and is used to grab the attention of the reader. There are many aspects of creating a good advertising headline that you should keep in mind before you start. This article will provide you with the insights that you will need to come up with an attention-grabbing headline. 

what is a headline

What is the Purpose of a Headline?

Most people will often just take a peek at your headline and then they will navigate away from the page if they are not interested. Or, sometimes they will read the headline and then simply skim through the rest of the content. If you are lucky, the user will read your content in its entirety and proceed to share your advertisement. They may even go as far as making a purchase from you. Ultimately, users will base their decision to continue reading the ad solely on whether or not the headline was able to grab their attention.

In today’s age of digital marketing, it is important to use advertising headlines that will draw the type of traction that you are seeking to gain for your advertisement. Today’s digital age has shortened the attention spans of readers. Thus, it is essential that you create an advertising headline that can rapidly and effectively hold the attention of your reader. After all, the whole purpose of a great headline in advertising is to promote your business and convince readers to continue reading. There is indeed a method to the madness. So let’s take a closer look at how to optimize your headlines in advertising.

Advertising Headline Examples

Here we will discuss some examples of advertising headlines that you can use to inspire your own headlines.

The “How To” Method 

The first advertising headline example we will explore is the “how to” headline. Have you ever scrolled through your Google search and come across a “how to” article or ad? These types of ads are a brilliant way to attract users to your product or service. For instance, “how to save money on your car insurance” is a well-known and commonly used advertising headline used by Geico. Why is the method effective? Well, the answer lies in the diction (word choice) and syntax (sentence phrasing) of the headline. The word “how” indicates that an answer or answers will be provided to the interested party. As a society, we thrive on gaining more knowledge and insights into various subject matters. So, if a company uses an advertising headline with the “how to” method, they are inherently offering us an invitation to click on their ad content for answers. 

Not only does the how to method offer answers, it also gives the reader an actual solution or benefit. It’s one thing to tell a reader that your insurance company can save them money, and it’s even more beneficial to offer them some specific details about the benefits of your insurance package.  When readers are conducting a search, they are wanting to receive very specific beneficial information to solve their problems.

For instance, a reader may be in the market to purchase a new car, but they do not have the greatest credit history. Your financing service could be the solution that the reader is on the hunt for. However, you must be sure to include the most specific beneficial wording in your advertised headlines. For example, “How to purchase a vehicle with low credit” or “How to establish credit to purchase a car.” All in all, the reader wants to feel and believe that their cry for assistance is being heard and validated. 

testimonial headline

The Question Method

As previously mentioned, it is important for the reader to feel as though their voice is being heard and validated. You can achieve this in your headline by asking a question. Try to ask questions that your prospective clients actually want to know the answer to. For instance, “Are you tired of high co-pays at the doctor’s office?” or “Have you experienced lowered energy in the workplace?” Clients want to feel invited into a conversation about THEM. They want their problems and concerns to be addressed in your headlines and in the ad itself. 

With all of these insights in mind, it’s also equally as important to refrain from asking questions from the perspective of your business, For instance, “Do you want to know the latest software updates we have installed?” These types of questions are questions that pertain directly to the interests of the business itself. However, you should avoid this because the reader is ultimately seeking to find answers or ad content directly related to their personal individual needs. 

Keep in mind that your clients want an actual benefit in relation to the question being asked. Before you format your headline into a question, it is important to ask yourself some questions about the intent of the ad first. Here are some questions you should ask before creating a headline for your advertisement: 

  • Who am I marketing to?
  • Does my target audience have any current challenges?
  • Do my prospective clients have a distinct need for my products or services currently?
  • Is my product or service easily accessible?
  • How do I ensure that I am using simplified language in my headlines?
  • What are the current needs of my market?

advertising headlines

The Numerical Solution

The numerical approach to creating a headline for your advertisement can be very effective as well. For example, “The Top 10 ways..” or “The Three Superfoods You Need to Lose Weight…” All of these offer a numerical value for the benefit of the reader. The reason this method of headline creation is effective is that it narrows down the available solutions to only the most beneficial ones.

The inclusion of numerical values in headlines gives the reader an immediate promise of them not having to spend hours weeding through useless content. Furthermore, it provides the reader with a definitive amount of promised resolutions to the problem that they are seeking to solve. There is also a sense of grandeur or exclusivity associated with the praising “Top 10” or “Top 3.” This is because of the word choice of saying “top,” which implies that the reader is about to receive the best of the best that your content has to offer. Furthermore, the smaller the number, the more exclusive the client will feel as they scroll through your ad.    

The Testimonial Approach

You can use the hype generated around the experiences of current clients to create a testimonial-based headline for your advertisement. Any previous testimonials that have been generated by clients can go a long way in helping to generate leads for your business. Furthermore, prospective clients want to see themselves reflected in the voice of an everyday average customer.

New clients who see a testimonial headline are more inclined to click on the ad and buy what you are offering. This is true because they have more insight into a real-life previous experience. Using a  testimonial is a great way to show proof of how effective or cost-efficient your product or service is. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind if you plan on using the testimonial approach to create a headline.

First, be sure to indicate the testimonial with the use of quotation marks. This way your prospective client can see that the testimonial is a direct quote from the mouth of a previous client. Second, be sure to include as much as the verbatim quote of your former client as possible. It’s understandable that you might be on a word count limit, so try to use your best judgment when deciding the most effective and clear words to include in the testimonial. At the end of the day, it’s still crucial to make sure the overall message and tone is clear. 

Another thing to keep in mind is giving the proper credit to the client who made the testimonial. Make sure the client is well aware of how and where their testimonial will be placed in the ad. Furthermore, make sure that the client has a complete understanding of the context in which the testimonial headline will appear. 

advertising headline examples
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Using Advertising Headlines

Ultimately, using advertising headlines can really boost the amount of revenue that you generate for your business. You should always aim to keep the language or word choice of the headline concise and clear so that new clients will not lose interest quickly. Furthermore, the headlines of your advertisement should be easy to like or share on social media sites. This is important because they may be the first introduction of your product to consumers. Lastly, first impressions always tend to leave an impact. Be sure to conduct the necessary research to leave your clients with a positive lasting impression with your advertising headline. 

FAQ:

  • What is a headline?
  • Why are headlines important?
  • What is the “how to” method of headline writing?
  • How can I use testimonials in headlines?
  • What is the numerical approach to headlines?

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