Headlines That Sizzle

The Success Margin

Monday, November 15, 2004


Today I’m addressing headlines, the most important topic for any successful marketer.

Are you working on an e-mail? Sales letter? Postcard? Brochure? Special report?

It makes no difference.

In each case, to succeed you simply must lead with a powerful headline. It’s absolutely essential.

You cannot rely on good body copy alone. Reason? Start with a weak headline and virtually no one will read the rest of your copy.

Here are tips that will vastly improve your headlines and raise response to your advertising to a whole new level.

  1. Use a customer testimonial as the headline. There is hidden power in a testimonial headline. Why? What other people say about your product has great credibility. It can be as much as 20 times, or even 50 times, more effective as what YOU say. Example:

    “Within 6 months of attending your seminar, I put an additional $750,000 in my pocket” –Stuart Goldsmith, Berkshire, U.K.

  2. Make your headline the caption of an intriguing photograph. Example:

    “How to Get Enthusiastic Applause, Even a Standing Ovation, Every Time You Speak”

    Photograph is of an audience standing and clapping enthusiastically.

  3. Use a one-word stopper in giant type followed by an exclamation. Examples:

    — Warning!
    — Breakthrough!
    — Stop!
    — Yes!
    — Sale!

  4. Start your headline with the word “new.” Example:

    “New From the Laboratories of …..”

  5. Position your product as a solution to a problem. Example:

    Snore No More (headline)

    New anti-snoring spray enables both you and your bed mate to get a good night’s sleep (subheadline)

  6. Begin your headline with the words “how to.” Example:

    “How to Form Your Own Corporation Without a Lawyer For Under $75”

    Tip: The tried and true “how to” headline is surprisingly vastly underused. Try it. You’ll love the results.

  7. Express a command beginning with an action verb. Example:

    “Open This Envelope and Discover How You Can Become a Millionaire Copywriter”


    Tell Anyone Who Says You Are Crazy For Starting Your Own Business to Buzz Off”

  8. Offer to fill a void. Examples:

    “Finally, a Marketing and Advertising Forum That Answers Your Specific Questions”


    “At Last, Both Online and Offline Marketing Secrets Revealed”

  9. Target a specific group of consumers in your headline. Example:

    “Diabetes–If You Have It, Open This Envelope– Natural Solution, Guaranteed Results”

  10. Ask a rhetorical question. Example:

    “What Makes a Consultant Successful?”


    “What Secrets Does Your Mate Not Want You to Reveal?”

  11. Start your headline with the word “introducing.” Example:

    “Introducing the Natural Pain-Free Way To Have a Movie Star Smile Without Expensive Dentistry”

  12. Start your headline with the word “announcing.” Example:

    “Announcing the Latest Cutting-Edge Ted Nicholas Seminar For Aspiring Millionaires”

    Use these tips diligently in creating your headlines. You will no doubt increase your success margin. Who knows. Perhaps your ads may even be selected for the direct marketing hall of fame!

With my best wishes always for significantly more successful marketing programs.

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas