The Secret to Writing Headlines Your Customers Will Read How to sell with words

In eCommerce

Note: This article is part of our e-commerce series where we discuss how to start an online store and building an effective sales funnel

Each and every day on the Internet, 2 million blog posts are published, 294 billion emails are sent, and 864 thousand hours of video are created. The bottom line is that the Net is continuously being flooded with new content, and making your content stand out in a sea of material can be a challenge. So what’s the secret to capturing people’s attention and getting them to read your content? It’s all about captivating headlines.

80% of readers actually never make it past the headline. But headlines that capture peoples’ attention draw them into an engagement with your content, which translates into improved engagement, better conversation rates, and more sales.

Here is what you need to know about writing headlines that your customers will read.

1. Create a sense of urgency

When crafting headlines, use words that will create a sense of urgency, such as “instantly,” “immediately,” and “now.” If consumers feel like they are immediately going to reap the benefit of clicking on a specific headline, they are all the more likely to click.

2. Use numbers

"number" headlines resonated most by far — a full 15% more than the second place "reader-addressing."
“number” headlines resonated most by far — a full 15% more than the second place “reader-addressing.”

Moz conducted a comprehensive analysis of headlines collected from a variety of content sources, including BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, and the Conductor blog. They found that headlines with numbers resonated the most with audiences by far. In fact, a full 36 percent of people surveyed preferred headlines, even more than how-to headlines or question headlines. Why? People appreciate efficiency. Content ordered into a numbered list fulfills this desire. Furthermore, headlines with numbers tend to boost engagement rates. Research shows that headlines with numbers generate 73 percent more social shares.

3. Start with “How To”

“How to” headlines can also be tremendously effective in getting users to click and driving engagement.

According to the Moz analysis, 17 percent of people prefer “how to” headlines. Starting with “how to” immediately signals that your content is valuable—it offers new knowledge or information. And immediately signaling this value to readers will help you boost the chances that they will click.

4. Ask a question

According to the Moz analysis, 11 percent of people prefer headlines that ask a question. Just make sure you never ask a question that a reader could answer with the word “no.” If you ask that type of question, you are pretty much giving people a reason to not read your content. All your questions should be a kind of promise to your reader, giving them new information or insight. The more seductive your question, the better.

5. Leverage the power of drama

Do you know that old news industry adage “if it bleeds, it leads”? Well, it’s true. The key here is to integrate emotionally powerful words into your headlines, such as “kill,” “bleed,” “scary,” “dark,” and “secret.” Headlines like “Ten Dirty Secrets to Boosting Conversion Rates,” or “Every Marketer’s Five Conversion Rate Nightmares” are sure to attract attention.

6. Give a call to action or clear instruction

Put simply, vague headlines are bad headlines. As we previously explained, the Net is constantly being flooded with new content. Today’s Net users need to be pretty discerning about which headlines they click on, as they simply don’t have time to engage with all of the content they encounter. The more explicit the headline is about what a reader needs to do or what he or she will get out of the content, the better. Research shows that the clearer a headline, the more it will resonate with your audience.

7. Connect emotionally

Consumers’ psychology is wired in such a way that they are more prone to act on emotion. If you want to get someone to click on your headline, you need to connect with them emotionally. To do this, pack your headlines with emotionally evocative words that will make people feel some kind of emotion.

Written by Jerry Low

Geekdad, Netrepreneur, growth hacker, SEO junkie, and founder of WebRevenue Inc. Live to eat, loves all things Internet, and owns more domain names he can handle. Say hello to me on Twitter!

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