The golden rule to writing great headlines for your sales letters

What makes a successful headline? After all, if you don’t attract your readers’ attention with your headline, the rest of your sales letter is a waste of words.

There are 5 important qualities that a winning headline may possess:

  1. Self-interest
  2. News
  3. Curiosity
  4. A fast, easy way
  5. Believability

So what’s the golden rule? Well, only one of these qualities is absolutely vital in your winning headline. That is: ALWAYS appeal to your readers’ self-interest.

This is always the single most important quality in sales letter headlines.  That’s because the only person your reader cares about is themselves.  They don’t care about your company.  They don’t care about your product or service.  They only care about what it can do for them, how it can benefit their life or solve their problem.

That’s the only reason they are reading your words.  And that’s why you must always draw on this natural self-absorption.

All the while they are reading your letter, in their minds is the burning question “What’s in it for me?” And that’s a question you have to answer – and fast.  If you don’t, your reader will be off checking out your competition.

Your headlines must offer your readers something they want or need.  This golden rule is obvious, but it’s surprising how many writers ignore it and rely solely on the other qualities instead.

So how do you focus on your readers’ self-interest?  You need to try to work out what would make YOU buy the product or service.  Look at your own self-interest.  If you find that hard because the product or service is not aimed at your particular demographic, then find someone who is closer to the audience you are selling to.

Ask them what would make them buy the product/service – it might be different to what you think.  If you have no one to ask, check out online forums and take note of the comments.  You have to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes – for marketers this is an essential skill.  You need to learn all you can about what makes them tick – their desires, fears and other emotional triggers, and how these relate to your product/service.  That way you’ll pinpoint their self-interest.

And once you do that, you’re on your way to using the golden rule to writing a winning headline – and gaining more readers and more sales, which no doubt appeals to your self-interest.

About the author:  Kay Hutchings-Olsson

Kay Hutchings-Olsson

Kay Hutchings-Olsson is direct-response copywriter at KHO Copywriting, and also the company owner. She specializes in writing for the self-help and natural health markets.

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