My advice to all business owners is to understand the fundamentals of good marketing, including strategy, copywriting, target audience, etc., even if they are not going to the primary implementer of these marketing activities.

Why? So that they can properly evaluate the work of their staff or contractors and be sure that they are getting good value for their investment.

When it comes to your marketing copy ~ the words you use in your marketing collateral ~ many coaches, solo entrepreneurs and small business owners find it difficult to write compelling copy that attracts the attention of their target audience, persuading them to read more.

Where does this “marketing copy” reside?  Here are just a few places you’ll need to have effective marketing copy:

  • Website
  • Blog articles
  • Brochures & flyers
  • Newspaper & classified ads
  • PPC or Facebook Ads
  • Article marketing content
  • Press releases
  • Etc

There are many more places you’ll want to use effective marketing copy, but these are the essentials… and they are enough to get us started.

Many small business owners, solo entrepreneurs and coaches are probably wearing more than just the CEO/Owner hat and may be the one writing most (if not all) of your own copy.

Over the next three articles, I’ll share my ABCs of writing effective marketing copy so that you can be sure to produce the highest quality (and most effective) copy you can… or so you can evaluate the copy produced by your hired-gun copywriter.

Let’s start at the beginning with…

A = Attention

The first and most important outcome your copy must do is grab the attention of your target audience.

This is usually done by placing a captivating headline at the top of your copy that draws your reader in and makes them want to keep reading.

There are many formulas for writing an effective headline, but there are three types of headline templates that I have found work particularly well.

The Question Headline

The format of this type of headline is obvious, from its name – you are asking a question of your reader.

What type of question you decide to ask is up to you, but you want to come up with a question that your prospect will answer “Yes” to. The alternative to a “yes” answer is an unanswered question.

Here are some examples:

  • Are You Ready To FINALLY Take Control of Your Financial Future?
  • Who Else Would Like to Lose 30 Pounds & 10 Inches… While Still Eating Your Favorite Foods?
  • Did the Government REALLY Open Up This Tax Loophole To Every Citizen?

Each of the first two questions invites a “yes” response from the reader, which makes them want to keep reading to find out HOW to accomplish the implied promise.

The third question is unanswerable for most readers, but it incites enough curiosity that they’ll want to read further to find out if the mysterious tax loophole applies to them.

The Secret Headline

The secret headline is also just as it sounds, telling the reader that there is information that has been kept from them, but that is now available.

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This type of headline works particularly well for business development, investment and weight loss because it takes pressure off your prospect, essentially letting them know that their problem it isn’t their fault.

Here are some examples of the secret headline:

  • Investment Secrets Your Financial Planner Doesn’t Want You To Know
  • Secret Indonesian Herb Finally Passes Approval… And Can Help You Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Days!
  • Tax Secrets of the Rich… Now Available to Every American!
You can see how these headlines put the “blame” on some authority, with an implied (or explicit) promise to reveal them to you so that you can get the same benefits for yourself.

The Numbers Headline

This type of headline grabs the readers’ attention because you are making a very specific statement and, as humans, we like specificity because it seems more believable.

It’s one thing to say that you lost weight on a particular diet.  It’s quite another thing to say that you lost 33 pounds in 27 days, removing a total of 54 inches!

Here are some examples:

  • 3 Things You Can Do Every Day To Put $2,745.53 Back In Your Bank Account THIS YEAR!
  • 7 Slim & Sexy Secrets of  Hot Hollywood Moms!
  • A Proven 6-Step System for Protecting Your Income from Government Tax Collectors!

The key with using a numbers headline is to use actual numbers that you can back up… or to break down your system into a number of tips or secrets that you promise to reveal.

As you can see, each of these example headlines draws in your attention and makes you want to keep reading in order to find out more.  Once that happens, it’s your job to keep the reader engaged by delivering on your headline’s promise.

Because the headline is the part of your ad/article/website that is responsible for getting your reader’s attention, you should spend a large part of your time ensuring that it is as captivating as possible.

Often, I’ll write up to 50 different headline ideas for a single ad in order to narrow it down to the top 5, before eventually selecting two or three to test. (I’ll cover testing in a future post.)

I suggest you experiment by writing 3 – 5 of each type of headline for your next copywriting project and see what type of headline fits best for your particular purpose and style.

Paul Keetch

Got Something To Say?  Please leave your comments below and let me know what you think!





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