Better Headlines = More Sales

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The Google AdWords Challenge

Google made copywriters everywhere jump for joy with the news its testing double-length headlines for Google AdWords ads. Additionally, the description copy area has been extended to 80 characters, giving marketers even more room to make their point. If this change proves to be popular – and we have every reason to believe it will be – the new expanded copy ads should soon be available for all advertisers.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should start channeling your inner Tolstoy. Even given expanded room to write, you’ll have to keep your copy succinct and to the point. The headline is especially important. Five times as many people read the headline as the copy, even in AdWords’ uber-short format.

What Makes a Good Headline?

Emotional impact matters – researchers have found that headlines that evoke an emotional, rather than intellectual or spiritual, response are shared exponentially more often. Think about the way your target customer wants to feel after making a purchase from you. For example, more than one jeweler has found the simple three-word headline “Make Her Happy” leads to increased click-throughs and sales.

Numbers grab attention. Steal a page out of the content marketer’s book and use numbers in your ad headline. They’re generally only one character long but attract attention. “3 Special Deals Happening Now!” combines an attention grabbing number with a sense of urgency. It’s a powerful combination.

Use “If-Then” formatting. Practice phrasing the customer’s problem and your proposed solution in as few words as possible. For example: Got Grubs? Grub B Gone Works! This is effective even with complicated problems, if you think creatively. Any number of tax problems can be boiled down to “IRS Trouble?”

Remember the 25:1 Rule. Experienced copywriters will write 25 (or more!) headlines before they find the one they use. Creating a large number of headlines regularly will sharpen your copywriting skills and, if you hold on to the efforts that didn’t make the initial cut, creates a stockpile of headlines that could be used in future ads. It’s a great idea to run the same ad with two different headlines and test which one performs best for you.

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