How to Write Headlines: Evaluating Headlines to Ensure You Grab Your Prospect’s Attention
Learning how to write headlines is one of the most important copywriting skills you can learn. The purpose of headlines is to catch the attention of prospects so they will want to read your ad or sales page. Your goal is to write an attention getting headline. You can have the best sales page ever, but if your headline doesn't attract your prospects, the time you spent writing your sales page is a waste.
Michael Masterson, a well known copywriter, developed the 4 U's Formula for evaluating headlines.
The 4 U's stand for Urgent, Unique, Ultra-Specific, and Useful.
Your headline is urgent if you give your prospects a reason to act now. You make your headline urgent by adding a time element to your headline. You can use a limited time offer or you can state something that can be done within the week(s), month(s), or year.
Your headline is unique if it says something new or something familiar in a new way. One way to do this is to state a reason for something. For example, instead of writing "Save 10% on Dog Food," you could write, "Why do Healthy Dogs Have Shiny Fur?"
Your headline is ultra-specific when you focus on very specific points like a bullet statement. These are called "fascinations" because they point out something your reader is intrigued by, which creates a curiosity to read more.
Your headline is useful if it offers a benefit or information your reader is interested in.
When you apply the 4 U formula to your headline, rate it from 1-4 (with 1 meaning weak and 4 meaning strong) against each "U." Trying to make sure your headline strong in each U may not be practical, but your headline should rate a 3 or 4 on at least three of the U's. If it doesn't, you should probably rewrite your headline.
Here are some other questions to ask when evaluating your headlines. Is your headline clear and direct? Is it specific? Does the headline relate to the product or service the ad is about? Have you gotten rid of words that are irrelevant? Does your headline promise your reader something, a benefit or an answer to a question?
Learning how to write the best headline possible is the first step to getting your ad or sales page read. The more you write headlines, the better you'll get at it. Just be sure to evaluate your headline against the 4 U's to make sure you have the best.
Happy Business Building,