What's the Big Deal About a Headline Anyway?

The Success Margin

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Is the headline of any space ad, or sales letter,
brochure or subject line all that important?

You bet it is! Even a single word can often make a
dramatic difference in response.

Sometimes the right headline can increase response
200 to 300%. Sometimes the wrong word can slash
response by 75% or more.

In my experience, creating an entirely new headline
completely can multiply your sales by as much as 5
times, or 500%. Is it worth testing? What do you
think? I can tell you that I never run advertising
without a headline test.

** You are just 17 words away from a million
dollar fortune! **

You may think that in order to get your full
attention I'm exaggerating the case for creating a
strong headline.

But please be aware of these facts.

I'm going to describe what a few words have done
to catapult others to multi-millionaire status.

A few examples:

Five Magic Words by best-selling author, Robert
Allen, earned him a multi-million dollar fortune and
started a whole industry. The words:

"No Money Down Real Estate"

Ten Magic Words by entrepreneur, Jeff Paul, have
earned him millions. The words:

"How to Make a Fortune at Home in Your

Three Magic Words for a product helped young
internet millionaire, Yanik Silver, earn a fortune.
The words:

"Instant Sales Letters"

Two Magic Words by Bill Meyers have earned him
millions. The words:

"Unfair Advantage"

Seven Magic Words have helped Bill Bonner of
Agora Publishing build a 350 million dollar
company. The words:

"Best Places in the World to Retire"

The Company Corporation, one of the companies I
formed, has become the largest incorporator in the
world. A hugely successful headline responsible for
millions in profits is this:

"Incorporate on the Phone in 7 Minutes or Less"

** Don't miss the opportunities a strong headline
gives you **

In my view, most often copywriters do not put forth
nearly enough effort on headlines.

I consider the headline crucial in all media. This
includes online and offline media, e-mail, postcards,
sales letters and space ads. I won't even run the copy
at all unless I'm satisfied with the headline.

I write as many as 200-250 headlines before I settle
on the one I choose. It's the very first thing I create
before I write a single word of copy.

Recently you may recall I rewrote the ad for the
winner of my "Improve Your Ad Challenge." It was
a successful ad in its present form.

It will help improve your copywriting skills to take
an exclusive look and go behind the scenes with me.
(Of course, this is done with our subscriber's

I'll reveal exactly why and how I created a new
headline approach. I'll also comment on the client's

Here is the original headline submitted by our
Success Margin subscriber.

"Save money with the amazing Mobal GSM World
Phone that works in over 150 countries!"

In my view, this is a reasonably strong headline.
However, I don't like a few aspects of it. These

"Mobal GSM World Phone" is of course the name
of the product. All products names are usually "me"
messages for the manufacturer. My experience in
numerous tests revealed that benefits almost always
produce greater response than products. So I almost
never use the name of the product unless it includes
a benefit.

"Over 150 Countries" is too vague. I like a specific
number, e.g., 153, which is more credible and

Here is my new headline:

"Are You Sick and Tired of Getting Ripped Off By
the Outrageous Costs of International Telephone

It's vital to use as much emotion and intensity in the
copy. Especially the headline.

Look at the ideal use of emotional words and

"Sick and Tired"
"Ripped Off"
"Outrageous Costs"

Notice how many of the human emotions we all feel
while traveling are explained in my 17-word

Adding emotional intensity improves the sales pull
of your copy. Remember this. All of us buy
everything we purchase for emotional, not logical

My Dear Reader, I'd appreciate it if you would keep
me posted on your results. I'd love to hear
your success story as you use more emotional
power in your copy.

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas

© Copyright 2008 Ted Nicholas