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  1. Neil Ferree

    There’s no debate, everything starts with the headline. I tested a few of your headlines using the http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/ headline analyzer, some of the assumptions needed a bit of tweaking to score above 50%.

    My best scored headline 62% I created in my unscientific mini case study was this “5 tactics to dramatically increase your headline appeal”

    Reply
  2. Elliott Brown

    A small add on negative headlines. Through some qualitative experimentation, I’ve seen that negative headlines that don’t offer a benefit (or implied benefit) tend to fare a lot worse than Pollyanna-happy headlines. For example, a title like “7 Ways You’re Losing Customers” is vague and doesn’t give a sense of the benefit of reading the article. But “7 Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid” goes into the negative, but is more specific and hints at a positive outcome.

    Reply
    1. Tommy Walker

      Oooh very good point Elliott! Thanks for adding that ;-)

      Reply
  3. Diego Lavia

    I learned a lot from this article. Thanks Elliot for adding that experiment too!

    I am sure that by appliying this tips will increase the conversions in my headlines. I never would have thought about the negative headline tip, but thinking it through negative headlines give the reader a “must read/do” sensation.

    Regards

    Reply
    1. Tommy Walker

      Just make sure to keep it balanced Diego, I’ve found with other sites there’s can be a blowback when everything is framed negatively.

      Know when to go in for the right hook!

      Reply
  4. Gab Goldenberg

    While I agree with the overall message, some of the examples here don’t support your claims, Neil.

    The 30 Day Free Trial for Highrise is obviously more benefits and more customer oriented than the “do what we want” headline that preceded it, e.g. Start a Highrise Account

    The TimeTrade landing page changed the headline – it didn’t just switch things around. The new one included a clear benefit whereas the old one was empty bluster. (“revolutionize”? how? with armed militias?)

    Reply
  5. Gbenga Akinwole

    This post has opened my eyes to so many mistakes I am presently making when writing headlines even though I know some of them and use them often in my headlines.

    I’m going to follow this to the Tee and report back on some of the improvement I notcie. Great post.

    Reply
  6. Andy Crichton

    The negative slant, never thought of it, but we run a How To site, and being positive kind of guys we are all, hey you can do it, this is how… But just writing the title “Never paint a door this way”, is already much more interesting to me than “How to Paint a Door”. Pretty much same content as the How To, just a different slant to the intro paragraph. That’s the theory any how! I need your A/B testing guide now.

    This is such a great site btw, so pragmatic and very confident in what you share.

    Reply
  7. I am presently redesigning my website and would like to get my headlines rewritten. Is there anyone who has a proven track record on writing good headlines that I could hire?

    Reply
    1. Not sure anyone out there has a proven track record. Most agency/studios create great headlines, but may never know the end results once the client’s work is completed. I have work with agencies/clients and never knew the end results of a campaign if the client didn’t need a further services.

      Reply
  8. Being a creative in the advertising/marketing business for many years I have found that numbers have always brought in more replies. Figured out that people always want something more and being clear is even more important. Great article and I even learned something new about negative words.

    Reply
  9. Bryant Jaquez

    Hey Peep

    I am interested to know what your personal test-results have been regarding the suggestions you shared in the section about the length of headlines: ” They Have Between 5-9 (or 16-18) Words.”

    I agree that our brains can only comprehend a limited amount of information (which, interestingly, is the reason our social security system was created to have only 9 digest) I have never specifically tested the length of my headlines so I am curious to know what you have found. I usually focus on the content and messaging of my A/B tested headlines.

    There are obviously famous headlines from advertisers like Ogilvy and Hopkins where the length of a headline is in the 15-18 word category. Examples: “They laughed when I sat down to play the piano… but then I started to play” (16 words). “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock” (18 words).

    Now I am interested, I’ll have to think about this one and run some tests.

    Thanks for the article. It was a lot of fun to read.

    -Bryant Jaquez

    Reply
  10. Soumya

    Number is always good to attract readers or customers but the word-number is a bit new to me. Neil, I have an SEO question. We know that a page title can contain max. 70 characters (sometimes even 50). And the article titles go page title after publishing. So if we write article titles with 15-18 words it may not fit into the actual length of page title. People won’t be able to see those words on SERP. Then how that many words can matter in organic traffic. If we do not get huge organic traffic how will we make good conversions? Yes for Social Media that can surely boost the clicks but can we completely rely on social media, especially if the business/brand is new and small?

    Reply
  11. learn German

    Very good and interesting advice, you need to be a fine psychologist to win in the advertisement market.

    Reply
  12. Courtney Hall

    Very insightful article, I am sure that this will help web designers, developers and SEO experts alike improve their results. Thanks!

    Reply

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