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  1. Ericsestimate

    You think that the adroll one is a really solid headline? I mean why am I supposed to believe that it’s #1? The supporting copy doesn’t even explain why they’re #1.

    Maybe something like “Target Your Website Visitors When They Are On Facebook”

    or “Simple & Effective Facebook Retargetting”

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      In the examples I was only demonstrating possible ways to use the formula, ignoring the rest of the copy.

      I agree that the #1 statement is usually a turn-off, but when you go to their site you see that they back it up – they’re no. 7 on the Inc 5000 list (and #1 Advertising Company in the same list). 7th fastest growing company in the US with 3-year growth of 11,082% (yes thats over 10k %). Impressive feat. So the headline is not fluff actually.

    2. James

      I think #1 Ad Retargeting is a smart headline, because they are selling their position. They are first to the market. This headline wouldn’t work, if they couldn’t back it up.

      Oglivy said: the first question shouldn’t be how to sell a product, it should be how to position it.

      AdRoll is doing tons of activity to support their claim so that while people might believe it if they land cold from a search engine, when they start seeing them in articles, conferences, and around the web, the idea will stick.

      I don’t work for AdRoll either :) That said, this headline won’t work in 1-2 years when the market gets crowded and whoever was first doesn’t really matter for the buyer.

      Marketing is about helping people choose–choosing the safe choice of the clear market leader is always a good way to go, if you are really the #1 selling product.

  2. Gregory Ciotti

    Homepage headlines and blog post headlines are two different games, wouldn’t you say?

    One is more about clicking through via on-site and shares (writing headlines for Twitter, etc.), and the other is about informing new visitors on your offering.

    In fact, using them in tandem (outrageous headlines to get them on-site, straightforward headlines on the homepage to inform them) are what I see many marketing related sites doing.

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      For sure. This post is *only* about home page headlines. And the cheesy ones I listed on the post were definitely recommended as website headlines

  3. Daniel Gonzalez

    Awesome post Peep. I’ve got to point out though, that the headline is a standard formula from the old school copywriting techniques. “The Astonishing (blank) of (product/service)…” —- which is combined with —- “How to do X with out Y.”

    Still this is a killer post. I think it’s interesting that most of the businesses that would be in that sample you pulled are relatively new businesses. It’s interesting how this relates to Market Sophistication as Eugene Schwartz defined it.

    What I mean is, is there a phase that these business go through where people wonder what they are? So, they’ve got to tell people what they are and what their product can do.

    Then later…

    After these businesses establish their brand, and their marketing teams begin to focus more on growth/user acquisition… Or, capturing as much of the market as they can. Do would they switch to more direct response style messaging? OR to something else even?

    It’d be an interesting question to answer.

    Keep jammin Peep! Thanks for another good post.

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      Of course, Amazon and Adobe dont have to explain who they are. However, most companies never get so big and well-known that they have to stop explaining.

      Yes, the companies in the list are new as I wanted to only look at little known businesses that get customers online so the headline could have an impact.

      Headline on a Microsoft website matters much less.

      As for the Crazyegg headline, it also conforms to the new formula:)

  4. Priit Potter

    Thanks for the good post, Peep.

    Fun detail – I was surprised that you picked “Find your perfect case” for Otterbox headline. The visual design does not emphasize it as one, I really had to take a conscious second look at the screenshot to even find that phrase there.

    At first glance I only noticed the “Protection for what’s next” line and the image with the phone cases.

    1. Luke McGrath

      Hi Priit, I found the same thing! I saw “Protection for what’s next” first, which is meaningless as a phrase until you know it means protection for phones etc…

      Guess that shows that planning a site’s design and where you put your main headline is just as important as getting that headline right.

    2. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      I agree, the design sucks ass. But the headline fits the formula, and I wanted to use an example for a tangible product.

      And – Otter Box sales are through the roof, 2011 Revenue:$347.5 million

      I don’t know how much of it is online, but I’m sure it’s some of it.

  5. Kenny Fabre


    All three formulas are right on the money. Like Felix Dennis would say this is the formula to make “filthy lucre” (that means a whole bunch of money)

    yes for the first one “you must let let the person know what this is by letting them know what it is” from there they would have already known if theyre interested or not

    for the second one you tell them how its going to benefit them by telling them what theyre getting

    and the third what the person will be able to accomplish with it.

    Man I like this article alot man, great job

  6. Jules Hawkins

    Great post – so good in fact that I downloaded the Web Copywriting Bible. But that’s when it went wrong for me and I asked and received a prompt full refund. Here’s what went wrong for me:
    1. I thought this was an ebook – I may not have read that properly, and it seems it’s rather than more of a workshop/work book. I really don’t have time to do anything other than read, my business and site are already up and running.

    2. The link I followed went from your blog Peep, to a completely new place, which I assumed was some sort of shopping basket.

    3. Then I had to open a ruddy account with this shopping basket before I could get the ebook, why should I give them my details? Who are they?

    4. So after trying to buy without creating an account, I finally paid and got a link in return that made no sense, I didn’t know what it was linking to and I didn’t ‘know’ the company it’s from, that opened up something that made no sense at first glance. I honestly don’t even know what I was looking at, web page? More links? The actual ebook? Who knows? But it was still something to do with a company I’d never heard of before, and it began to look like what ever it was I’d purchased was pretty much like the content of your blog anyway.

    5. I bought it because of the offered the money back guarantee and at this stage I just wanted my money back and to get out of here. I’d lost all trust in the shopping basket place and quite a lot in you Peep. I won’t be so fast to follow a link from you again.

    So, sorry that it’s frank, but that was my experience

    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      Thanks for sharing and Im sorry for all the trouble. I did mention that its a course on Startup Plays, but of course that didnt help your experience. I will take your feedback seriously and consider from now on to only have products available on my own site rather than external platforms.

  7. Markku

    Very inspiring article! Based on it I already started to make own comparison for the growth companies in my country. In the meantime, did you found any cohesion or difference between home page headline vs. title/meta element? In the first sight I can say that many of the companies have a really bad headline, or don’t have it at all. If they have a good headline, you can find that they are using it also in title-element in a nearly similar way.

  8. Ben Kinnaird

    Good post, thank you, and it did make me to click through to you workshop although a few bumps like the case case companies headline which I think is actually the call to action.

    I’d also say that the testimonial headline could work if a) it’s true b) not full of hyperbole and c) it has an accompanying image of the person, not just any person but the one who said it.

    I have yet to test this myself, although will soon, but have seen it on a few other growing web companies as the best version after testing.

    Thanks again Peep

  9. Gregor McKelvie

    Great post and some very good examples. My only worry with this is that people will start to switch off to these types of headings – I’m already doing so.

  10. Melanie Kissell

    Magnificent post!

    BEST piece of copy writing transparency I’ve seen in a coon’s age! Your headline tips and samples are genuinely helpful and I’m happy to know you’re kicking those old-style hype-ridden headlines to the curb. :)

    Discovered you thanks to my fellow Word Carnival blogger, Eugene Farber, of “Reality Burst”.

  11. SandyMc

    Thanks Peep. Many of the examples demonstrated would score well on what I call the trust monitor, rating on inclusivity, disclosure, transparency, competency and authenticity.

    It’s a big ask for a few words backed up by a sub head and a scan of the overall site, but when it works you are far more likely to click through.

    I wonder why though, people are still duped into clicking through on ‘the secrets of…’ type headlines. It must appeal in a powerful way to our lizard brain?

  12. Roz @ 411 Brand

    I laughed quietly on the $4 beauty secret of Rachel Bilson – who on earth would ever believe Rachel Bilson uses something that costs $4 to help her maintain her appearance when she could apparently enjoy luxurious products?! That being said, she actually MAY use inexpensive stuff and I don’t mean to make her look shallow, but I really doubt that’s the case. Such headlines are kind of annoying, cause they make me feel like they thought I was stupid enough to believe that crap. Really bad approach to prospect customers!

  13. Anubhav

    Simply awesome tips, and great examples. Killer apps needs killer titles, similarly killer sites needs killer headlines.

  14. Jon Evans

    This was a really helpful article. Did you find any ‘clever’ headlines on successful website pages?

  15. Big G

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!

    Extremely useful information specifically the last part :) I care for such
    information a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  16. James Stevenson

    Thanks for the post.

    It’s useful to be reminded of the differences between writing for posted letters, emails and web pages.

    As a self-taught bootstrapping business person I need all the help I can get and will be reviewing my headlines accordingly.

  17. James Stevenson

    Oh and BTW, I’ll be testing a change to my mailout letter – I’ll post the results in a few weeks time.

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