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How to Write Headlines That Engage Your Audience

September 11, 2014

Postcard Marketing Headlines

Headlines are the most important element of any direct mail piece, but many people neglect them in favor of quirky copy or eye-catching imagery. In this blog post, we’ll share five techniques that you can use to write more engaging headlines.

The headline of your direct mail postcard or brochure is the first thing that people will read, so it’s important that it grabs their attention. Even the finest copy will go unread if your headline isn’t engaging enough to draw your audience in.

While there’s no formula for writing a perfect headline, there are plenty of tips and tricks that you can use to make your headlines more effective. Let’s cover five of the best ways to make your direct mail campaign’s headlines more engaging:

Write like you’re announcing important news

  • “At Last, You No Longer Need to Mow Your Own Lawns!”
  • “Announcing a Groundbreaking New Way to Clean Your Car!”

Far too many business owners make the mistake of writing their copy as if they’re marketing to themselves. Readers may not respond to the features of your product, but they will respond to something that’s new and exciting.

Instead of writing a headline that describes your offer, write one that announces it to the world. When you treat your offer like a newsworthy event, your target audience will think of your copy as something that requires their urgent attention.

Ask your target audience an engaging question

  • “Are You Making These 5 Common Personal Finance Mistakes?”
  • “70% of Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover Flooding. Are You at Risk?”

A great way to draw readers in is with an interesting question. If you can think up a question that relates to the interests of your audience – or better yet, the things they struggle with – you can easily capture their attention.

The best questions for headlines involve two words: “you,” which makes it personal, and “yes,” which should be the reader’s response. Personal questions that touch on the problems readers face demand answers and keep readers engaged.

Be direct and tell your audience exactly what to do

  • “Clean Your Car in Under 10 Minutes Using Our New Product”
  • “Achieve Your Career Goals in Six Months or Less”

Sometimes the best headlines are simple instructions to readers about what they can do with your product or service. This type of headline is known as a command headline, since it commands readers on what action they should take.

Command headlines are straightforward, direct and – with the right offer – highly effective. If your offer has a clear benefit, a straightforward command headline is often the best way to showcase its value to your target audience.

Be completely honest about what you’re offering

  • “Free Coffee for Two When You Come In for Breakfast”
  • “Accounting Services: Save Up to 20% on Your Taxes” If your offer’s value is clear and obvious to your entire target audience, a direct and simple headline is often the best choice. Direct headlines tell your audience exactly what you’re offering without fluff, frills or any fancy sales tricks. Because this type of headline is so direct, it’s ideal for offers that appeal to a broad audience. Vouchers, discount sales and anything else that attracts a wide variety of people can be marketed very effectively with this type of headline. Teach your target audience how to do something
    • “How You Can Become Smoke-Free in 60 Days… and Keep it That Way!”
    • “How to Fly First Class for Less Than You’d Normally Spend for Coach” Everyone wants to learn something new, especially if it’s something other people don’t know about. If your direct mail postcard includes detailed information that isn’t widely available, using a How To headline is a great way to draw in readers. This type of headline appeals to a reader’s desire to learn something that’s rarely known or considered “insider information.” The more quirky or unusual your tip, the more effective your How To headline will be at drawing in recipients of your next direct mail postcard.