Lesson 17: Making sure your headline is relevant to Sam
All about starting to connect your headline to your customer
I needn’t tell you at this point that if you fail to engage Sam’s interest in your headline, he probably won’t bother to read the rest of your copy.
This can be mitigated to some degree by engaging his interest in the emails you write — the “funnel” that directs him to your sales page in the first place. Much of the effectiveness of this funnel is in its redundancy — you get multiple chances to engage Sam, so there is no single point of failure once he is on board.
Thus, I don’t want you to stress about your headline here. Sam will have already seen a lot to interest him by the time he gets to it.
But it is nonetheless a very important element — and I do want to emphasize how you can make it pull the maximum weight possible.
Ginny Redish, in her book Letting Go Of The Words, talks about how Sam is starting a conversation when he comes to your page. This being so, your headline — and of course the copy that follows — had better say something intelligent in reply! (A conversation is just a sequence of thoughts expressed by two people in turn, right?)
Unfortunately for Sam — but fortunately for you — the conversation on most pages goes rather badly. That gives you a chance to stand out and use the contrast principle. For instance, if Sam were looking for hand cream, a lot of the pages he might end up on would have a conversation a bit like this:
Sam: Hey, I’ve got a problem with dry hands. Can you help?
Page: Here’s our name with three meaningless adjectives next to it. Don’t they look good when we separate them using periods, but don’t capitalize them?
Sam: Riiiight, but can you help with my dry hands?
Page: We’re a leading global provider of metacarpal-area lubrication solutions.
Page: We utilize innovative, ethical and environmentally-sustainable techniques to deliver our customers the most advanced moisturizing technologies on the market.
Sam: clicks the back button
You could describe the problem here in many ways, but why complicate things? Simply put, the page says nothing relevant to Sam. If he got to this page by, for instance, clicking a PPC ad which says “Sooth dry hands — all-natural cream,” the logical thing to do is ensure relevance by maintaining reasoning. Connect the idea in the ad to the idea in the headline. Keep the thought alive. Sam is thinking about smooth dry hands and all-natural cream when he arrives, so use those keywords in the headline.
You can even use the same phrasing — but you want to advance the conversation too. Now that you have space to talk, you want to quickly develop your promise. So a headline like this might work well:
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Copywriting Night School to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.