Making Sales with Headlines and Text

You have less then 15 seconds to make an impression before Internet users are gone with a click of their mouse. 

Headlines are used to create enough interest in the visitor so that they continue to read and learn the details of what you are offering.  

Certain subjects and words create more interest than others. Subjects that interest everyone are money, love, health, and safety. Words that attract interest are learn, discover, easy, new, save, free, proven and now. Try and create three or four headlines using these subjects and words. Your headline might look like this: "Discover how to keep your feet happy all day long!"   

Questions are a great way to involve the reader by first making them thinking about your question, and then by answering it. When creating your question try and word it in such a way that it cannot be answered with a no. Instead, ask a question that will produce a yes response. For example, let’s say you are selling shoes, don’t ask "Do you need a new pair of shoes?" instead ask "Do your feet hurt at the end of the day?". Everyone’s feet hurt at the end of the day, so they will most likely answer "yes" and they will want to know more.   

Experiment with your headlines. The first headline you use will not be your best. You need to try different ones and gauge the responses you are getting. Once a month for three or four months try different headings and track your sales to see what headline produced the best results.    
Effective website text is what will sell your product or service. Your headline has captured them enough to read more about your product, now is when you want to close the sale.  

Emphasize Benefits. People don’t buy features, they buy products and services that will benefit them. Tell them what the product will do for them or how it will make them feel. Visitors to your site don’t care how much research has gone into the product or how many years you have been in business (this information is good to put on an "about us" page), instead, visitors what to know that your product will make them look and feel younger and smarter or will make them more money or give them more free time.  

WIIFM - ("What’s in it for me?") Every time you mention a feature of your product, think "what this does for you is" and then complete the sentence giving them the benefit. Going back to our shoe example:   Feature: Our shoes have a patented cushion in the soles. Think WIIFM. Benefit: Your feet will feel as refreshed and cool as they do after walking on a sandy beach. 

Keep it Short and Sweet.  Write your text, the go back and remove extra words, then do it again. You want to say what you need to as quickly as possible. Reading a computer screen is much harder then reading a magazine. Plus, the visitor will have their finger on the mouse button. As soon as they are bored, "click", they are gone. 

Emotion Sells. Most purchases are made on impulse or on an emotional level. We tend to buy what we want, not what we need. Your site needs to make them want the product because it will feel good or make them money. Don’t sell from the angle that they need your product, instead, make them want your product. 

Keep it simple. Write the text of your website just as if you were talking to the person. Don’t use big words they will not understand. The last thing you want to do is make your reader feel not worthy of your product. Use the smallest word possible and leave the Thesaurus to lawyers and writers of computer manuals. You do, however, want to use proper grammar. You want to project the image that you are educated and that you took the time to proof your site. If your site is full of misspelled words and grammar mistakes, the visitor will think less of your website, and that image will reflect on your product or service.

July 1, 2000

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