The Ultimate Guide To Writing Great Sales Letter Headlines

If you want to write great sales letter headlines that stop your ideal prospects dead in their tracks, so they read the rest of your copy and absolutely buy from you, then this post will be one of the most important things you ever read.

Right, what's the most important part of any sales letter?

The bullets?

Testimonials?

Close?

No, no and no again. Instead, it's your sales letter headline.

Now, I know what you're thinking …

How can something as small as your headline be the single most important thing in your entire copy?

Well, look at it like this:

It does not matter how good your offer is, how enticing a story you write, how powerful your testimonials are, if no one reads your copy.

So the first "win" you have to get when writing copy, is getting your prospects to actually read it.

You do that through your headline.

With me so far?

Good. Moving on.

Now then, how do you write a great sales letter headline?

Well, here's what most people do:

They build a swipe file of all the greatest headlines through history.

Good so far.

Thing is, instead of using these headlines as inspiration for writing their own headline, they literally swipe them word-for-word.

They just add and subtract a couple of words here and there, so it applies to their own product or market. And that's that.

On the face of it, you might think it's clever.

If it's worked once, it's gonna work again, right?

Well, not so fast.

You see, there's a reason those headlines worked so well. And it comes down to this:

The copywriters who wrote them knew their markets inside-out.

Specifically, they knew two things:

1) How much the market know of their product.

(This included what the product did, the mechanisms implied, and how well it satisfied a problem or desire they had.)

2) How AWARE their market was of any problem or desire they might have been experiencing at that time.

In his book "Breakthrough Advertising", one of the great copywriters of all time, Eugene Schwartz, called this the market's "state of awareness".

And he said you have to write your headline with your market's CURRENT state of awareness in mind.

If you do not, then your sales letter headline will not hit home with your prospects …

It will flop …

And the people who otherwise would've bought from you, will not even read the rest of your copy.

Which would be a royal pain in the backside, right?

Anyway, there are 5 different states of awareness you have to be aware of. (Get it?)

These are:

Stage 1: Your prospect knows of your product and wants it, but just has not got around to buying it yet.

Stage 2: Your prospect knows of your product but does not want to buy it yet.

Stage 3: Your prospect is NOT aware of your product, but IS aware of a desire he has which your product would fulfill.

Stage 4: Your prospect is not aware of your product, though he has a NEED which has to be fulfilled.

Stage 5: Your prospect is not aware of your product AND he is not aware of any need or desire he has related to what your product does.

Look:

You MUST know which stage of awareness your prospects are in, in that moment of time.

Why?

Because you have to use a different headline "formula" for each stage.

What are these formulas? Let me tell you …

Stage 1: Your prospect knows of your product and wants it, but just has not gotten around to buying yet.

This one's easy.

All you really need to do in your headline is state the name of your product and a bargain price.

People in this stage of awareness will then buy.

For example, everyone knows what an iPhone is. And there are millions of people who want one, but have not gotten round to buying yet.

If iPhone wrote a headline which said something as simple as:

"iPhone (whatever the latest model is): Now Available At Half Price," people would flock to it.

Thing is, most products do not fall in this category. And if they do not, then this type of headline would stink worse than my balls after ten sets of squats.

On that nice thought, let's move on …

Stage 2: Your prospect knows of your product but does not want to buy it yet.

Things are now slightly more complicated …

But not much more.

Here, you just need to strengthen your headline in one of the 7 following ways:

1) Reinforce your prospect's desire for the output your product can help him achieve.

2) Sharpen the image of your product in action, in the mind of your prospect.

David Ogilvy's famous 'Rolls-Royce' ad headline is a great example of this:

"At 60mph the loudest sound in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."

You can now imagine driving a smooth-as-fuck Rolls-Royce, right?

Amazing imagery.

3) Emphasize WHEN and WHERE your prospect can make use of and benefit from your product.

For example, I never bothered with Netflix.

Until, that is, when I went traveling around Thailand and wanted to watch some movies in my downtime.

I did not think I'd be able to get Netflix on my phone.

But guess what? I saw a headline saying there was a Netflix mobile app, and I could stream movies from anywhere in the world.

Of course I then signed up, because I was no longer limited to watching movies in my bedroom back in England – I was able to watch them anywhere in the world, at any time I wanted.

4) Emphasize new documentation or proof that backs up the quality / effectiveness of your product.

5) Mention a new mechanism in your product that makes it "perform" better than before.

6) Mention a new mechanism in your product that overcomes a previous limitation it had.

Eg If there was a brand-new ingredient in a beer that prevented hangovers, that company would be stupid not to mention it in their headline!

7) Finally, you might want to change your prospect's image of your product alike, to remove it from competition and / or to enter a new market.

Lucozade did this.

It used to be a drink people had when they were ill. Then they re-positioned it as an energy drink you can have daily.

Genius.

Right, that's "Stage 2" on the Scale of Awareness done.

Let's move onto stage 3 …

Stage 3: Your prospect is NOT aware of your product, but IS aware of a desire he has which your product would fulfill.

Remember this:

If your prospect does not know of your product yet, and does not know what it can do for him, do not mention it in your headline.

Got it?

Good.

Instead, you should start with the DESIRE your prospect has.

Your body copy must then prove that desire can be accomplished.

And finally, you need to show them that your product is the best / only way they can fulfill that desire.

Next.

Stage 4: Your prospect is not aware of your product, though he has a NEED which has to be fulfilled.

This is similar to "stage 3", so we're not gonna spend too much time on this.

Here, you want to name the need and / or its solution in your headline.

Then, you want to really rub salt into the wound so to speak, by making your prospect realize how badly he needs a solution to his need.

And as before, you then present your product as the solution.

Stage 5: Your prospect is not aware of your product AND he is not aware of any need or desire he has related to what your product does.

Right, this is where a top copywriter earns his money.

If your sales letter headline can appeal to people in this category, you should get a ton more sales, and more money in your bank.

Thing is, how do you do it?

Well, as you might've guessed, you can not mention your product.

Nor can you mention a desire – they're not aware of it yet.

Price? Definitely not. At this stage, price is irrelevant too.

So what do you do?

You start with (drumroll please) …

YOUR MARKET!

Yep, when addressing a market in this fifth stage of awareness, you need to "call out" your market first, so they can identify with your ad.

If they do not even identify with it, then they will not read on. Fact.

Then, only after they've identified with your ad through your headline, you do the following in your main body copy:

First, you need to make them aware of the problem or desire.

Then, make them realize there's a solution.

And finally, same as before, make sure they see YOUR PRODUCT as the obvious solution.

Anyways, all this may overwhelm you at first. It sure did me.

It's a lot to take in.

But if you can master this one aspect of copywriting alone, your copy's gonna convert better than 90% of your competitors.

Meaning more money for you.

Source by Tom Andrews

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