10 Simple Ideas for Headlines in Marketing Copy

A typewriter image
A typewriter (Source: Unsplash)

A headline is probably one of the most important parts in a marketing text. It serves to attract attention and to state what your copy is all about. In this article, I will share some fill-in-the-blank formulas to create both informative and interesting headlines.

  1. ____or ____? Quote a question that your potential customers might have on their mind. Research for appropriate questions in forums or blogs around your topic.
    Example: Online or printed ads? Find out the best way to promote your business locally.
  2. A success study:____.  Come up with a case study example on how your product or service helped somebody to succeed.
    Example: A success study: How we attracted 100 customers in one week using Facebook ads.
  3. (Undesired state) vs. (desired state): (number) main differences. Compare something that you customers try to avoid with something they aspire to do or to be.
    Example: Frustrated Facebook advertisers vs. successful Facebook advertisers: 3 main differences.
  4. What to do when____. Touch upon fears or difficult situations your audience might experience.
    Example: What to do when your website visitors do not convert.
  5. ___ laws. This headline is suitable if your audience are beginners in the topic you describe. It highlights the importance of what you have to say.
    Example: Five laws in online advertising.
  6. How to make ____ work.  Come up with a relative disadvantage your potential customers might have. They will be curios how they can actually profit from it.
    Example: How to make your limited marketing budget work for you: 5 simple tips.
  7. ____myth. Mention something that is talked about and that your audience might believe in. They will be surprised and curious to learn why it may be a myth.
    Example: Google ads myth: why it doesn’t always work.
  8. (Number) secrets of ____. Imply that the information you share is not available everywhere. This will spark additional interest in your content.
    Example: 5 secrets of online advertising.
  9. (Maximum benefit) at (minimum expense). Think of something that contains a contrast and is hard to believe. It will automatically attract attention of the target customers.
    Example: How to get 100 new customers in 3 days: effective use of online advertising.
  10. (Number) common mistakes in ____.  Your readers will probably ask themselves if they are also making these mistakes and will be more likely to read on.
    Example: Three common beginner mistakes when advertising on Facebook.

Remember that your headlines are a promise that your marketing copy should fulfill, so never use them as a “clickbait”. In other words, make sure that your copy answers the question or the claim stated in the headline. In addition, include the most significant information first, otherwise your visitors might leave rather quickly.

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Google AdWords Series: Selecting the Keywords and Matching Options

How to select the keywords in AdWords and how Google matches them to the search queries.

Selecting the keywords for your campaign is a science for itself, but there are several common recommendations you can keep to:

  • Think in terms of a concrete problem your potential customer wants to solve, a situation where your product is used or how what features and qualities are peculiar to your product or brand. Instead of “shoes” use “white Adidas shoes” “tennis shoes” “lightweight shoes” “big size shoes”.
  • Do not select your keywords too generally, more specific keywords often signal a higher purchase possibility. Use 2-3 word combinations, possibly including a word signaling buying intention (buy XXX online). If relevant, localize your keywords (XXX in Berlin).
  • You can find good sources for relevant keyword combinations by: analyzing your own web page and marketing material; watching your competitors; performing test searches in Google/Bing; surveying your customers or your target segment; scanning industry-related news in search for trends; or even using web tools like the free Google Keyword Planner tool (this, however, is not meant to encourage  you to generate whole lists automatically!).
  • According to Google, you do not need to include forms of the same word or misspellings, but make sure to consider synonyms and modifiers commonly used with your keywords (e.g. noun+adjective phrases).
  • Consider both the frequency of the search and the competition for the keywords you select. The higher the competition is, the higher your cost per click will be. Do not use keywords that have little relevance for your products and website, otherwise this will result in low conversions and bad quality score for your keywords (more on the quality score and the actual cost per click in my next articles on Google AdWords).

After preparing lists of 10-20 keywords for each AdWord Group, decide on the type of keyword match you would like to use.

  • Broad match. This matching option helps Google make most of its money with AdWords. Any words you enter without additional marking will, per default, use the type broad match. To explain, if you type in white shoes, Google may match it with white boots, and black shoes. I would not recommend this option for anyone, and especially for beginners, unless you are bidding on your brand name or have a unique product that only you sell.
  • Broad match modifier. In this case, words of a phrase have a “plus” sign in front of them. Words in these phrases are matched to search queries in any order, but synonyms are not used. In other words, +white +shoes will match to: shoes of white color, shoes in white, a white sport shoe.
  • Phrase match. For this option you need to type in your keywords in inverted commas. The related search results will include the complete phrase you enter plus any words before or after it- “white shoes” will be matched with white shoes Adidas, second hand white shoes, etc.
  • Exact match. To use it, enter your keywords in square brackets, e.g. [white shoes], in this case only the exact search terms entered will be matched to your ad. This might significantly limit the number of impressions for your ads, but will probably result in higher CTR rates and conversions.
  • Negative match. If you use broad or phrase match, do not forget to include a list of negative keywords. In the example with white shoes, assuming you are an owner of an online shoe shop you may want to include the words “for free” or the names of well-known brands you do not carry.

Remember to use the keywords in your ad copy and if appropriate, the display URL as well. After setting up a campaign and running it for a couple of days (or several hours for large campaigns), make sure to review the performance of the separate keywords. If a keyword gets almost no impressions, it is probably too specific to be matched against search terms. If the CTR is too low, then your ad copy is not very relevant for what the visitor is looking for (especially in case of broad match options) or is simply not very well written. And finally, if the conversion on the clicked ads is low, make sure to optimize your landing page or otherwise bid on more specific keywords and add more negative keywords to make sure you get more qualified leads.


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Specifics of Advertising on the Radio

Visiting the local Radio House the other day got me into thinking about radio as a marketing means.

As the managing director stated: radio is alive and kicking. Among the  reasons he named were: firstly, the radio can be used in the background of other activities, such as daily morning routines (morning is prime-time in the radio business). Secondly, real-time shows allow for instant news updates (DJs were constantly monitoring the news situation while moderating the show). And finally  the local nature of the radio is attractive for most clients (despite the unlimited number of Internet radio channels, the majority of radio listeners stick to the local providers).  Recent research even shows a growing number of younger people listening to the radio.

Thus, radio seems to be still a factor in media planing. First of all, radio is great for locally offered products or services. Secondly, radio offers a better reach  in comparison to the Internet or the local newspaper. The format of the radio (repeating of information, background flow of information) has the potential to increase the share of mind of any brand significantly.

However, I am still not convinced that radio advertising can be used successfully for any given product. For example, for a specific, niche product, the radio advertising unfortunately causes massive coverage waste, that is the relative conversion cost is rising.

A complex product or service has to be marketed through two-stage communication model: a user is forwarded to a landing page or another source of information by the radio commercial, which again may cause distortions/interruptions  in the communication process.

Another interesting finding was that advertising alone  is often not enough, it has to be coupled with promotion, e.g. extra benefits/ discounts/special offers in order to attract the customers.  In this case the question rises if the customer has been attracted by the discount or by way the product/ service has been positioned in the radio commercial.

What is more, the product or service and the brand itself  has to fit into the format of the radio channel/ radio program where it is advertised.

All in all, the goal of a marketer in doing radio advertising  should be looking for ways to build up a share of heart in addition the share of mind.

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