The rules for effective persuasion don’t change, and they haven’t for millennia.
In other words, we wacky humans still respond to the same old hot buttons of pain and pleasure and we always will… even during a pandemic.
You can take it to the bank… literally!
But as we’re coaching our members and critiquing their marketing pieces during these turbulent times, one of the mistakes we’re seeing is that these entrepreneurs are getting too caught up in the body copy and taking their eyes off the ball.
The biggest “ball” I’m talking about is the headline, or the subject line if we’re dealing with email.
We’ve talked about them before, but headlines are so important we can never study them enough!
And as you already know, studies show that a whopping 8 out of 10 people will read the headline or subject line, but only 2 out of 10 people will read the body copy.
So obviously, your clients and prospects MUST get past the headline bottleneck or there’s no point in writing the rest of your marketing piece.
Now if you’re reading this far, the headline must have grabbed you.
Let’s look at why.
Hot Headline’s, Hidden Persuasion
In writing the above headline for this post, two obvious things stand out, and two are not so apparent.
First, it’s telling you, without any cleverness or beating around the bush, that the article is about HEADLINES.
So that makes all entrepreneurs, and just about anyone in marketing, a possible target.
Secondly, it calls attention to what we’re living through at the moment, i.e., turbulent times.
Which obeys the legendary Robert Collier’s directive to,
“Always enter the conversation ALREADY taking place in the customer’s mind.”
That’s why breaking news is such fabulous fodder for marketing, especially for email since you’re hopefully mailing your subscribers multiple times per week and the news changes fast.
Thirdly, and not so obvious, when you combine the two ideas… hot headlines plus turbulent times… suddenly there’s a powerful curiosity element: “Are there special headlines that are used during a crisis?”
And the fourth element, which is even less obvious, is the alliteration of the “H” sound followed by the “T.”
It flows so smoothly off the tongue that it gives a little ping of mental pleasure…
… Maybe even a little microscopic squirt of dopamine.
And just as important, if you split test two ads that are selling exactly the same thing with the same offer…
… The one that’s clearer, easier to read, and more enjoyable, is perceived as the better deal and WINS every time.
OK, let’s grab a couple of recent headlines we’ve used in the last few weeks, including some that piggyback on the news:
Why the Pandemic is Like the IRS
Ready to Reopen? Maybe, But Only If…
Alfred Hitchcock’s Lost Marketing Secret
Angry Blowback From a Subscriber
Most Important Pandemic Skill
The 80/20 Magic of Client Attraction
Another Lap in Hell for Coaches and Consultants?
As you can see, we go at this from quite a variety of angles.
But in the last few months, we keep coming back to the current pandemic because it’s top of consciousness for most people.
More importantly, we can back up our marketing with very specific tools to help our members.
We also consistently vary our approach since people are easily bored and will tune out if you keep hammering the same nail all the time.
OK, now let’s check out…
Proven Crisis Headlines from Yesteryear
Let’s face it, collectively, this isn’t our first rodeo when it comes to a crisis.
In the last few decades, we’ve been through one financial crisis after another, and the headlines have followed suit.
Here are a few from major marketers that deal with disasters and impending crises…
The Biggest Investment in the History of Capitalism is About to Collapse: By March 1st, 2013, It Will Bring An Endgame to Your Way of Life…
Double Dip Disaster Directly Ahead!
“Fortunately, most investors think like losers. That’s how people like me get rich!”
The Shallow TRILLIONAIRES… And their secret plan to crush your stocks by January 2017
Massive Market Disruption Dead Ahead: SHOW DOWN—TRUMP vs CHINA
American Apocalypse: A monumental, historic event is about to fundamentally change our way of life forever. Will you know what to do?
Countdown to Chaos!
EXPOSED: 3 of America’s Darkest Secrets the Deep State Hopes You Never Discover.
Obviously, most of these headlines are sensational and could be used almost verbatim in today’s world-wide mayhem.
But think about it.
In a crisis, people aren’t expecting incremental changes or hitting an insignificant speed bump.
They’re thinking about DISASTER… going down with the ship… and like the R.E.M song…
“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It.”
So these headlines are in keeping with and dovetail with, their current thoughts.
And finally, here’s a short paragraph that sums it all up.
It’s from an ad shortly after the 2008 recession, that’s attracting chiropractors to join a franchise.
If you convey this sentiment to your target audience… and DELIVER… you’ve got it made no matter what’s going on around you:
“But in every ‘down’ economy, many businesses shrivel up and die, while others—in the SAME profession with IDENTICAL demographics—will cruise along without a hitch, and even get rich in the process.”
Hot Strategies from the Gurus!
You’ll hear all manner of recommendations for headline length, content, and what tricks to use.
But frankly, just about anything goes… from one or two words… to full paragraphs.
In email, of course, you need to keep your subject lines short.
But that’s no problem if it hits your target audience between the eyes, then a word or two is all you need.
For instance, if the economy is tanking, all you need to say is, “CRISIS!” and your audience will instantly know what you mean and fill in the rest.
Or if there’s a pandemic going on, just the word, “VIRUS,” will probably do the trick.
But if you’ve got the space and can make every work count, you can pile on the persuasion like this headline for a Dan Kennedy product:
“In Two Breathtakingly Intense Days, I Will Present Breakthrough Income, Wealth, Marketing And Success Strategies And Honest-To-God “Secrets” Exclusively For Professional Speakers Superior To Anything You’ve Ever Seen, Heard Or Even Imagined, With Their Value To You Assured By The Most Daring Guarantee Ever Offered By Any Seminar”
Here’s another quickie from another legend.
It’s from a test by the renowned marketer, John Caples.
So answer me this: which headline is the winner?
Headline A: Tension Headache?
Or Headline B: When Doctors Have Headaches, What Do They Do?
You probably guessed, B, which won by a massive 71%.
But the real question is, WHY?
It’s because “B” implies a powerful proof element… that this is what doctors do, so it must be true!
One more thing.
No matter the length, the more “dense” you can make your headlines and subject lines, the more persuasive power at your fingertips.
In other words, if you can combine some curiosity, a benefit, a proof element, a big promise, and/or the hint of an upcoming story… you’re golden.
Of course, there’s no way you can pack all that into every headline or subject line, but it’s something to shoot for.
You’ve gotta deliver on promises quickly if you make them in the headline.
You can’t leave the “open loop” open too long or it snaps and you lose your reader.
Or, if your big promise delivers just a trickle instead of the flood they’re expecting, you’re in trouble because people are very sensitive to being tricked or misled.
The same with curiosity.
You can pull them in easily… ONCE.
But people are suspicious, as they should be, and are just as smart as you are.
Because they’ve seen slimey gimmicks not just a couple times… but HUNDREDS of overhyped promises that piss them off.
Worse… they’re scanning headlines all day online with the silent question… “Is this BS, or real?”
So their BS detectors are finely tuned.
But if you turn out to be a trustworthy source, you’re already miles ahead.
So study the headlines in this post, plug in the insights, and attract clients like politicians to a bribe.
And to make your life even easier, apply for our FREE STRATEGY SESSION where you’ll see how to have your headlines… and a huge chunk of your marketing… simplified and automated, despite the pandemic.
It’s a full hour, sometimes more, of FREE COACHING, strategizing, analysis of your business, and a 90-day, connect-the-dots, personalized roadmap for a fast-implementation, pandemic-busting turnaround.
Don’t miss this opportunity… we’ll get you cruising on the right path… especially if you’re trying to figure out how to run your business from home.