Tuesday, February 05, 2013

W06.02 Do Not Build A Website Until You Have Read This Article On The Three Most Common Mistakes Everyone Makes…

What appears above is a common kind of headline, and the best place to put it is at the time and place a person is searching for a website designer. Right then this person is worrying about who they will hire, what it will cost, if they will waste their money – so the headline drops right into their inner monologue – and that gives it the power to influence their behaviour. (BTW I'm NOT writing about the three mistakes! Sorry.)

The headline above aims to tempt a person to seek more information about websites in order to avoid doing something foolish. This is not directly selling – first you are hooking people emotionally. Another example…

My Husband Laughed When I Told Him My Back Pain Was Gone, Until I Started Lifting His Weights…

How To Use Headlines In Your Business
A headline might be a banner on your website, a posting to a Forum, an email to your list, even a shortened version for a Google add.

Yesterday I wrote about USPs – now it is time to think of headlines. A USP and a headline are similar – they both express benefits - but your headline concerns the actual product or service you are selling, whereas your USP is about your whole reason for being in the market. For Alexander Technique teachers, a USP will position your Self, uniquely, in your market, in order to sell. A headline will then draw people to your E-zine, free booklet, workshop, lesson package, residential or other service that actually engages them in your business.

Where do you put headlines?

Anywhere and everywhere. Even as I write this blog, I think in terms of headlines. That’s why I left the last paragraph as one sentence, dandling all by itself. For people who scan through my blog quickly, those individual sentences tell their own story. If someone is actually reading, it carries them along, like a soap opera ending with a dramatic unresolved event. If you go through my past blogs, you will notice that I always try to find an intriguing title that attempts to catch the interest of the person reading. I love the name they have for it in Japan: “Catch Copy.” That is all a headline needs to do – catch you!

Catch them to do what?
Read the next sentence!

How Does “Catch Copy” Work?
Think of a listing on the internet selling your home. Real Estate Agents often try to sell the actual property by writing detailed descriptions in their add. Excuse me – did you ever meet anyone who bought a property directly from an online add? Of course not. The purpose of the add is not to sell your property, it is to get people to contact you!

You want them to catch them, get them engaged. Engagement => relationship => sale. That’s the game. Not selling first. Not yet. Too many Alexander Technique teachers go straight to pitching their lessons, before they have wooed in their audience.

Charlie Chaplin, while directing his own films, insisted on creating something funny every 30 seconds. When you watch his films, you can feel this continual engagement of the audience. People watched, and they came back and watched more. There was structure to his madness.

When you troll the internet, you’ll find masses of information available about this subject, including this list of 100 Great Advertising Headlines from Victor Schwab, who printed them in a famous old add to drum up more business for his advertising agency. But here’s what they won’t tell you, because this is leading edge, right-now stuff for an increasingly sceptical and sophisticated consumer assaulted by years of these marketing techniques: behind your headline is a person. You need to know who they are so you can anticipate their reaction to your headline.

We will do more of this later in the week – but for now, as you practise writing headlines, think of the person who is reading them. After yesterdays’ blog on USPs, this morning Karen Loving sent me a boatload of well-written, benefit-focused ideas which centred around the pain niche. It’s a great place to start – why don’t you do the same? I will give you the same advice I gave Karen this morning:

Rewrite all your USPs thinking of the person who is reading, for example: a horn player in pain.

This is where it is critical that you:

1. Decide upon your core niche activity
(playing cello, running marathons, swimming for pleasure)

2. Figure out your Service Product

Then you can figure out your USP. Then you can write headlines. People who struggle with headlines think they are struggling with writing… “Oh, I can’t write.” It’s not true. This kind of writing is not based on your creativity; this is based on your experience, research and profiling abilities. Sounds a bit FBI spooky I know – but it just means you understand your potential students really well. In this context, that can only be good.

You need to write, but the people who struggle with writing struggle because they don’t know who they are writing to. For example: writing a letter to a friend is much easier than writing a letter to a stranger. However, if the stranger fits into a known category – like writing to a ‘Customer Service Representative’ – then suddenly it gets easier. If you are a “blocked” writer, my guess is what you are blocked about is knowing who you are writing to.

As a final example – we all know how to engage 10 year old kids at a party: “Who wants a surprise?” we yell to them…

It’s a headline.

TOMORROW: Find Out Why You Are Such An Interesting Person.
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