Writing The Ultimate Home Page Headline
9 Steps To Writing Your Ultimate Home Page Headline
The first headline your visitor sees is the most important copy you’ll write.
Writing a great home page headline isn’t simple…but there’s a straightforward process you can follow to move from not so great to an optimized headline.
“The kind of headline that will grab visitors by the collar, pull them in close, and tell them in no uncertain terms what’s in it for them if they stick around”……says Joanna Wiebe,a copywriter, a CRO consultant and the author of the Copy Hackers ebook series.
Here are 9 steps to writing headlines that will actually take you from zero to hero.
STEP 1. Stop Thinking About Copywriting As “Writing”
- Put the whole idea of “writing” out of your mind completely.
- You don’t have to be a writer to compose a great headline.
STEP 2. Write The Headline Last
- You should write a headline first, but don’t put pressure on yourself to write the headline first.
- Instead, use a first draft headline, which your site visitors will never, ever see.
- This first draft headline will help guide you as you write the page.
STEP 3. Write A Headline For The 20-35% Of Your Traffic That Is Most Likely To Be Happy With Your Product
- Great copywriters know that you don’t write for 100% of your traffic.
- If you try to make everyone happy, you’ll make no one happy.
- Figure out the people your product or service is best for….write for those people who are:
- Easy(ish) to attract to your site
- Likely to give your product a chance (even if an incentive or trial is required)
- Highly likely to find value in your product, making them happy customers
- Somewhat likely to spread the word among others like them
- Speak to those people first.
- If you attract others, too, great!
STEP 4. Describe Your Most Highly Desired & Unique Feature Or Benefit
- When you know who you’re trying to speak to, you then need to know what exactly it is about your product or service that is both:
- a) unique to you
- b) highly desirable to your target visitors.
- Spend the majority of your time on this point….
- Your features
- Whether each feature is unique to you
- What pain each feature solves
- What the major benefit is of a feature
- How your target visitors would prioritize it against your other features
- Keep in mind that a ‘feature’ can be more than just a tool in your product.
- It can also be how you do things
- When you find the one – just one thing that is unique to you and highly desirable to your target visitors, write it down
STEP 5. Write At Least 25 Headline Options And Don’t Delete As You Go
- It’s time to take the line you just wrote and play with it.
- Shorten it.
- Lengthen it.
- Elevate the benefit.
- Try to come up with 25 variations on it.
- Don’t hold back.
- Don’t limit yourself to X number of words.
STEP 6. Delete The Obvious Junk
- There’s a lot to be learned from the bad work you do
- Bad ideas can be seeds for great ideas.
- Go through your list of 25 headlines now, and yank out the real losers.
- Crummy headlines include:
- Those that start with “We” or “Our” or anything that isn’t about your visitor.
- Unnecessarily long headlines.
- Unnecessarily short ones
- Those that are trying to be clever.
- Those that require a decoder ring to understand.
- Whittle your list down to about 10 pretty solid headline options.
STEP 7. Experiment In The Context Of The Page
- Now take these top headlines and plug them in to your website or blog
- Pretend you’re your target visitor arriving for the first time.
- Does the headline grab you?
- Even better, ask others who fit your target visitor profile if the headline is interesting enough to keep them around.
- By the time you reach the end of this step, be sure to have saved at least 5 high-potential headlines……be sure that they’re not all mirror images of each other.
- Remember that the headlines you’ve written to this point address something unique about your product or service that is highly desirable to your target visitors and that is stated in a memorable, succinct way.
- Trust yourself and your work.
STEP 8. A/B Test To Find A Winning Headline
- Testing requires a decent amount of traffic.
- So you may not be able to run a headline test with 5 variations – but try to do at least an A/B test.
- Why? Because, in spite of your hard and logical work, you’ve actually made quite a few assumptions with these headlines, such as:
- Who your ideal / target visitor is
- What’s highly desired by your target visitor
- What sorts of words will resonate with them
- Only your visitors can tell you what will work on them.
- A/B testing makes that possible.
STEP 9. Use SEO Keywords Like A Pro
- Run another test in which you plug your primary SEO keyword phrase into a variation of that winning headline.
- If the results of this second test prove that the SEO keyword phrase either doesn’t negatively impact conversion or positively impacts it, great!
- But if the SEO keyword phrase negatively impacts conversion, well, now you have to make a call.
- Do what feels right to you – especially if generating traffic is more important to you than increasing conversion or reducing bounce.
There you have it……Nine free steps to writing your next home page headline from Joanna Wiebe, author and copywriter.
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To Your Success,