Creating Headlines, Opt-in Copy and Email Subject Lines That Capture Readers

smiling young woman writing on virtual screenWe’ve posted many blogs on writing content that gets leads and sells. After all, that’s what our business is about. It’s what our readers are interested in.

Frankly, if you can’t get and keep your prospects’ interest, you are going to be out of business fast. This topic is really nothing groundbreaking. Or is it worth another discussion?

This topic deserves mention…but from a new perspective. When you dig deeper you find that if you want to capture your readers’ interest and keep them coming back, you’ve got to deliver headlines, opt-in copy, and email subject lines that grab their full attention. And since most people have the attention span of gnats (while they are also considering your competitors), you’ve only got nanoseconds.

Don’t take chances

You must grab their attention before you can turn them into readers, let them know how wonderful you are, or sell them anything. Your reader cannot pay attention to everything, because human focus is limited. This means you simply can’t take chances!

With so much at stake and so little time to capture someone’s attention, you should not take chances with clever, cute, or insider language or visuals, which are often lost on people. Don’t use inside jokes or industry terms, either, unless appropriate for narrow niche marketing.

These tactics only tend to confuse audiences, if only for a few seconds, which is all it takes to lose them—and a confused mind does not pay attention.

Try these attention-grabbing hacks

You must grab their attention before you can turn them into readers, let them know how wonderful you are, and get them to buy from you. Simply stated, you have to step up, stand out, and get notice…say it quickly, say it clearly, make it personal, and use emotion. Here’s how…

  • Speak directly to your prospects’ specific and pressing problems. To create headlines, opt-ins and subject lines your prospects can’t ignore, you need to know precisely who your ideal prospects are. Get clear on exactly who you want on your list, and know as much about that person’s wants, needs, challenges, and desires as possible.
  • Write compelling copy that really matters. No matter how great your content, your prospects will pass right by if the headlines, opt-in descriptions, and/or subject lines do not catch their interests. That’s why it’s important to speak their language and know exactly how they talk about their issues. Use your prospects’ own hard-hitting words to grab their attention and inspire them to take action. When your ideal customer lands on your page or gets your email, you want them to take one look and think, ‘I’ve got to check this out!’
  • Keep headlines, opt-ins and subject lines short and sweet. People don’t to read a lot of words…6 to 8 words should do the trick. Hubspot recommends a max character count of 65, since that is usually the cutoff in search results.
  • State the biggest benefit. Your number one selling point should be upfront, drawing in your audience and putting them in the mood to respond (or at least, continue reading). They want to know exactly what’s in it for them.
  • Show that you care…and be sincere.  You need good, fresh, and original content. People want to deal with organizations that care about their interests. The most successful brands are the ones who are transparent and authentic. People are smart; they will figure out very quickly that you are only pretending if you are not sincere. Be relatable and genuine. Talk like a real, live person. Not like a carnival barker. 
  • Stop the “Me, Me, Me” and change it to “You, You, You.” I know you’re awesome. You know you’re awesome. Your headlines, opt-ins and subject  lines do not need to be all about how awesome you are. There’s no harm in bragging a bit on your About page, but make sure that your site and emails are more heavily invested in promoting your product or service than your person. Focus on the visitor and tailor your copy to answer their questions rather than “sell” them the entire time.
  • Deliver powerful headlines, opt-ins and email subject lines. These “…steer the readers and compel them to become involved with your product of service,” as we said in an earlier Solamar post on writing great headlines. People will scan your site or email. So you have to grab their attention in seconds with benefit-oriented headlines and subject lines that reel them in.
  • Add urgency. Set a limitation on time or availability. People have an innate fear of missing out. These aren’t just factors you need to be implementing in your headlines, opt-in offers, and emails. They’re factors you need to be implementing across the board. For example, if you’re going to charge anything for your upcoming webinar, conference, eBook, or study, try making it free for the first 100 people to provide an email address. This will actually increase the assumed value of the piece of content (in the long run, anyway) and increase the chance of those first 100 spots going fast and spreading virally.

Captivate and compel them

Headlines, opt-in copy, and email subject lines are not the place to be generic or vague. They are the best opportunities you have to captivate your audience and offer them something so compelling it’s harder for them to close the window than it is to stay and learn more. As a marketer, it’s your job to paint the picture and show them in your content, headlines, your opt-ins, and emails what you can do for them.

To make absolutely certain that your headlines, opt-in copy, and email subject lines are strong and compelling every time, just give us a shout.

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