Writing a Speech or Sales Presentation That Increases Your Impact, Influence and Income
One of the most overlooked aspects of speaking, selling and marketing is the headline you use to promote your idea.
If you are writing a speech, sales talk, or marketing piece, remember this critical point from best-selling author Mitch Meyerson:
With a good headline, you stand a fighting chance of having anything from minimal to overwhelming success. But without a good headline, your chances of success are next to zero.
(The following article was excerpted from World Class Copywriter David Garfinkel. This is his chapter from Mitch Meyerson’s book ‘Success Secrets Of The Online Marketing Superstars‘)
Where Most People Go Wrong With Writing Headlines
Headlines can make a tremendous difference in the dollars-and-cents effectiveness of any piece of copy. Changes in a headline can easily double and triple closing rates. I know one marketer who claims he increased his sales on the same ad 18 times just by changing the headline!
Most people, unfortunately, write really bad headlines. It’s not necessarily that they use bad grammar or spelling. The problem is that their headlines don’t “reach people where they live.” These headlines don’t create interest, desire, and receptivity to taking action. They don’t do their job, so they’re not good headlines.
Here Are The Three Main Underlying Causes of Headline Problems:
1. The Headline Doesn’t Pass The “So What? Test
A merely factual headline doesn’t cut the mustard, because facts by themselves rarely stir people’s emotions. Also, when there’s a promise spelled out that the prospect doesn’t instantly see as valuable, then the headline doesn’t have relevant emotional power – and it, too, fails the test.
2. The Headline Is Cute, Clever or Obscure
You see lots of headlines like this. They include plays on words, sexual innuendo, attempts at humor, or displays of what the headline writer thought was exquisite sophistication. While this approach may raise a chuckle and even get the prospect reading the rest of your Web page, unless what’s being sold in the copy is directly related to the cuteness up top, a headline of this type never sets the tone and puts the prospect in the mood most conducive for taking action afterwards.
3. The Headline Means Everything To The Business But Nothing To The Prospect
If your company has just celebrated its 25th anniversary, that’s terrific! Very few businesses last that long. But a self-congratulatory headline trumpeting that fact has no power to motivate prospects to take action… unless the prospect has a gnawing, burning need to do business with a 25-year-old company, and is already aware of that need before he or she reads the headline.
Most headline problems can be traced to the failure of person who wrote the headline to stand in the prospect’s shoes (mentally), and see things (in his or her mind’s eye) from the prospect’s point of view. It’s a very valuable skill to learn. And it’s key to writing good, powerful headlines.
Tip: Learn To Adapt Great Headlines
Here are a half a dozen time-tested headlines from How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab.
Note: These headlines, modified for a particular product or service, still work like crazy today! I’ll give you an example after each one:
1. The Secret Of Making People Like You
Example of Modification: The Secret Of Sleeping Well Without Drugs
2. Are You Ever Tongue-Tied At A Party?
Example of Modification: Do You Ever “Trip Over Your Own Tongue” During A Sales Presentation?
3. How To Win Friends And Influence People
Example of Modification: How To Create A Website And Make Money While You Sleep
Incidentally, you may think of original headline #3 as a book title. It is; Victor Schwab wrote it for author Dale Carnegie. But it was also a headline of a very successful ad used to sell the book!
4. Who Else Wants A Screen Star Figure?
Example of Modification: Who Else Wants ‘Killer Abs’ With No Hard Work?
5. Discover The Fortune That Lies Hidden In Your Salary
Example of Modification: Discover The Fortune That Lies Hidden In Your Basement And Attic
6. Here’s A Quick Way To Break Up A Cold
Example of Modification: Here’s A Quick Way To Get Your Website Up And Running
Here are some key points to notice about all of them:
Each headline points to an end result, and that is what people are looking for most of the time. Some of the end results in the original headlines: “People Like You”; “(implied benefit: not being) Tongue-Tied At A Party”; “Win Friends And Influence People”
The headlines are made from short words. Most are one-syllable words, and in all six original headlines, there’s only one three-syllable word: influence
These headlines both arouse curiosity and stoke desire. The copywriters probably thought long and hard about what people really want before they settled on the final version of the headline, and, they artfully arranged the words to make people reading them wonder “what’s this about?” as they felt an inner emotional tug moving them towards getting the end result.
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