How to craft high-converting headlines, even if you have the copywriting skills of a turnip.

Even the best landing page in the world can’t turn a visitor into a lead after they’ve hit the back button. Your headline has to grab her attention, keep her reading and give your page a chance to work its magic.

But how do you write that headline?

If you’re anything like me, starting is the hardest part of writing. It's like I'm staring at the screen waiting for someone to unblock the idea pipe.

That struggle is over.

While I was on holiday I read a fantastic book on copywriting by Jim Edwards. I may have been the only person on a lounger at the pool with a business book in my hand, but I couldn't put it down. It was like a magician taking me backstage and showing how they actually cut the girl in half.

In the book Jim gives 5 plug-and-play templates for writing headlines that pole-vault you over the empty screen stage.

I thought it might be fun to rework an actual landing page headline using Jim’s templates. The headline comes from a site I was asked to review.

The page aims to sell social media management services to small business owners. The original headline reads...

"Are you looking for complete, powerful and authentic management of your social networks, saving you time and money?"

It’s awful!

No business owner actually wants "powerful and authentic management". They want more sales, better enquiries, improved reputation and so on. Also, the term "social networks" is very vague unless you're in the industry.

Let's get started using the templates.

1. The "how to" headline template

This template is really simple. You start with the words How to ...

Here are a few takes on the original headline using this template.

I could probably polish these up a bit but they're not bad for a 30 second effort.

You can extend the how to template by adding a time frame eg. How to ... in as little as ...

You can further extend the the how to template by taking away something that’s stopping your audience. Perhaps a skill they’re missing, something they’re worried about or an objection they might have.

How to ... in as little as ... even if you ...

The "5 ways to get what you want" headline template

This template offers some number of ways (it doesn't have to be 5) for the reader to get what they want.

5 quick and easy ways to ...

For instance...

You can enhance this template by removing a feared negative outcome.

3 fast ways to get ... and avoid ...

You can also expand this by taking away an obstacle like we did in the "how to" template.

The "mistakes" headline template

The template comes in a two variations.

Which of these ... mistakes will you make?

... mistakes all ... need to avoid

The "warning" headline template

I don’t like the warning template as much as the others because it feels like a hard sell. I guess that's a cultural thing because of my South African upbringing. It may work well for your audience.

It also comes in a few varieties.

WARNING: here’s what every ... needs to know about ...

WARNING: don’t even think about trying to ... until you read this

Here's my take on our candidate headline.

The "perfect solution" headline template

Here’s the perfect solution if you want ...

You can extend this by removing obstacles in the same way as for the how to and 5 ways templates.

You can also use the even if extension on this template.

Here’s the perfect solution if you want ... (even if ...)

And a variation on this.

My proven ... method to ...

If you want the book, you can grab it on Kindle from Amazon or direct from Jim Edwards.

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