For hundreds of years, the print media has had to find ways to get the public to pick up their newspapers, magazines and journals. From the earliest days, they understood the importance of using strong headlines to pique interest and sell publications. Although many business owners know the key to driving inbound traffic to their blog posts and increasing the open rates of their email campaigns is a strong title or subject line, often this area is overlooked.
Here are some great ideas you can take away from the editors whose job has been built on selling compelling images and headlines:
- Know Your Audience
- The headlines that work well for a consumer product company may completely tank when used for a B2B service, and vice versa. To understand your audience better, subscribe to the email newsletters and blogs that they are reading – chances are there are some general consistencies and themes you can pick up on to meet their needs.
- Tease Them
- The headlines on a couple of magazines I subscribe to include: “50 Ways to Charm Anyone, and Always Get What You Want”, “Ski & Ride Guide: The Best Resorts In New England”, and “7 Items Under $60 You’ll Wear All Season”.
- Headlines & Titles like those above give you just enough information to get you interested, and make you want to know more. They almost make you feel like you’d be missing out by NOT reading them.
- Include a compelling photo or video where applicable to increase conversion rates.
- Make a List & Check It Twice
- People love lists. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they are simple. Or because they appeal to our feeling of completing a task and moving on. But for whatever reason, they generally perform better than standard headlines. So try making a couple lists that appeal to your audience and layer them in with your other blog and email content. They are easy to create, easy to read, and may surprise you by how well they perform.
- Deliver On Your Promise
- Don’t lie to your audience, try to trick them with a clever sales pitch disguised as a helpful resource, or use a great headline to pull people into a long, boring article. You may get them the first time, but the consequence could be that you’ll lose them forever. And that’s just not worth the trouble.
- Keep It Simple, Stupid.
- People scan email, web pages, and articles, they usually don’t read all of the content. For that reason, keep the content short and to the point, and use lists and subheadings where appropriate. This will break up the page for your reader and allow easier scanning.
- Report, Test, Report, Test, Repeat.
- You can buy a hundred books or read a thousand articles that will offer advice on increasing readership and results for your inbound marketing campaign. But at the end of the day, the only true measure of success is how your readers react to your content. And that can only be determined by testing and measuring the actual results of your campaigns. So for each of your upcoming email newsletters or blog posts, test one new feature and compare results. Keep everything else consistent (ie: delivery day/time, contact list, etc.) to get accurate results. You will learn very quickly what your audience responds to best by looking at the delivery reports and website analytics. Then simply repeat the positive and eliminate the negative.