How To Write Hot and Sticky Headlines

Whether you’re creating a lead magnet for an email opt-in, developing a headline for a landing page, or writing the subject for an email it’s hard to know what to write.

Developing a hook that will rise above the noise and stick in someone’s mind is really hard. To make the problem even more challenging your headline might feel really strong to you but it doesn’t produce the results you want – low click-through rates, low open rates, very few leads, etc.

Headline Targeting

I really common problem is a misalignment between what the headline offers and what your audience is looking for.

Here’s an example.

Suppose you’re an SEO and link building expert. You’ve spent a lot of time researching, learning, and getting really good. Now you’re looking for leads. You’re thinking your ideal clients are going to be small businesses. For example, most of my clients have been in health and wellness like functional medicine doctors, naturopathic doctors, and nutritionists. You believe you can drive fresh, organic traffic their way and you want businesses like that to hire you.

So, the target audience is small businesses in the health and wellness space.

Developing A Lead Magnet

With this in mind,  you develop a really nicely designed PDF/eBook with your top 10 strategies for ramping up your clients’ traffic through inbound linking and search engine optimization.

You’re feeling awesome because these strategies are fresh and hot. You feel 100% confident you can crush it and you’re clients are going to love you.

You decide to offer this PDF for free as an email opt-in to start building up a list of warm leads.

So… what’s your headline going to be?

The Superhero Headline

Since you are giving away your top 10 SEO strategies it seems natural and reasonable to slap a juicy headline on your email opt-in form that says:

Top 10 SEO Strategies That Are Working Now

The headline seems strong because:

  • It’s short and to the point
  • Everyone loves top 10 lists
  • You’re giving away strategies that people can implement right now – not just shallow tips.
  • You’re saving people tons of time and offering loads of value by giving them dozens of hours of your research for free
  • It’s all stuff that’s new, fresh, and working now – not all the old-school stuff everybody already knows

I’ve been here countless times. It feels like Superman and Captain Marvel joined forces and created this incredibly powerful headline that will surely disrupt the world and bring in leads.

Why Does It Fail?

It fails because of a misaligned target audience.

A headline like this is going to attract web designers who want to learn more about SEO and possibly other SEO experts who want to make sure they’re staying on top of their game.

Generally speaking, doctors will never search for stuff like this. Occasionally, there may be a resourceful wellness spa owner who might be curious about how to get traffic to her website but she’s really not looking to become an SEO expert.

The end result? You don’t get any leads.

If you spent money on ads to drive traffic you probably lost a lot of money.

What Would Be Better?

Write a headline that taps into thoughts and questions your target audience is thinking. Say the words that are already in someone’s head and you’ll get exponentially more engagement.

Think about the end goal of your top 10 list. The point is to get leads organically so you don’t have to spend (as much) money on paid ads.

OK, that’s strong. So, say something like:

10 Ways Med Spas Get Leads Without Buying Ads