I have a confession to make.

I hate spending money.

Yes, nothing stresses me more than spending a considerable amount of hard-earned cash on something I don’t need.

Because products are often a waste of time and money.

Exceptions?

Safe. I enjoy spending money on books and audio programs on copywriting, marketing, science, and anything else that interests me. However, especially books, because some of those audio programs have a high price.

The higher the price, the higher the stress levels.

This is exactly how I feel when I see nanotechnology companies waste marketing dollars writing terrible headlines.

Those terrible headlines come with a high price. Lower open rates, lower click-through rates, fewer leads … and ultimately fewer sales.

The most important part of your copy

I mean think about it.

Think about the last email or magazine you opened. Or the latest technical report you downloaded.

What made you open it and read it?

The headline, right?

It’s not an exaggeration when I say a great headline is the number one requirement for a solid marketing piece. It is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR COPY.

Why?

For, as the late John Caples so eloquently put it:

“If the title of an ad is poor, the best copywriters in the world cannot write a copy that sells the product. Because if the title is poor, the copy will not be read.”

And if the copy is not read, it does not generate leads or make sales.

It’s that easy.

But … most tech companies screw it up by trying to get too creative with their headlines or by not knowing what works and what doesn’t.

However you look at it, learning how to create magnetic headlines that get your marketing open and read is one of the most important skills you can develop.

Now, there are two types of headlines that are used in high-tech and B2B marketing.

The first is the teaser title.

A teaser title does what it says on the tin and tries to generate curiosity in the reader by “provoking” them to open the email or download the whitepaper. The headline generally has nothing to do with the rest of the copy.

What’s the problem with a teaser title?

Just this: a teaser title is essentially a gamble.

You’re betting on the reader opening the rest of your article because the headline is so intriguing and creative.

If you read the ‘Las Vegas, Marketing and a Lesson Learned’ issue a couple of weeks ago, you know you don’t want to gamble your precious money on marketing.

Trust me. You can waste a lot of time trying to get creative and intriguing with a teaser title in the hopes that this will make your text stand out.

But, as David Ogilvy once said:

if it does not sell, it is not creative

‘Nuff said.

So what kind of headline should you write?

That brings us to the second type: the title of benefits.

This headline implies that the reader will get some kind of benefit when reading the rest of the text.

This could be to save time, improve productivity, save money, get things done faster, comply with regulations more easily, improve sales, gain an edge over the competition, etc.

Putting profit on your copy is basic copywriting, so you may be tempted to overlook it.

Don’t make this mistake.

Benefit holders work. Period.

The reason they work so well is that they follow a time-tested and proven formula.

So do yourself a favor and just write benefit headlines. A proven formula will always work better than misdirected creativity.

A cordial greeting,

Colm

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