headline hacks

Here’s a transcript of the “5 Headline Hacks” video, in case you’d prefer to just read through it:

I wanted to share with you five headline hacks that you can use for any holiday sale…

And I’m going to show you an actual campaign that we’re running.

These are five things that you can do to add urgency and effectiveness to any campaign … any holiday sale that you have.

Labor Day’s coming up, in this case. You’ve got Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and of course, Cyber Monday and Black Friday, those are always big.

So, here are 5 things you can do, five headline hacks for any holiday sale…

Holiday Headline Hack #1: Call Out to Your Prospect

Let’s start out with number one… you want to call out to your prospects.

The example I’m going to show you is actually a live campaign that I’m working on right now. It’s for a client of mine, Dent Research, for an event we’re promoting, and this particular event has already been promoted once.

We had a main promotion that ended several weeks ago. But we’ve got Labor Day coming up, so we wanted to do about a 5-day sale where we’re going to offer people a special deal again. So, what we have is an existing offer that’s out there… but we’re going to add a little bit of excitement to it.

The final version of the page won’t look exactly like this. This is just the copy that gets sent to the production team… So, we’re going to talk about the callout.

This is hack number one of the five. You want to call out to your particular prospect. It’s just like if you were walking through an airport and somebody calls out your name and it’s really busy

… and there’s all these people around, but you hear your name called out… you’re going to look around. So, it’s the same effect that we want to have somebody who sees this ad or sees this page.

In essence what we’re doing is we’re saying, “Would you like to save $300 on our biggest event of the year?” And this particular message is going to be seen by people who are already familiar with Dent Research and so they’ll know that this is something … they’re already very interested in anything that this group would promote.

The fact that it’s the biggest one of the year is going to be of interest to the people seeing this page… And who doesn’t want to save $300, right?

So, that’s number one. You want to call out to your particular prospect in a way that’s going to really grab their attention.

And then, the second thing is the benefit.

Holiday Headline Hack #2: Clear Benefit

There’s got to be a real clear benefit, a reason why they would want to continue reading. And here, I’m not talking even about the benefit of what you’re about to offer them. But the benefit of continuing to read into the ad that you have. So, let’s look at how we’re doing it here…

To celebrate the end of summer, which the reader’s going to relate to… that’s just anchoring in the reality of, “Hey, I get it, so it’s summer I’m in the right place, I’m reading the right thing… these guys know what’s going on…”

The, we’ve slashed the price for you to join us at this event. They’ll already know what the event is. This is a reason to continue reading the ad. And so what’s going to happen is, you’re going to feel … If you’re reading this, you’re going to say, “I got to see what this is about”… So you’re going to read on to the next step.

Now, of course, this may actually be the first thing that somebody sees. But we want to set it up so that even if they do see the headline first, they’re going to go back and read before that, to see what’s up, what’s really going on here.

And this little section is the benefit of continuing to read this message. So whether they’re reading it or whether it’s a video or maybe even a radio ad, whatever. That’s the next part that you want to put in there.

The third hack that we want to use, is putting in a strong offer.

Holiday Headline Hack #3: Strong Offer

So we’re going to have a strong offer. That’s key and that’s actually maybe the most important part you need to think through. Some people say make it irresistible. And of course, that’s great if you can do that. At the very least, it’s got to be very strong so that somebody has to stop and think, “Dang that’s something maybe I should take advantage of…”

In this case, 30% off is going to be hard for anyone to resist for something they would like to enjoy that could cost $1,000. So there’s a $300 savings. That 30% has got to be pretty compelling for the right person.

That’s the next thing then. You want to be sure that whatever you’re promoting you’ve got a very compelling offer for it. Okay?

Next, is a reason why…

Holiday Headline Hack #4: Reason Why

Now this is kind of subtle. Not everybody catches this when they’re creating copy, but having a reason why just makes it feel like you’re not being tricked, right?

When somebody tells you why they’re doing a thing, you think, “Oh, okay, I get it”. And really what that is, is your brain is going from that emotional part where it says, “Man, I really want this. If I could only justify it!” And as Mark Twain said, “There’s two reasons a man does anything. One is the reason he tells his wife… and the real reason”.

So the real reason is the emotion. The reason he tells his wife, or the thing that you tell your brain to rationalize — that’s the reason why.

You always want to give people a reason why, if you can. And we’re doing that here. We kind of hinted at it with, “Celebrate the end of summer”.

Then below, “Celebrate Labor Day”.

So you read that and think (subconsciously), “Oh, okay, well that’s why they’re doing this special offer. That’s why I can save $300. Okay well that makes sense. There’s no catch. It all makes sense.” It’s safe to proceed.

So now your brain has been anesthetized … or whatever. I mean that’s kind of… it sounds a little bit hostile… But the reality is you need to help people get through that sort of all too rational process… You need to get them past their “paralysis by analysis” so they can move forward with a decision that’s good for them.

So that’s the next thing… You need to have a reason why. That’s number four in our five compelling headline hacks for a holiday headline.

Holiday Headline Hack #5: Timer

Then number five is, if you can put a timer of there, it’s going to be very effective. The technology is available. It’s really simple to put timers in emails, and on landing pages.

And as far as the actual device you put there — whether it’s a live timer, like you can see here.

(Now this one’s a little bit funky because it’s going into the minus. I’ll have to talk to the production guys about that.)

But the idea is you have a live timer here. Those seem to be very, very effective.

So, you want to — if you can — put some type of a live timer in there. That’s definitely the way to go. In any case, you want to have some type of a clear point in time when your offer ends. Of course, that’s always the benefit of running some type of a holiday sale.

Holiday Headline Hack Bonus Tip

Now, just to show you one last little bonus tip here… The way that we’re actually implementing this, you can do as well, is … what you want to do is recycle everything that you possibly can. Make sense?

In this instance, we already have this existing page. So what we’re going to do is take this copy, what we call a pre-head… And we’re going to drop it in on top of the original. What that’s actually going to look like is something like this.

This one isn’t the final version. It’s what goes to production. They’ll make it look a lot better. But you can see here, we’ve taken this pre-head and now we’re just going to use the whole rest of the existing copy.

What we’ve done is we’ve replaced this headline complex. You can see how now the main feature, the draw, is the 30% savings for Labor Day. And then we’re right into the message. “Join us as we pull back the curtain.” You can see that’s what we started with right here. Okay, got that?

So there you have 5 simple things you can do to your ads, to help promote a product or service that you have.

There’s virtually nothing that can’t be promoted this way. Whether it’s a service, or a product… It’s always a good opportunity to, at the very least, create a little bit of goodwill, and add a few sales over any given holiday.

Hope that helps. Keep me posted on how it works for you.


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Mike Connolly
Mike Connolly

Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers and Infusionsoft Certified Partner, Mike Connolly lives in Boulder, Colorado, builds marketing funnels that rock, and loves cycling (almost) all year round.