Sales Letter Headlines | How to Write Your Killer One

by Marlon Sanders on April 30, 2010

Sales letter headlines are very important.

A great headline reaches out, grabs the reader’s attention and YANKS them into the first sentence of the sales letter — kicking and screaming if need be.

The purpose of the headline is NOT to sell your product or service. The PURPOSE is to get people to read the FIRST sentence of your marketing letter. That’s it!

Here are a few secrets of creating killer, drop dead sales letter headlines:

Secret one: Use tested, proven formulas

There are certain sales letter headline formulas that have worked for 100 years. Here are several:

a. How to + get benefit

Promise the reader they’ll learn how to get a big benefit they really want.

Your readers do NOT likely care about your product, service, idea or cause. But they DO care about getting benefits they want or solving their problems. So you start at the point of their interest — what’s on their mind in the forefront of their consciousness.

Problems tend to suck up a large portion of your field of conscious awareness because you’re preoccupied with solving them. The reticular activating system becomes acutely sensitive to data that can help resolve the conflict, pain or problem.

As a marketer, you feed right into this by putting their problem in the headline of your ad and promising exactly what their reticular activating system is looking for — a solution!

Action: Make a list of ALL the problems your readers or potential buyers have and then write a headline for each one that hints at or promises a solution. Out of that batch of headlines, you should find one or two gems.

If you’re a scientific online marketer, you can split test the different headlines to see which problem your prospects respond to most readily.

b. News + benefit

The word “announcing” is a tested, proven word because it screams “news.” People are addicted to news.

So put something “newsy” in your headline and there’s a good chance you’ll snag the attention of your potential buyer or responder. I use the words “buyer” and “responder” interchangeably. If you’re selling a product or service, you’re looking for BUYERS.

If you’re selling an IDEA, you’re looking for responders.

Either way, is there a news hook you KNOW will reach out and pull in the eyeballs of your target audience? If so, stick it in your headline and watch your readership soar.

3. The impossible made possible

My friend and copywriter extraordinaire Jason Fladlien calls this the incongruent juxtaposition. The famous example is the ad by John Carlton about the one-legged golfer who hits incredibly long drives because of some secret he has.

A one-legged golfer shouldn’t be able to hit a golf ball a longer distance than folks with both legs. It seems impossible. As a result, people will read your letter to find out how and why what should be impossible is actually possible.

4. Feature your guarantee.

My product “The Amazing Formula That Sells Products Like Crazy” features a triple-your-money-back guarantee in the headline. This powerful proof element screams boldness and confidence and pulls people into the letter.

There are other tested, proven headline formulas. But these are several great ones to start with.

I always like to ask myself, “What’s the big benefit here?” Then you put that giant benefit in the headline.

Another tip is to pay attention to headlines that grab YOUR attention and ask yourself is there’s a way you can turn the headline into a formula you can use in YOUR ads.

This way, you parlay what you already know works into your own ads and sale letters.

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