David Ogilvy, one of the best copywriters who ever lived, once said:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Unfortunately, entrepreneurs often aren’t aware of the importance of headlines, so they don’t give them the attention that they deserve…
And then they wonder why their landing pages aren’t converting.
Don’t make this mistake. Understand that the headline is the most important element of any landing page. Why?
Because if you fail to grab the potential customer’s attention with the headline, they won’t bother reading the rest of the page. They will simply leave.
But how can you create killer lead generation headlines?
That’s exactly what we are going to discuss today.
#1 Do Customer Research
Let’s start with the foundation of all copywriting: customer research.
You might think that the best copywriters are the ones who have an innate talent for writing and who have never received a grade lower than an A+ in English classes.
But the truth is that the best copywriters are the ones who understand their ideal customers the best.
You see, if you can’t empathize with your target audience, then no amount of writing talent will help. Your copy won’t be persuasive.
Meanwhile, if you truly understand your ideal customers, you will be able to craft copy that converts even if you don’t consider yourself to be a gifted writer. It’s not about words, it’s about psychology.
So before you start brainstorming lead generation headlines, make sure that you understand your ideal customers better than they understand themselves.
Here’s what you need to know:
- What are their core values?
- What do they want to achieve?
- What are they struggling with?
- What are they ashamed of?
- What are they afraid of?
- What are they proud of?
- How do they see themselves?
- How do they want to be seen by others?
In other words, you want to understand what drives them to do what they do, so that you could tap into that when writing copy.
That’s why you need to conduct extensive customer research if you want to be able to write copy that converts – starting with killer headlines.
Fortunately, your potential customers are already out there speaking their minds, all you need to do is figure out where they hang out online and then observe the conversations happening there.
Here are the three best places for customer research:
- Online forums.
Let’s take a look at how to get the most out of these treasure troves…
Reddit is the most popular online discussion platform in the world.
It consists of a myriad subforums called subreddits that are dedicated to specific topics from cat videos to fitness to politics.
You can start your research by going to the most popular subreddit related to your niche.
Selling a weight loss product?
Then start with the r/loseit subreddit that has 2.8 million members at the time of writing.
You can use the sorting function to sort the posts by popularity:
- Click on the “Top” tab.
- Pick the time period you are interested in (today, this week, this month, this year, all time).
Then go read through the most popular posts for that time period:
Make sure to also read the comments where people share their own experiences in response to the post:
Going through the most popular posts and reading the comments will give you a solid understanding of what is on the minds of your potential customers.
Moreover, it will give you an insight into how they express themselves, which will enable you to speak to them in their own language by using the same words and phrases.
Once you are done going through the most popular posts in the biggest subreddit in your niche, look at the sidebar for links to related communities.
r/loseit has a “Related Communities” section on its sidebar.
When you click on one of the links, you are taken to a page that provides a list of relevant subreddits.
You can then go and explore those subreddits, repeating the same process of sorting by popularity and reading the most upvoted posts and the comments beneath them.
YouTube is the world’s largest video hosting platform that has 2.29 billion monthly active users.
It’s safe to say that whoever your ideal customers are, you can probably find them on this platform.
You can start by typing in a relevant search term into the search box and looking at the search suggestions. These are popular keywords that people are searching for.
You can then either go with the original keyword you typed in or pick one of the search suggestions.
Look at the top search results. What do these videos have in common?
If you type in “how to lose weight” into the search box, the top search results might look like this:
As you can see:
- Several video titles make references to science such as “the real math”, “the science is in”, and “science-backed”.
- Several video titles mention belly fat.
You might want to consider including references to science and to belly fat in your lead generation headline.
You should also read through the comments. YouTube comments can be a scary place but you can nonetheless find some gems in there. Be prepared to sift through a lot of nonsense, though.
Also, the YouTube algorithm is designed to suggest videos that are relevant to the one that you have just watched, so don’t forget to check out these suggestions.
It can help you gain more insights into the minds of your potential customers.
Note that video titles are extremely important in YouTube’s attention economy, so analyzing the titles of popular videos can give you headline ideas.
After all, if a video got thousands upon thousands (or even over a million) views, then its title must have resonated with its target audience.
You can also look for online forums in your niche.
Note that they don’t necessarily have to be entirely dedicated to the subject that is relevant to you.
You can also check out forums that cover a broad range of topics within your industry and have a subforum dedicated to your niche.
Bodybuilding.com forum is one of the most popular fitness forums in the world.
It has an active subforum dedicated to losing fat:
#2 Do Competitor Research
Okay, so now that you understand your ideal customers on a deep level, you probably have some headline ideas that you want to try.
But the problem is that testing those ideas might cost you a ton of time, energy, and money.
So why not learn from those who have already invested resources into learning what works and what doesn’t work in your niche?
Go to your competitors’ websites and see what lead generation headlines they are using. Pay special attention to the companies that are established players in your industry.
- Why does this headline work?
- How can I make this headline better?
Of course, you can’t be 100% certain that the headline works without having access to the company’s data.
But you can be reasonably sure that it does if the company in question is an established business that seems to be doing well.
Of course, you shouldn’t outright copy your competitors’ headlines, but analyzing them will give you a better understanding of what works well in your niche.
You can then take those lessons and apply them to your own lead generation headlines.
#3 Use Proven Headline Formulas
But what if you are completely new to copywriting and don’t feel confident enough to write headlines from scratch?
Good news: you don’t have to.
You see, advertisers have been testing headlines for over a century now, so there’s no need to waste time reinventing the wheel.
You can simply learn proven headline formulas and then use them for your own lead magnet landing page.
A great resource on this subject is Jon Morrow’s free ebook called “52 Headline Hacks” which features 52 headline formulas + two appendices.
These are blog post headline formulas but they can work as lead generation headlines as well.
Worried about “plagiarism”?
Then you should pay special attention to Jon Morrow’s introduction to “52 Headline Hacks”. It’s called “In Defense of Stealing”.
Of course, as you gain confidence in your copywriting skills, you can start experimenting with “outside the box” headlines. But you need to learn to walk before you can run.
#4 Focus On the Main Benefit of Your Lead Magnet
One of the most important concepts in copywriting is the distinction between features and benefits:
- A feature is a quality or a function of a product (e.g. “These shoes are waterproof!”).
- A benefit is the value the customer derives from that product (e.g. “These shoes will keep your feet dry!”.
You need to understand that people buy based on benefits, then use features to justify their decision.
This is true even when the product you are “selling” is free as is the case with lead magnets.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that the headline conveys the main benefit of the lead magnet. How will it make the potential customer’s life better?
Brennan Dunn is an entrepreneur who had great success with selling online courses.
He offers a free email course on marketing automation.
Here’s the lead generation headline that he uses:
“Find out what it takes to build a $100k+/year automation funnel”.
And who can say no to that?
#5 Be Specific
When you are describing the main benefit of your lead magnet in your headline, you want to be as specific as possible.
What exactly will the potential customer get out of it?
Nick Stephenson is a bestselling author and a business coach that teaches writers how to promote their books.
He offers a free video course called “$0 to $1K Per Month” that shows authors how to get to the point where they consistently make at least $1,000 per month in book royalties.
Here’s the lead generation headline that he uses:
“$0 to $1K Per Month: Author Marketing Training”.
It works well because:
- It makes a specific promise.
- It explains what the lead magnet is all about.
- Making $1,000 per month seems achievable.
#6 Pique the Potential Customer’s Curiosity
Another approach to writing headlines is to focus on making the potential customer curious by referring to a secret that only select few know.
That automatically makes them want to join the club.
One of our lead magnets is a webinar on a sales funnel strategy that helped numerous companies grow from a startup to $1,000,000 in revenue incredibly fast.
Here’s the headline that we use:
“We’ve Uncovered A ‘New Secret Funnel Strategy That Almost Nobody Knows About…”
Now you want to know what it is, don’t you?
#7 Shock the Potential Customer
“Pattern interrupt” headlines are designed to grab the potential customer’s attention by shocking them with a seemingly outrageous statement.
You want them to snap out of the distracted “mindless browsing” state of mind and pay attention to what you are saying.
Don’t be offensive but say something that makes them stop and do a double-take.
We have another free webinar on sales funnels.
Here’s the headline that we use:
“Warning: Your Website Is DEAD…”
It doesn’t tell you anything about the webinar but it makes you stop and think:
“What do you mean my website is dead??”
And now you want to know what we are talking about. Is there anything wrong with your website?
You’ll have to watch the webinar to find out!
#8 Use a Sub-Headline To Support the Headline
A subheadline is another headline below the main one that explains what your offer is all about. Subheadlines are used to support the headline by providing more information.
They are especially important when you are using the previously mentioned “learn this secret” or “pattern interrupt” headlines because these headlines don’t convey the value of the lead magnet.
Look at the “Death of a Website” landing page again (the screenshot right above this section).
The headline grabs your attention.
The subheadline explains the offer:
“Register For This FREE Webclass RIGHT NOW To See How Others Have Ditched Their Websites And Have Boosted Sales By 540% With A ClickFunnel… (And How YOU Can Massively Boost Sales, Too!”
Without the subheadline, the headline would just make you go “Huh?”.
But now the headline grabs your attention and the subheadline gets you interested in the offer.
#9 A/B Test Your Headlines
A/B testing is how online marketers figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Here’s the main idea:
- You create two variants of the same page, variant A and variant B. They should be identical except for the element that you are testing.
- You split the traffic into two and send half of it to the variant A and half of it to the variant B.
- You analyze the data and keep the winning variant.
It’s tempting to think that you “know” that a headline will work but the truth is that you can’t possibly know that until you have tested it.
So make it a habit to test various lead generation headlines instead of simply picking the one you like the best and running with it.
Implementing these nine tactics for creating killer lead generation headlines will help you bring in more leads.
But generating leads is not enough. You need to convert them into paying customers and then into repeat customers. And that’s what sales funnels are all about.
Our co-founder, Russel Brunson, used sales funnels to grow ClickFunnels from zero to $100 million in annual revenue in just three years.
Want him to show you how you can apply those same principles to your business?
Check out our 5 Day Challenge.
You will learn how to:
- Generate unlimited leads.
- Create your first lead magnet.
- Build your first sales funnel.
- Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
- And launch your funnel!
…in just five days.
So don’t hesitate.