Write Headlines That Boost Leads by 40%

by Dan Lemp


Voiceover: 0:02

Business owners

Do you want an unfair advantage over your competitors? Do you want to dominate in your area of expertise? You are listening to Business Life Hacks. Learn to influence consumer psychology and shortcut your way to business success with tips, tricks, and hacks from award-winning digital agency, JMarketing.

Dan Lemp: 0:25

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time again, time for another Business Life Hacks podcast. And this week we’re talking about one of the most important topics for anyone who owns a website or anyone who runs ads online, which is going to be a lot of people who get value out of this podcast.

Headlines, “how to make headlines that draw much higher click through rates than your competitors” and “how to get people through to your site.” Josh, this is really one of your areas of expertise.

And I think one of the things that makes you stand out and JMarketing overall stand out in the industry is the understanding of the psychology of headlines, generating click-through rates, and driving consumer behavior.

So can you explain: “what is the role of a headline?” and “why is that important?”

Josh Strawczynski: 1:24

Absolutely. This is definitely one of the most important things when we do audit of customer’s websites and their marketing. This is, without doubt, the most common thing for us to give feedback on because on average, when someone comes to your website and they’re researching a solution, they have six tabs open, you and five or six of your competitors.

And they don’t diligently read through every website. They scan it. In fact, the data shows they spend about three seconds on every website. So you can’t do a lot in one, two, three, but a really good headline is the biggest thing on the page. It grabs the eyes and it motivates the customer to read more.

And basically for every ad, using a reasonably cliche terminology, it out positions your competition to give you the advantage to capture that sales opportunity.

Dan Lemp: 2:28

Right. So you’re saying that you have to get their attention in three seconds, or else they’re just going to leave the page. So how do you actually do that? What’s going to get someone so interested in just three seconds?

Josh Strawczynski: 2:41

There’s a whole strategy for this and this is something that I’ve dedicated a better part of my life to understanding and testing. And I’m going to give you some of the common laws or rules here. That’s not to say that there aren’t exceptions to these laws, that there are always exceptions, but general best practice: your headline is going to go between one – maximum two lines.

It’s going to be the largest font on the page. It’s going to be best practice: four to seven words, but you can get away with having more if you need to. And most importantly, most important of all, it talks about the outcome that your product or service is going to generate. It doesn’t talk about what it is.

And I’ll stress that point a little bit with an example because, 90, 95% of the audits that we do: the client’s websites, maybe it’s an accounting firm and the headline will be like “the best accounting in Sydney”, or “we provide tax checks on July 30th.”

That’s not an outcome. That’s what you do. And there’s no differentiation between you and the six other guys who are saying, “yes, we also provide this service” like mindless robots.

That’s not how consumers work. We work on emotions and we work on feeling like we’ve found the best solution. And as Dan, you always talk about, we have our conversion formula, and anxiety and friction play a big part in that.

So you can imagine how important it is to talk about outcomes to get past that friction and anxiety conflict.

Dan Lemp: 4:33

Yeah, the motivation of the buyer is one of the most heavily weighted aspects of that conversion rate formula. It’s the reason why anyone really is going to click on a headline. You know, that applies to Google ads and SEO headlines as well.

Just to give a quick example: there was a pool fencing Google ad campaign that I was running and before they came to us, their headlines for the Google ads were just “pool fencing”, “glass pool fencing”, “we install glass pool fences” – and that’s exactly what all of the other competitors said as well. And so then when they came to us, the first thing we did in that first week, the only thing we did was changed the headlines to “child-safe glass pool fencing”.

In instant, home value boost because these were homeowners; they wanted to keep their kids safe and they wanted to boost the value of their home. So the thing we’re selling was not the fact that it is a glass pool fence that’s implied, but it’s that it’s going to increase the value of their home and it’s going to keep their kids safe.

It’s speaking to the actual motivation of the buyer. And I think Oak Room Wines was another great example of that, right?

Josh Strawczynski: 6:05

Yeah, that’s right. That’s a really good segue. Before I talk about Oak Room Wines, we should talk about the avatar of our customer and every good marketer will have thought through who is their ideal customer. Yes, anyone could buy a pool fence or anyone could buy corporate wine delivery, but who are your most likely people?

And if you can really picture them, then you can work out what is their motivation to convert. What’s behind all of this? So now a segue into Oak Room Wines: they are a company that sells corporate wine gifts at Christmas time or other times of the year, companies feel obliged to give presents to their customers.

The research is very clear. The research shows that if you give something to somebody, then there’s a reciprocation factor and you’re more likely to win more contracts next year. And that’s why they do it.

So we AB tested a lot of website headlines and what we found was that the headline “Make Your Customers Love You” was far, far, far more likely to get people to spend time on the website and generate a conversion. That’s compared to the original, the baseline, which was something like “Australia’s number one for corporate wine”.

Now it’s not that people coming to the website didn’t want to buy wine. Of course, they did; that’s what they’ve been searching for. But it wasn’t their goal. If their goal was just to get a bottle of wine or a case of wine, they would have gone down to Dan Murphy’s, the local one merchant.

Instead, their motivation was to make their customers love them and through testing we were able to work that out and without spending a dollar more on advertising, the company’s sales inquiries shot through the roof.

I’ve got another example I’ll give you in just a little while, but you can see the value of putting that extra time into thinking about your customers and testing those headlines. I really believe it’s the number one factor that people should focus on.

Dan Lemp: 8:13

Yeah, and it’s really fascinating and hard for a lot of people to wrap their heads around at first because, in that example, the headline didn’t even mention the product.

It is focused only on the motivation and that just shows how important it is to really understand and call out that motivation of the person looking at the website.

Josh Strawczynski: 8:36

Yeah. And I should point out too that it’s not that we didn’t have one in the header, there was strong visuals, that helped people to understand immediately that this is about wine and wine packaging and the title is Oak Room Wines.

And the ad had talked about wine. So it’s not like they were clueless, but what had grabbed their attention on the page to get them to read more, talk to the outcome that they were hoping to achieve and their core motivation.

Dan Lemp: 9:07

Right. So you mentioned another example you wanted to bring up?

Josh Strawczynski: 9:13

Yeah. So there’s another example company called Wealth Safe who help people to reduce their tax. And by people, I mean Australians, just in case we have an international audience whose ears pricked up. We did a lot of this AB testing; we normally do.

So for anyone who’s not familiar: AB testing is running one, two or multiple different headlines against each other and measuring the impact of when headline one is shown on average, how long do people spend on a website and what’s their propensity to convert into a lead versus the others.

So I’m going to give you the five headlines that we tested in one particular round of testing and I’ll get you to tell me or think in your head which one is most effective. If you land on our website, what would make you more likely to pay attention:

Number one: “Minimize Your Tax Legally”.

Number two: “How to Legally Reduce Your Tax to 0%”.

Three: “Discover if You Can Legally Reduce Your Tax to 0%”.

Four: “Legally Reduce Tax: How to Copy Strategies of the Rich.”

Five: “Learn the Difference Between Legal and Illegal Tax Minimization: Save up to 75% on Your Tax.”

So Dan, have you got in your head which one you think might’ve converted best?

Dan Lemp: 10:47

Honestly, there’s several good ones there, but I’m going to go with five.

Josh Strawczynski: 10:53

So the last one actually, hate to tell you, was the least effective of all of them. Now for those that are interested in seeing the results, go to Jmarketing.agency/craft-successful-headlines. This is one of the first blog posts we released on the new website and the results are there.

The reason that one, Dan, was least effective is that it has too many words and the human eyes just can’t work out what the sentence is about. “Learn the Difference Between Legal and Illegal Tax Minimization: Save up to 75% on Your Tax.” – even reading it out to you now, I don’t know what that means.

If you read anything about sales, you’ll often read about the croc brain, which is the idea that part of our brain is still like a prehistoric mammal. That’s just without anything that’s too difficult and I believe in it.

The most effective was “Legally Reduce Tax. How to Copy Strategies of the Rich.”

Dan Lemp: 12:01

Yeah. That was the other one that really stuck out to me.

Josh Strawczynski: 12:05

That converted almost, in fact, no more than double what the baseline had converted at the other one, which did really well. It was hot on its heels, but still, a percent and a half behind was – “Discover if You Can Legally Reduce Your Tax to Zero”.

‘Discover’ is always a really powerful word for pulling people in. But why this one succeeded – ‘How to Copy Strategies of the Rich’ – is very aspirational. We all know that saying about how the rich do things, know tricks that we poor people don’t know. So we’re not giving anything away, but we’re going like, “Oh I need to know more about this.”

Dan Lemp: 12:47

Yeah, and that just shows the fact that you said that to me and there was one that stuck out to me for whatever reason. Maybe it was what I ate for breakfast or it was something that someone said to me earlier that day.

For some reason, that one headline stuck out to me in particular. That shows the importance of doing this testing on a bigger scale and really trusting the data and the results, not just leaving it up to guesswork.

Josh Strawczynski: 13:15

Exactly. Now on that, we’re all subject to our own bias, our own lens of how we look at the world. So when you’re crafting these headlines and you’re trying to work out what to test, there are a few tools which I want to recommend a few free giveaways.

If you go to that blog I was telling you about How To Craft Successful Headlines in 60 Seconds then you’ll find these free tools. They are not ours. They’re a third party website’s.

The first one is called CoSchedule and it’s a headline analyzer. And what it does, you type your headline in and it tells you how powerful it is based on the words you’ve used, how many common words, how many are uncommon words, how emotionally charged are they, and how many power words out there.

It’ll give you a score out of a hundred. It’s an indicator. It doesn’t mean that a headline score of 85 will necessarily outperform one of 75, but if it’s only around about 20 or 30, you need to keep trying. That’s unlikely to succeed.

And I like to use this against another tool called Share Through. Now Share Through was specifically designed for social media because it likes longer headlines, which are more likely to tell a story, but you can still use it just to add a little bit more, another dimension, a little bit more weight to that first one.

And this again looks at headline quality score, but it’ll give you some more detailed, insights like: reduce the use of passive language in this particular headline; increase the length, mentioned the brand, talk about the body, like headlines that talk about, having heart or something like that. Context words or using a celebrity’s name tend to convert much better.

And finally, for those like me who are real nerds, there is a website called the AMinstitute.com. And this is “an emotional marketing value headline analyzer,” to quote their words. They probably could use a better headline for their…

Dan Lemp: 15:36

…they might run it through their tools.

Josh Strawczynski: 15:41

Yeah. This lets you put the headline in, tells you who the audience is for and it’s going to break it down and tell you whether it’s what you’ve written is suitable for intellectuals, people who are empathetics, people who are spiritual and just helps you to craft it towards the avatar that you’re aiming it at.

And it makes sense because when people come out of the woodwork and they’re having a conversation with me and they’re coming from a really artsy sort of background, I find it harder to connect with them because I’m very businessy. I’ve always been taught business lingo.

And so when someone’s talking in hard facts and really using buzz lingo, all of a sudden my ears prick up and that’s the way to catch my attention. This is one of those things. It’s going to help you to cater it to your audience. Again, why you need to know who your avatar is.

Dan Lemp: 16:35

Awesome. Well, that’s some really fantastic tools for people to use. That’s definitely helpful for anyone running Facebook campaign, ad campaigns or just trying to find the right headline for the website. So Josh, where should our listeners go if they want to learn anything more?

Josh Strawczynski: 16:53

What I would strongly recommend to anyone whose interest has being piqued so far is: download our free [email protected]/ebook. We sell it on Amazon, but why pay for it when you can just get it for free?

In there, we talk a lot about the conversion optimization formula and we dive into a lot of the psychology behind headlines and also a lot of the technical stuff, which it’s not really possible for us to share on a podcast, but things like: don’t have moving images in the header, et cetera.

That’s really gonna help you. On top of that, if you’ve got a business that you really want to optimize, you see there’s potential to do more, your advertising hasn’t been doing well enough. Little things like this make a huge difference.

So drop us an email, [email protected], or through our website jmarketing.agency. We’ll be delighted to give you some tips, advice, and point you in the right direction.

Dan Lemp: 17:52

Yeah, excellent. And honestly, the understanding that conversion rate formula and everything, we break down that book, I think it’s enough to change a lot of people’s businesses. It really makes a big impact and it means that you don’t have to leave everything up to guesswork.

Alright, well that’s been an awesome podcast, Josh. Thanks so much for that information. It’s really interesting listening to hear you talk about all that.

Josh Strawczynski: 18:18

Can’t wait for the next, thanks for the filming, Dan. Fantastic.

Dan Lemp: 18:21

Alright. See you next time.

Dan Lemp

Dan leads the JMarketing SEO department. An extremely analytical mind, he is fascinated with the questions of 'Why', 'How', and 'Is there a better way'? Through Dan's research and experimentation, JMarketing have unlocked a host of best practices and optimisation tricks for our clients.

Subscribe for
weekly updates