Ever wondered about headline formulas that could get you ready-to-buy customers in an instant?
There is a reason why marketers constantly talk about headlines – good headlines contribute to conversions more than most people think.
If your headline doesn’t attract interest, people won’t click it; if people don’t click it, no one will ever see your content.
Think about how you scroll through social media. In most cases, you don’t click on a link unless a headline invites you to act on it. If a headline is boring, generic or mediocre, it’s likely you will just scroll by it.
If you want your hard work to pay off, you need to master the skill of writing headlines. The good news is – there are many proven headline formulas you can follow to ensure you get great results.
Before we go over what those headlines look like, start by asking:
What Makes a Great Headline?
Headlines come and go, but some perform well for many years. Marketers have taken the time to study the best ones and derive headline formulas for you to use.
A recent meta analysis by BuzzSumo concluded that a headline should have these characteristics:
- Emotion: Does your headline call for an emotional response from the audience?
- Content: Does your headline tell the reader what to expect from your content?
- Topic: What is the main idea behind your headline? Is it a trending topic that people want to read about?
- Format: Is there a specific format your headline is following? An example includes X ways to ___.
- Promise: What can you promise the reader in your headline? This could involve revealing a secret or a story.
Your headline doesn’t have to have every single element, but the best ones address at least three of them.
Now that you know the elements and importance of great headlines, all you need are the winning formulas to get the ball rolling. In this article, we will cover 10 headline formulas you can apply to your work today.
1. The “How to” Headline
When executed correctly, the “how to” headline is among the most powerful ones to use. The problem is, creating these headlines takes a lot of time.
Start by identifying your target audience, and determine what problems they might be looking to solve. Do they want to lose weight, start a side hustle, or start eating healthy?
With this information, you can tailor your headline to address specific needs.
Here are some headline formulas for you to use:
- How to ___ like ___
- How to ___ even if ___
- How to use ___ to ___
- How to ___ in five easy steps
- How to ___ – The essential guide
Here, you are creating an emotional connection with your audience by addressing one of their specific needs. When they read your headline, they feel better knowing that other people are also going through similar problems.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
When emotion becomes the driving factor for making a decision, logic is thrown out the window. If you want to find ready-to-buy customers, consider using a “how to” headline.
2. Numbered Headline
Some of the most engaging posts on social media contain numbers, and many use a list post format.
It makes sense readers would be attracted to numbers, since our brains like to store information in a logical order. For this reason, using numbers in your headline can significantly impact your conversion rates.
A simple way to think about this is to consider the concept of colors. Certain colors trigger different emotions: blue might mean sadness for some people, and red might read as mad to others.
Many people also have their own psychology surrounding numbers. Numbers create clarity and commitment; when people own their numbers, it makes it easier for them to commit to producing great results.
So what numbers work best? It turns out that people are more likely to click on certain numbers. According to Buzzsumo, the top performing headline numbers are 10, 5, 15 and 7.
When these numbers are applied to headline formulas, the results are incredible. However, it’s crucial you deliver on what your headline promises.
For example, if your headline is 7 ways to scale your business during a global crisis, it’s important that your article provides the answers your audience is looking for. If you don’t deliver on the promise your headline makes, readers will likely leave your page disappointed and upset.
A well crafted headline with an excellent sales page makes for a strong one-two punch. Use this formula to overpromise and overdeliver to your customers.
3. Avoid a Negative Outcome
Negatives are more intriguing because they are unexpected, and therefore activate the element of curiosity.
It turns out that your customers are not looking for information: in fact, they are drowning in facts. What they really want is a sense of order and predictability in their lives.
Therefore, they seek out secrets, tips and systems that help them gain control and make sense of things.
Here are some headline formulas for you to use:
- Stop doing ___ when you wake up
- Don’t ___ while you’re working out
- Avoid ___ in your 30’s
- Never ___ if you are ___
- The last thing you want to do is ___ when you are ___
Negatives tap into your readers’ insecurities in a powerful way. This is because people often wonder if they need to change certain habits.
People will go to great lengths to avoid negative outcomes. Whether it be avoiding fatal errors in business, relationships, or dieting – people spend hours researching how to avoid making a mistake.
This is why presenting potential dangers in a way that resonates with your target audience can be so powerful. It will fuel your headlines, strengthen your clicks, and ultimately improve your conversions.
4. Facts and Statistics
People love to see statistics or facts in headlines, especially if they are difficult to believe.
When your audience sees your headline for the first time, they are likely going to have a good or bad first reaction. If they feel like your work is not valuable to them, they likely won’t click on your link.
A clever way to attract more clicks is to include a fact or statistic in your headline. By doing this, you appeal to your audience’s curiosity and tell them that you have something different to offer.
Here are a few sample headline formulas:
- Why 70% of Americans are overweight
- 7 ways to increase your email open rates by 15%
- 55% of graduates are renting instead of buying. Here’s why
- Here is why 75% of startups in North America go bankrupt
- Can’t land a job? See what 80% of people are using now
A major mistake many content creators make is coming up with a bold promise, and then under delivering in their content. People like to call this clickbait. Often, they use stats or facts that don’t relate to their work or aren’t even true to begin with.
Imagine your prospect saw the first headline, and thought to themselves, I would like to know why Americans are overweight.
What would happen if they opened your work just to see you pitching your personal training services to them? You didn’t even take a moment to answer the question in your headline – how do you think this made them feel?
For this reason, it’s essential that you support your claims in your work. If you got the fact or statistic from another source, give credit where it’s due. This way, you can deliver quality work to your audience.
5. The Double Whammy
It’s difficult to make two or three claims in one headline. However, when done well, this method can offer an emotional one-two punch.
An example of this is the problem-solution headline. This is a headline that states your audience’s direct problem and offers a solution for it. The problem with this approach is, it is a lot of work to execute well.
Start by identifying who your target audience is and what problem they might be trying to solve. Are they teenagers trying to get into college, or seniors trying to retire? Position your headline to fulfill their direct needs.
For example, if your audience are college basketball players, here is how you could write a great double whammy headline:
Tired of always coming up short? Here are 5 ways to increase your vertical jump
This headline is so effective because it addresses an issue many basketball players face. Whether or not they are looking to increase their vertical, they will likely still click on the headline.
This strategy can be applied to a variety of headline formulas. All you have to do is introduce a problem they are facing, and then promise to show what the solution might be.
This head-turning formula will work wonders for your business. All you need to do is deliver on the promises you make.
6. The Open Ended Question
Open-ended questions are so valuable in headlines because they allow your audience to respond with their feelings, attitudes and understandings of the subject. This will give you access to their true feelings on any given issue.
Picture this: you just woke up and opened your Instagram. While scrolling through your feed, you come across a headline:
Is your car running well?
After reading the headline, you continue to scroll because you already know the answer to the question. As you continue to scroll, you come across another headline:
10 secrets to keep your car running well for many years
This time, you’re intrigued by the headline and want to learn a bit more about it. So you click on the link and start reading the author’s work. What made these two headlines so different?
When applying an open-ended question to headline formulas, ask yourself if you can answer the question with a yes or no. If this is the case, then it’s time to make a few adjustments.
To build a relationship with your audience, you have to create content that is worth their time. If they can get away with doing a quick Google search to find the answer, it’s likely they won’t bother reading your work.
Google is very powerful, as it gives your audience the ability to find exactly what they are looking for. This means that they don’t need to waste their time on boring, mediocre work.
For this reason, it’s essential you do everything in your power to intrigue your audience. If you’re not sure where to start, consider asking an open-ended question.
7. State a Clear Benefit
This is one of the simplest headlines to write, but can be the most effective. Here you are getting to the point as fast as possible by clearly stating a benefit.
People are always looking to gain knowledge that will help make their life easier. Whatever it may be, if there is specific information available about your product, you can use it to lure your prospects into your body copy.
Make sure your marketing is so useful people would pay for it”. – Jay Baer
This unique strength will set you apart from competition, and it can all be done through your headline. Here are some sample headline formulas:
- Get smooth skin using ___
- Fall asleep instantly with ___
- ___ is the #1 recommended painkiller in Canada
- Burn belly fat with the help of ___
- ___ will hold your hair in the same position for the entire day
Headlines like these tell your reader that you understand what they are going through and you can help them. Because these benefits are directly related to your product or service, your prospects will have no problem buying from you. They know right up front what’s in it for them.
8. The Teaser Headline
As the name implies, this headline is designed to tease your audience into reading your ad, email, sales letter or whatever kind of sales copy. The problem is, many content creators do not execute this headline correctly.
It’s crucial you do not confuse a teaser headline with click bait. These are two very different headlines that have opposite meanings.
Here are some sample headline formulas:
- Introducing the new ___
- We go above and beyond to ___
- Time flies when ___
- We’re driven to ___
- We don’t let ___ get in our way
As you can see, these headlines are very different from the ones previously covered in this article. Here, the goal is to intrigue your audience into wanting to discover more.
These are one of the few cases where the headline alone is meaningless without a strong body. If you body copy or call to action is weak, then you’ve likely wasted your reader’s time.
Before you publish a teaser headline, place yourself in your audience’s shoes. A busy parent might not have the time to decipher what you are trying to say with your headline. Conversely, if they are a college student on summer break, they will likely have plenty of time to view your work.
Here, it’s crucial you use your judgement to determine whether or not a teaser headline is appropriate for your brand. From there, focus on delivering a headline that flows well into your body copy.
9. Social Media Optimized Headline
If you want your headline to perform, you need to invoke curiosity and capture clicks. This is particularly important on social media.
Your customers typically spend a couple of minutes on social media at different points throughout the day. Their news feeds are quickly cycling through various posts, advertisements and offers.
How do you get someone to notice you, with all this competition?
It turns out that each social media platform has an optimal character length for a headline. Here are some numbers taken from CoSchedule Blog:
- Twitter: 71–100 characters
- Facebook: 40 characters
- Google: 60 characters
- LinkedIn: 80–120 characters
Depending on which network you rely most heavily on to get the most traction, you should consider making your headline fit the ideal length.These are the ones that get shared the most on social media and are more likely to go viral.
There are many headline formulas you can use in this situation. Your best option is to pick the one that stood out to you the most in this article, and apply these rules to it. You will be surprised by how well it performs.
10. SEO Friendly Headline
Whether you are a blog writer, content creator, or digital marketer, getting your work read is the first and most important step towards success.
Search engine optimization is a great way to funnel an attentive audience to your content, as it helps you rank high on search engines such as Google.
If you rank #1 on Google, your page will be the first result when your audience searches for a particular word. In general, marketers strive to be in the top 3, as this leads to phenomenal click through rates.
A common mistake many content creators make is they over saturate their headline with keywords. They think that, by putting more keywords in their headline, they are more likely to be found on social media. This couldn’t be any further from the truth.
In order to rank well on Google, you’re going to need to do some research before writing your headline.
There are many websites out there such as Buzzsumo or SEO warrior that can give you insight on the highest ranking words on Google. The problem is, you need to make sure these words resonate with your target audience as well.
If you are selling a service in the fitness industry, it’s unlikely you will use the word gaming in your headline. For this reason, you need to make sure you understand your target audience before you figure out the ideal keywords.
You can see why this will be a lot of work, and will require many variations before you get one right. This is why you need headline formulas that properly implement SEO keywords into them. What you need is called Instant Scripts.
Headline Formulas by Instant Scripts
Writing a great headline takes a lot of time, hard work and research. As a business owner, you might not be able to set aside a lot of time to write compelling headlines.
This is why Dan Lok created Instant Scripts.
Backed by Dan Lok’s billion dollar swipe file, Instant Scripts is the only tool you will ever need to produce sales copy. All you need to do is select the type of copy you want, fill in a few blanks, and the software will spit out the copy for you. It’s that simple.
There’s no need to be creative, no need to spend hours in front of your computer, and no need to research and test which headlines do and don’t work.
With over 7,000 different scripts, you can’t afford not to have this software today. If you’re ready to produce head-turning headlines at your demand, click here to sign up for Instant Scripts today.