How To Write Headlines Which Get People to Read Them

I saw it written one time 5 times as many people read a headline than read the actual ad.

So what does it mean to you, specifically?

It means approximately 80% of the people who read your headline never even bother to read the ad copy!

That is extremely significant. You can have the most compelling sales pitch in the world, but if your headline stinks… no one will ever know about how awesome your fancy new widget it.

How Do I Make My Headlines Not Suck?

I’m glad you asked. Now, this isn’t an exact science, obviously. If it was, then copywriting would be easy.

But there are certainly a couple of steps you can take to ensure you give your sales copy the best chance to get read.

  1. Copywriter David Garfinkel has a simple test he likes to use: If you printed just the headline and a phone number in a classified ad… would people call to enquire?
  2. Put your strongest benefit in the headline — then simply flesh it out throughout the rest of your copy.
  3. Use the 4 “U”s – Does the headline display a sense of Urgency? Is it Unique? Is it Useful to the reader? Lastly, is it Ultra-specific, leaving no doubt what the reader will learn if they keep reading?
  4. Use simple, straightforward language. Leave the clever turn-of-phrase and flowery prose at home.

The Best Headlines Fall Into Three Classes

John Caples, a very successful copywriter in the early to mid 20th Century, wrote successful headlines are divided into three classes.

The third best type of headline used curiosity to gain the readers attention. I mean, who doesn’t like to find out the answer to a burning question?

Caples then went on to write the second best headlines used the news to grab the reader and pull them in.

You can piggyback off popular current events and co-opt it into your headline. Don’t confuse this with click-bait. But if you can legitimately tie your sales copy to a current event, try to use it in your headline to intrigue the reader.

But the number one type of headline was one which used the reader’s self-interest.

WIIFM — What’s In It For Me. That’s what reader’s care about. How will this product or service improve my life or help me stop feeling pain?

He suggested you try to put a little reader self-interest in every single headline you write.

That’s all for today boys and girls.

If you need help brainstorming some headline ideas, you can always reach me at

Or, if you’ve got a big project ahead of you and need your sales copy to really pop, you can get a free estimate at