Mark Ford’s Secret for Making Your Headlines Better Than 95% of all Headlines Written Today
When I teach, I always learn new things.
This happens all the time. And it happened about 10 years ago when AWAI asked me to help develop the first of the Circle of Success training materials.
At that time, I had a good idea what made strong headlines and leads.
But researching for those first programs, I learned that Mark Ford had systematized in-depth secrets behind successful headlines and leads. These were secrets successful copywriters had used over the years and still use today.
Suddenly, I’d discovered precise secrets for ensuring captivating headlines and irresistible leads.
So today, I'm going to pass on a little-known, but extremely powerful, secret for writing captivating headlines. (And tomorrow, I’ll share one about leads.)
The starting point for all successful headlines (but not the secret) …
A successful headline must promise a meaningful future benefit for your prospect, that is, the person you're writing to.
Unbelievably, this core secret of all advertising is often ignored or forgotten by run-of-the-mill copywriters. If they use it, they would no doubt see improved results in the sales copy they are writing. But there’s more to this secret that isn’t widely known by many writers.
The truth is, I’d never heard this secret before developing the COS training materials. So what’s the secret you need to know that will make your headlines 95% stronger?
A successful headline not only reveals a future benefit, it also should directly state or strongly imply what's known as an "inherent benefit" for the prospect.
What does this mean?
Your headline should give your reader the sense that simply by reading beyond the headline, he’ll get something that benefits him. An immediate, inherent benefit.
That inherent benefit might be important knowledge. It might be a link to something free. Or it might be anything with immediate take-away value.
Here are parts of two successful headlines that demonstrate this “Secret of Inherent Benefit.”
From a Carline Anglade-Cole alternative health promo, full spread on the bottom of the cover …
INSIDE: Discover the 20 cent LIVER SAVER that fights off the damaging effects of alcohol, prescription drugs, and bad eating habits. Guaranteed to work.
See page 3, inside!
This isn’t Carline’s entire headline, just the part revealing what the reader gets simply but looking inside the promotion.
This immediate, inherent benefit convinces the reader to turn to page 3 to find out about the 20¢ liver saver. Once the reader opens the promo, he’s much more likely to continue reading.
What’s it cost the reader? Nothing more than turning the page.
From a Prevention for Pets promo, small box on the lower right of the magalog cover …
SPECIAL PULLOUT SECTION:
Emergency Pet Care Guide!
If you’re a pet owner, taking good care of your pet is top priority. And you’re aware how difficult this can be when emergencies arise.
So, this immediate, inherent benefit grabs the prospect’s attention and convinces her to look inside.
The cost? Turning to page 10.
Using this Secret of the Inherent Benefit is not all you must do to ensure powerful, captivating headlines.
But, using it — along with other important headline secrets (like promising a strong, future benefit) — elevates your headlines above 95% or more of other headlines used today.
And what’s that mean?
Better response to your promos. More success to your client. And more success for you.
Comment below to let us know how you think using the Secret of the Inherent Benefit will improve your headlines. Or tell us anything you’re thinking about.
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My question pertains to web copywriting. I know that Carline works on direct copy that is distributed in the mail. The way this is presented is different that what prospects see online. Using Carline's headline above as an example, and given that we have limited space in an e-mail subject line, would it be effective (open rate)for us to write something like "Discover the 20 cent LIVER SAVER that fights off... see page 3, inside!" This is 69 characters total compared to Carlines 122.
Nora King –
Hi Will, future benefits for prospect,in your copy, prospect looks forward to inherent benefits, when ever they can.
Guest (Darrick) –
Thank you, Nora and Darrick, for taking the time to make these comments.
Nora: The inherent benefit would make a great subject line. Short, sweet, and strong enough to get the email read and the link clicked on.
Thank you for asking.
Good luck, best wishes, and much success, Will
Will Newman –