Exactly how long should the headline of your Web page, email, or letter be?
Ten characters long? Five hundred characters long?
The answer is, when it comes to headlines there are no rules. The length of the headline itself means nothing. Results mean everything.
Examples . . .
A while ago my wife and I were on vacation in England and we took a train from Canterbury up to London. As I was sitting there, speeding through the countryside, I glanced up at a poster above my seat that was promoting a used-car website. The big bold headline read:
We buy any car that's sitting in your driveway
somewhere right now costing you money
whilst you're sitting on this train.
The headline was full of fun and made its logical point with style. Terrific!
Many years ago, I was asked to write a brochure for a company called 800-SOFTWARE. They were one of the first companies to sell discount software by mail. I wanted the cover of the brochure to stop the reader cold and grab their attention. So I wrote the following headline:
If you hate going into a high-priced retail store and buying
from a cocky salesperson who probably knows
less than you do or answering a mail-order ad from
a company whose corporate headquarters might
very well be a telephone booth, read this . . .
Again, a long headline can let you have fun and make an important point at the same time.
Of course, this doesn't mean that long headlines are the only way to go. Far from it! One of the old, classic Doyle Dane Bernbach ads for the introduction of the Volkswagen featured a simple photo of the car. It was accompanied by the one-word shocker headline
To see how the smart body copy played off the header and photo, CLICK HERE
The take-away message this month? When it comes to writing headlines, or just about any copy, don't go looking for rules to slavishly follow. Write with some imagination and energy and you will do just fine.
If you need some copywriting that gets results, feel free to get in touch any time. I write emails, sales letters, web copy, you name it. What kind of results can I get for you? CLICK HERE and read the whole page. When you're done, you'll see why it makes sense to pick up the phone.