When your prospects are flipping through a magazine, your ad only has a second to catch their eye. Your headline and image has to do all the heavy lifting. Unless that catches their interest, they’re guaranteed not to delve further.
Likewise, when looking at an overflowing email inbox, readers are most likely scanning “from” lines and subject lines, deciding which emails they can delete without opening.
That makes writing powerful headlines and subject lines a pretty important skill to master. Here’s the trick I use to see if mine measure up:
Picture yourself answering the door for a door-to-door salesman. (I know, I’m dating myself). Imagine your headline is the first thing he says to you. Do you keep the door open, or slam it shut? If there’s enough of a benefit, you’ll keep it open.
If the benefit isn’t immediately clear, expect a door-slam. Assuming that a “clever” headline will catch attention “and then they’ll want to know more” is a tactic that hardly ever works.