Marketing Examples : Create Ad Headlines that Sell

Creating a Great Headline

An effective headline tells readers to stop a minute because this is something you want. Research has proven that there is little sales value in fine writing. It is what you say that counts, not how you say it. A valid argument presented in blunt language will sway the reader more than a less valid argument beautifully presented.

Make sure your message matters to your customers. For example Pennzoil spent millions of dollars telling America how it was the only leading brand of motor oil to meet the 1996 SAE requirements two years early. Guess what? Nobody cared nor did they understand how this would impact them and so they didn’t buy Pennzoil.

On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money. The purpose of headlines must be to convey a message to people who read only headlines. People read the headline first, then the illustration, any copy explaining the illustration, subheads and then finally the copy itself.

The headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit – like whiter wash, more miles per gallon, freedom from pimples, fewer cavities. If you see a headline that offers you something you want you will make time to read the copy.

19 Rules for Writing Headlines

1. Try to get self-interest into every headline you write. Make your headline suggest to the readers that here is something they want.

2. If you have news, such as a new product, or a new use for an old product, be sure to get that news into your headline in a big way.

3. Avoid headlines that merely provoke curiosity. Curiosity combined with news of self-interest is an excellent aid to the pulling power of your headline, but curiosity by itself is seldom enough.

4. Avoid headlines that paint a gloomy picture instead take the positive angle.

5. Try to suggest in your headline that here is a quick and easy way for the readers to get something they want.

6. Discover in your own mind what argument would make you, the writer, part with good money in order to buy the product or service you are advertising.

7. Do not make your headline so short that it fails to fully prosuade

8. Avoid the type of headline that sounds as if it was written on a monument, such as “Unusual times, Unusual values”

9. Avoid the headline that instead of making readers want to buy your product simply makes them say, “How clever”.

10. Avoid meaningless headlines.

11. One way to persuade people to read an advertisement is to suggest in the headline that the copy contains useful information. One of the most successful ads of all time was titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

12. Get the big point of your advertisement into your headline.

13. Headlines that simply state a fact are not effective in getting people to read the copy. The reason why is because readers know what the copy is going to say without reading it.

14. Avoid headlines that require thought and is not clear at first glance.

15. Include your brand name in the headline.

16. If your advertising is named at a small group of people (Asthma, Bedwetters, etc.) address them.

17. Put your headline in quotes to get a 28% recall.

18. Avoid superlatives, “We Are the Best.”

19. Effective words to use in headlines include:

  • Free (which is the most powerful)
  • New
  • Discover
  • Introducing
  • Announcing
  • Now
  • It’s here
  • At last
  • Arriving
  • How to
  • Why
  • Sale
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Bargain
  • Last chance
  • Guarantee
  • Results
  • Proven
  • Safe

Great Headlines and Why They Worked

How a fool stunt made me a star salesman

  • It arouses the readers curiosity in that they want to find out what the stunt was and it appeals to their self-interest by offering to make them into a star salesman.

What’s wrong in this picture?

  • This challenges the reader into examining the picture and then urges them to read the copy to get the answer.

How I improved my memory in one evening

  • A method of improving one’s memory is very attractive and on top of that the headline suggests that the method is quick and easy.

Give me 5 days and I’ll give you a magnetic personality…Let me prove it – Free

  • The method is quick, easy, and free.

ANNOUNCING – A new course and service for men and women who want to be independent in the next five years

  • It announces something new and also conveys a strong self-interest note.

WANTED – Your services as a high-paid real-estate specialist

  • This is a self-interest headline that offers highly paid jobs. Also note that the word wanted is a great attention getter.

I gambled a postage stamp and won $35,840 in 2 years

  • Again a self-interest ad addressed to anyone who would like to gamble small and win big.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you go through this process it is almost impossible, to not write great advertising copy. I can continue writing additional articles on writing effective advertising copy. If you want more marketing examples just comment below. You can also see additional marketing examples, in this article which lists the best magazine ads of all time!

Til next time…

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19 Responses to “Marketing Examples : Create Ad Headlines that Sell”

  1. I don’t usually take the time to drop a comment, but it is difficult to find actual thoughts on this topic today. You did a lovely job in this post and I think I’ll check out your other articles as well. Keep up the good work!

  2. Krista Vais says:

    I normally dont stop to leave comments, but it is not easy to find actual thoughts on this topic today. You did a great job in this blog post and I am going to look at the rest of your blog. Keep writing!

  3. Riley Carter says:

    Copywriting is also a skill that takes years of practice to become very effective in advertising what you are selling and `

  4. Satheeshiyer says:

    If you use this words, you will not get a response, bcs when you use these words the person who is reading will come to a conclusion that this is a sales, and you are trying to sell him something. Instead try and give him a solution. Miracle N’ No. of responses for your emails. Try out !!!

    • admin says:

      Yes you would use different subjects for email sales pieces. I feel personally a successful email campaign has more to do with attractive design and not spamming more than anything else.

  5. Satheeshiyer says:

    A very good attempt to keep up going.. Very good information to share up with. Nice Brother. :))

  6. Judy Stone says:

    THANK YOU As another post said I do not usually leave comments but This site is one of the most informative sites for people looking for information on Marketing Thank you

    • admin says:

      Glad to help 🙂 I think I put pretty much everything I know about marketing on the site. Also I included all the good stuff from about 30 of the top marketing books.

  7. Phil Hunt says:


    i met with your Mom (Melanie) the other night and she told me a little of what you do and i thought you might be able to help me.

    i am a purchashing Adm. for a Non-Union Electrical Contractor in WPA. A question came up in our office on how we could find out how much of the market share we have in our electrical market in WPA?

    i have tried to searce the web but can’t find anything that could help me. do you know of any sites or who i could talk to to obtain this info?

    let me know,


  8. Saqib Irfan says:

    Excellent post – great information. thanks

  9. nondie says:

    Thanks for great info and your generosity.

  10. kevin says:

    You need to reduce the background music volume.

  11. bookmarked!!, I really likke your site!

  12. Thiss post is worth everyone’s attention. When can I find out more?


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