By Ian Lurie
Portent Interactive
One of my favorite Conversation Marketing rules is “Sound Smart”: Have something to say, say it well, and say it right away.
Here’s my test for a good headline:1. Does it immediately explain the content of that page? For example, “Put Your USP in Your Headline: SoundSmart” is better than “Sound Smart”.
2. Does it explain why I’d want to read the page? This should be implicit in the headline.
3. Does it explain why I would want to take action? Everyone wants to “Sound Smart”, right?
4. Is it targeted? A great, USP-driven headline doesn’t sell to everyone. It sells to your audience. How often do you open e-mails with subject lines like “Business Proposal” or “Time to see this”?
5. Is it specific? In the age of search engines and search engine optimization, it’s tempting to work keywords into all of your headlines, no matter what. Try to keep keyword stuffing within reason: If the page and keyword are relevant to each other, great. Here’s an example: “SSH Software Defrag Your Hard Drive” ain’t so good. “Data Security: Defrag Your Hard Drive” is better. “Improve System Performance: Defrag Your Hard Drive” is best. I’m a rabid search marketer, so I’d never say ‘keep the keywords out’. Just try to use some common sense.
Finally, don’t be afraid to periodically change your headline. If 75% of people reading a page only spend 30 seconds on that page, and then abandon your site, try a different headline. It’s one of the easiest changes you can make to a page, and it could have a huge impact. We changed a headline on a client’s product page, and the abandonment rate immediately dropped by half.
Ian Lurie is President of Portent Interactive, an Internet Marketing Agency
[tags]marketing, microISVs, blogging[/tags]

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for posting this!
    Just wanted to note that you don’t have to visit the Portent site, with the attendant sales pitch, if you want to learn a bit more. You can read my marketing blog at

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