A little technique to write unignorable headlines: handle objections right away
A few weeks ago Glenn Fisher asked this question on Twitter:

"If you could boil all the copywriting advice in the world down to a single word, what would it be? I'm going for 'read'. Is there a better option?"

Many experienced copywriters replied. Some answered, "impact". Others answered, "Persuade", "wonder", "motivate", "communicate" or "sell.

I replied "Clarify".

Clarify what's the big idea that hints that here is something your reader really, wants (and can get from you).

The truth is...all these answers are correct.

Copywriting is the art of writing words to persuade people to do or buy something. But to persuade people to act, your copy must do 3 things:

1. Cut through the noise with impact ("Is it memorable?")

2. Communicate ("Does it clarify what's the big idea you want people to know?")

3. Persuade (Does it motivate the reader to act?)

That's why your headlines are the most important element of your copy. As ad legend David Ogilvy said, "It's the telegram which decides whether the reader will read the copy".

A standard way to cut through the noise with impact is to write headlines that state a benefit or a promise.

But this technique has a problem. In 2020 consumers are more cynical and skeptical than ever.

All thanks to decades of sleazy ads and brands making overpromises and underdelivering.

This means that for every benefit there's a reader thinking, "Yeah right. All these Deodorant brands say that their deodorants are 100% natural. But I've tried a bunch of them and none pass the stink test."

So how can you write more impactful headlines that win over skeptics and their fears?

Handle the #1 objection right there, in your headline. Acknowledge what's stopping them from using your product, then give it a positive spin.


Takeaways for your business:

1. Before writing your headline, think first about your reader's objections. Think about what's stopping them from using or trying your product. Think about all the "What if..." objection questions that are flying around in their minds about your product benefits.

Remember that most consumers probably never heard about your brand. *cof cof...unless you're a mass market brand like Coca-Cola, Apple or McDonald's.*

So it's perfectly normal that the reader might be skeptical or cynical about your headline promising benefits. They don't know who you are (yet!), so they may not trust you (yet!).

2. Anticipate and answer your #1 objection right away. Look at your headline and ask yourself five questions:

1. I don't have enough time.

2. I don't have enough money.

3. It won't work for me.

4. I don't believe you.

5. I don't need it.

Then pick the #1 objection that's stopping people from buying. And answer it right there, in your headline. Tell people the reason why your product delivers the selected benefit.

Here's an example:

Let's suppose you run Noocity, a startup that sells self-watering planters that help you grow your own veggies at home.

Don't say:

We make cities greener, one vegetable garden at a time.

Say :

No garden? No problemo. Growing a veggie garden with Noocity's self-watering planter is easy breezy (with extra love + zero worries about when and how often to water your greens).

I know, I know...it's way longer.

30 words instead of 10. But the message is 10x stronger because it handles the objection. And because it's specific and tells the reader that he/she'll have zero worries about when and how often to water their veggies.

Your pal,

Miguel Ferreira
Founder & Chief Copywriter, Teardwn + Nishi + Copy Ipsum

(Good copywriting that helps you sell more this year than last. Work with me).

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed reading this story, you'll also enjoy my newsletter. It's called Creative Samba and every week I share stories like this. Always packed with actionable insights about copywriting, marketing and how the human mind works. This post was originally posted in Creative Samba.

Who is this guy anyway?

Miguel Ferreira and his small but out of the ordinary Web Copywriting Agency, Teardwn, are obsessed with one thing only. To help your business find your voice and use copywriting as a legal unfair competitive advantage to GROW & COMPETE with the Big Brands out there.

Nice things my clients have said…

"Miguel was the key for us to level-up our marketing. Previously we had only been iterating on our same tired messaging. I was impressed with how little work it took on our part to get a comprehensive review from Miguel. Then, making the changes was as simple as copy-and-pasting, and we saw a categorical improvement we would have never got to with our A/B testing. I've since then recommended Miguel to many of my similarly-minded friends who tend to focus on the mechanics of a feature rather than the emotionally resonant messaging that actually sells it!"

— Maia Bittner, Co-Founder of Pinch

"Miguel (Teardwn) provided copywriting for our marketing landing page. This was instrumental in setting the tone and path forward for all marketing materials, communication, and branding. Prior to this, we had struggled and never came up with something consistent. Miguel provided clarity within a couple of weeks. He was easy to work with, fast, and collaborative. I am looking forward to working with Teardwn again and again!"

— Mimi Chan, Founder & CEO of Littlefund

"Creating a brand from scratch was incredibly overwhelming for us. We knew we needed help with copywriting, but we were afraid that someone from the outside might not 'get us'. However, Miguel was incredibly quick in understanding our tone of voice, our jokes and what we wanted to communicate. Resulting in a webpage that is simple but still funky!"

— Leticia Horvath, Co-Founder of The Green Conspiracy

Working with me = copy that stands out = (more time to run your business + back to making more cha-ching). Say hi if you think we're a good match: miguel@teardwn.com