I got back to Austin late Sunday night after a quick trip to NY for my brother’s wedding…
The wedding went well, and I had a great time seeing my family. Living away from the town I grew up in (and often out of the US), I don’t see them that often.
We spent a LOT of time in the car. The wedding location was about 2 hours away from my home town, but it ended up taking us about 3 hours to get there and back… silly GPS got us lost. Typical when you’re driving around in small towns and through the hills of NY/PA.
Anyways, whenever I am home I try to read one of the physical books that my dad has on the bookshelf in his office. With my traveling year-round and living out of my Minaal backpacks, I don’t tend to travel with much.
The first one I’m reading is Tested Advertising Methods, and I wanted to share with you a little excerpt from it. Well, it’s more than a little excerpt. It’s a list of the 35 formulas for writing headlines, to help you with your advertising campaigns.
Headline formulas are selling ideas that have worked again and again in the past and can be expected to continue to get results in the future. For example, the formula “Begin your headline with the words ‘How to'” will probably last as long as advertising exists. Unless human nature changes radically, people will never tire of learning how to do the things they want to do and how to get the things they want to get.
Below is a list of the 35 formulas discussed in Chapter 5 of Tested Advertising Methods.
This list can help you in two ways:
1) as a tool to use when you need a headline in a hurry
2) as a stimulus to spur your imagination toward the invention of new formulas
- Begin your headline with the word “Introducing.”
- Begin your headline with the word “Announcing.”
- Use words that have an announcement quality.
- Begin your headline with the word “New.”
- Begin your headline with the word “Now.”
- Begin your headline with the words “At last.”
- Put a date into your headline
- Write your headline in news style.
- Feature the price in your headline.
- Feature reduced price.
- Feature a special merchandising offer.
- Feature an easy-payment plan.
- Feature a free offer.
- Offer information of value.
- Tell a story.
- Begin your headline with the words “How To.”
- Begin your headline with the word “How.”
- Begin your headline with the word “Why.”
- Begin your headline with the word “Which.”
- Begin your headline with the words “Who else?”
- Begin your headline with the word “Wanted.”
- Begin your headline with the word “This.”
- Begin your headline with the word “Because.”
- Begin your headline with the word “If.”
- Begin your headline with the word “Advice.”
- Use a testimonial-style headline.
- Offer the reader a test.
- Use a one-word headline.
- Use a two-word headline.
- Use a three-word headline.
- Warn the reader to delay buying.
- Let the manufacturer speak directly to the reader.
- Address your headline to a specific person or group.
- Have your headline ask a question.
- Offer benefits through facts and figures.
“As a profession, advertising is young; as a force, it is as old as the world. The first four words uttered, “Let there be light,” constitute its character. All nature is vibrant with its impulse.” – Bruce Barton
The important thing for you to do right now is to bookmark this page and come back to it time and time again before writing your headlines. This list of The 35 Headline Formulas of John Caples will help you out significantly with improving your headlines.
Read more in the book Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
… and here’s a quick picture of my girlfriend and I at the wedding.
– Chris Hughes