How much time do you spend on the wording for your title? Whether it's email marketing, blog writing or any other form of marketing where a title or heading is required many marketers and business owners underestimate the importance of the title. Consider this...
At some point in the past you may have written a blog post or an email to send out to your distribution list and very quickly added the title. If you have then you aren't alone but it's one of the worst things you can do. If the title doesn't capture the attention of the reader then they aren't going to read the rest of the content.
In today's world, we are busy people; constantly bombarded with information such as emails, notifications and bits of information we see around us such as ads on the TV or people talking. When it comes to grabbing the readers attention, your campaign is just one of many activities trying to grab and maintain their attention. If you haven't succeeded then those previous minutes or hours you have spent writing the body of the content is wasted. The content won't get read.
The purpose of a title?
The purpose of the title is to tell the reader what the main content is about, right? Actually this is only part of the answer. More importantly, the purpose is to grab the readers attention and make them want to read more. If you fail in the last part then the marketing campaign will be less effective.
In email marketing, typically less than 30% of subscribers will open an email, fewer will read more than the first couple of lines and even fewer will read the whole email. The subject heading should entice the reader to open the email. The email title should entice the reader to want to read the main content and the first few lines of content should entice the reader to want to read the rest. The same principle applies for blog posts.
An accountant, for example, might write a newsletter which includes 3 great tips for reducing the tax a business has to pay. When the email arrives in your inbox and you see the title, which one of these are you, as a business owner likely to open?
Summer Newsletter 2019 or 3 Proven Ways To Pay Less Tax In Your Business
The sight of the word 'newsletter' makes me want to immediately delete the email or at best, leave it in my inbox to read later (which in reality I will never come back to).
Time well spent
I've seen an argument for spending more time on the title of a blog post or email campaign than on the rest of the content. I'm not convinced by this as some campaigns can take hours to write and spending several hours deciding on a title doesn't make sense. Without doubt, an effective, well written title is crucial - and arguably more important than the main body of content but with experience it shouldn't take that long to come up with a powerful headline. Just spending 10-15 minutes playing around with different wording may be enough time to find the perfect headline.
Here are some headlines types to consider:
- Ask a question that will get the reader thinking and prompt them to read further such as 'Are you struggling to find time to get fit' (if you are a personal fitness instructor reaching out to your audience).
- Start with 'How to' or 'Discover why' so the reader is clear that the content will explain the answer.
- Make a single bold statement that the reader wants to find out more about. This style is more inline with newspapers who often do headlines such as 'Boy saves lives' or 'Millions suffering'... you get the idea.
The use of power words are also important and this is discussed in my book 'How to create a successful email marketing campaign'.
One element we haven't discussed in this blog is the importance of effective headings in blog posts from an SEO perspective. Titles should include keywords that are used as part of an SEO campaign to get to the top of Google. You can find out more about this in my blog post How to SEO Your Blog Posts.
If you would like more help writing your marketing campaigns including writing effective titles then contact Think Twice Marketing.
At Think Twice Marketing, we often get contacted and told 'we need help with our marketing, can you post on Facebook and send out some emails for us'. And while we are happy to help, it does highlight a worrying trend that businesses have come to believe that marketing is mostly about the online channels that can be used, but it's a lot more than that!
When I graduated in International Business, a course that was very marketing focused, I went on to work for larger corporations in what could now be labelled traditional marketing. I accept that a lot has changed since then but what I learned and performed in terms of marketing included:
- Developing products and solutions that met the benefits of the customer
- Understanding customer needs and how the customers' mind works
- Integrating sales and marketing activities as a single unit
- Pricing a product inline with it's perceived value and in a way that maximises profit
- and much more!
The average social media marketer might not, for example, understand how the whole lead generation process should look, how power words such as 'now' or 'limited' make a difference, what the best colour is for a call to action button (orange is usually best) or that black conveys professionalism in artwork while blue conveys trust. That's not to say that the marketer isn't smart, it's that focus is on how social media works and how content should be formatted and scheduled.
Marketing has required skills in many areas, so a video agency or an SEO expert isn't expected to understand how to develop a marketing strategy for a customer or why customers behave the way they do. As a business grows, think twice about who you hire and how they can help. If you are serious about business growth then an expert is social media, video marketing or SEO should be considered but having a marketing manager who looks at the bigger picture and brings the many marketing elements together should be a top priority!
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.