Powerful Headlines Equal Advertising Success!

“The headline is the most important element of an ad. It must offer a promise to the reader of a believable benefit. And it must be phrased in a way to give it memory value.”  — Morris Hite


Every day a business entity goes out of business!  Why?  Very often it is because of a lack of new patients.  So, how do you attract more patients?  You advertise!  But what if you do advertise; yet, your ad doesn’t attract a single call?  If you want to attract more patients, your message MUST grab their curiosity and pull them in!  So how do you do that?  First, you write a compelling headline!

The power that a well-written headline adds to your advertising is immense!  The study of the effectiveness of headlines is a principle component of all advertising and marketing education!

But why is a headline so important?  According to a 2014 article in The New Yorker Magazine, author Maria Konnikova writes that “a headline determines how many people will read a piece, particularly in this era of social media. But, more interesting, a headline changes the way people read an article and the way they remember it. The headline frames the rest of the experience. A headline can tell you what kind of article you’re about to read—news, opinion, research —and it sets the tone for what follows.

Psychologists have long known that first impressions do matter—what we see, hear, feel, or experience in our first encounter with something colors how we process the rest of it. Advertising messages such as print ads and articles are no exception.

Just as people can manage the impression that they make through their choice of attire, so, too, can the crafting of the headline subtly shift the perception of the text that follows. By drawing attention to certain details or facts, a headline can affect what existing knowledge is activated in your head. By its choice of phrasing, a headline can influence your mindset as you read so that you later recall details that coincide with what you were expecting. ”

As you can see, the way you present your chiropractic services, benefits, incentives and offers set-the-tone for experience the reader can expect!  HeadlinesAdditionally and pragmatically, if your ad doesn’t grab the attention of all prospective patients reading the same ad immediately (which may be right next to your biggest competitor’s ad), your ad becomes invisible, impotent, and you wasted your advertising budget!

According to marketing legend, David Ogilvy, “Write great headlines and you’ll have successfully invested 80% of your [advertising] money.  Further, on the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

As stated at the onset, businesses fail regularly; however, if you don’t want that “going out of business” sign to hang on your door, you need to change your ads!  To thrive in business, you must get the reader of your ad to pick up the phone and call you first!

One of the most important realities that many medical practitioners rarely ponder is:  Every business (that doesn’t have an international or national footprint) is constricted by geographic limitations.  This fact creates two distinct and concrete scenarios:

  • Your patient will only travel so far for the benefit from your service; therefore, you have a finite number of potential patients to attract.
    • Obviously, if your service is so well niched and unique that it creates a “must make every and all effort” to see your reputation, then those constraints don’t apply.  like —
      • You’ve been accused of murder and only lawyer expert enough, within 500 miles,  to keep you off of the electric chair; or, you’ve been diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer and only one medical facility in the country is curing these types of patients, etc.”  These examples aside, most all business are limited by “cost” versus “benefit” rationalizations that extended travel plans often create in patients (actually, all consumers).
  • No one has ever created a new patient factory that consistently churns out a fresh supply of new and willing patients that have never used your services before, but have plenty of money and enthusiasm to develop a substantial business relationship with you!  As such, because of the finite numbers of available patients, the patients you will attract will most likely come from another doctor in your area.

The previous statement is not an attempt to suggests that anyone is doing anything nefarious or underhanded.  In fact, your competitors may never have thought about where their new patients come from, or from whom.  I dare say, that until now, you hadn’t either!

Think about it, though, on a daily basis (either through mailings, emails, social media, radio, or television), your competitors embark on the endless march to marketing to, and knocking on the doors of your patients.

This means that if there is a limited number of potential patients, you had better do whatever you can to write the best, most enticing and intriguing headline possible to captivate the attention of these most precious patients!

Moreover, your deepest and richest pool of new patients lays within the demographics of those patients that already have used, believe in, and trust in the benefits of chiropractic services.  Therefore, your headline better says something that will get all those “believers” to look your way.

Think about this for a moment; many people publicly scoff about tabloid publications like The National Enquirer or Star Magazine.  You know, those magazines that feature scandalous stories about the personal lives of celebrities and other well-known individuals.

You may be one of those scoffers — that’s more than fine.  However, when you’re at the check-out stand, and you read that one of the Kardashian’s is having Elvis’ love child, or that Cher was abducted by aliens, you look.  It’s a natural reaction; but from a marketing effectiveness perspective, it’s exactly what you want — just a few seconds to look your way and read what you have to offer.

By no means are we suggesting that your write false statements,  which could be disastrous for your reputation!  Here is your opportunity to present a “patient first” ad that specifically targets that rich pool of the “best” patients, then focuses your message on “what is in it for the patient,” so they use you instead.

“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. Your role is to sell, don’t let anything distract you from the sole purpose of advertising.”David Ogilvy

The late marketing guru, Ted Nicholas, said famously: “A master copywriter knows full well that 73% of the buying decision is made at the point of the headline.  Moreover, with exactly the same body copy, the winning headline alone can pull 8 to 15 times MORE when compared to the losing headline.”

Mr. Nicholas taught that “most copywriters take shortcuts with headlines at some point, to the detriment of the sales letter or ad.  A classic example are those long-winded headlines, we all see every day, being slapped on their advertising copy, their sales letters, and promo pieces.”

He believed that all headlines fall into one of these 11 categories:

How to (Blank) How to / Guaranteed Get Benefit Fast, Regardless… If… Then…
Problem / Solution Problem Solver… Stacked Benefits
Secrets of (Blank) Visualize it… Ways To/Reasons Why A mix of the above

The next time you brainstorm headlines with your marketing team (for sales letters, a video, e-mail or even for a PPC campaign), pull out this list. Try to write a few headlines for each of the categories and then choose the strongest headline from each category and then test it against the others.

In closing, your advertising message (which includes your follow-up notes, your ads, your social media, etc.) needs to speak directly to the wants and needs of your most profitable future patients.  Further, make sure to solidify your relationships with your current patients; remember, your competitors are always watching.

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” — Christopher McDougall


We also know that you are very busy and may need professional help to write better headlines, check out what our clients have to say and feel to call us.



From the desk of Steven Cox, direct: 916.750.6319 personal email: stevenvonloren@gmail.com

9 Replies to “Powerful Headlines Equal Advertising Success!”

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