By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Our regular readers appreciate that we have a positive bias toward healthcare marketing and advertising that produces measurable, near-term results. Direct Response Marketing isn’t the only option, but for hospitals and medical practices—facing tough competition with a lean, cost-effective budget—it offers advantages over brand-based methods.
Experienced writers will devote half (or more) of their creative energy in producing a powerful and effective headline. After all, if the headline doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, and give them a reason to read the ad…well, no reader, no ad, no results.
Academic courses stress the importance of these first words. Tutorials such as American Writers & Artists, provide a “Four U” formula. Strong headlines, they teach, should be:
- USEFUL to the reader
- Create a sense of URGENCY
- Present a UNIQUE benefit
- Communicate these in an ULTRA-SPECIFIC way
As further help, here are additional tips that creative professionals keep up their sleeve when writing (and rigorously re-writing) headlines for direct response material.
- Highlight the benefit(s) to the audience
- Arouse curiosity; ask a question
- Ask an intriguing question
- Begin with how to
- Call out to a specific target audience
- Evoke emotions
- Frame ideas as special or exclusive
- Numbers command attention and authority
- Provide a forceful and persuasive promise
- Say something counter intuitive or controversial
- Use startling specifics
Headlines are the attention-getting gateway for your benefit-laden idea. It is an especially critical element in direct response materials, but these tips are also useful for blog posts, social media touch points, outdoor advertising and longer-form content.
Unfortunately, compelling headlines are often pulled off course by well-intended stabs at “cute” or “clever” misdirection. If your creative endeavor could benefit from experienced, professional guidance, checkout the additional articles below, or connect with us today.