Poor Headlines are Costing Marketers Dearly

Though pre-Internet traditional marketing methods are still around and many are still quite effective, the bulk of today’s small business marketing is done online through business websites, blogs, social sites, and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. In every one of these media, the one thing that shows up in all searches for a post, article, or advertisement is the headline.

Unfortunately the bulk of these articles, posts, and ads lose much of their effect due to poor headlines. The sad fact is that many viewers of these items never get past the headline, simply moving on to the next impression for their search or information needs. The average small business owner is an expert at their business niche, but they are almost never experts in the language of effective marketing.

There are free online “headline analyzer” tools to help in crafting the best attention-getting headline possible, no matter how mundane the topic. Doing a search on “headline analyzer tools” will yield several popular tools that all produce scores for headlines based on different factors, so trying a couple of tools is a good idea and doesn’t take much time. A little time is worth it if the headline’s impact increases results. As an indication, an example headline and wording changes were tested on two tools and the results are here.

Headline #1: Freelancers Survive and Thrive During COVID-19 Pandemic

Tool #1: While there is a lot of supporting text to explain the scoring and impact of the headline, the basic results are:

    • The Headline Quality Score is 57, Average.
    • Engagement score of 48, Below average.
    • Impression score of 43. Below Average.

Tool #2: The Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score of the headline is 14.29%. The site states that it’s value is primarily Intellectual in nature due to the words chosen. The site also states that the average EMV scores for professional marketers vary from 30% to 40%.

Overall, the headline didn’t fare well with either tool. With the wording changed as below, the scores changed as shown.

Headline #2: How Freelancers are Faring During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tool #1: Again, lots of supporting text that’s important, and:

    • The Headline Quality Score is 60, Average.
    • Engagement Score is 52, Average.
    • Impression Score is 45, Below Average.

The scores all improved, but not by a lot. The trick here would be to try a few different word combinations to find the best.

Tool #2: This tool liked this headline a lot more. The EMV score of the headline jumped to 50%, a good score for even professional copywriters. The site says that the high Intellectual impact of the ad would appeal to people’s curiosity; the difference being that the second version didn’t state that they were surviving or thriving, instead creating curiosity about how they were faring.

The takeaway from these headline tools and this comparison is that a little time in testing different word combinations for headlines can make a major difference in how effective the headline is in grabbing the attention of the viewer and getting them to take the desired action in response.


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