Most local businesses in Hawaii have the wrong kind of headline on their website. It's what I call the "welcome mat" headline. We see it all the time on newspapers and magazines and unfortunately, this has carried over to a lot of local website designs. Here's how you can analyze yours.
Here's a newspaper most of us can relate to: Midweek. It's where we get our grocery coupons and find out about local events in our community. This particular edition happened to be the latest one I could find in my house.
You've seen the Midweek covers. Smiling faces, colorful typography, and a headline that grabs interest. And if you haven't seen the Midweek covers, you've seen headlines all over the place. In the newspaper, on magazines, and most often on website hero sections (the very first thing you see when a website loads).
These headlines all sound beautiful and look pretty. They're eye-catching, witty, and fun to read.
But do they do the job? And you know what I'm really asking...Do these headlines convert?
Because a newspaper headline and a website headline have different purposes.
The purpose of a newspaper headline is to entice the reader to open it up and read more. People are already familiar with newspapers and magazines. They know what's inside and have a general idea of what they'll get when they read through it. They'll be updated on the news, get a coupon for their favorite restaurant, or find a job in the ads section.
The purpose of a website's headline is to convince the visitor to convert even though they're not familiar with the product or service. With a powerful headline that converts (and good copy all over your website to support it) your end goal is to get that website visitor to buy, opt-in, give you a call, schedule an appointment, etc.
The problem is that most people write headlines the only way they know how: like a newspaper. Because they've only been exposed to newspapers and magazines. And I can't blame them because learning how to write a headline that CONVERTS is not something that's taught in school.
And guess what: it's also not taught in companies. I've never heard of a local Hawaii company training their digital marketing team on sales copy. It's just not done because people in Hawaii don't understand that there are different types of headlines. There's just one type of headline: the one that looks good, sounds good, and rolls off the tongue. The conversion rate of a headline is not part of the marketing strategy.
Let's take this Midweek headline as an example:
"Welcome to Vegan Paradise"
This is what I like to call a "welcome mat" headline. As a newspaper headline, it's perfectly fine. The phrase is inviting and we get a hint of what we'll find inside when we read the full article. There's also the subtext that gives us a little more detailed information:
"With the release of her first cookbook, world-renowned vegan chef Lillian Cumic extols what she sees as the real utopia for healthy eating: Hawaii."
That's just the right amount of information for the avid newspaper reader. They know this chef is world-famous and has a new vegan cookbook out. It's short and easy to read.
But what if this was a website?
Would this headline and subtext be the best headline to convert? Definitely not.
The headline and wording depends on Lillian Cumic's target audience and what she's trying to achieve. Here are some rewrites:
Headline: Vegan cuisine at its finest by Chef Lillian Cumic
Subtext: Author. Vegan chef. World famous. Contact Chef Lillian Cumic for collaborations and cook-offs.
Headline: Lose weight, keep it off, and finally feel happy with vegan recipes.
Subtext: It's important to you that you stay as healthy as possible. If you want to lose weight with healthy vegan recipes, I'd love to help.
Headline: My world-famous vegan recipes will have your kids asking for seconds.
Subtext: Easy vegan recipes for families who want to live happier and healthier lives.
See how each headline and subtext changes depending on Lillian Cumic's business direction and her target audience? None of these are the usual "welcome mat" headlines that we're familiar with on newspapers and magazines. Instead, each of these headlines are marketing directly at a specific group.
They speak to her niche and when you have a niche, marketing and copy becomes so much easier.
When Lillian Cumic is working towards fame, other chefs, TV shows, and PR companies will find it really easy to reach out to her because they know that's what she wants.
When she wants to help people lose weight, website visitors will be more interested in purchasing her book, signing up for her emails, and engaging with her on social media because they know immediately that that's what she specializes in.
And when Lillian Cumic wants young families to eat healthier, her messaging convinces her audience of parents that this is the right thing to do for their kids. Not only will the food be healthier, but the kids will think vegan recipes taste good. Plus her headline indicates that she's done this successfully, which makes her a trustworthy expert in consumers' eyes.
So take a look at your own headline on your website.
Is it a fancy headline that belongs to a newspaper or magazine?
Does it directly address the problem that your niche target audience has?
Does it show that you are the expert in your craft?
Most importantly, does it convert?
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