Headlines: the most overlooked point of conversion

Have you ever thought about what people actually get in front of their eyes, all the time, when they go about their business on the internet?

The answer is: headlines, headlines, headlines!

That blog article heading, news headline, video headline, PPC ad headline… online, everything starts with a headline!

In short: if your headline doesn’t work… the rest of your content won’t matter at all!

So how can you as an online business owner increase the power of your headlines? Let’s take a look at three different elements.

The Front Page Headine Conveys The Reason To Stay

First off: if your web site doesn’t have a headline at all, you’re making easily one of the greatest blunders an e-commerce operation can possibly make!

Check out these ideas about your next headline.

Why is that?

That’s because you will typically have about 5-10 seconds to grab your visitor’s attention, and at most another 5-10 seconds to then tell them why they should stay. (I’ve done enough visual visitor recordings to know this for a fact!)

So you’ll really want to put some care into creating your front page headline. Here’s how you do it: use a minimum of 5 to 8 words (max 17 words) to convey what people can get from your site or store, what its benefit is, and if you can fit it in. For instance:

“The Premier Disney Toys Reseller In The Country”

That one’s a little raw still, but it already hits a couple of positioning points. Even something like this can suffice when the underlying benefit is a big one, and it’s important to your market.

If your store is “selling the same stuff as everybody else” then the importance of that front page headline becomes even more important! In that case your headline should convey how you’re different: faster delivery, deeper expertise, friendlier customer service, detailed documentation, video tutorials…whatever might help your customer better than your competition.

“The Season’s Most Wanted Wilson Brand Accessories Before Anyone Else – Free Delivery And 10% Rebate Coupon!”

Now that one hits a few more points, and if it’s well targeted to your customer base, it goes a long way endearing them towards following your offering, and eventually buying from you.

You shouldn’t pack more than 2 to 3 benefits in the same headline. Save the rest for subheadings or for category pages.

Navigational Headlines Tease What’s Beyond The Link

You may not have given much thought to what your navigation links should actually communicate. After all, people just click on them to move on and then the rest reveals itself, right?

No they won’t actually. People won’t go anywhere on your site if your links don’t communicate enough. Countless heat maps we’ve run indicate that the typical e-commerce store have a good two thirds of their navigational elements just sitting there, completely unused!

This means that your customers want more information, faster, and at an earlier stage.

These hacks can help you to create attractive healdine.

When your navigation says;

‘NEW IN TENNIS 2015 SEASON’ instead of just ‘WHAT’S NEW’

…you can be sure the part of your visitors interested in tennis will JUMP on that link to find theirs, quickly.

So have your links indicate as much as possible of what’s to come, in as short a space as possible -except for textual links which really should be quite long to stand out and lure the clicks.

Subheadings cater to scanners and tease the content

Quite often you will see ‘walls of text’ in e-commerce stores, on product pages and anywhere really. Even dozens of rows of tightly written text nobody will ever bother to read.

It almost seems like they’re designed to exhaust the reader! At least that’s how it seems, the lure of copy-paste remains great for the busy store owner.

Regardless of what you’re writing on your pages, you should break it down to small paragraphs of 1-4 rows, and further give it some pacing using subheadings

The subheading is very underused element in e-commerce stores, and yet it can be used to relate a lot of informational as well as emotional information in a very small space. This will lift your reader’s attention levels in the blink of an eye! They will stay longer, and go deeper.

A good subheading will relate the core of what’s to come in a compelling way, works as a teaser of sorts.

“Fun Children’s Clothing They’ll Actually Want to Put On”

So you should really sprinkle some subheading magic on your pages, especially all of the longer ones where you expect your visitors to take some kind of action.

So here you have it, three practical ways to increase the readability, engagement and yes – selling ability of your online store. Make an effort to improve your headlines and the rest of your store will have a chance.

Go ahead and test it for yourself – test a radically different headline on one of your main pages. Then report to us what kind of results you got!

About the author: Juho Tunkelo is a long time marketing strategist, superstar skills in copywriting and conversion optimization. Ring him up on Skype or send a free-form email and he’ll lend you a keen ear. Connect him via website.