7 Proven Headline Formulas That Sell More Stuff

Reading Time: About 4 minutes

Whether it’s an email, a sales page, a space ad… or whatever… Arguably, your headline is the most important part of any sales piece.

I say “arguably” the most important, because I’ve had a number of people try to debate me that the “offer”, or “the big idea”, or “closing / call to action” is the most important part of making a sales piece work.

And all those things are important. But if your headline doesn’t get the attention of your ideal audience and draw them into the message, then who’s gonna read the rest of your copy and see any of those other elements?


So for this article, we’re going to consider your headline as the most important… (we can debate about it later)


There are no absolute headline formulas that work everywhere (different offers call for different openings) but, certain types of headlines have proven to work very well over the years. By following the concepts (oh, let’s call them “formulas”) of the following headlines, you can give your message a winners edge when when it comes to starting the persuasion path for your readers to follow.


These headline formulas are pretty easy to write and are classically powerful. Next time you sit down to write a headline, take a shot with one of these concepts. At the very least, they can give you a starting point to write a great headline for your piece.

So with that long winded opening to this article, what do you say we dive into the meat of the topic (good thing my “headline” was compelling enough to get you to read this far, eh?)…

Note: These are concepts, not “templates”… We’ll save templates for another topic


1. Say it simple… and say it direct

The direct headline has no need to be clever or “under the radar” in nature.

This headline gets right to the point. It works best with strong offers or special offers, and products (or services) that are already familiar to your audience. With this style of headline your not here to beat around the bush… Just make your offer.

  • Super Sale! – 50% off everything in stock
  • The Ultimate Detox system for a healthy colon
  • Secure your financial future with…


2. State your most compelling benefit

Transforming your biggest benefit into a headline is a great way to put your biggest selling point right at the top.

Similar to the first concept above, this one ads a little more power while also helping to call out your target audience. (your target audience is the people who will respond to your big benefit)

  • All natural supplement helps you lose 30 pounds in 30 days.
  • Create your own dynamic website in under 15 minutes!
  • Get a FREE tire rotation with every oil change.


3. Use to the “how-to” approach

The how-to headline will always be a classic. It appeals to our need to understand how to make things work, and how to make our lives better.

The secret is to make your “how to” highlight the benefit or final result, not the process.

For example:


  • How to quit your job and make a full time income in the comfort of your home, while wearing your underwear.


  • How to learn accounting, business management, marketing, and self employment laws from the comfort of your home so you can start your own business.


4. Make your headline a question

Asking a question involves your audience and get them to start thinking of an answer.

Your question should either be a curiosity / open ended question, or one that gets your average reader to say “yes”.

  • Do You Make These Mistakes In English?
  • Are you ready to take your cross-fit training to the next level…
  • Is this stock about to skyrocket?
  • Are you at least $50,000 in debt and looking for a way out?


5. Offer useful information

Want to know a secret…? Most people look for the secrets, tricks, and easy to follow systems that promise to help us understand how the world around us works. And if you can offer them “insider” information then it becomes very powerful.

Similar to the “how to” headline, this doesn’t necessarily start with how-to, but instead offers the possibility of gaining above average insight.

  • 10 things you can do starting today that will help you live to 100
  • FREE report shows you exactly how to gain financial freedom in the next 5 years


6. Testimonial headline

A testimonial headline acts like a third party endorsement (testimonial). And, it takes advantage of social proof. Putting quotes around the headline gives it even more impact and make it appear as if someone is speaking.

  • “I lost 20 pound without diet or exercise, and if I can do it anybody can!”
  • “John Smith helped me pay off all my back taxes, and he kept me out of jail. – I love this guy!”


7. Create an interesting hook (something unusual)

Most people don’t want to be “sold to” or treated like a dollar sign.. But almost everyone likes to be entertained. If you can add a little P.T. Barnum style curiosity to your headline, most will forgive you for trying to sell them something, and many will happily buy from you as a result.

  • Man diagnosed with brain damage consistently creates million dollar businesses from scratch
  • Space age material makes these golf balls fly up to 50 yards farther (many golf courses want them outlawed)
  • Frustrated barber develops incredible system that can regrow hair…

This last formula is bordering on what’s known as “clickbait” and clickbait headlines work incredibly well. But just remember that your headline is designed to get your readers’ attention and pull them into your copy, but then we still need to focus on those other elements I mentioned at the beginning of this post. (that is, if you want to actually make any sales)


So there’s a few powerful headline starter ideas for you. Of course, there are many other ways to write a headline. But if you’re ever stuck in a rut, start by asking yourself which one of these concepts might be the best approach. You never know exactly what style of headline will work the best, until you try it. But much like other things in life, if we want to get somewhere… we first need to start somewhere.


Until next time,

Here’s to writing more compelling copy… more often.

All the best,


Posted in Writing Headlines, Writing Techniques.

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