A Great Headline Must Address the Market’s Level of Awareness


“It takes a Big Idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a Big Idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a Big Idea.” David Ogilvy

We spent some time last week on tips for constructing a good headline. I thought we’d stay with the same topic this week and drill down a little deeper into what you need to know about a prospect when crafting a headline.

It makes sense that the more of your promotion your prospect reads, the more thoroughly you can sell them the product or service. Your headline’s main job is to stop your prospect and get them to read the next line of your ad. And that should carry them into the next line, and so on.

It is your job as a copywriter to engage the prospect in the full story — not just a skimmed version of it. And that’s why — except in a case where a special price reduction is the main selling agent — you should not expect or depend on the headline to do the bulk of the selling.

What it really comes down to is your prospect’s state of awareness about the product or service you’re trying to sell.

Your prospect holds a desire for the product or service, but how aware of that desire are they? How close to the surface of their consciousness is it? Are they aware only that a problem exists, or are they aware that the problem can also be satisfied? And if so, are they aware that satisfaction lies with your product or service by name, or even more specifically, by name at a given price?

You see, there are level of awareness and only after determining what level your prospect is experiencing can you begin to figure out the precise point of awareness that your headline should speak to.

Basically, the more aware your market, the easier the selling job, and the less you need to say. Let’s now go through the five stages of awareness, starting with the level that is most easily addressed…

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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