When you are reading the newspaper or looking on news websites, how do you decide which article to read?  Most likely you read articles that have headlines that caught your attention.  The headline had something in it that made you stop and think that this story is worth reading or covers a subject that you would like to learn more about.  You then move on to the first couple of paragraphs to see if the article deserves your time.

A headline for an advertisement or website should be treated no differently than a news headline.  It is the first chance to attract the attention of someone in need of your services.  Too often firms miss the valuable opportunity presented in the headline.  That is why you will usually see advertisements in the Yellow Pages and on websites with headlines that simply state the firm’s name or type of practice area.  For example, lawyer ads frequently have headlines that read, “Serious Personal Injury,” “Looking for an Attorney,” “We Care For You,” or “We are Aggressive.” This type of headline is a waste of precious real estate.  It gives no compelling reason for the potential client to stop and read the rest of the advertisement.

The headline should say something that immediately speaks to the conversation that the person is already having with himself or herself.  If you are a personal injury attorney, you know that when people are involved in car accidents, insurance adjusters are calling, they are getting forms in the mail, they are worried about how they are going to pay their medical bills and probably have a lot of questions.  Use your headline to address their concerns and don’t make the mistake of assuming that they care that you have been practicing for 30 years or that you received a JD.  Putting this information in your headline is not going to grab their attention, because your credentials do not matter to them at this point.

There are so many advertisements and websites that are competing for the attention of the same people.  To have a successful headline, you need to create one that lures people in and makes your firm standout from your competitors.  You only have about three or so seconds before someone will move on to the next ad or website.  It is therefore crucial to show them a path to answering their questions, not the path to hiring your company.  The headline should encourage individuals to continue reading, so that they can discover that you have the solution to their problems.
Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.