You’re in a special group of people if you’re reading this sentence. And not just because you’re a subscriber.
Research shows 80% of people read a headline but only 20% of people read the rest.
So it’s no surprise that next to your headline, the first line of your copy is the second most important part. This pertains to any copy, from emails to landing and sales pages.
The role of each sentence is to get readers to read the next sentence… and that sentence leads them to the next one and so on.
Knowing this, many copywriters try to shake things up with a crazy headline right out of the gate.
“I need to grab ‘em right away!” they think as they throw click-baity words and unproven promises around like word confetti.
It comes across as salesy, obnoxious – and overall is sure to get your message tossed into the virtual recycle bin and labeled spam.
So here are a few ways to create an opening, compelling line – a “hook”– that keeps people on your page…
1. Start with an emotional upheaval.
Drop readers into the middle of the action. Curiosity will keep them reading to find out what happened and how it ended.
“It was a decision no one should ever have to make…”
“I could not have imagined how my life would change that day…”
“It was a mistake I’d regret for the rest of my life…”
You get the idea. Instead of wasting time leading up to the action and losing people, drop them smack dab into the battle. Then segue into your story and how you resolved it.
(It should go without saying that your opening needs to be true and not just a lure.)
2. Feature a transformation
How will the reader’s life change from taking you up on your offer? This goes back to a post I wrote in future pacing. You create a scenario of how a person’s life will be oh so much better once they resolve this problem.
Something like, “Today may be the last day you struggle with X…” Then describe how they’ll go through their day without that specific problem.
If your product helps people with stage fright, for example, describe the confidence they’ll feel walking up to the stage. Paint the picture that is likely the exact opposite of how they feel currently.
Anyone dealing with that fear will want to know how what you offer can help them get rid of that pain.
3. Make a surprising statement or feature a shocking statistic
I used this tactic in the first line of this post. If you’re reading this line, that initial sentence sparked interest that made you keep reading.
You can do this with any industry. What’s a surprising or shocking fact that would be of interest to your reader?
For example, I’m working with a manufacturing client. My research turned up a bunch of fun facts the CEO of the company – who’s been in business 40 years — didn’t even know.
The original screws were not used as fasteners but were invented to extract oil from olives.
That then led to an email about the company’s fasteners. It may not be interesting to you, but it is to this company’s customers.
Which of these will YOU use to hook your readers? Let me know in the comments below.
Other posts you may enjoy:
Pain or Pleasure in Copy: What Works Best?
3 Things I Learned From Doing Copy Reviews
5 Ways to Never Bore Your Readers
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