I write a lot about headlines, but recently I came across a quote by Victor Schwab in his book, “How to Write a Good Advertisement”—it reminded me that I neglect the headline’s “less popular” cousin, the subheadline.
As Schwab put it, “Subheads are like ladder rungs which make it easier and more inviting for the reader to keep going down through more of the body matter of an advertisement.”
He goes on to explain that the weaker the rungs—the more likely your prospect’s interest will drop and you’ll lose him, as he will abandon your copy.
Ways to Make Your Subheadlines Work
Here are 4 subheadline tips to help make your copy stronger and keep your prospect engaged longer so you can persuade him to take action.
1) Use subheadlines to make your body copy appear more inviting
Too much text bunched up into long paragraphs can be unappealing to the eye and make your copy too overwhelming to read. Use good subheadlines to break up the text so the prospect will want to continue to read your message.
According to Schwab, a good rule of thumb is two short opening paragraphs and then your first subhead.
2) Use subheadlines to give your prospect a sneak peek of what’s about to follow in the next paragraph
Many times a prospect will just scan the subheadlines to figure out if he wants to continue into the next paragraph/s or use them to select what parts of the copy he wants to read.
You can write a subheadline that acts as a “teaser” for the copy to follow.
(hint: insert a benefit!)
3) Ask your prospect a question in your subheadlines to gain curiosity
Preferably ask a question that he would like the answer to immediately…(of course you need to answer it in the following paragraph)
4) Make your subheadlines stand out physically on the page
You can make your subheadlines grab your prospect’s attention more easily by making the font slightly larger and/or bold.
If your subheadlines are crafted just right—these little guys can be really powerful elements that keep your reader engaged.
Use subheadlines to walk your prospect through your copy step by step—and ultimately to get him to take the action you want him to take!