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Headlines for Affiliate Sites

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Headlines for Affiliate Sites

2008-09-11 10:53:05

There's a talent to good copywriting but, even so, most professional sales copy writers admit that a lot of the most successful headlines and copy are simply variations on tried and tested formulas that have worked in the past.

writing headlines

In this lesson we're going to look at headlines for affiliate sites; we will introduce some of the best-performing headline formulas we've used (and still use!), and some formulas for bullet points that will give you winning promotional copy in a flash - all you have to do is fill in the gaps!

At the end of this lesson we've put together an example email promotion using a couple of these headlines and bullet points so you can see how easy it can be.

Before you get started with anything, make sure you've done your research. Your headlines and sales copy can only be good if you actually know your market.

A good trick is to hang out in forums and communities related to your topic so that you know what it is your market actually talks about. If you're not sufficiently intimate with your subject you're likely to just skim the surface of your market's needs, and they won't really believe that you know what you're talking about.

Headline formulas

Once you've figured out what the key concerns in your market are, try creating some headlines using the following formats - these are formats that we have tested against other headlines and proven successful on many websites - you don't have to follow them to the letter, but try to keep the " spirit" of the headline when you use it yourself:

  1. "Who else wants to....?"

    Why does this work? If you've done your research and you know what your readers want, you're essentially asking them if they want what they want - and, of course, the answer is yes. You're showing that you know what they're looking for. You're also saying that they're not alone (who else) and you're asking a question.

  2. "5 ways to... (e.g. reduce wrinkles in 7 days)"

    This headline promises to offers the information in small, easily digested chunks.

  3. "7 tips to x, y and z. (These tips also apply to a, b and c!)"

    Again, you've got that nice number there: "7 tips". Doesn't that sound like an easy read? If you've done your research you will also know exactly what your readers' concerns are and you would have hit six of them in that one header. (x, y, z, a, b, c).

  4. "Incredible FREE download reveals the closely guarded secrets to ..."

    The word "FREE" is always a winner. This headline also offers to reveal secrets, which everybody loves. You could substitute "report" for "download".

  5. "Give me just 7 minutes and I’ll show you my 12 step formula for ..."

    By indicating that you won’t take too much of your readers’ time, they might feel more comfortable reading. A 12-step formula is already easy to follow (because it’s broken into points) but to learn 12 steps in 7 minutes is a real bargain! The 7 minutes indicates "this message is short" and reduces the commitment needed from the reader. Also, the word "formula" makes it sound so straightforward you'd be a fool not to take a look. You could also use "recipe", "plan", "guide" etc.

No doubt that you will have seen these types of headers used on hundreds of websites - they're clichéd, but there's a reason they're so widely used: They work. Give one or two of them a go and see what happens!

Other tips for headlines

Be specific: If you can be very specific in your headline it makes your claims much more believable.

Be believable: We’re very attuned to overly hyped marketing messages. If you come across as being legitimate and believable (this doesn’t mean dull!) then your readers will listen. "Earn $23,000 in 2 minutes using this fabulous widget!” isn't exciting, because it isn't believable.

Be relevant: If you’ve done your market research, you should know what your readers are concerned about. Try to create your headline to be relevant to these concerns.

Make your readers curious: Give them a reason to want to keep reading, but remember to keep it relevant - if you’re too obscure, your readers will just put it in the "too hard" basket and move on to the next distraction.

It’s all about the benefits: If your reader can’t see how reading your material can help him or her, they won’t be very interested. If you can squeeze some benefits into your headline, it’ll be much more attractive. Compare these two headlines:

"Revolutionary overnight cream with ocean extracts!"

"Look ten years younger with this revolutionary overnight cream!"

The first headline describes a feature of the cream, while the second one tells you what the cream will do for you.

Bullet point formulas

If you've spent much time hanging out in the "make money online" market, what I'm about to show you will seem very familiar!

Bullet points are an excellent way to break the major benefits and features of a product down into exciting, enticing, easy-to-read chunks for your readers.

You can get material for your bullet points from the sales page of your product, and from your market research. Try these ones on for size:

  • The very first place you should look for......
  • 11 ways to......
  • 5 essential secrets to .....
  • My astonishing strategy for....
  • Why you should NEVER.....
  • A foolproof system for.....
  • The 3 minute, uncomplicated method for...
  • Why ... is your secret weapon when...
  • How to use X, Y and Z to....
  • The 7 critical mistakes that... make when... And what to do about it!
  • A goldmine of...
  • The 3 step formula for... that guarantees success!
  • Discover how to immediately...
  • Impress your friends by...
  • Just when you thought....
  • Isn’t it time.... ?
  • An extremely valuable secret that....
  • Have you been having trouble.... ?
  • Sick and tired of....? Discover my proven step-by-step formula to...

Putting it all together: a fast, easy email promotion

To bring it all together, we're going to show you a template email promotion for a stop smoking product,Fresh Start. We're not smokers ourselves, so none of us have ever had to try to quit smoking and have no idea what sort of problems smokers can encounter. By browsing some "quit smoking" forums we discovered that some of the biggest concerns for smokers are:

  • How to be comfortable as a non-smoker.
  • Avoiding withdrawal symptoms including headaches, cravings, weight gain and depression when quitting.
  • A lot of smokers have also tried to quit many times before.
  • There are many chemical products to help you quit smoking, including patches, gums and drugs.
  • A lot of smokers attribute their inability to quit to a lack of will power.

Armed with this information and some points from the sales copy of the merchant site, we can put together the following email pretty quickly. It's a little rough around the edges, but you can get the general idea. First comes the headline, then the body of the email promotion...


Give me just 3 minutes and I’ll show you my secret weapon for quitting smoking and becoming totally comfortable as a non-smoker.


...And you don’t have to worry about headaches, depression or other withdrawal symptoms.

Dear {!firstname},

I know what it’s like trying to give up smoking. I tried to quit many times over the years, and each time I suffered from headaches, weight gain and depression.

But then I came across Fresh Start.

I found the Fresh Start method to be great because it took no will-power to achieve. That’s because it puts you into a gentle hypnotic state – where you’re fully awake and in control – to remove your cravings and turn you into a non smoker…forever.

The method completely frees you from drugs, gums, patches or other chemical methods.

  • Fresh Start is the very first place you should look when it comes to quitting smoking without heroics or drugs.
  • Learn 11 ways to get comfortable as a non smoker
  • Discover 5 essential secrets for avoiding withdrawal symptoms.
  • Impress your friends by quitting smoking and actually sticking to it... for good!
  • Learn an extremely valuable secret that will not only allow you to lose all cravings within 1 hour
  • Discover how to immediately free yourself completely from drugs, gums, patches or other chemical methods, yet still achieve freedom from smoking!

Isn’t it time you stopped procrastinating and started your journey as a non-smoker? - If not for your sake, for your children?

Go get Fresh Start right now from http://www.youraffiliatelink.com/freshstart

All the best till next time,
Your Name (e.g. George Harrison)

P.S. If you don’t get Fresh Start, how will you gain freedom from smoking? Where will you be in a month from now? 6 months? 1 year?

P.P.S. Don’t forget, if you want to become completely free from smoking, without depression, weight gain or those intense cravings, then you really should re-read this email 1 more time!

As you can see, this template made good use of all the tips that you learnt in this lesson, plus we also added in a couple of P.S’s at the end. These are very important as a lot of people when they read a webpage, or an email, tend to scroll to the bottom to see what the conclusion is.

If you make it exciting enough in the P.S. and P.P.S. then you’ll get more people reading through the entire message.

Lesson Summary

  • You’ve learned 5 tried and tested headlines that are guaranteed to work.
  • Remember that it’s not just about hype – your headlines also need to be specific, believable and relevant.
  • Don’t forget to make your readers curious so they continue reading!
  • The benefits: understand the difference between a feature and a benefit and make sure your copy contains plenty.
  • We’ve given you some bullet point formulas that will make your sales copy easy to write...and an enticing read.
  • And finally, we put it all together in an email promotion.


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Questions & Comments + Add a comment

Reply Steven Lucas
A sneaky use of the X number of ways to achieve Y is to only put half of the number in the first part of the sales letter or article, making sure that the rest appear in a part 2 or continuation somewhere behind an action (a button or a squeeze page), ensuring you have real interest from the reader.

Unfortunately, you can't do this any more on some article sites - where people used to give 4 out of 7 tips in the article and tell readers that the remainder of the tips were on the web site that the article pointed to in the bio box.

A great set of ideas for the headline writers of tomorrow though. Thank you.


Steven Lucas
Melissa Johnson
Hi, Steven --

In the age of Clickbait, I think it's a bit of a gamble to try to mislead readers by promising something and then directing them elsewhere.

Setting up a squeeze page to get some information out of your readers before they can continue is a good tactic -- I would just caution you to be sure that you're genuine and authentic in how you present yourself and your site.

Glad you find the headline suggestions useful!
Content Creation

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