lead generation

25 Headline Formulas You Can Use Today (#18 will shock you)

Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said that “On average, five times as many people read the headline compared to the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Headlines create clarity.

They create curiosity.

When done right they compel clicks.

This simply means that you have to pay very close attention to your headline. Most of the dollars you pay for getting customers and receiving an ROI starts here.

People click on attention grabbing headlines.

Even crappy blogs get the click as long as there’s a headline that’s worth clicking. Of course, it’s way better to have a powerful duo of a great headline and awesome content. But it starts with the headline.

If you’re doing any form of marketing, whether it be content, paid, email or any other channel, then a good headline is your first chance to get it right (or wrong).

Your Words Have Power

In 1963, Ogilvy published a list of 20 most persuasive words in advertising. Marketers still use these words now. The list includes:


Articles, copy, email subject lines, social sharing posts; they are used all the time.

These words describe time, emotion/feeling and need.

You see many headlines that are still using these words because it triggers something in your psyche.

How? Here’s a good take backed by science.

The Science Behind a Click-Worthy Headline

Words have power. But they cannot make your customers act unless they touch a nerve, in a good way. There are words that we consider power words, but even words that are not powerful enough can get your message across using a subtle nudge.

What I’m saying is that, science and psychology has something to do with how your customers react when they see your headline – whether it’s using powerful or not-so-powerful words.

While your customers’ psyche is complicated, you can make it work to your advantage. Courtney Seiter highlighted these eight winning formulas and the science behind them, so you can craft your words in such a way that it will trigger your customers to click.

A quick overview, the following include:

1. Surprise

Based on a study, unexpected surprises are more stimulating to the brain. It grabs attention compared to things that we already know.

2. Questions

Questions stimulate the brain to look for answers. So when you use a question in headlines, readers can’t help but jump in to find out the answer.

3. Curiosity

Upworthy created a buzz when they started creating brilliantly made headlines. Why brilliant? Well people click on them. People are curious about what they were talking about. They tell something about the content but not enough to fully disclose what has happened. They call this curiosity gap.

4. Negatives

Outbrain conducted a study and found out that negative superlatives have stronger impact than positive ones. Theories including negative are more intriguing because they are unexpected and activate an element of surprise. Another is that, they tap into our insecurities in a powerful way.

5. How To

“How to” simplifies things. You can do a lot of variations, but when you use this, you can’t go wrong with your headline.

6. Numbers

This is all about predictability and expectations. It’s all about managing expectations so your customers know what they are getting into.

7. Audience Referencing

People like to involve themselves. Using the word “you” is a good way to do that. Your audience feels a certain connection when you use it.

8. Specificity

Specific facts stick in the mind. It’s interesting to many people because they lead to greater clarity.

Writing Your Headline: How Do You Even Begin?

Many have created secret formulas and weird concoctions to come up with different types of headlines that’s worthy of clicking and sharing. Clayton Makepeace simplified the process by asking these six questions when you want to write a power-packed headline:

1.    Does your headline offer the reader a reward for reading?

2.    What specifics could you add to make your headline more intriguing and believable?

3.    Does your headline trigger a strong, actionable emotion the reader already has about the subject at hand?

4.    Does your headline present a proposition that will instantly get your prospect nodding his or her head?

5.    Could your headline benefit from the inclusion of a proposed transaction?

6.    Could you add an element of intrigue to drive the prospect into your opening copy?

These questions can guide you to include all the necessary elements to make your headline clickable.

25 Headline Formulas that you can Try Today

At Growth HQ, we have gathered some of the best headline formulas and shared them to get you started. Here are some of them.

Negative/Threatening Headline

Negatives get into the subconscious. They create a reflex action to find how the threat or negativity can be neutralised. That’s why people click on these kinds of headlines.

1. Lies that [Trusted Company/People] Tell You

Example: Lies that Your Doctor Tells You

2. [Threat]: [Negative Superlative] + [Action]

Example: Lie: Worst Thing to Do When Selling

3. [People/Organisation] + [Action] + [Threat]

Example: If You are Spending on Marketing, You Will Go Out of Business

4. Warning Signs that [Subject/Product/Event] is a Scam.

Example: Warning Signs that ETrade Expo is a Scam

Headlines that Ask Questions

5. According to Ian Betteridge, any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by no. So you have to be very crafty and creative when using this formula. To make this work though, why not try adding another headline.

Example: Are you going to get rich by selling this product? Yes, if You Do this Steps.

Guide Type Headline

6. The classic “How to” headline is the best default you can use. No matter how creative you think other headline formulas are, you are probably better off using the “how to” headline. First of all, it is easy to come up with a strong and attention grabbing headline using this technique.

Example: How to Get Thousands of Traffic in 60 Days

7. The ultimate list is something that we also love. It immediately tells us that we can find good stuff in there.

“The Ultimate Guide to [—–]”

E.g. The Ultimate List of Growth Hacker Blogs

8. This kind of headline attracts many first timers.

“The Beginner’s Guide to [——]”

9. Starting an epic list post? Then you need an epic headline.

The Big List of [——] or The Complete List of [—–]

Example: The Complete List of Gory Scenes in Game of Thrones

10. People love instant solutions. That’s why headlines with quick solutions are easy clickbait items.

Example: Here’s a Quick and Easy Way to Solve Writer’s Block

11. Need a good list of rules? Do’s and Don’ts can do the job.

[Action] Do’s and Don’t

Example: Sleeping Do’s and Don’ts

Number/List Headline Formula

12. If you want an eye catching headline with a compelling promise, you can try Kozaii Marketing’s Lenka Istvanova’s formula.

[Numbers] + [Adjective] + [Target Keyword] + [Rationale] + [Promise]

Example: 25 Greatest Life hacks that will Cut your Work in Half.

13. List articles are the most powerful blog posts you can do if you want page views. Using a list type headline and followed by lessons you learned is very seductive to your reader’s senses.

Example: 10 Lessons I Learned from Reading Twilight

14. Use powerful adjectives and paint a picture with nouns. Jeff Goins believes in using the right words for your headline.

[Number or Trigger word] + [Adjective] + [Keyword] + [Promise]

Example: 10 Terribly Useful Copywriting Techniques to Supercharge your Blog Post

Headline with Social Proof, Recommendation or Backed by Science

15.  Recommendations convey trust. That is why headlines using this technique get high open rates.

Example: 10,000 Customers of Starbucks said this ….

16. Social proofing is one thing, scientific proof is another. The “backed by science” headline is compelling for people who are logical. Some people are interested about facts and data more than stories.
Example: How to be Happy: The 5 Greatest Happiness Hacks You’ll Ever Need, Backed By Science

17. For a headline that prominently features social proofing – here is a good formula ad used by John Caples, author of testing advertising methods.

Who else [Action] + [Promise]?

Example: Who else wants to earn six figures using a proven system?

Mini or Zen Headline

18. Our brain immediately pushes that button in us when something intriguing gets our attention. It tells us to click that headline and get into the bottom of that secret. So we click away.

Example: The Secret of [——-]

19. The mini headline is about 4 words or less. This headline formula was popularized by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. Why is it powerful? Because it creates a sense of mystery that makes the reader curious to read more about the headline.

Example: In Praise of Limit

SEO Charged Headline

20. Of course we don’t discount seo when creating headlines. It’s still necessary for search but you can use this formula to give your title some personality.

[Adjective] + [SEO Keyword] + [Promise]

Example: Great Content Marketing Strategies to Boost Your Sales up to 500%

Combo Headline

21. This makes a rather long headline but it does the job. Just check out this headline from Kevan Lee.

Example: The Burrito Principle and Beyond: 12 New Marketing Ideas That Are Memorable, Actionable and Useful

Other Headlines that are Worth Trying

22. If you want to use a headline where you intend to inspire your reader to achieve something greater than what they think they are capable of, then you can use this formula:

How to [do whatever] like [example of world class personality] without [something negative]

Example: How to Write Copy Like a Rockstar without any Formal Training

23. Another great headline technique is to use a colon in your headline to create a little bit of spice and avoid monotony in your writing.

Example: Buyer Persona: How to Make Your Customers Tick

24. The SHINE headline is something developed by the Braintrust of KISSmetrics. I’d like to borrow and share this formula with you because of its usefulness.

S – Specificity

H – Helpfulness

I   – Immediacy

N – Newsworthiness

E – Entertainment value

Example: How to Write a Blogpost in 5 Minutes or Less Using Twitter as a Research Tool

25. Niche or Industry Specific

Industry specific headlines are great when you have a highly-targeted audience.

What [your industry or niche people] + [Adjective/Adverb] + [Action]

Example:  What First Time Marketers Stupidly Sell Online

What next?

Headline formulas are good way to start. Remember though that there’s always some room to break the rules. It’s best to think of your target market and use words that trigger an emotional response from them.

Need help triggering response from your target market and becoming No. 1 in your marketplace? Download our FREE BOOK and find out our strategies for getting to number one online.

If you want help formulating a killer headline then leave a comment and we will hand you one on a plate.





20 Ways of Capturing Emails the Easy Way

How often do you check email?

The average person does it 15 times a day.

We know we shouldn’t do it so often but there is also an opportunity there.

Many have predicted the death of email marketing but it remains the best digital channel for ROI.

Email marketing is not dead. It is massive.

and it’s easier than you think.

How can you capture emails for your business? Is there a top secret tactic to grow an email list?

It is a core requirement of any email marketing campaign to build an email list. An email list is considered a key asset to your business; more so if you have a big list. The more recipients you have, the better your chances of making money.

As a business owner, you want to gather as many emails as you can. Are there easy ways to do it? Yes, there are!

First requirement though is you must have a well-designed capture form. This must be strategically placed on your web site. This means you need a good tool to help you design opt in forms and landing pages.

Different Email Capture Tools That You Need to Check Out

There are so many available tools in the market to capture emails. You may already be using some of them. But for business owners who want to bring their marketing to the next level, these softwares/programs should be part of your marketing tools.

  1. KickoffLabs

One of the best landing page creators on the market. It offers several benefits to its clients. It provides email templates, integrated capture forms, newsletter builders, and some tools to create affiliate programs. These marketing tools and features can help you capture a decent amount of traffic to your site. It also integrates well with AWeber and MailChimp, which is an essential feature for online marketers.

You can try out the service for free. It allows you to create 1 landing page per site. But if you want to take advantage of all its features and create 5 landing pages on your site, you can upgrade your account to premium for 10 dollars per month.

  1. Unbounce

Unbounce is a substantial landing page creator that offers several user-friendly tools for any type of marketing campaign.  You can try out the 30-day trial and use the various marketing tools provided by this service. Most importantly, you don’t need any coding skills to create the pages; you can easily drag-and-drop the elements until you have created your preferred landing page.

  1. Optimizely

Optimizely is an optimisation platform solution that provides A/B testing for websites and mobile apps. It has been used by various companies on the web to test the effectiveness of their landing pages. If you want to improve the performance of your website, especially its email capturing capabilities, then this is the tool you need.

You can also easily track your pages by just copy and pasting a one line javascript code that is rendered through the system. Also, you can change any icon, re-colour or resize, and even remove any web element on an existing page in your site.

  1. Active Campaign

This is a popular email marketing automation platform used by freelancers, small to mid-size businesses, non-profit organisations, and public administration. You can send various types of newsletters or setup automated email campaign sequences. It’s even possible to create sales processes including managing your contacts.

If you want to test out this platform, you can create a free account that allows you of up to 2,500 contacts. But you can upgrade your subscription starting at $9/month. That will lift several limitations.  It also integrates well with various email marketing tools and softwares like MailChimp, AWeber, LeadPages, etc.

  1. MailerLite

MailerLite is a simple email marketing tool for small businesses. It is affordable and mobile-friendly.  You can easily design attractive email newsletters using its drag and drop editor. It can also track email statistics, so you will know the open and click-through rates of a particular email.

You can test its features by creating a free account that is limited to 1,000 subscribers. However, you can upgrade your account to a paying one and you can send unlimited emails from 5,000 up to 50,000 subscribers per month.

  1. Constant Contact

It is a popular email marketing tool that is commonly used by small businesses.  You can create several email marketing campaigns through its integrated dashboard. You can also run a Facebook promotion, send email newsletters, and sync data-gathering tools like Google Analytics and Salesforce in your campaign.

You can test drive this tool for 60 days, but you can upgrade your account anytime starting at $15 a month.

Once you have the tools, it would be a lot easier to capture emails of casual visitors and convert them into returning one.

Once you have any of these tools, it’s time to capture your target audience.

Strategies to Capture Emails the Easy Way

We have listed 20 strategies that will help you capture emails of your site visitors. Some combine these strategies to become more effective.

  1. Tempt Your Visitors with a Freebie

A freebie can be an ebook, white paper or anything that you are willing to give away to your prospects. Make sure that your freebie has the capability to encourage prospects to give away their emails.

capture email

  1. Offer a Discount Coupon

Another good tactic is to offer a discount coupon that your visitors can take advantage of. Require them to sign-up to your opt-in form before they get the code. Lazada is a good example. It is an online shopping portal that offers huge discounts in exchange for their consumers’ emails.

capture email - freebie

  1. Ask Visitors to Subscribe to your Blog Post

If you have written an epic blog post about a certain topic that you think is valuable, you can ask visitors to subscribe to that particular post. Offer them the opportunity to download the post in PDF form, or automatically send the file to their emails once they subscribe to your opt-in form.

capture email - subscribe to blog post

  1. Offer a Free Membership to your Site

You can sweeten the deal by offering a free membership to your site. Your site should have an exclusive page, additional benefits or functionality that can only be accessed by members. The only requirement to access the members’ page is for them to give away their emails.

capture email - membership

  1. Hold a Raffle or Sweepstakes in your Site

Another enticing way of encouraging visitors to give their contact information is through a raffle or contest. You can give away a special item or one of your premium products. Set a timeframe for the contest, and make sure that it is within a five-week period. This method is commonly used by ecommerce sites.

capturing emails - raffle

  1. Offer a Free Consultation

If you want to engage your prospects as well as gather their emails, then you can offer a free consultation. All they need to do is to fill out a web form in your website, you can then answer their questions via email.

capturing emails -free consulations

  1. Let your Visitors Fill Out a Short Survey

If you want this method to be successful, you need a short survey that your visitors can answer within 2 minutes.  Reward them with a free gift after they complete the form. Of course, one of the requirements for the gift is their email addresses.

capturing emails - survey

  1. Let your Site Visitors Submit a Free Classified Ad

Allow your visitors to submit a free classified ad, but require them their valid emails.  This is a great strategy for acquiring targeted leads. If you are aiming for business owners, then this is the strategy that you need.

capturing emails - free classified ad

  1. Conduct an Interactive Poll on your site

Holding a poll about a certain topic, or asking your visitors for their feedback on your product or service can also be a valid tactic for gathering emails. However, it is essential that you ask your visitors to email their opinion or vote.

capturing emails - interactive poll

  1. Offer a Free Trial Period for your Services

If your business is service-oriented like an online marketing company or you own a car repair shop, it is possible to offer a free trial for any of the services you provide. To avail of these services, your visitors are required to input their emails in your opt-in form.

capturing emails - free trial services

  1. Refer a Friend Program

This method is commonly used by online marketers because it is an effective tactic. The main goal is to acquire as many emails as possible in just a short period of time. Although you need to give an exceptional reward or incentive for each email generated by your visitors or existing customer.


  1. Invite your Visitors to Take a Test

Think of your prospects and the most popular questions they may have in their mind. Help them find the answer to their question through a test or quiz. If you want to target business owners who want to grow their email list, then you can create a quiz with a title like this: “How do I grow my email list the easy way?” They will need to enter their email address before they can take the test.

  1. Offer your Visitors a Chance to get a Website Award

Many site owners are looking for a way to promote their site, and getting a web site award can be a big boost to their popularity.  Fuel their need to be known on the web and acquire their emails in the process.

capturing emails -

  1. Put a Guest Book on your Site and Ask Your Visitors to Sign It

Ask your visitors to sign your guest book and offer a unique freebie as a reward for their time. Keep in mind that you need to offer a reward or else it won’t be that effective.

capturing emails - guest book

  1. Utilise Pop-Up Boxes to Various Pages on your Site

Pop-up boxes are annoying to visitors, but they work and they can be an effective tool to capture emails. You should also set how often they appear on your site. Make sure the messages rotate within a certain timeframe.

capturing emails - pop up box

  1. Offer an Affiliate Program for your Visitors

Affiliate programs are suitable for ecommerce sites, since they usually sell various types of products. We all know the drill when it comes to affiliate programs, visitors are required to sign-up to get the commissions and marketing materials that they need for their site.

capturing emails - affiliate

  1. Ask for Emails During the Shopping Cart Process

For most business owners, asking emails from guests during the checkout process can be too aggressive, but you can sweeten deal by offering an additional discount. Always keep in mind that you need to give your customers the option to sign up to your opt-in form, wherever they are on your site.

  1. Host a Forum or Message Board on your Site

Building a strong relationship with your prospects as well as your existing customers is a must. If you want to hit two birds with one stone, then you can host an online forum on your site. Your visitors will be required to register an account to access the message board. This is also a good opportunity to acquire their emails. Online forums can be a platform for engaging people to your brand.

capturing emails - cart out

  1. Hold a Webcast on your Site

Holding a webcast about an exciting topic can entice visitors to participate in the program. It is also a good way of promoting your brand. You must require your visitors though to give their emails before they can attend your webcast.


  1. Leverage Social Media to Build your Email List

You can use various social media sites in building your email list. The most effective tactic is to promote links that redirects to your email sign-up forms. Post several call to action to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn account. Try offering a discount or reward to encourage people to sign up to your opt-in form.

Sky’s the Limit

There are many ways of capturing emails and building your business’ email database. The one I have included in this article are the most popular methods used by email marketers on the web. The key to a successful list-building campaign is to use as many methods as possible. You should not limit yourself from the examples I have mentioned above. Try researching for more ways of gathering emails from your prospects. You will eventually gather the leads that will convert into paying customers.

Want to know how we are helping businesses and delivering ROI at Growth HQ. Download our FREE Book and you will see the whole process.

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