6 Word Headlines Work Best

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” David Olgivy

It's a famous saying, but is there any way to further quantify what makes a successful headline? KISSmetrics author Bnonn cites usability tests which concluded that readers scan headlines, and take in only the first and last three words. Limiting a headline to only 6 words is of course not always feasible, but the advice is to make every word count, especially the first and last three.

Research Shows that Trying to be Clever Makes You Look Dumb!

A research article back in 2005 published in 'Applied Cognitive Psychology', proved that writing copy using big words and complicated sentences, in an attempt to appear clever, had the reverse effect. Readers felt that the flowery copy made the author appear less clever. In the words of the article, researchers found a “negative relationship between complexity and judged intelligence.”

However, that's my paraphrasing of the article. The funny thing is, it's written in extremely impenetrable academic prose. The piece carries the title: Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly

This reminds of the quote by Carol Worthington-Levy, from a previous Knowledge Hub posting:

"Making obscure references may make you feel smart but it makes them feel stupid and that’s a bad place to take a potential customer. "

Classic Copywriting Edicts

A few sales-copy classics to remind us what we're here for...

"The first 10 words are more important than the next ten thousand." — Elmer Sizzle Wheeler

"Specifics sell. Generalities don't." — Andrew J Byrne

"The hell with your grass seed, what about my lawn?" - old saying

"The offer should be so attractive only a lunatic would say no."  - Claude Hopkins

Sentences longer than 29 words are extremely difficult to comprehend. - Fact

“Some headlines are “blind.’ They don’t say what the product is, or what it will do for you. They are about 20 per cent below average in recall.” —David Ogilvy

“The headline selects the reader.” —Axel Andersson

"Get to the point, refraining from cute or obtusely clever.  Making obscure references may make you feel smart but it makes them feel stupid and that’s a bad place to take a potential customer. You’ll lose ‘em that very second. — Carol Worthington-Levy

"Remember that every headline has one job. It must stop your prospects with a believable promise.” —John Caples


Stats About Web Copy

49% of words on web pages with 111 words or less are read (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

28% of words on web pages with 593 words or less are read  (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Users spend only 4.4 seconds more for each additional 100 words
(National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Using Emotion To Sell (Even B2B...)

"Logic makes people think. Emotion makes people act."

This guide to sales writing from Jigsaw data, takes a look at how exploring beyond the OBVIOUS components of the value proposition and message, you are going to hear some very SUBTLE and INTANGIBLE messages from your customers. It proves, statistically, that using these more subtle emotional messages gets results from B2B buyers.

Source: https://connect.data.com/