How to write a catchy headline that sparks curiosity for your ads

The problem today is that there is so much information out there. It’s a double-edged sword. For readers, you can look at it as “WOW! There is so much information available today!” or “Oh, no! There is so much to read; how will I get to it all?” This is true if you are on a time crunch or not a reader and want to find whatever you’re looking for immediately.

Where do you go wrong?

For those looking to put out information in a blog, a YouTube video, a TikTok, an Instagram reel or Facebook ad, the overwhelming amount of information out there can be intimidating, so much so that many people give up before they start. “There’s so much information on losing weight or growing your booty these days. So why would they open my video?”

If you’ve made it this far and have been nodding because you agree with me, I have excellent news. It doesn’t matter how many people are already selling what you’re selling or recording podcasts about the your niche. All that matters is how you package it. Don’t believe me? Explain to me how Robyn Rihanna Fenty became a billionaire selling makeup and lingerie, two industries she joined as a rookie. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling but how you sell it.

The most vital part about how you package your information is your headline. Imagine this is ten years ago, and hawkers and walking salespeople are still a thing. When you open your door and see a stranger standing there, they probably have three minutes or less before you shut the door politely or angrily, given the mood they found you in, haha. So, what would they say to you to pique your curiosity and turn those 3 minutes into 13?

Simply put, that is what we call the first impression. When it comes to digital marketing, your first impression isn’t your introduction, as most would think. It is your headline. Your headline has to be so catchy that even someone who thinks they have heard it all will pause for a brief moment and wonder if there’s something they might have missed.

The thing people get wrong about first impressions is that they think people are more inclined to open your ad because it’s jam-packed with facts- wrong! First impressions have more to do with how alluring and enticing you can be in the shortest amount of time, seconds even.

How to create a catchy headline

I’ll use TikTok as an example because it is the most popular app at the moment. People have confessed to spending over three straight hours just scrolling, watching, laughing and repeat. So, your video is in the hundreds they will come across. So, what is the most fascinating thing you can say to get them to pay attention to yours? I’m here to help you with that. This article will look at how to create the catchiest headline for your ad to boost clicks and sales.

Use numbers

We all want the best for ourselves, no matter our income bracket. We expect nothing less. We would all go for quality if the price wasn’t a factor. How are we sure of quality? Through buying from experts. That is why it is easier for dermatologists to sell skin care products- Who better to create a skincare line than someone who studies the skin?

The point is that you should show that you are an expert in your field. One way to do this is by using numbers. Numbers give people the idea that you know what you’re talking about.

I’ll give you a couple of ideas:

“5 types of people that won’t lose weight through intermittent fasting”

“3 things to get your business off the ground”

“The only 5 products you need in your skincare routine”

“4 exercises to grow your glutes”

When you look at all these headlines, you get the idea that this person knows their facts. Why? Because they used numbers. Your brain associates numbers with facts and facts with experts. Numbers come with other perks. For instance, they give people options/variety.

Now, back to the first headline. If you open a video about intermittent fasting, a method you’ve tried before but got zero results, your curiosity is piqued because you want to know if you are one of the seven. If you’re not big on exercising but want to grow your glutes because the number offers options, you’ll open the video hoping to find an easy one.

Entice them with a promise

One way to get your audience to open your ad is to hook them in with a promise. Then, after watching your ad or video, they should leave with exactly what was advertised.

“Get rid of hyperpigmentation with this simple skincare routine”

This is what is referred to as problem aware copywriting. The audience knows their pain point, and your ad offers a solution. Your promise is a solution, so they will give it a shot.

Keep it simple and honest

This might seem obvious, but it’s not, especially for people new to copywriting. They think closing a sale involves weaving a web of words laced with honey. Or the more they talk, the higher the chances of converting a buyer. This could not be further away from the truth.

People prefer to be sold dreams and promises. So, unless you are a genie in a bottle, avoid dishonest phrases like ‘instant’ ‘, overnight’ and the like. Or trying to overcomplicate your headline with big words people need help understanding. If it seems too good to be true, it’s too good to be true, and people won’t waste their time. Also, if I need help understanding the headline, chances are, I won’t understand the content either- I won’t waste my time.

Lead with a question

Questions are one sure way to grab attention. If you want your ad to seem more tailored to your audience, start with a question. The reason this trick works is that it generates an automatic response. When you read a question, your first instinct is to answer it, and if it applies to your current situation or dilemma, your mind encourages you to find out more.

“Unable to sleep at night? Here’s why and what you can do about it.”

If I experience insomnia, immediately, I feel seen by the ad, and my curiosity is aroused. “What else do they know, and how can they help me?” are the questions I’ll ask myself.

On Facebook, you can apply post text, image text, and description text. For instance, you might signal that the solution is in the body of the post by using the picture text to pose a question and/or the post text or description text to pose the question.

Use the surprise effect to your advantage

Unpredictability excites our brains, making it much easier for us to pay attention. Simply stated, novelty appeals to our neurons. Therefore, to draw your reader’s interest, it is essential to string together a headline that contains the unanticipated.

“These five foods are lowering your life span.”

Warning viewers what NOT to do is another effective technique:

“Avoid these perfumes to lower your chances of getting skin cancer.”

This kind of headline is bound to stop anyone in their tracks.

Use power words

According to researchers, a user’s impression of your ad can dramatically shift with just one word. There is a ton of information on the words that yield the best outcomes; here is a quick rundown of those that have been effective on Facebook and Google searches.

  • Never
  • Reveal
  • Discover
  • Tips
  • Ugly truth
  • Avoid
  • Top
  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Quick
  • Never
  • Best

Think back to when you type something in your search engine, and a list of results shows up. I guarantee you’ll start with the entries that have any of these words.

The ‘How-To’ headline

This is a popular headline technique because it offers results. When someone reads a headline with ‘How to,’ they get the sense that you will explain whatever they are searching for in simple terms and in detail. It’s like a book titled ‘Dating for dummies’- You are guaranteed simplicity, and results. The how-to headline offers the promise of an effective solution.

Let me take you back to the movie title, ‘How to lose a guy in 10 days.’ Firstly, the title has many of the tips we’ve mentioned already- It’s surprising/shocking, solution-oriented, uses numbers, and tells you that when you get to the end, you’ll know how to get rid of a guy in a specific amount of time. The perfect headline! Use these tried and tested methods to create a catchy headline, and I guarantee your ad will get twice the clicks you expect.

Gerald Ainomugisha is a freelance Content Solutions Provider (CSP) offering both content and copy writing services for businesses of all kinds, especially in the niches of management, marketing and technology.