Headline Formulas That Sell Design & Marketing Services (Like Crazy)

hey reliable - Mary Marnell by Mary Marnell
January 3, 2017
Headline Formulas That Sell Design & Marketing Services (Like Crazy)

Remember Rambo? He marched into the forest, sweat highlighting his (overly) massive muscles, red headband snug around his forehead, giant machine gun strapped across his chest.

And then – Boom! Bam!

Shots are fired from all around. Knife-wielding bad guys emerge and surround him.

Pew pew pew pew! He kills ‘em all!

100 men, 200 – it doesn’t matter, he still kills them all.

Why am I saying all of this?

Because the headline of your website is your own personal Rambo.

It storms into enemy territory ahead of the rest of your website.

If it fails, visitors won’t stick around long enough to read another word.

In fact, studies show that 80% of readers skim the headline first to determine if they’ll dive in to everything else.

That means it must be perfect – or your results will not be very… resulty.

Here’s a powerful method you can follow to craft your headline, then a few “plug and play” templates to get you rocking and rolling. Alright? Then let’s dive in.

Step 1. Fill in the blanks below by talking to your clients

The key to a client-getting headline is that it addresses your clients’ most pressing concerns and desires head on.

After all – was Rambo afraid to look the enemy in the eye?

No! And neither shall your headline.

By doing so, it seems to be “reading” your potential clients’ minds, creating an instant feeling of rapport, and making them feel that you really “get” them.

This is so important because one of the key factors that clients use to decide who they want to work with is who they feel “understands” their needs, problems, and goals the best.

By acknowledging that first, in your headline, you’re already a huge step ahead of the competition.

Fill in the blanks with the help of your clients (the “I” is your clients):

“I want…”

“I don’t have it because…”

“I’m afraid that…”

“If I had {what I want}, then…”

For example:

“I want more new patients.”

“I don’t have them because my website sucks.”

“I’m afraid that there’s too much competition.”

“If I had more new patients, then I could sleep easy at night knowing my family is cared for.”

To be honest, if you’re in marketing, most of your clients’ answers will look like that example.

BUT: It’s still important to ask them.


Because the language they use to talk about their problems and desires is key.

If your website references the conversation circling round their head – they feel like you really understand what they need. That inspires them to keep reading your website, and eventually, to reach out for your help.

Now, when I tell people this or say it when I’m giving a talk… Everyone in the room nods in agreement and swears they’ll do it.

But… Very few actually take the time to set up calls with their clients and interview them.

But the ones who do achieve the most success through their website.

Just something to keep in mind?

Step 2: Basically copy / paste the answers from step 1 into this format:

Template 1: “{Service} that {what you want}… even if {what you’re afraid of}”

I know that looks insanely confusing in that form, so here’s an example (and more examples are below):

Ex. 1: “Websites that get you more new dental patients – even if you’re in a crazy-competitive area.”


Not bad, right?

Breakdown: This template works so powerfully because it combines the market’s key desire with their key objection, addressing them both instantly.

The result: How could someone who strongly feels both of those things NOT continue reading? You’ve got them by the pants at this point.

Keep it up throughout the rest of your website, and you’re gold.

Let’s look at some more examples of Template 1 in action:

Ex. 2: “Facebook ads that generate a predictable lead flow – even if you’re on a small budget.”

Ex. 3: “Branding that instantly sets you apart – even if no one’s ever heard of you.”

That template rocks. But maybe it’s not your style. Let’s try some others, shall we?

Template 2: “We help {market} {what you want}”

Ex. 1: “We help fortune 500 companies scale even higher.”

Ex. 2: “We help dentists get more new patients, fast.”

(I added “fast” for style points, and because it acknowledges the urgency from our above example where the guy just wants to get a good night’s rest.)

Breakdown: This one is a bit more you-centered than client-centered, but that can emit confidence and style, which could be what your market / ideal client is looking for.

However – it still addresses their key desire, so it’s not one of those self-indulgent headlines that means no one to anyone but the person who wrote it.

Real talk: We’ve used this headline formula for years with great success.

Template 3: Calling all {market} who {what you want}

Ex. 1: “Calling all restaurant owners who need more new customers, fast.”

Ex. 2: “Calling all musicians who want more raving fans”

Breakdown: This one does two things:

1) Isolates your market by letting them know you’re speaking to them and them only (positioning you as a specialist)…

2) Lets them know that you have the answer to the thing they want most.

Its one shortcoming is it doesn’t reference your product / service. With that said, that can easily be rectified with a strong sub-head, or pre-head, or by making sure it’s in the ad / page title people click on to land on your site.

That way they know what the site offers, which means your job is to sell them on how well you get the job done.

But wait! Mary, I don’t see the “If I had what I want, then…” answers anywhere in these templates. What’s the dill pickle?

You’re right, you observant person you.

We have a “sneaky” purpose for that.

(In case you already forgot due to living in 2017 ADD world, that’s the one that went “If I had more new dental patients, I could sleep easy at night knowing my family is cared for.”)

That answer goes in your subhead – the line that immediately follows your headline.

For example:

Websites that get you more new dental patients – even if you’re in a crazy-competitive area.

Rest easy knowing you’ll always have as many patients as you need. And then some. We’ll help you get there, or we’ll die trying.

{big call to action button like “get a quote now” or “schedule a call” or something like that}

As you can see… (to summarize)

… we’re taking the same chairs and just re-arranging them based on what fits you best.

But don’t feel limited to the examples I’ve presented above.

Feel free to take these elements and play around with them. Have fun. Get creative, but not so creative that people don’t know what the heck your headline says…

Get creative with how you convey your clients’ key desires and objections. That right there is where the money is.

In fact, let’s do this: If you’d like some feedback, leave a comment below with your new headline concept.

I’ll give you my input, and help you craft the best one I can.

Feel free to also tell me if this post helped you, if you have questions, feedback, or anything else. Let’s chat.

What is Reliable PSD?

If you are looking for help in converting your Photoshop designs to WordPress or HTML, Reliable PSD will be happy to help you. A number of different digital agencies worldwide that require the highest quality trust their most important projects to us. Why? Simply because we deliver quality and care for our clients. Our purpose is to give the companies we work with, both, confidence and peace of mind. Many of our clients, like us, have tried other Photoshop to WordPress conversion services out there and were left feeling frustrated. That is why we created Reliable PSD to give our customers the quality and service we’ve always looked for. We’d love to help you too

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