February 16, 2013
Take a look at this ad I found on my wife’s Facebook page:
Ok, so, the picture is great, because it’s instantaneously and unmistakeably recognized as a wedding shot. And a fairly interesting or artsy shot at that.
But the healdine sucks. Big time.
Because as soon as you see the “Learn” part of it, you assume that it’s an ad placed by a for-profit school. Their pitching you on getting a photography degree, or something expensive and relatively useless along those same lines.
So you stop reading.
And that would be a shame because the ad is for a FREE online class. Really.
It’s a small, easily communicated fact that changes EVERYTHING, and yet the ad buries it as literally the last thing they say. What in the world are they thinking?
How about testing something like this instead:
Notice how the main offer is instantly clear, and the important points are repeated in the body copy. Also, the Call-to-Action is to see details, rather than to sign up.
Good prospects will be interested, but rightfully skeptical — what’s in it for the company? And it’s best for the CTA to work with that skepticism rather than against it. Why ask for more commitment from the click than is needed?
Bottom Line: sometimes you need the headline to create curiosity in order to get the body copy read, so the prospect can understand the pitch.
But sometimes the pitch is so good and so easy to understand, there’s no point in hiding it. If you’ve got a great lead like that, don’t bury it — feature it in the headline!
Note: For those curious on the term ‘bury the lede’ please refer to this wikipedia article.