Time to Kick Some Marketing Butt

By: Barry A. Densa

Why is it that some direct marketers - particularly those who rely on their marketing efforts to pay their bills, pay their employees, put their kids through college, fund their retirement, fund their stock market losses, pay for Caribbean cruises, second homes, adulterous affairs, gambling predilections and all other foibles and vices - choose to employ headlines that read like this very sentence you're reading right now?

Oh come on... you know the kind. They're long, excruciating long - 40, 50, 60 word diatribes, whose only purpose is to pull the mesmerizing wool over some poor slob's eyes.

Well, listen up, if you like putting the entire script of Days of Our Lives in a headline, I've got news for you...

That poor slob you're yelling down to from on high is your client - and he's paying for all that you do in your life - so start treating him/her with a truck-load more respect.

Stop acting like an insecure, uneducated copywriter/marketer/felon without an honest or creative thought in your head. Do a little homework. Find out what words, language and mode of expression really communicates and resonates with your target market.

Stop trying to cram every thought - every benefit, feature, offer, and guarantee - into a headline.

A headline has only one purpose (see below) - and believe me, it's not to lie, educate or run at the mouth.

And Stop slapping garish red lipstick on huge botox inflated fonts in your headlines - all because you're afraid that if you don't... your victims won't feel bludgeoned and compelled enough to read the rest of the ad.

Hello! I've got news for you...

That type of grab 'em by the eyeballs and eardrum carnival barking style of selling don't work no more!

Most people ain't that stupid - not anymore!

Come on... don't you know what's going to happen if you don't mend your ways and seek higher ground? You're going to waste postage, bandwidth, good will, time, effort and lots of people's patience.

Your reader, your cash cow - they who fund you, who put a roof over your head, and pay for all that is mentioned in paragraph one above - are going to either click away, turn the page or toss your marketing genius of a sales letter into that in which it belongs.

So, please stop, for your sake. And besides, you're giving us marketers and copywriters a bad name - and polluting the environment - every environment - business, ecological and spiritual!

Listen, not only do these headlines scream that you're trying to sell something (and by the way, people hate being sold) - they're extremely hard, tiring and painful to read.

And don't get me started on all those hyped-up, cliched promises of instant riches, happiness and 70 virgins when you die - Jeez! Who do you think you're marketing too? Borat!

Look. A headline's sole purpose is to get you to read what's right underneath it. Nothing more.

It's supposed to stop you from picking your nose or whatever it was you were doing before you picked up the ad.

It's supposed to strike a deep and resonating chord in your mind's eye - so you can't stop yourself from reading what's right underneath it.

It's supposed to show "a little leg" - and that's it, not give away the whole show by parading around buck-naked.

A headline is the hint of better things to come.

Marketing
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