Selling your business in London

Good Headlines are effective for Marketing & Selling

Today’s Marketing Lessons from the Greatest Markers of All Times Part Five is going to focus on John Caples.

John Caples wrote a couple of books, three of which are on the top twenty all time marketing books: “Tested Advertising Methods…Advertising for Immediate Sales and Ads that Make You Money.

However, his most important contribution to marketing and advertising is headline writing. His main focus was writing good headlines to capture your target audience.  He advised copywriters to spend hours on writing their headlines before even starting to write the rest of their copies.

According to Caples, the best types of headline are: self-interest, curiosity and news.

When you write a headline that appeals to someone self-interest, you are likely to attract their attention. It conveys a message of empathy to them, which is an indication that you have the solution to their problems.

Humans by nature are curious. We are curious about the news behind the headlines, which is why a headline that arouses curiosity always attracts people’s attention.

Mainstream media have caught up to the breaking news concept. The moment people see breaking news on their TV screen, the majority of them immediately stop to watch what the breaking news is about.

Marketing for small businesses

small business marketing headlines principles

Caples developed a six step principles for headlines writing:

  • Get self-interest into every headline that you write. Make your headline suggest to readers that there is something that they want. In the piece itself, in the advertising that the impression if I read this or I watch this I‘m going to get some benefit.
  • If you have news such as a new product or a new use for an old product be sure to get that news into your headline in a big way.
  • Curiosity combined with news or self-interest is an excellent aid to the pulling power of your headline but curiosity by itself is seldom enough.
  • Avoid when possible headlines that paint the gloomy or negative side of the picture, take the cheerful or positive angle.
  • Try to suggest in your headline that there is a quick and easy way for the reader to get something that they want.
  • Be sure to make your headline believable.

Ensure your headlines are written in the present tense, second person, so you‘re talking to a person and you‘re talking about them about now.


Listed below are the 14 sales appeal or reasons why people buy, they want:

  • To make more money
  • To save money
  • Security in retirement
  • Better health now
  • Healthcare security
  • Security in old age
  • Advance in profession or trade
  • Prestige
  • Enjoyment
  • Easier chores
  • Gain more leisure
  • Comfort
  • Reduce fat
  • Freedom from worry

When writing your headlines, ensure you infuse most of the reasons people buy into them.


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