If a copywriter who has sold more than $6 billion worth of products shared a few pointers about writing headlines that sell… Would you listen to him? Yep, me too.

One of the best ways to educate ourselves as copywriters is to listen to the advice of marketers who started selling products long before the internet age. And without a doubt, Ted Nicholas is one of the first names that should come to mind.

When you look at lists of top copywriters you don’t always see his name – he doesn’t seem to get quite the publicity as, Dan Kennedy, John Carlton or T Harv Eker. But when Ted Nicholas shares his wisdom, I shut up and pay attention.

At age 21, Ted Nicholas started a candy business when he was $96K in debt (talk about pressure). And using not much else than the power of good copywriting, he grew this candy business to 30 different franchises – earning him quite a reputation in the ad business.

He then went on to self-publish several books and courses, and quickly gained fame as an information marketing mogul. To many of us, he is considered a living legend. And even as a multi-millionaire, he’s still rocking as a high-paid marketing consultant.

When a master copywriter talks about headlines…

When asked about his methodology for coming up with headlines that sell millions. Ted says: “73% Of the buying decision is made at the point of the headline”.

And before you raise an eyebrow at that his claim, consider that Ted has spent around $100 million dollars over the years testing every aspect of copy in his campaigns. And that he always does several headline tests for each campaign.

Why? Ted explains: “With exactly the same body copy, the winning headline alone can pull 8 to 15 times MORE when compared to the losing headline.”

Most copywriters take shortcuts with headlines at some point, to the detriment of the sales letter. A classic example are the long-winded headlines we see everyday being slapped on online sales letters. Rather than taking the risk of chosing the wrong kind of shortcut, Ted recommends his “fill-in-the-blank” shortcut for writing headlines.

According to him, all headlines fall into one of these 11 categories:

  1. How to (Blank)
  2. Secrets of (Blank)
  3. Stacked Benefits
  4. Problem / Solution
  5. How to / Guaranteed
  6. Get Benefit Fast, Regardless…
  7. Problem Solver…
  8. Visualize it…
  9. Ways To/Reasons Why
  10. If… Then…
  11. A mix of the above

Here’s an example of a mixed headline using both the “Problem Solver” and the “How to / Guarantee” templates:

“No More Bad Hair Days”
Here’s A Proven Way To Have That Picture-Perfect
Hollywood Look Any Day Of The Week… Guaranteed!

The next time you brainstorm headlines for a sales letter, a video, an e-mail or even for a PPC campaign, pull out this list. Try to write a few headlines for each of the categories and then choose the strongest headline from each category and then test it against the others.

Let’s play a game!

Pick one of the categories above and try to come up with the best possible headline for a fictitious product that solves bad hair days. Leave your headline the comments section of this post. I’m sure we’ll see some GREAT examples. 🙂