Which is the better headline? “Tension Headache?” Or . . . “When Doctors Have Headaches, What Do They Do?”

The answer, of course, is the second one. Why? Because it conveys not only an implied promise (I’ll cure your headache) but also proof that the promise can be delivered (because this is what doctors do — and they know how to cure headaches).

In a recent issue of Gary Bencivenga’s excellent e-letter for direct marketers, Bencivenga Bullets (http://bencivengabullets.com/bullets.asp), he says, “Never make your claim bigger than your proof. And always join your claim and your proof at the hip in your headlines, so that you never trumpet one without the other.

“There is no more powerful nor consistent way to explode your response. Surround your claims with stronger, bolder proof and watch your response soar.

“Almost everyone in the world, Bencivenga says, “in every field of human endeavor, is desperately searching for someone to believe in. Be that person and you can write your own ticket. Belief is today’s most overlooked yet most powerful key to boosting response to any ad, in any medium. Harness it and you unleash the core atomic power for exploding response.”

Because the hunger for belief is so vast in every market, so deep-seated in human nature itself, you can tap into it again and again — infinitely — to make yourself and your clients rich.

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