APPROX. 80% OF PEOPLE WILL READ A HEADLINE - so its crucial you focus on this aspect of your ad 1st!
1. Mention the prospect and his or her interests.
Don't talk about your product or service in the first instance. Focus instead on what the prospect is interested in. Eg. "If your lawns are patchy in appearance." Or "Have you noticed in the last month that your lawnmower is hard to start?"
2. Use news relevant to your message.
If current news is relevant to the service or product you sell, use it in your headline. News attracts an enormous amount of attention. Eg. "Home mortgage interest rates are now the lowest they have been in five years - that means buying this new home today, costs $134.50 less each week than it did five years ago!"
3. Mention benefits.
If you want to sell that leather lounge suite don't harp on about the fact that it is genuine Moroccan leather. That's not a benefit, that's a feature! Tell your prospect WHY Moroccan leather is so beneficial. Eg. "This loungesuite is pure Moroccan leather - proven to adjust itself to fit snugly to your seating position meaning that you when you stand up again you feel more rested and relaxed".
4. Mention your business and your product or service.
Eg. "At 60mph the loudest noise in the new Rolls Royce is the ticking of the electric clock."
5. Long headlines are usually more effective.
That's because human beings like to give and receive important information in full sentences and paragraphs. The Rolls Royce headline in the previous point is 17 words long and was the most effective headline the great motor company ever used in newspaper.
6. Reticular Activating Devices ("forgive the jargon") are very powerful in headlines.
A 'Reticular Activating Device' is one, two or a few words that arrest the attention of your prospect. They don't sell, they simply stop them in their tracks. As I write this Spring is just starting so words like Barbeque, Lawn Mower, Outdoor Living, Swimming, Skin Cancer, Grass, Garden, Motorcycle, Picnic, Summer clothes are all Reticular Activating Devices.