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Stop! Read this!

2 October 2014

What can you do in five seconds? Open a sandwich? Check every pocket until you find that errant tenner? Count to five very slowly?

How about selling £1,000-worth of your product? What about £10,000? Even more, maybe?

It’s widely acknowledged that your average ad has just five seconds to grab your readers’ interest. That’s it. The difference between your sales letter going to work for you or going in the bin is less time than it takes to peel that persistent sticker off your Granny Smith. If they’re not hooked by then, there’s bound to be plenty of other competing worms around who will land that customer instead.

Ads that don’t grab attention don’t get read. And an ad that doesn’t get read isn’t going to make you any money.

It’s that simple.

So what’s the solution?

In short: headlines.

The job of a headline, above all else, is to grab your potential customer where he’s sitting, or standing (or any other position he might find himself in) and say, “Face this way, I’m about to tell you something you’ll want to hear.” In those five seconds a headline can not only address your readers’ most burning need, but also position your company as the answer. Every good copywriter knows this, and it can be one of the differences between a basic ad and a money-churning blockbuster.

Of course, knowing it is the simple bit. Like knowing the way to Olympic gold is training every day of your life. The tricky part is pulling it off – creating an engaging, relevant and informative headline, tailored to the product, service or company you’re advertising. Advertising copywriters use a book-full of techniques to jam their headlines with as much hook as possible. Formulas such as the four Us (urgent; unique; ultra-specific; useful) are effective, as well as other methods like compelling buzzwords (free, new, save, guarantee), advice, information or intrigue. The list goes on.

But no matter how you choose to carve out the perfect one-liner, remember its importance. In many cases, a good ad without a headline is like a Page Three girl without a head. The body might look all right, but it’s never going to be something you’re interested in.

Simply put, if you fail to recognise the importance of a headline in your ads, your sales will probably suffer.

Your potential customer says, “You’ve got five seconds. Impress me.” What does your headline say?


Posted by Rob.

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Spoon Media, Cleatham, Kirton Lindsey, Nr Gainsborough, North Lincolnshire DN21 4JN
X Walter's Lincolnshire


Company profile

With Walter’s you’re right at home. Spoon Media’s theme for Lincoln estate agent Walter’s immediately lets you know you’re dealing with a company you can trust – in this case the longest-established estate agent in Lincoln.

Project information

When you’re working with a successful brand that’s been around for longer than two centuries, you can’t take any chances. Which was why Spoon Media’s gentle rebranding and carefully tweaked logo were the perfect counterbalance to an all-new, ultra-clean website with full content management, SEO copywriting and property search facilities incorporating bespoke MySQL databases. Needless to say, Walter’s new customers came very quickly indeed.

Spoon Media’s services to Walter's include:

X Portfolio item


Company profile

Quest-eeze is a one-stop country store, animal feed retailer and online equestrian shop. Based in Lincolnshire, Quest-eeze supplies everything for the pet owner, horse rider and farmer on a local or national level.

Project information

Spoon Media loves animals even more than our Apple Mac computers, so Quest-eeze was a natural business partner. Picking up a part-started website and semi-established brand allowed us to make our own little mark on Lincolnshire’s loveliest pet shop, extending to a complete online shop with secure payments and delivery database.

Spoon Media’s services to Quest-eeze include: