Where does your audience get their first impression of your business? It might be anywhere — a blog on the first page of Google (swoon), a social media post, or a YouTube video. Or heck, even Tik Tok.
Your website, however, is where you back up the brand you put out into the world and connect with the real humans in your audience.
The very first thing they see?
Your website headline.
As for the headline, it’s the first thing people read and appears “above the fold” of your website in the Hero section (more on that in a minute). “Above the fold” is a newspaper term for the articles that appear (quite literally) above where it folds in half. You’ll learn soon why it is appropriately called the Hero Headline.
The Hero section is what people see before they make the first scroll. It’s what prompts them to scroll in the first place or take another action.
So, how do you write a good headline?
You’ll need two things: Market research and basic copywriting skills.
Many existing website headings are underwhelming because they lack these two pieces of the puzzle. And with the current attention span of humans at just a few seconds, a kickass headline is of the utmost importance, so that your prospective clients keep reading!
Today, we’ll show you how to take your website headline from flimsy to fantastic. Conversions, here we come!
The Client Journey And Market Research
The Client Journey — A Hero’s Story
Have you heard of the client’s journey? Donald Miller popularized the technique of using storytelling elements to write copy in his book, “Building A Story Brand.”*
Using this method, you make your client the hero of the story while establishing yourself as their guide to finding a solution to their problem. There’s a lot more to it than that, of course, but the takeaway is that story sells.
Everyone who has a problem has a potential story. And you need to come in at the perfect time to be the solution.
That’s why we call the top section of the site the “HERO” section — because we’re setting the client up as the hero of the story by showing them the potential they get from working with you.
Why do I need market research?
Before you can make a big promise in the hero section, you need to do market research. Why? When you understand your client’s pains you can empathize with them and show them a solution so they’re no longer up at night obsessing over the problem.
And this is true whether your clients are consumers or other businesses because no matter what, the decision-makers are always humans. So you must NEVER forget to write to real humans.
To be fair, getting into your clients’ heads can be HARD, and that’s because people are complicated. Digging into reviews, talking to clients, looking at competitors — all that will give you ideas for how to speak to their needs.
The key here is to dig into what they say you do for them, as well as what matters most to them — and that is what will guide the big promise.
Once you know the promise, you’ll understand what destination your clients want to reach, even if they didn’t explicitly tell you.
Hint: Most times, they do!
And now, bring those needs into the headline, and use it to show them what they really and truly want. It’s gotta be potent enough to prompt them to keep reading — or better yet, take action.
What Goes In A Website Headline?
At a minimum — the truly simplest level, your website headline should include:
- Who OR What you are
- Who you serve
- What you do OR What your clients get from your services
- How to contact you OR Next steps
The first step in writing a good headline? Writing any headline! And once you include the four items above, you have a solid starting point, and that’s better than nothing at all.
The 3 Tiers Of Website Headlines
I believe firmly that there are a few different levels of headlines: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. And while some headlines fall into a few categories or bridge them, you can get the picture of how they all break down here:
Bronze is the base level and it’s something like:
<<“Welcome to my site.” >>
Pros: You put *something* on your site that acknowledges your prospects.
Cons: It doesn’t show them what you do.
It’s not ideal because it doesn’t make them want to read further — they don’t necessarily want to be welcomed, they want to know instead what you can do for them. Your site, after all, isn’t about you at all — it’s about your customer or client and their needs. (read more here)
The next level up is the minimum I’d like to see from most people:
<<SERVICE NAME>> for <<audience you serve>>
<<SERVICE NAME>> in <<LOCATION>>
Pros: You show what you do and for who.
Cons: You don’t show the possibility or potential outcome.
The top-level looks something like this:
<<BIG promise or possibility from working with you + A subhead that shows your services>>
Pros: It shows the end result people want and that you can deliver, PLUS the services you offer and who you serve.
Cons: It can be tough to come up with on your own.
Make no mistake, getting SOMETHING up on your website is better than getting stuck in analysis paralysis. And you’re not married to your headline. Feel free to change it up when you find inspiration.
Try to come up with at least ten headlines the first time around. Every time you play around with your website headline, you move closer to singling out the exact message you want to get across to your audience.
Dazzle Your Audience With A Hero Section That Converts
Sure, conversion starts with a Gold-Level headline.
However, there’s more to a killer hero section than a headline alone.
A website subheading goes further into what your clients get out of working with you. Writing an effective subheading for your hero section usually starts with establishing your unique selling point (USP).
Your USP theoretically answers the following questions:
- Who do you work with?
- What problems do you solve for them?
- What is the leading service you offer?
- What secondary services, if any, do you offer?
- What outcomes do your clients achieve through your services?
There’s an exception to every rule — and not every USP is a good candidate for a sub-headline. By figuring out what yours is, you can usually drill down to a subhead that explains more about how you deliver the big promise.
Every hero section should have a call-to-action (CTA), and more importantly, one that clearly outlines what they get by clicking — usually something like:
- Schedule a call
- Download my thing
- Buy my widget
- Join my group
Etc etc etc.
And, you can also level up my CTA to something like “Yes, I want a better <<thing you do>>!”
The bottom line here boils down to clarity — make sure whatever you’re offering is clear, since if you’re overly clever, you may lose people (and boy, do I have stories to tell!).
Ready, Set, Craft Your Hero Headline
Here’s a secret: Your website headline should make both you and your clients feel like heroes! You’re dishing out solutions that they will use to get to the other side of that big promise, whether that’s a feeling or a physical benefit.
As for you? You now know how to create a headline that speaks to your audience’s problems and boosts your conversions.
Can I join your hero gang? Your website’s success goes beyond the headline, which is why I designed the 10-Point ULTIMATE Website Copy Checkup to help you find out if your website is truly working for you 24/7 behind the scenes. Grab it here!
* affiliate link — doesn’t cost you extra at all 🙂