Do you know how short the human attention span is? About 8 seconds. That is less than a goldfish according to a study. This is likely because we are endlessly bombarded by information thanks to the Internet and our constant relationship with our technological devices.
The time it takes to get your reader’s attention on a website is even less. Some studies show you only have as few as 1-2 seconds.
This means that a compelling headline is crucial to getting attention and ultimately converting website visitors into customers and clients.
Headlines are so important to conversion that copywriters like me spend a lot of time creating them. In fact, many copywriters say that you should spend MORE time on the headline than you do on writing your body copy. I sometimes write 10-25 before choosing the right one.
Here is why headlines are so important:
80% of people read website headlines, and only 20% read the body copy.
The Goal of a Headline is to Get Attention.
A headline is the first thing on your therapy website copy that potential clients read. It has only one goal – to get the reader’s attention. The headline either pulls readers in or turns them away.
A dull or confusing headline can cancel out any copy underneath it, regardless of how good it is— you’ll lose your audience before they get a chance to read it.
So, if you don’t get your website visitors’ interest in your headline, it doesn’t matter what the rest of your website says.
Headlines are so important that some studies indicate that changing one word in a headline can increase conversion rates by over 100% – sometimes by even more.
Key Problems with Therapist Website Headlines
The main problem with therapists’ website headlines is the lack of them altogether. Not having a headline on a page and only having body copy doesn’t allow anywhere for the eye to land.
Readers may leave quickly because they can’t immediately tell if the website has something to offer them. People are impatient when they visit websites – they want to be able to easily find what they are looking for.
Boring or irrelevant headlines:
Another mistake is to have a website headline that says, “Welcome to my website” along with your name and credentials. This type of headline is not even a headline, and it’s a waste of your web visitors’ time. It doesn’t tell potential clients anything about what you can offer them.
Obscure or unclear headlines:
Some therapists’ websites have vague or non-specific headlines such as, “Create more embodiment in your life” or “Let go.” Again, these headlines don’t tell readers anything about who the website is for and how they will benefit from what you have to offer.
Clinical jargon headlines:
Avoid using jargon words in your headlines. Many of your readers won’t know what the jargon means. They may get confused, overwhelmed or assume that whatever you are talking about doesn’t apply to them because they don’t understand it.
Ineffective question mark headlines:
Question mark headlines can work extremely well IF they are clear and resonate with your readers.
Keep in mind that not all question-based headlines are effective, especially if they are not targeting the core problems or desires of visitors. Further, you certainly shouldn’t bombard your visitors with several questions in a row immediately when they arrive.
In addition, your web visitors must not be able to answer the question with a “no” because you’ll be giving them a reason not to read further.
5 Characteristics of Headlines That Get Attention
1. The headline is congruent with your visitors’ expectations.
Depending on how you are marketing, visitors may find their way to your website in several ways: a search engine, a counseling directory, a talk you gave, or a Facebook post. If the place they heard about you indicated that you help with depression, they’re expecting to find a therapist website that helps them with depression.
If you know a keyword that visitors are using to locate therapists in Google, you can try to work this word into your main headline if – and only if- it’s a natural fit. Don’t “stuff” the headline with search terms. Focus the headline on your potential clients’ pain or desires, while making the headline sound natural and compelling.
2. The headline is clear and ultra-specific.
A successful headline is quickly understood by your website visitors. Visitors can’t resonate with a headline if they have to think about what it means. In fact, a popular book on web usability research is called, “Don’t Make Me Think.” The title comes from understanding that the copy and layout of your website must be easy to understand.
You should also stay clear of “clever” headlines if the meaning is not clear. Clear is always better than clever if cleaver means being vague.
3. The headline creates an emotional connection with website visitors.
People make purchasing decisions based on their emotions, and then back up their decisions with logic. For decades, study after study has shown this to be true, even when people say it is not true for them. The emotion can be stated or implied, focused on the pain of the potential client (why they are seeking help), or it can focus on the benefit (what they will gain from seeking help).
For example, in a headline such as, “Save your relationship,” the implied emotions are feeling some reprieve of their fear of a loss, relief, and perhaps hope for the possibility of staying with their partner.
4. The headline is unique.
The more unique your headline is, the more it will stand out. Here a few tips for creating unique headlines:
- Choose words your clients or customers use (seems obvious, but too many therapists and wellness websites don’t do this).
- Use an adjective (inspiring, ultimate, unusual); these words touch on emotions.
- Numerals catch the eye and can help draw attention to your headline.
5. The headline states a benefit or implies one is coming.
People visiting your website want to know, “What’s in it for me?” An effective headline offers the reader a benefit, either stated or implied. Your visitors are interested in whatever drove them to your website in the first place— relief from discomfort and pain and a desire for their lives to be better. As an example, the headline “Heal from a painful breakup,” offers a tangible benefit.
One Final Point
When writing headlines, keep in mind that you’re not trying to resonate with people who aren’t interested in your therapy or wellness services. You are only trying to get the attention of people who are looking for exactly what you offer.