“You either want something you don’t have, or you have something you don’t want.”
One of the main truths in life that every copywriter needs to know is how to use basic human anxiety as a tool in their work.
The key to selling a product is making people feel like they need something. Obviously you should also be providing something of value, or superior quality than all of your competitors, too. But when it comes to selling that item, the copywriter who makes the buyer feel like they need it right now, wins.
One of the best landing page headlines I’ve ever read was:
“If you think you’re having a heart attack, you might be right.”
It was for a white paper about, you guessed it, heart attacks. The next bold, anxiety-ridden subhead read:
This year, approximately 785,000 people in the U.S. will have a heart attack for the first time and another 470,000 will have a repeat heart attack.
Will YOU be one of them?
Oh to be a fly on the digital wall in the hypothetical analytics room for that one. We have it on good authority that this sales letter performed very well for the health-based publisher it belonged to, along with many of their other urgent headlines.
In the Anxiety / Relief salesletter model, we use this formula:
1. The headline grabs the reader’s attention by creating anxiety:
You look pretty pale, could you be getting the stomach bug?
2. The first subhead provokes additional anxiety.
Is your heart racing, your stomach turning, and do you feel sweaty or disoriented?
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3. The second subhead ratchets up the anxiety.
You could puke in the next thirty minutes if you don’t figure this out soon.
4. The third subhead describes how the anxiety can be relieved by ordering the product, and includes a satisfaction guarantee.
Here’s how to diagnose your symptoms and save yourself a trip to the doctor – guaranteed.
5. The fourth subhead, sometimes used in the post script (P.S.), repeats the satisfaction guarantee and the call to action with greater urgency.
Order now before you take a day off from work and lose pay for no reason!
If you’re at home, possibly with no health insurance, and you’re freaking out about the stomach bug (or, insert your preferred health anxiety), you might throw a few dollars at this report, or trade your email address for a freemium.
Great landing page examples of anxiety/urgency headlines
Don’t take our word for it. Here are a few examples of anxiety and urgency-ridden headlines that get people to act:
- Only 10 seats left!
- Sale ends in one hour, then everything goes back to full price!
- Avoid the most common mistakes of telephone etiquette.
- Don’t take unnecessary chances. Learn to trade options with confidence.
- Save 50 percent – today only!
- Your job is already in danger because you don’t know these ten things.
- Nobody likes you—here are five easy trick the popular crowd knows.
- Here’s what your ex-wife wishes you knew.
As you can see, these headlines push on hot buttons, whether it’s a time constraint, or the pressure of missing out on a valuable opportunity. We’ve always said that fear is an incredibly effective motivator for selling a product or getting someone to do what you want them to do.
What type of headlines get you to ask?