Improving your click-through rate is the easiest way to improve sales. More eyeballs mean more sales right?

Despite how simple this seems, increasing the click-through rate (CTR) from your marketing materials is not an easy feat.

There are a lot of small tips and tricks you can use to optimize CTR, but the biggest single change you can make right now is testing new.

Headlines are often overlooked, but in our experience, they are one of the most important factors in convincing people to click.

Without a compelling headline, customers will just scroll on past your posts and your click-through rate will suffer.

The good news is that with a little care and attention, you can write great headlines which grab the attention of readers.

Check out these top tips for increasing your CTR with well written and compelling headlines.

The 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Headline Writing

The thing about a definitive rule book for headline writing is that the rules are constantly changing.

You should never discount the ability of your customers to identify your marketing techniques and become immune to them. Especially when the same strategies are used incessantly across the internet.

For that reason, some of the following tips might surprise you, but rest assured they are backed up with data and hard-won experience with headline creation.

1. Avoid Clickbaiting Irrelevant Content

Looking at your social feeds or other platforms, you will probably come across a clickbait headline.

We use ‘clickbait’ style headlines too, but with one big difference: they always relate to and accurately describe the content.

Your headlines should always be true to your content. In fact, the more specific your headline is the better.

Everyone from your grandma to your 12-year-old cousin knows what clickbait is and are pretty good at identifying it. 

On the off chance you do fool someone into clicking irrelevant content, they will quickly realize they have been hoodwinked and be angry with you. Angry customers tend not to buy.

If you actually care about converting your leads, you need to promise relevant content with your headlines and then actually deliver.

Signals to the user exactly what they should expect from your content is proven to increase CTR.

There could be some demographics where clickbait still works, but the trend in content marketing is moving toward informative and truthful headlines and you should get on board.

2. Make a Clear Promise and Always Deliver

Making a clear promise in your headline is a great way to grab attention, especially if it addresses a clear pain point that the customer has.

As you may have surmised from the anti clickbait sentiment above, telling the truth to your prospects is the best bet to improve your CTR. What this means in practice is that if you promise something, you have to deliver.

For example, if you promise an expert opinion on a topic in your headline, your content better deliver as advertised or you will lose trust. 

Your headline is likely to be the first promise you are making to a lead and if you break it, they might not trust you to deliver a quality product or service. 

One of the latest trends in high click-through headlines is including the type of content in square brackets at the end of the headline. For example: [Video], [Infographic], or [Photos].

As long as your posts have the indicated content, then you are already fulfilling promises and building trust.

3. Grab Attention in the Right Way

Grabbing the attention of your audience is an exercise in knowing how they behave.

In practice, this means knowing how they talk, write and even think. Your headlines should mimic the way your audience communicates to stay relatable and interesting.

If you don’t stay on brand and communicate in a way your audience understands, you risk offending them or revealing yourself as an ‘outsider’ not worth listening to.

4. Avoid These Overused Words

There are a number of words (often associated with clickbait) which are overused and are an instant turn off for your customers.

These terms can cause your CTR to drop by as much as half:

  • Easy
  • Simple
  • Tip
  • Magic
  • How To
  • Need

While there are more, these are the worst offenders. What you will notice is they are likely to be used in the ‘promise’ of the headline.

They signal the claim that is being made and is a hallmark of those who use clickbait and don’t actually deliver. 

Even if you use these terms and deliver, the boldness of your promise has turned people off, as they have been negatively conditioned by years of deceitful headlines.

Tone down the messaging around promises and you will reap the rewards of a higher CTR.

5. Perfect Spelling and Grammar

Most copywriters will tell you that there are situations where you can be creative with grammar and even spelling for stylistic purposes.

Your headline is not one of the places where experiments are OK.

Mistakes in your headline draw the wrong kind of attention and send the message that you don’t care or are unprofessional. It also signals that the content is also likely to be of low quality.

People don’t waste their time with low quality or lazy content. They will not click through and they will also walk away with a negative impression of your brand.

6. Always Test Your Headlines

You are unlikely to write the perfect headline every time and that is fine.

The best way to find the highest converting headline is to try a few out and see what works best.

This is possible with A/B testing, where different segments of the same target audience are exposed to different headlines. 

Data is fed back to you on which headline converts better. Then you can double down on the best converting headline and roll it out to a wider audience.

With this crucial data, you will get a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t. Implementing these lessons will definitely see your headlines improve and your click rates increase.

Your Headlines Could Be Keeping Your CTR Down

If you made it this far, then you may have recognized some issues with your own headlines already.

At the very least, you will have picked up a few new tricks to try.

The great thing is that you can go ahead and start experimenting with new headlines right away.

With just a few small changes to the way you write your headlines, you could see a massive increase in your CTR.