The first goal when somebody lands on your page is to capture their attention and make them interested enough to read more. That is what a headline is supposed to do.
Today we will look at six headlines from well-known software-as-a-service startups. They each have a different way of enticing a reader to continue investigating their website and then maybe signup. Three of these headlines are good, and three are not so good, so we need to look at why.
Let’s dive right in, starting with the headlines that fall short of their goal.
The first subpar headline we’ll look at is Slack. Slack is a very successful communication and work collaboration tool. But only in one place, at the end of the subhead, is the word ‘communicate’ used, and the idea mentioned. The promise is unclear and sidelined, so you are not compelled to investigate the rest of the page.
Also this slang phrasing, “So yeah,” has a bit of a negative connotation, and is most commonly used to show you’re not very impressed with something, or you don’t really know what to say. This leaves you with a negative feeling from the start. Not a good way to entice visitors.
The second deficient headline is this from FiftyThree company: ‘Think with paper and pencil.’ This and the imagery suggest that it’s about creative work, it’s about design. But those are the only clues you get. You have to scroll down a bit to see there’s a pencil and they’re talking about a ‘mix’. It takes quite a while of clicking around this website before you actually understand what it is that you can do here.
But this headline does not motivate you to do that work, to click around and to learn more about the project. So this could definitely be improved.
The third one is from Meerkat. It is a very interesting startup that does live stream video and that’s the only thing they tell you about it. You are supposed to be curious enough to go find out for yourself if you want to use live stream video and what you can use it for.
If you want to get a lot of new users who have never heard of Meerkat to sign up, you have to entice them with something to at least try it out.
There is another well-known startup that does this very well. So now we’ll look at three good headlines.
First, let’s look at Pinterest. This headline captures your interest by stating a certain activity that was done by someone by using Pinterest. Pinterest is also a new kind of user experience and so you have to explain what you can get out of it.
They cleverly use multiple headlines, including the one pictured here, that change after an amount of time, or if you reopen the page. They appeal to different target markets and show the versatility of their offer. A different headline they showed earlier says, “She used Pinterest to roll her first pasta.” This effectively talks to women who are the primary target audience of this website. The next one changes to, “They used Pinterest to plan a dream trip,” which makes you curious enough to think if you can use this tool for your own interests.
It’s half social network, half sharing website. It’s important that people try it out, that they are enticed out of curiosity. Pinterest does this well, as opposed to Meerkat where you don’t have reason enough at all to start using live stream video. What if Meerkat had used this headline: “He used Meerkat to stream his college football game”?
The second good example here is Tinder. It is essentially a dating website based on location and images. This headline, “Any swipe can change your life,” sounds nice and it rhymes ‘swipe’ and ‘life’, like a poem or romantic song. That’s good.
You see the imagery suggests dating or relationships, meeting new people, and it’s a promise that entices you to try it out. So that’s well done.
Here is another good example from Udemy: “What course will your life take?” It’s clever wordplay here. Also in the subhead: “Own your future by learning new skills online.” They tap into the insecurity that’s keeping a lot of people awake late at night. The world is changing very fast and skills are an essential part of owning your future, as opposed to ‘owing’ a lot of money for student loans.
Udemy is aware of this, that people think about this. They’re positioning Udemy as a place where you can do that
So Pinterest, Tinder, and Udemy give a clear promise, above the fold, with their headline and the subhead. It’s clear what you can do on each of these pages. These are much better than the three bad examples we talked about first.
If you want to know more about headlines, and how to create a good one yourself, you can check out this post.