By Emily Bauer
Here goes: the secret to writing great landing page headlines is …
… just kidding! That would be way too easy.
Sadly, there aren’t any shortcuts when it comes to writing effective landing page headlines. You need to put in the work, figure out how it fits into your campaign, and understand your audience to pull it off.
In other words, there’s no single right way to write a landing page headline.
But the good news is that there are certain time-tested headline formulas you can rely on to better connect with your target audience.
Even better, you’re in the right place to learn all about them. We have plenty of tips and examples lined up to help you write effective landing page headlines without overthinking it.
But before we jump into those formulas, let’s talk about what makes an effective headline.
(Unless you really want to get to those headline formulas ASAP, in which case, click here!)
What Makes a Good Landing Page Headline?
Well, that depends on a few different factors.
Though there are several different types of headline formulas you can leverage for different use cases, there are also a few general rules of thumb that apply to almost every headline. Keep these in mind when crafting your next landing page headline to make sure you hit the right notes.
Rule #1: Always prioritize message match.
Say it with me: Landing pages don’t exist in a vacuum!
One of the top priorities for any landing page is to align with the rest of your campaign. As soon as your page loads, visitors should be able to tell that they’re in the right place (after all, they clicked on your link or ad for a reason). This is an important point to remember, not only for writing headlines but for designing all aspects of your landing page.
Furthermore, creating unique landing pages for each campaign allows you to tailor your messaging to specific audiences from different channels. For instance, if you’re running a social media campaign, chances are that some of your visitors won’t know much about your brand. In this case, you might want to add some personality to your headline to leave a stronger impression on those who aren’t familiar with your business.
For example, Mooala introduces their odd-but-delicious-sounding beverage with this self-aware statement: “Bananamilk. It’s a thing.”
Image courtesy of Mooala.
Rule #2: It’s better to be clear than clever.
You don’t need to be witty to write a good headline. Your goal isn’t to make readers laugh or to come up with the next great pun. Your goal is to communicate and prevent visitors from bouncing. This is why message match is our number one rule—but it’s just as important to use clear, easy-to-read language that sets expectations for the rest of the landing page.
This lesson is vital for lead gen pages with opt-in forms. You don’t have to take our word for it—the proof is in the data. After testing over 150,000 opt-in headlines, Sumo reported that straightforward headlines out-performed their creative alternatives 88% of the time. In the example below, the basic headline “Free Ebook: 15 Emails Everyone Should Send” scored more than 2X as many downloads as “Why Aren’t You Sending These 15 Emails?”
The creative headline converted at 7.1%, while the straightforward alternative converted at 15.42%. Image courtesy of Sumo.
Rule #3: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Sometimes the best headlines are simple and formulaic. The structure of your headline doesn’t need to be original to be effective.
That’s why you can and should study existing headlines to get inspiration and ideas for your landing pages. Experience has shown us that great landing page headlines need to include a few key elements to make a real impact.
Your headline should focus on at least one of these goals:
- Sell a benefit (or agitate a pain point).
- Solve a problem.
- Hook your readers (and get them to keep reading).
If you can wrangle all three into a single headline without forcing it, even better. In fact, this is probably the closest thing you’ll find to a plug-and-play headline formula:
Benefit/Pain Point + How You Solve It + The Hook
When writing your next landing page headline, start by focusing on a benefit or problem you can solve for your target customers. Then, see if you can work in your unique perspective or hook.
Note that the “hook” can be anything that makes your headline compelling to the target audience. It could be a persuasive piece of data that appeals to logic (“X increases results by 50%!”) or works as social proof (“4 in 5 athletes struggle with X”). Alternatively, your hook could be colorful language or something unique to your brand.
Keeping these rules in mind, let’s dig into those landing page headline formulas we promised you.
Want to know how your SaaS landing page stacks up against the competition? Get your personalized copy report here, along with tips to crank up your conversions.
7 Landing Page Headline Formulas (For More Conversions)
Ready to get inspired? Here are 7 formulas you can use to write your next landing page headline. Keep in mind that product, brand, target audience, and context inform which formula you should follow.
1. The How-to Headline
This is one of the easiest headlines to write. It’s also an extremely effective way to communicate the purpose of your landing page. You’re clearly stating the benefit of your offer and promising a solution (teaching your readers “how-to” do something).
The better you know your audience and their goals, the more ideas you’ll have for a How-to Headline.
The basic formula is simple: How to [Achieve X Goal]
Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is one of the most well-known “how-to” headlines of all time. Image courtesy of Business Insider.
We’ve all seen plenty of How-to Headlines out in the wild (thanks, Dale Carnegie), but I’d argue this formula can be used in two very different ways. The “how-to” aspect can be explicit or implicit.
Consider “How to Win Friends and Influence People” versus something like “The Networker’s Guide to Winning Friends and Influencing People.” Or, as used in the example below from Later, “Instagram Influencer Marketing Strategy Guide.”
Each of these has the potential to hook readers and driven conversions within different contexts. If you’re writing a headline for a lead magnet landing page, the concept of a guide is likely more compelling.
But, hey, it’s your landing page and you can play with as many different headline formats as you like. You can even run multiple variants at once using Smart Traffic to optimize your conversion rates.
Image courtesy of Later.
Another lesson from this Later example is that your headline doesn’t need to do all the heavy lifting by itself. You can use supporting copy to complement the headline to provide more in-depth explanations—while still keeping your headline short and sweet.
2. The Agitator
Sometimes, your customers might not realize they need your solution until you remind them of a problem they’re facing. So, rather than emphasizing the solution, this formula works by highlighting a pain point and rubbing it in.
This type of headline creates problem awareness and can drive action for those closer to making a purchase by reigniting their frustration.
The Agitator can take a couple of different formats, but the basic formula is along the lines of:
- “Tired of [Annoying Problem X]? We Can Help”
- “Don’t You Hate [X, Y, Z]?”
- “[X] is the Worst!”
Here are a few examples of this headline formula in action:
Misery loves company—which is exactly why this example works. The headline invites readers to commiserate over the very pain point that Claim Compass addresses. Combined with the visual of a disgruntled would-be flyer, this headline conveys a shared struggle and sense of frustration that says, “You, too, eh? Flight delays are the worst!”
Image courtesy of Claim Compass.
The Listings Lab
“Stuck at 6-Figures in Your Real Estate Business?”
You’ll notice that both the Listings Lab and Claim Compass use their headlines to ask an agitating question. But while Claim Compass wants to appeal to anyone struggling with a flight delay, the Listings Lab’s approach is much more targeted. The headline actually names the ideal customer, speaking directly to real estate professionals looking to grow their business.
It’s also worth pointing out the supporting copy here, which effectively calls out additional pain points related to the headline: “…without wasting time at open houses, cold calling, or working even more hours than you are right now.”
Image courtesy of the Listings Lab.
“Importing and Exporting is Hard”
This one’s a simple, straightforward statement, but it clicks with the right audience. As a customs broker for anyone looking to transport high-value items (like vehicles), Border Buddy knows how easily people get overwhelmed when trying to figure out the ins and outs of importing and exporting.
When visitors arrive at this landing page, they’re already researching how duty, tariffs, and importing paperwork works—and they’re likely looking for anything that will make the process easier.
Image courtesy of Border Buddy.
3. The Value Prop (AKA the Promise)
The Value Prop is the opposite of the Agitator. With this headline formula, the focus is on the value prop or unique selling point, rather than any of a customer’s pain points or problems.
The idea here is to introduce the benefits and highlight your offer. Depending on your landing page and campaign goals, this type of headline can be results-focused or value-focused. It’s similar to the “how-to” formula discussed above in that the emphasis is squarely on the solution—but there’s even less reference to whatever problem you might be solving for your customers.
So, rather than a headline like “Say Goodbye to [X Pain Point]”, a more value-focused headline would be “Say Hello to [X + Y Benefit]”. Or simply, “Achieve [X, Y, Z].”
Here are a couple examples of landing pages built with Unbounce to show you how it’s done:
Alps & Meters
“Upholding the Tradition of Classic Alpine Sport”
This succinct headline tells us a lot about the luxury ski wear brand Alps & Meters. Following the Value-Prop Headline formula, it makes an implicit promise (we’re committed to manufacturing high-quality ski wear out of respect for the sport itself) while elevating the brand above mediocre ski wear.
Image courtesy of Alps & Meters.
“Famous Faces on Demand”
This headline is a comprehensive description of the product, but it’s also short, punchy, and value-driven. Even if you somehow arrived at this page without knowing a thing about Cameo, you’d figure it out pretty quick.
The headline is followed up with some explanatory copy that clearly says what Cameo lets you do (“book personalized video shoutouts”) and who some of those “famous faces” actually are.
Image courtesy of Cameo.
4. The Superlative
The superlative headline isn’t about lying to your audience by pretending to be the best at everything—it’s about niching down to that one thing that you really are the best at.
For example, Western Rise uses this subhead on their landing page for the AT Slim Rivet Pants:
“The world’s most versatile pants for work and play.”
They make a bold statement with the superlative “most versatile” rather than something watered down. However, it’s a much more viable claim than simply “best pants in the world” or even “most versatile” without the specific caveat: “for work and play.”
Image courtesy of Western Rise.
“Discover the Highest Quality Real-Food Multivitamin Mineral and Probiotic Formula Ever Created”
Here’s another example of how the Superlative, when used responsibly, can help build trust and credibility. Samuraw boasts that their “real-food multivitamin mineral and probiotic formula” is the “highest quality […] ever created,” but it sounds like a perfectly reasonable claim because it’s so specific to their product.
Image courtesy of Samuraw.
5. The Call to Action
A strong call to action (CTA) is a necessity for any landing page, but it can also help fuel your headline. As we’ll see in the examples below, this formula works well for sports, activities, and rentals. But it can apply whenever your goal is to inspire immediate action, like registering for a course or filling out a lead gen form to get a piece of gated content.
“Electrify Your Run”
This bold, neon headline from running gear retailer Nathan Sports urges visitors to wear bright lights when running at night. We give this landing page headline bonus points for visually representing what it’s asking the audience to do.
Image courtesy of Nathan Sports.
“Be Your Own Captain”
We love this example because it’s both simple and attention-grabbing. “Be Your Own Captain” is a fun and engaging twist on the CTA Headline formula, while the subhead (“And Explore Copenhagen From the Water”) clarifies what the landing page is actually about.
Image courtesy of GoBoat.
6. The Special Offer
Everyone loves a good deal. If your campaign goal is to attract new customers, drive sales, or promote a new product, your headline can simply state the offer.
The benefit is inherent (you’re saving money) and customers who click on a link for a discount can immediately tell that they’ve arrived in the right place.
Check out these examples from two Unbounce customers:
“Get $20 off Harmless Harvest coconut water.”
This headline example is pretty self-explanatory, especially when paired with a targeted campaign. Coconut water fans who click on an ad offering a discount want to see the same offer as soon as they hit the landing page—which is exactly what Good Eggs does here. A CTA button immediately follows the headline, so visitors can nab the deal right away.
Image courtesy of Good Eggs.
Alchemy Fine Home
“Get 15% off Your First Order”
This headline is similar to the Good Eggs example above, but with a slightly more candid approach. If you look closely, you’ll notice that offers are only available to first-time customers—and the two headlines treat this fact very differently.
While Good Eggs leaves this detail to the fine print, Alchemy Fine Home bakes it right into their headline. Rather than saying “Get 15% off,” they qualify it with “your first order.”
Of course, this likely has something to do with their very different price points. Buying coconut water is a smaller commitment (and cost) than purchasing home décor.
The takeaway? Use these formulas as a guide, rather than prescriptive models. The details of your product or offer will influence the best approach for each headline.
Image courtesy of Alchemy Fine Home.
7. The Playful Headline
Just because these formulas exist, doesn’t mean you have to work within them. You can get a little more playful with your headlines—especially if it’s obvious what you’re offering from the rest of your page or imagery. Here are a few of our favorite examples that break the mold a bit by leveraging humor or creativity rather than clarity.
“The Tailor is in”
If the main goal of this headline is to pique readers’ interest, Indochino pulls it off. We don’t get the full story from the headline alone, but it does set us up to understand (as we scroll down the page) that Indochino isn’t just selling menswear—they’re selling an experience.
Image courtesy of Indochino.
“The Business of Dressing Up”
Another example from the menswear department, Mizzen+Main manages to tell (and show) us exactly what they offer without spelling it out or following any particular formula.
Instead, the headline touches on their brand values and plays with the font to reveal the duality of fashion: the enjoyment of “dressing up” and the necessity of looking sharp while takin’ care of business.
Image courtesy of Mizzen + Main.
Start Writing Headlines that Land, Every Time
Now it’s your turn! Whether you apply these landing page headline formulas to your own campaign or break the mold completely, use these tips as inspiration for your own headlines.
Can’t decide which headline formula is best for your page? Stuck between two equally awesome headlines? No problem! Landing page variants allow you to experiment with different concepts, which means it’s possible to find the best headline for every use case.
Writing the perfect headline ain’t easy, but it sure helps to be armed with the right tools. Between the headline formulas provided above, Smart Traffic variants, and the copywriting tips linked below, you’ve got everything you need to craft high-impact headlines that convert.
Ready, set, write!