Tired of promoting your business and not seeing a high click or conversion rate? Does it feel like you’ve curated the perfect, solid campaign, landing page, or ad, and no one’s engaging with it?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many business owners struggle to write copy that compels people to take action.
In this article, we’ll cover why advertising hooks are important and how to make them grab people's attention. We’ll also go over ten suggestions if you’re new to copywriting.
So here’s how you can write better hooks that convert more.
In marketing and advertising, a hook is the first thing your audience sees in your copy. It’s a message that appeals to your audience and keeps them reading. At least, that’s the goal.
A hook should be relevant, relatable, and worth your audience’s attention. It needs to pique the readers’ interest almost immediately. A hook could be a headline or the subject of an email, and it's one of the most critical elements of your copy.
After all, you’re in the business of getting attention and gaining retention. Still, remember that retaining attention is important, but it’s impossible if you don’t get that attention in the first place.
If your copy doesn’t include a compelling hook, the entire advertisement misses the mark. So don’t neglect your hooks. There’s no better way to grab your audience’s attention, which is essential if you want to make any sales.
Hooks have to grab your audience’s attention. If they don’t, you can’t really call them hooks. But how does that happen? How does a hook get readers on the line so you can reel them into the rest of your copy?
Well, first and foremost, hooks need to tap into what people want or don’t want. Think of hooks in terms of what your audience wants and what they want to avoid. Essentially, hooks often deal with an offer’s benefits—not features.
Of course, a good hook might deal with other themes, but focusing on benefits is usually a safe bet. Just make sure you choose an angle that appeals to your audience’s emotions. That’s one of the best ways to motivate people to buy from you.
After all, people will act based on feelings. Use that to your advantage. To give you a better idea, here are a few things you can try to do with your hooks:
But more than anything, your hooks should grab your audience’s attention. If they can’t do that, you’ll end up wasting time and money.
Hooks should correlate with sales—that much is true. But are there other benefits? Of course there are. These benefits can also result in more sales, which is always your ultimate goal. Here are a few of the ways you can expect good hooks to help you and your audience.
Nobody will buy from you if they don’t know your brand or don’t know enough about it. Use hooks to combat that. You can incorporate new features, products, and anything else that positions your business as your audience’s best choice.
Everybody has questions about most offers they see. Answer those questions. Hooks can help you explain what your offer is about and why your audience needs it. Good hooks will convince readers of that.
Unfortunately, you’re probably not the only business doing what you do. That can be a problem, but it doesn’t have to be. Hooks can help you stand out among your competitors, so don’t skimp on creativity.
This should go without saying, but it bears repeating: know and understand your audience. You’ve probably heard that many times by now, but you always need to keep it in mind when doing any kind of marketing or advertising.
So, to find your target audience, research and segment your demographics. If not, you might be shouting into the void, which is a waste of all your resources.
So ask yourself a few questions as you go through this process. Who are you trying to reach? Have they purchased from you in the past? Are they customers of your competitors?
What are their needs, wants, and dislikes? Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they think?
By researching your demographics, you understand what your audience needs and wants. If you can do that, you can find out how to appeal to them and reach them where they are.
So do your research. That's how you can reach readers, grab their attention, and turn them into customers.
Focus on selling benefits over features. If you’re not sure what the difference is, this tip should help you out. If it makes more sense, think of benefits as what the product or service does. Features refer more to what the offer is. Here’s a tip regarding that: your audience doesn’t care what the offer is.
In your research, you’ll find that consumers are more interested in how something will benefit them. Their self-interests are more important. In fact, your audience’s self-interests might be the most important thing you can understand.
Instead of advertising what your product or service does, focus on how it’ll work for consumers. Consider explaining how it can change the reader’s life once they make the purchase. Maybe they’ll save money, feel more attractive, or worry less about their health. Whatever the benefit is, make sure your audience knows you can provide it.
Tailor your copy to your audience’s interests, and they’ll feel more compelled to click the ad and follow the CTA.
No, this doesn’t mean to start crying. While that could work in certain ads, you want to appeal to your audience’s emotions. Do they want to feel happier? Are they worried about something? Figure that out and tailor your hook to leverage emotions.
As a business owner, you need to understand the psychology behind the drive to purchase. One of the best things you can realize is that consumers react to emotion. Some experts even say that all sales are emotional, and there’s plenty of evidence to back that up.
Use this to your advantage and harp on emotional messaging. Try to write copy that elicits shock, fear, joy, sadness, humor, regret, or belonging. Anything that’ll get a reaction from your audience—a reaction that urges someone to act by taking you up on your offer.
The best part is you can tap into an array of emotions and feelings. Find what best works for your audience and your business. Every brand and offer will work best with a different angle, so figure out which emotions you should appeal to.
For example, a health insurance company probably won’t create funny ads. On the other hand, a candy company might do the opposite to appeal to its younger audience. There’s a time and a place for everything, so figure out which emotions will make your audience act.
Use language that strikes a chord with your customers to tell a story they want to hear. Then they’ll listen to what you have to say.
Problem. Action. Solution. Sound familiar? If not, commit that to memory, as it’s one of the best angles for any kind of marketing or advertising. And there's a good reason for that, aside from the fact that it works.
See, people want to solve their problems. Many times, they just don’t know how or the process is too hard. Other times, people aren’t even aware of a problem. So why not let your audience know that they have an issue that you can solve?
Direct your messaging to address concerns or problems in your audience's minds. Provide a solution to something they didn’t even know they needed. You can even add some urgency so the reader acts more quickly.
If you’re lucky or have laid the groundwork, your audience will know they have a problem. Don’t count on that, though. Expect that your audience is unaware of their problem and bring it to their attention.
After all, your product or service is the solution. Show readers they need to take action, then lead them to your solution. Make them think they’re working smarter, not harder, with your help.
“Time is running out… Get your FREE copy TODAY.”
How many times have you seen an ad saying something like that? Chances are you’ve seen many, and you’ll probably see many more. That’s because urgency works when you want people to take action.
And you don’t want your audience to look at your ad and follow up later. You want their attention now. You just need to make it worth their while.
So how do you get there? Make it urgent. Time is of the essence when you’re running out of stock or running a promotion on banana mugs, for example.
Offer a “limited time exclusive” or bundle they can’t resist with messaging like:
This also taps into FOMO, everyone’s fear of missing out. You don’t want to be the last one to know about something or use the latest tech. And nobody wants to miss out on something they can’t get in the future, at least for a good price.
If your consumers pass up this messaging, they risk regretting and not knowing what they could’ve had. Regret and the unknown can be powerful triggers.
But don’t create urgency out of nowhere. People will find out, and your reputation will be on the line. If someone sees a warning that there’s only one item left, they’ll be suspicious if that warning is there the next day. So, while urgency is powerful, it’s worthless if it’s completely fabricated.
Do you know what people want more than anything? To be cool. To be individuals. That’s the reason exclusive clubs exist and thrive. People want to have or be something that others don’t have or aren’t.
So, build a message around exclusivity. Explain how your brand is only for certain people. To become a member is to belong to something special.
This can also create a sense of community, which helps turn customers into evangelists. Think about it: people like to brag. If someone has something unique, they’re even more likely to tell other people about it.
Is there a better form of advertising? That’s arguable, but associating some exclusivity with your offer and brand can provide some priceless benefits.
In a saturated market, capitalize on how your service or product can provide the secret to x, y, and z. You’ve got the secret they want, and your audience can’t get it anywhere else.
Only your product or service can offer this. Here are a few examples of what this might look like:
Brevity is the soul of wit. While you don’t always need to be witty in your marketing, it can help. And writing shorter copy is a good rule of thumb since attention spans are lower than ever and people read less these days.
So keep your messaging short and straight to the point. Focus on a single message and drive that point home. It’s much easier for your audience to follow and can have much more impact.
The alternative is like being a jack of all trades. You might be reaching more people initially, but maybe none of your messages are strong enough to result in anything.
That’s why you want a clear CTA for consumers to follow. Lead your readers through your copy and make it as simple as possible. Once someone decides your solution isn’t simple enough, they’ll move on to the next one.
Mitigate any barriers for them throughout the buying process. Provide them with a link to a landing page or item and remove any hassle. Make it easy.
That’s the real benefit of keeping your hooks simple. Your audience gets right to what they want, which is what they can get from your offer.
Think about the last time you were thinking about making a purchase. If you didn’t make the purchase, what was the reason? In some form or another, you probably had an objection. And that’s normal, but the business is at fault.
See, every business has to handle objections. Does this work? Is it worth the price? I’ve had problems with a similar product. How is yours different?
It’s not just a possibility that your audience will ask these questions—it’s a guarantee. And unfortunately, these objections can mean the difference between a sale and a customer you’ll never have.
So handle these objections in your hooks. Take care of questions and potential issues before they arise. That’ll make your audience feel like you’re trustworthy and your product truly is better than the rest.
And don’t think that your offer will speak for itself. Your hooks need to address any concerns, even if you know they’re unfounded. Make your offer easy, safe, and a no-brainer.
Nothing is more convincing than proof. And what’s the best kind of proof for your business? Your successes. Conversely, your failures are the best proof that your solution isn’t the best.
So, if you have successes to reference, do it. This is a great way to instill trust in your audience, as well. As a rule of thumb, assume your audience doesn’t trust you. That may not be true, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
With that in mind, think about what you can say or use to convince your audience otherwise. What will prove your worth? Ironically, you may have already done the work to prove that.
Now you just need to tell your audience. Incorporate case studies and testimonials into your hooks. Show what you’ve done for your satisfied customers and make the case that you can do it again.
Without that proof, you risk looking like you’re bragging. And even if you can prove your claims, your audience won’t believe you unless you can prove them.
Relevancy is important, especially in a world where people get bombarded with new information at all times. Tying your brand, offer, and message to current events can help you stand out in readers’ minds.
You can use holidays, national news, or anything else that’s current. Think of something like a Black Friday sale. Given the nature of the event, shoppers are already primed to shop.
Piggyback on that hype. Of course, you can do this with just about any current event, but you should make sure it’s appropriate for your offer. That can be a downside to this tip, but the nature of current events means you’ll always have the opportunity to tie them into your hooks.
One reason this works so well is familiarity. Your audience may not be as familiar with your brand, but associating with something like a holiday can help position your brand as more familiar.
What separates mediocre copy from successful copy is the conversion rate. Plenty goes into that distinction, but it’s a numbers game. Everything you do should be with the intention of getting more conversions. Because without conversions, your business isn’t much of a business.
If you’re not seeing this in your copy, you’re not doing enough of the right things to hook your audience. You have to make them stop in their tracks and engage with your marketing. Is your messaging relevant and relatable? Does it pertain to your customer’s interests?
You want your audience to feel like you've tailored your marketing to them. They’ve got a problem, and you're the solution. Now you just have to get your audience to understand that. From there, you’ll be well on your way to a better conversion rate.
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