3 Secrets of Writing a “Grab ‘Em By The Shirt Collar” Headline

by John McIntyre

This is a guest post by Naeem DaDream Joseph. Naeem is the founder of DaDream Marketing and is a List Profit Extraction Specialist. 


Imagine for an instance it’s Monday morning, you and your best friend stopped by your favorite coffee shop just to grab a cup of cappuccino and catch up on your weekend and out of nowhere you heard this loud sound goes DOUG nearby the coffee shop.

The sound is so loud it rattles you and everybody else in the coffee shop. After a situation like this there’s one question that’s flooded everybody’s mind…

What the hell was that?

That’s the sound of a shot gun that just went off.

You can bet anyone within earshot is going to stop what they’re doing and give their full attention to the source of the gun shot… right?

You bet!

… And that’s why you need to create sales letter headlines and email subjects that go DOUG. These are headlines that stop your readers in their tracks and get them paying 100% attention to your copy.

A great marketer I know often says, in today’s marketing world there’s an explosion of content competing for readers’ attention and your first order of business as a marketer is to capture your reader’s’ attention. The best way to stop your readers in their tracks and get them to pay attention to your sales message is to… rattle the shot gun.

Rattle the shotgun?

Just how do you propose I do that, you might wonder?

Here are 3 little secrets for rattling the shotgun in your headlines:

  • Arouse Their Curiosity
  • Offer a Huge Benefit
  • Win Them Over

Let’s take a look at each of these steps more closely…

Secret #1: Pique your reader’s’ Curiosity

Imagine if you’re just sitting in your living room relaxing, and suddenly an unexpected dynamite blast goes off. What’s the first thing you would do?

Chances are, you’d turn to the nearest person and say, “What the heck was that?” Then you’d run to the window or even run outside to satisfy your curiosity.

Same thing goes for your “DOUG!” headline. If you can pique someone’s curiosity, then you’ll have their undivided attention for a few moments. Acquiring somebody’s attention online is the most valuable commodity.

“According to the National Center for Biotechnology information, at the U.S National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.”

Here are three ways to grab your reader’s attention:

  • Promise a benefit, but don’t tell people HOW they’ll get that benefit. E.G., “How to Lose All the Weight You Want Without Exercise or Hunger Pangs.”
  • Use the word “secret.” E.G., “The Secrets of Retiring at Age 40.”
  • Let them know others know something that they don’t know. “Here’s What Your Guru Doesn’t Want You to Know about X, Y, and Z!”

Your next secret weapon for attention grabbing is…

Secret #2: Offer a Huge Benefit

Whenever someone lands on your headline, they’re going to wonder, “What’s in it for me?” That’s not to suggest that most people are selfish. It’s simply a fact that personal context is usually the first filter we use to evaluate our environment.

Think about this for a moment.

When you are making a big decision in your life, the decision making process has to be about you…


I most certainly hope so!

If not, you might want to reevaluate your decisions making process…

Now, a great way to answer the “what’s in it for me?” questions in your headline is to promise your readers a big benefit.

For example, “How to Lose Weight Quickly, Safely and Easily!”

One more: “How to Housetrain Your Puppy In Just Three Days!”

TIP: People not only like getting solutions to their problems, they like fast and easy solutions. That’s why the first example promises a quick and easy solution, while the second example is all about speed.

And now the last secret of writing headlines that grab’em by the shirt collar…

Secret #3: Win Them Over

Arousing curiosity is good. Offering a benefit is good. But if you really want to win over your readers, you need to combine these two tactics into one powerful headline.

Let me give you some examples of combining benefits while arousing curiosity:

  • Here’s How to Get Your Hands On An In-Demand Product – Without Writing It, Buying It, Or Outsourcing It!

Note: Everyone wants an in-demand product – that’s the benefit. The part that arouses curiosity is how someone gets a product like that without creating it, buying it or outsourcing it.

  • Do You Have This Miracle Fat-Blasting Herb In Your Cupboard?

Note: The benefit is that it blasts fat. The headline arouses curiosity by making people wonder what herb the headline refers to.

  • How a Small-Town Waitress Quit Her Job and Made $100,000 This Year – And How You Can Too!

Note: The “story” part of the headline arouses curiosity, while the “how you can too” part promises the benefit.

Now It’s Your Turn…

There you have it.

3 secrets for writing attention-getting headlines that your readers cannot ignore.

Here they are again:

  • Arouse Their Curiosity
  • Offer a Huge Benefit
  • Win Them Over

Now that you have these 3 secrets weapon in your headline writing arsenal, you need to set aside a few moments right now and brainstorm a few dozen or so headlines for your next email or sales letter using these 3 powerful little secrets. I’m certain you’ll be amazed at the result you’ll get.

This is a guest post by Naeem DaDream Joseph. Naeem is the founder of DaDream Marketing and is a List Profit Extraction Specialist. He helps small business owners find hidden profits in their email list. You don’t think there’s hidden profits in your email list, then you need to check out this eye-opening special report…what if everything you think you know about email marketing is Dead wrong?

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