2.4 Testing Your Headline

Your headline is your first impression.  Its success is dictated by how closely it matches what your viewer expected when they made the decision to visit your page – whether from an ad, banner or email link etc.

You can try testing positive versus negative language in the way you express your value in the headline. For example: Save Time By Downloading Now vs. Stop Wasting Time, Download Now.

People are impatient and will read your headline very quickly, so communicates your core value proposition in a way that makes it really obvious what your offer is.

To assess problems with your headline try a 5-second test where you flash the page in front of a person unfamiliar with your brand for 5 seconds and ask ”What is this page about?” If they don’t know, it’s not clear enough and time to revisit the messaging.

In the Case Study below, long vs short headlines and single headline vs. primary and secondary supporting copy were tested.  


Can you guess which version won?  Version B increased sign-ups by 38%.  This may be surprising for those of you who thought that Version A has a better design with a clear bold headline and a short piece of supporting copy.  Sure, Version B may not be as pretty as Version A, but it had two things going for it:  

  1. The headline is shorter, and
  2. The sub-heading is designed to pick out some key features in bold.   

As you can see, a clean design doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an effective one.  Just like many things in life, landing pages don’t have to be pretty to be effective.  

Here are other ideas that you can test for your headline:

  • Long versus short
  • Benefit oriented vs. feature oriented
  • Enhance the contrast to make your headline more visually powerful, to focus people’s attention on it