11 Proven Headlines that work like crazy

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January 4, 2022
Typewriter Mechanical Retro  - Free-Photos / Pixabay
Free-Photos / Pixabay

The best sales headlines can be written in an infinite number of ways.

But, how do you write a sales headline in the first place?

Certain types of titles have repeatedly proven themselves for many years, and these headline formulas can give you an edge when you’re serious about persuading someone to read and respond to your copy.

Why is the headline that important?

Still not quite sure why the headline is that important, and why you should spend a good amount of time figuring out the right one for your audience?

Think of it this way:

If your headline doesn’t hold a reader’s interest, they won’t ever see the rest of your writing.

If you wrote something great, it deserves an equally great headline that persuades someone to check it out.

How do you write the best sales headlines?

The following 11 headline formulas are some of the easiest to write and the most powerful.

When it comes time to write headlines that sell, try one of these first. At the very least, you’ll get a creative jumping off point to craft a winning headline.

1. Say it simply and directly

The direct headline should be used far more often than it is. No cleverness, jokes, or wordplay. The direct headline gets right to the point.

It works particularly well with strong offers, recognized brand names, and product or service types with which the reader is familiar.

2. State the big benefit

One of the first techniques to write the best sales headlines is transforming your major benefit into a headline. After all, your number one selling point should be up front.

You stand the best chance of selecting the right audience and preparing them to respond. Plus, if they read nothing else, they’ve at least seen the best selling point of your copywriting offer.

If you have trouble writing this kind of headline, it’s a sure sign you need to think a bit more about your product or service.

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3. Announce exciting news

People read newspapers and magazines online because they love news. It’s just basic human nature. We’re curious. We not only want to know, we need to know.

Casting your headline in a way that suggests news, rather than advertising, can have the same powerful appeal of a feature story.

And the product or service doesn’t necessarily have to be newly created to qualify as news. It merely has to be news to your reader.

  • At Last, American Scientists Have Created the Perfect Alternative to a Mined Diamond
  • Introducing the Newest Idea in Cross-Training, from NordicTrack
  • This Breakthrough in Driverless Cars Is Going to Change Everything

4. Appeal to the “how-to” instinct

The how-to headline appeals to the need most of us have to improve ourselves or our lives in some way. The secret here is to focus on a need or want and promise to fulfill that need or want.

Be careful, though. The how-to must highlight the benefit or final result, not the process itself. Look at this example:

  • How to Make Money Working from Home with Your PC

Suppose instead it read, “How to start a full-time computer business in your home.” This misses the point, doesn’t it? It sounds like a lot of work. It says nothing about the real motivator, which is using a computer you already own to make money easily.

To write a how-to headline, begin with the words “How to” or “How” then immediately fill in the benefit.

How to …

  • Stop Smoking in 30 days … or Your Money Back
  • Profit From the 3 Greatest Service Businesses of the Decade
  • Travel Central America on $17 a day

5. Pose a provocative question

Some of the best sales headlines ask a question that directly involve the reader.

However, your question cannot be random or clever. It must relate directly and clearly to the major benefit of the product. It must also prod the reader to answer “yes” or at least “I’m not sure, but I want to know more.”

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6. Bark a command

Ready to learn how to write a sales headline that packs a punch?

Sales copy often falls flat because it fails to tell the reader what to do. This headline type allows you to be direct, provide a benefit, and take a commanding posture simultaneously.

It’s not conversational; it’s dictatorial — but in an acceptable way that readers have come to expect in clear writing.

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7. Offer useful information

Let me clue you in on a little secret. Most people don’t want information. I know you’ve always been taught otherwise, but it’s true. People are drowning in facts.

What people really want is a sense of order and predictability in their lives. We want to feel a sense of power over our world. Therefore, we seek out the secrets, tips, hints, laws, rules, and systems that promise to help us gain control and make sense of things.

Notice how these headlines promise information that does just that.

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8. Relay an honest, enthusiastic testimonial

A testimonial headline can do two things for you. First, it presents your reader with a third-party endorsement of your product or service. Second, it capitalizes on the fact that people like to know what other people say.

Take a look at these testimonial examples:

  • “Quite simply, the finest design software ever released”
  • “This diet program worked for me. It can work for you, too”
  • “It’s the first book on personal finance that really made sense to me”

A variation of this strategy is to write a headline in the first person and put quotation marks around it. This “virtual testimonial” gives you a more interesting headline and improves readership.

9. Authenticate your proposition with a little something extra

People distrust sales copy. And for good reason. A lot of copywriting proves inaccurate or downright dishonest.

To cut through this distrust, you can add a little something extra to your headline that seems out of place, yet rings true.

Look at the following headlines and notice how the words “Ohio Man,” “Obsolete,” and “Frustrated Bartender” stand out. Their specificity or quirkiness adds a truthful aura that traditional copy could never achieve.

  • Ohio Man Has 21-year Tested Formula to Create Multimillion-Dollar Business from Scratch, without Bank Loans, Venture Capitalists, or Selling Stock
  • Small Company’s New Golf Ball Flies Too Far, Could Obsolete Many Golf Courses
  • Frustrated Bartender Develops Incredible Device to Clean and Disinfect Your Entire Home

10. Get relevant from the start

People want to immediately know they’re in the right place. So, the better you know your ideal prospect, the better you can craft the most specific headline for them.

Imagine you’re speaking to someone in person. What would you say to capture and hold their attention?

These examples show how you can engage someone and guide them into the rest of your copy:

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11. Add emotionally stirring and action words to your headline

We know trigger words and persuasive words can make all the difference in your content and copy, so don’t forget to add them to your headlines to connect with your reader.

Showing your reader empathy lets them know that you understand their problems — and that you can help them.

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There are many other ways to write headlines that sell. Whatever strategy you choose, don’t make a decision too quickly. Take time to brainstorm. Write dozens or even hundreds of headlines.

You never know exactly what you want to say before you say it, so giving yourself plenty of choices is the surest way to arrive at the best sales headlines.

Contact a Killer or a Poet today !

What to expect from a Ransomware Attack

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January 4, 2022

Lessons Learned from Those Who’ve Been There – (for INFINIT a K&P client)

It’s an understatement to say ransomware attacks have increased over the past two years. In fact, they’ve skyrocketed to an all-time high, and the need for proper security and prevention has never been greater. Unfortunately, they’re not entirely preventable, no matter how much a business prepares, and many companies don’t know what to do when ransomware occurs.

NFINIT has worked with several companies that experienced this very issue over the last year, so we’d like to present an aggregated view of what a ransomware attack looks like, from the typical timeline to hidden costs. Plus, we’ve outlined a few actionable tips.

First, here are the facts.

  • The number of ransomware attacks jumped 150% in 2020, and ransom amounts doubled.
  • Cases have continued to climb in 2021, with a 148% increase and nearly 3 million attacks so far this year.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on cybersecurity was swift and stark; the FBI announced in April 2020 that it had already seen a 300% jump in cybercrimes since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • At least half of the Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and CIOs PwC recently surveyed said they haven’t entirely mitigated risks related to remote work, cloud adoption, or digitization – and we know that cyber criminals are taking advantage of those trends.

Never Too Safe

Nearly every company we’ve worked with through a ransomware incident felt they had taken the proper precautions by having adequate equipment, data backups, and virus scans. But being behind by even a single update can provide enough of an opening for hackers.

In one case, our client’s firewalls were one patch level behind, and that new patch level had just launched. The hackers took advantage of that vulnerability. In another instance, our customer brought in a third-party consultant that happened to have a PC that was infected, and the customer didn’t run virus-scan on that computer before syncing it with the company network. Yet another client administrator logged into an infected computer at a store, opening up the network to attack.

Even multi-million-dollar enterprises that house critical infrastructure and surely employ impressive in-house cybersecurity teams, such as Colonial Pipeline, have fallen victim recently. (Our CEO addresses this topic in an alert we issued regarding ransomware attacks in May 2021.)

Shock and Awe

Interactive timeline of ransomware events

In each case we’ve worked with directly, though the specific causes varied, the initial IT shock was the same. By the time an attack is identified, hackers have had a chance to pull data over to their devices and start searching for important information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or anything else of value, sending IT personnel into panic mode.

After that initial shock, personnel are tasked with identifying how widespread the attack is and which departments are affected. Machines are checked and the IT department starts to identify not only how far the attack has reached, but also how to start the recovery. View our day-by-day interactive Timeline of Events. 

Establish New Methods of Communications

Happening simultaneously is the new communication path. Email communication is often lost and with that typically being the primary method of communicating between team members, a new method has to be established, which most often includes phone calls and texting. Any physical locations also have to be made aware of the attack and informed that they cannot conduct business until recovery has started.


One of the first calls to make during these attacks is to the cybersecurity insurance company, which we strongly advise you to retain. It’s important to have a designated company representative who is tasked with reaching out to the company insurance rep, who then begins the process of communicating and negotiating with the attackers. (It’s typical for both insurance companies and attackers to have professional negotiators for these situations. Both are well versed in dealing with the other side and working together to arrive at a more reasonable outcome.)

While the insurance company handles the negotiation, the data center / IT partner (such as NFINIT) often manages the data backup and recovery process. NFINIT is able to bring machines online on a separate network, allowing access for a third party to do security posture checking.

Prepare for the Hidden Costs of Ransomware

There is often an added layer of surprise baked into the attacks in the form of unexpected costs. While most focus on the lump sum for the ransom, a hefty checklist of additional costs soon arises, both in the form of payouts and productivity. In fact, in all of the cases we’ve seen lately, the ransom itself ended up being relatively small when compared to the additional fees, opportunity costs, and other budget hits.

In general, ransoms are requesting funds for three major components

  1. to get your data back
  2. to keep hackers silent about the attack
  3. to find out how you were breached.

Beyond the initial attack, the additional hard-line costs bubble up during the insurance process and requirements. The negotiator works with a pre-set deductible outlined in each contract to use as the ransom payout. From there, each company is given a checklist of third-party services and vendors for the rebuild and recovery.

Regardless of the specific situation, a company under attack is faced with the loss of productivity from their IT teams while they work on recovery. The data recovery and backup process pulls team members from other projects they might be working on for anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. During this time, CFOs are also tied up working with the insurance company (if the company has one), which means a loss in productivity from the C-suite as well.

In addition, we can’t forget the actual interruption in business while networks and systems are locked down, and while it typically only lasts for a few days, it results in an almost invaluable loss in terms of overall profit. Not to mention costs that are more difficult to quantify but have a major lasting impact, such as loss of trust from customers.

Recovery and Results

NFINIT is able to make a difference in the outcome of these attacks within several key areas of focus. First is aiding in micro-segmentation, which helps with prevention and limiting an attack footprint. NFINIT works with clients to segment their networks in a way that provides each employee access where necessary while mitigating the fallout of future attacks. NFINIT works with clients in a consultative way to determine which machines should be segmented, which users should have access to what, and which cybersecurity rules you should establish company-wide.

Second, NFINIT plays a major role in backup and recovery. As full-time network engineers and data center technicians, the NFINIT team uses and manages the equipment every day and knows the ins and outs of customer IT environments.  Having a cloud provider not only adds resources in high-stress, all-hands-on-deck – but highly trained, expert resources. Oftentimes, IT teams managing data on-premise haven’t used certain equipment and software in months and struggle to pull the right levers on game day.

Last but most important: NFINIT leverages the team’s roots as previous software vendors, retailers, and manufacturers – the end consumers of technology – to evolve into being a trusted advisor rather than a simple vendor.

The good news is, in all recent ransomware cases we’ve helped with, our clients paid either zero ransom or a negligible amount compared to the original ask – plus, their strategically managed IT infrastructure helped to mitigate what could have been catastrophic events for those companies. Clearly, having the right players on your team can make all the difference should your company suffer from an attack.

NFINIT’s Top Quick Tips

  1. Get cybersecurity insurance, today. Cybersecurity insurance is a relatively new concept, so we understand if you might question its worth. But in our experience, our clients who’ve had it have seriously minimized costs and stress levels; in the moment after you first see a ransom message on company computers, cybersecurity insurance is worth its weight in gold.
  2. Work with a third-party technology partner to evaluate your data practices, today. All data should not be treated equally. In order to keep your most critical business data safe while meeting cost-savings requirements, data tiering is often necessary, and it’s a step that many enterprises are missing. Hire a third-party partner who can evaluate your data storage and practices with a fresh set of eyes, compile a best practices system in case of an attack, and be there for you should every IT director’s worst nightmare come true. We like to remind our clients that cyber-attacks are not entirely preventable. Ensuring that you can quickly and efficiently recover data, applications, and critical systems is the best way to hedge against a crippling breach.
  3. Don’t assume you’re protected. We can’t emphasize this enough: every company we’ve assisted during a cyber-attack felt confident in their security practices. For this reason, our second tip, above, is critical! Check your patches. Make sure third-party consultants have passed your cybersecurity clearance before tapping into your network. And above all, bring in someone outside of the company – a fresh set of eyes – to go through your network security checklist. It might not prevent an attack altogether, but with the right partner, it will go a long way toward minimizing the effects.

To learn more about how NFINIT can help, contact us today.

10 ways to master your own Copy Writing

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January 4, 2022

Writing copy is both an art and a science. It’s an art because it requires creativity, a sense of beauty and style — a certain aptitude, mastery, and special knowledge. Artistic advertising allows you to create content marketing that’s not just practical and persuasive, but awe-inspiring and breathtaking.

Writing copy is also a science, because it exists in the world of tests, trial and failure, improvement, breakthroughs, education, and predictability. Scientific advertising allows you to develop an idea, and then test that idea. It’s how you know if your content marketing is working.

In bad copy, one (or both) of these elements are missing. In good copy, they are both abundant.

Read on, because in the next few minutes we’ll explore 10 examples of good copywriting out in the wild.

Our Killers

1. Plain copy

The most basic approach to write copy is to introduce the product without gimmick or style. It’s a simple presentation of the facts and benefits.

There’s no story, no conversation, no “sizzle,” and no superlative claims.

Think Google Marketing Platform.

It’s the type of copy that isn’t going to win any literary awards, but if you’ve studied how to write a good sentence, you’ll be able to get the job done. You’ll give a prospect the information she needs to make an informed decision about the product.

2. Storytelling copy

Everyone loves a good story.

We like hearing about people — especially interesting people. People who’ve suffered challenges we can relate to, and can tell us how they overcame those challenges.

And the moral of the story, coincidentally, is that your product was the catalyst to overcoming those odds.

You might find this storytelling technique in an email series, a landing page, or a short video. Whatever the format, you’ll get four basic traits in the story:

  1. Opening: Introduce the pain. Show how the character of the story had a normal life, then how that life was shattered by a change of events.
  2. Conflict: How is the life of the main character threatened if he or she does not respond to the problem? What does her journey look like as she tackles this challenge?
  3. Dialogue: People are drawn to conversations in a story. It’s human interest at its root: two people talking to each other. We are also drawn to dialogue because it’s easy to read. “Our eyes flow over dialogue like butter on the hood of a hot car,” says novelist Chuck Wendig.
  4. Solution: Finally, your product is introduced as the cure for your character’s problem. You increase the credibility of your product by sharing specific results (347% increase in conversion, for example).

Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic. It just has to be interesting to your target audience. And this is where good research comes in.

3. Conversational copy

John Caples calls conversational copy “You and Me.”

In this style of copy, you write as if there is a conversation between two people: the copywriter and the prospect.

The language here would be no different than a salesman sitting down for lunch with a customer and talking through a sales presentation. It’s a straightforward approach that tries to identify with the reader:

“I know how you feel. I felt the same way. That all changed when I found x, y and z.”

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a polished copywriter to create effective conversational copy. Often the sheer passion for what you’re trying to promote breathes off the page.

In fact, you can record a conversation about the product, transcribe that conversation, and use it as a rough draft.

4. John Lennon copy

When John Lennon asked us to imagine there was no heaven or hell, no countries, religion or war, he was using an effective tool of persuasion: imaginative copy.

As an advertiser who’s learning how to write copy, you can ask your target audience to imagine a painless way to lose weight, or what it would feel like to be a successful travel writer.

Imaginative copy typically begins with words like “imagine,” “close your eyes,” “pretend for a moment,” “discover,” or “picture this” in the first paragraph of the text.

You’re often asked to imagine your life in a certain way — to pretend what it would be like to live your dream, whatever that dream might be.

Then the copywriter paints a picture of achieving that ideal life through a certain product.

5. Long copy

The fundamental premise behind long copy is “The more you tell, the more you sell.” Ads that are long on facts and benefits will convert well.


Unlike a face-to-face conversation with a salesperson, a written ad has only one chance to convert a reader. If you get in front of the reader, you’ve got to lay it all out on the table.

When you’re tackling long copy, it pays to learn how to write bullet points. They help ensure your most important details stand out.

And when you’re following the basic rules of content marketing that works, remember that you don’t have to present all of the facts and benefits up front.

You can leak the presentation over a period of weeks through an email autoresponder or a registration-based content library.

In this way, you’re turning long copy into short, easily-digestible snippets.

6. Killer-poet copy

Here at Killers & Poets, we love writers like David Sedaris.

But we aren’t so enamored by their writing abilities that we try to imitate their styles at the expense of teaching and selling.

Our goal isn’t to convince our audience that we’re smart — it’s educating and selling with our copy.

As David Ogilvy once said, “We sell, or else.” But we try to sell with style. We try to balance the killer with the poet.

Killer-poet copy sees writing as a means to an end (making a sale), and the ad as an end in itself (beautiful design and moving story).

In other words, the killer-poet combines style with selling. Creativity with marketing. Story with solution.

7. Direct-from-CEO copy

It’s a known fact: third-party endorsements can help you sell products.

But it’s equally effective to position your sales argument as a direct communication between the company founder and his or her customer.

This down-to-earth approach levels the playing field. It telegraphs to the customer, “See, the CEO isn’t some cold and remote figurehead interested in profit only. He’s approachable and friendly. He cares about us.”

8. Frank copy

Some copy will explain the ugly truth about the product.

This approach doesn’t start with the jewels of your goods — it’s going to start with the warts.

When selling a car, you might point out the endless repairs that need to be done — thin brake pads, leaky transmission, busted sway bar, and inoperable dashboard — before you introduce the leather seats, Monsoon stereo system, sun roof, brand-new tires and supercharged engine.

What you’re saying is, this car will need a lot of TLC. You might even go so far as to say, “Make no mistake — there’s much work to be done here.”

And here’s a curious thing: When you are honest and transparent about product weaknesses, the customer trusts you.

When the reader trusts you, they will be considerably more likely to believe you when you point out the good qualities of your product.

9. Superlative copy

There are also times when you can make outlandish claims.

Claims like (these are actual ads):

  • “A revolutionary material from this Nevada mine could make investors a fortune”
  • “Stores across Australia selling out of what some call a new ‘miracle’ diet formula”
  • “Obey this one weird loophole to get car insurance as low as $9”

But you can only make extraordinary claims when you have the proof to back it up. The evidence can be in statistics, testimonials, or research — or preferably all three.

The problem with superlative copy is that it’s often hard to make outlandish claims and not sound like you are hyping it up — so use this type of copy sparingly.

Generally, it’s good to follow the “Remove All Hype” policy.

10. Rejection copy

Rejection copy turns conventional wisdom on its head and tries to discourage people from being interested in your product.

This type of copy is a direct challenge to the reader that leverages the idea that only an exclusive set of people are invited to use a product.

The American Express Black Card is a good example — this card is reserved for the world’s wealthiest and most elite. The only way you can get your hands on one is if you are invited.

Similarly, consider the dating site Beautiful People. If you want to be part of this exclusive dating club made up of “beautiful” people, then you have to be voted in by existing members.

Potential rejection startles readers — they don’t expect to be turned down, especially not from an advertiser.

This approach also keys into our sense of wanting to belong. It generates curiosity and activates our pride. We think, “How dare they say I might not be good enough to get into their club? I’ll show them.”

Write copy that works

In the end, writing copy often combines several of these techniques into one ad.

The CEO of a company writes a conversational sales letter built around a story about his passion for his product (whether it is peaches or water pumps).

A copywriter writes a long rejection ad that explains why certain people are excluded from receiving an invitation to dine at an exclusive restaurant.

Or a Savile Row tailor writes a plain but elegant sales letter about his suits, which have been worn by kings and presidents.

That’s the art and science of effective copywriting.

Have a chat with one of our Killers or Poets HERE

2021 Kitchen and Bathroom remodeling trends (By a 3-STAR K&P writer)

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January 4, 2022

With more people staying home in the COVID era, bathroom and kitchen remodeling trends are becoming an increasingly common area of research. Styles that increase efficiency and ease of use while improving the home’s esthetics are increasingly important to homeowners. A few of the best bath and kitchen plumbing trends are presented to help customers make informed decisions when planning kitchen or bath plumbing improvements.

A delightful addition to a bath is the stand-alone tub, bowl tub, and claw-footed tubs, which are highly popular with those in the market for bathroom plumbing remodeling. The 51” long and the 41” round tubs are now trending. Bathroom innovations also offer self-cleaning toilets, heated panels, and special lighting for customer selection.

In the kitchen, the use of technology presents one of the newest trends, which seem to be increasing. Automated smart taps with voice activation, along with appliances and lighting, are taking hold in bathroom and kitchen water system remodeling trends. Likewise, plumbing trends for the bath are inspired by the Victorian era, with heated floors and heated towel racks keeping the bath nice and comfy.

Clean is always a significant concern in the kitchen, but now homeowners are adding materials that help keep surfaces clean longer; laminate, solid surfaces, and stainless-steel countertops lead the list of easy-to-clean surfaces.

If you wish to make stylish but small changes to the bathroom or kitchen fixtures, keep in mind faucets and sink bowls can change the look of a room. These water receptors are designed in multiple shapes and are sold in a variety of colors to suit a range of decorum.

Customers might also consider a personal spa for the bath while adding elegantly designed faucets and showerheads. In addition, water filtration features, touchless faucets, and other water-saving plumbing features add value to a home.

Leak detection is a feature that saves customers thousands of dollars. Undetected leaks in kitchen or bathroom plumbing can damage walls, floors, and basement areas long before they are noticed by the human eye, causing mold and mildew, which cause health problems.

Dual showerheads provide a wider reach for the water, better flow, and easier cleaning for the general area. Multiple settings let you control the amount of pressure you want to use for cleaning, and a hand-held device lets you control the direction of the water.

Using the newest innovations to operate home plumbing fixtures in the bath or kitchen makes cooking and cleaning so much easier. In addition, homeowners find bathroom and kitchen remodeling trends leading towards health monitoring mirrors and smart scales. Also, customers want steam and walk-in showers.

Ease and relaxation seem to be the goal with today’s bathroom and kitchen plumbing remodeling trends. Customers are making use of his and her features for the bath, saunas, and bidets. For the kitchen, pot fillers and hot water dispensers are pretty handy in any home.

Staying abreast of the newest kitchen and bathroom plumbing remodeling options helps homeowners keep their property aligned with the latest building trends. Therefore, if they decide to sell, the home is ready for the market with a high sales value.