Why You Need to Put Your Prospect’s Pain in Your Headline

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On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. Unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.
~ David Ogilvy, Advertising Tycoon

Ouch. That’s a scary statistic David…and just a teeny bit of pressure to get that all-important headline spot on.

The truth is, headlines are an absolutely critical part of any webpage, sales page or blog post. Yet so many business owners do a lacklustre job, or miss it out altogether.

Headlines can be a sticking point for even the most experienced of copywriters.

So how do you nail that enticing, masterful headline that’s going to get readers hurdling over it to get to the rest of your (deserving) copy?

HINT: You don’t have to be The Father of Advertising to do this…


Erm…ok. I hear you thinking. What exactly does that mean?

Take a second to think: what is your prospect’s number one problem which YOU can solve?

What keeps them up at night?

What gives them a serious headache?

What is their Number One Pain– which you are the best solution to?

Take that pain, and put it in the headline. You will instantly jump your conversions.


People like to be understood. It’s in our nature. We also like to have a whinge about our problems. That’s in our nature too.

By including their number one pain-point in your headline, you’re letting your customer know we’ve got this.

Let’s look at an example. How would you feel if you came across this landing page headline?

How Safe is Your Ecommerce Site from Ransomware Attacks?

See the pain? Now, ransomware attacks will be on any worthy ecommerce business’s mind. They want to keep their business, their customer details and data safe and secure. Even the mere mention that it’s not, will strike fear into their hearts.

This headline isn’t terrifying them with an aggressive doomsday message. You’re simply posing the question with an insinuation that whatever they’re doing safety-wise, they could be doing more.

Take a look at this valuable post from Lead Pages for tips on capturing your customer’s fear in the headline.

It’s not mean! Remember you’re going to cure it for them.


Now, if there’s one thing you need to remember when it comes to headlines it’s to include the SNAP.

We live in a very busy world where people are distracted and don’t have any time to spare. Your prospects spend all day flicking through the internet, glancing around at things, trying to ignore all the advertising that’s being shoved in their faces on and offline.

You need to master the SNAP.

You must Snap their attention to you. Imagine they are only giving your copy one second of their time.

Less even. A mere glance. This is usually the case.

What they see in that one second needs to instantly lance straight to their heart. They already have a constant conversation going on in their minds – conscious and unconscious. And their problems are up there near the surface at all times.

You’ve discovered your prospect’s number one pain. Now you need to express it in your headline.

And you have bought 5 or 10 more seconds from them.

Without the snap, you are just another headline shouting at them, which has nothing to do with them. They won’t read another line.

If you don’t know how to word your title, you can just keep it really simple and say: ‘Do you suffer from____(Problem)___? We can help.

But the message is more important than pretty wording. It’s best to mention their number one problem and how you offer a unique surprisingly easy solution, all in the headline.

But however you word it, however simply, always mention their biggest pain up there bang in the title.

Check out this handy article from Hubspot for more tips on snapping attention from readers.


So you’ve nailed the headline, it addresses their pain, it SNAPS and you can already envisage the click-throughs.

So what?

That’s only the first stepping stone, I’m afraid. Unless the rest of your copy is as striking, witty and beguiling then it’s nothing more than a tasty bit of click bait.

This handy article from Smart Blogger will give you tons of tips on how to elevate the rest of your copy to your snappy, pain-pinning headline’s level.

You want your headline to be banging, but you don’t want it to be the only good thing about your copy.

So that’s a wrap; but remember, copywriting is as much about understanding your customer’s pain as it is about words. You can write whatever pretty words you like, but if you’re not really drilling into the root of their worries, it will be ineffectual.

Think about it: if you had a problem, which of your friends would you want to talk to about it?

Your chatty friend? Your friend with tons of money?

It would be your friend who understands you and has already been through something similar.

And once you get talking, an emotional connection is made. BOOM.

Happy writing!

Want to get inside your prospects’ minds and sell more?

Download our FREE, expert eBook to unravel the mysteries of high converting copy.

Want to get inside your prospects’ minds and sell more?

Download our FREE, expert eBook to unravel the mysteries of high converting copy.

About the author

Konrad Sanders CEO & Lead Strategist at The Creative Copywriter
Hey you. I’m Konrad. A full-funnel content strategist and CEO with a pretty darn creative noggin on my shoulders. I run a team of word-slinging cowboys and strategists who blend science with art to help bold brands get their words right at every step of the customer journey. Which means? They sell more stuff and grow predictable revenue. Brands like AECOM, Thomson Reuters, TikTok, Panasonic, Adidas, Mercedes-Benz, plus shedloads of tech scale-ups...and you? Let's connect.

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Well done sir, excellent advice.
Well, it got my attention!
Many years ago I was an Art Director in the London agencies.
I worked alongside Barry Day, Ronnie Kirkwood, and others, learning much from them. Your article sums up the techniques they used with great success.

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