Direct mail headlines: 5 better ways to say “Act now!”

Your product or service entices, but what’s to prevent your reader from flagging your email, or filing your latest offer away “for later” and then…forgetting about it?

Simply saying “act now” is not enough. The best headlines convey not only a sense of urgency, but the benefit of taking immediate action. Here are four classic headline phrases that motivate readers to click through — plus one brand-new type of headline that’s all the rage with email marketers.

The Classics

1. Limited offers. The phrases “limited time only” or “while supply lasts” can light a fire under an indecisive customer.

2. “Filling up fast” is a term that does a great job of conveying an event’s popularity. (“Selling out fast” will do the same for a product.)

3. “Don’t miss out!” is a good phrase to end a headline. (Though there’s a headline-writing school of thought that says you should avoid negatives.)

4. “Be the first” is a bit tricky (not everyone wants to be the first). It will, however, pack a punch with an audience of early adopters or customers who follow trends.

What’s New

Take a look at your own email inbox and you’ll see that email marketers, equipped to quickly blast to a list, are taking advantage of headlines that convey time-sensitivity by using attention-grabbing numerals and dates.

  • “Cruise to Sunny Cancun — Only 7 Cabins Left!”
  • “Last 2 Days to Enjoy Free Shipping!”
  • “Buy 2, Get 1 Free Offer Ends Tomorrow”
  • “Summer Footwear Special, 3 DAYS ONLY!”
  • “20 Percent Off — Coupon Expires Friday”

Whether you’re doing postal direct mail or email marketing, this new headline style is well worth exploring to maximize the effectiveness of your next campaign.

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