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Honing Headlines While Stuck in Traffic

April 14 2002 at 4:01 AM
Ricky Higgs - Moderator 


How often do you hear the complaint… “I was stuck in heavy traffic on the freeway today?”…. By the same token, how many people complain about too much traffic to their website?… Not many that’s for sure!

I don’t like being stuck in road traffic… Standing still, going nowhere for lengthy periods of time…. Who does?

There’s not much you can do about those peak hours of congestion on our urban roads…. BUT, there is something you can do while your sitting impatiently behind the wheel that will help turn traffic into sales in your online business.

Instead of tapping your toes to the top twenty blearing from your car stereo next time you’re stuck in traffic, why not “hone” your headline writing skills by playing this “real world” game through your windscreen….

Try the following, and you’ll be amazed at the ideas, creativity and improvement you’ll make when you next start to tap out attention getting headliners on your keyboard….

Look at the buildings and business premises by the side of the road.
Read all the billboards, the banners, posters, neon signs and the slogans different businesses are using to try and attract customers.

Now concentrate on one that takes your fancy… Or one that you feel could be made better using a different approach to the advertisement.

Let me give you an example….

The other day, while bumper to bumper in the morning peak hour, I noticed a flag type banner strung above a local “Carwash”….. Not the fully automated kind, but one of those drive-in car washes where you do-it-yourself with a high pressure hose in one hand and a foaming brush on a broomstick handle.

The banner had the headliner…. “Save water and our rivers… Wash your car here”.

Now I thought to myself, “does that slogan create desire and motivate me to use that car wash?”…. Well, maybe if I was a “greenie”, someone who had a deep-seated interest in saving our rain forests, the amazon “lungs of the earth” and political opinions on the greenhouse effect…. Well yes, that slogan that green headline just might hit my “hot spot”.

Don’t get me wrong, we should care for our planet Earth and create a world safe for our grand children and future generations… No disrespect to those that truly care for our environment.

However, I sat there in my fossil fuel burning and air polluting chariot and thought to myself, if I owned this car wash establishment what attention getting headline would I replace that “greenie” slogan with that might entice a lot more car loving proud owners with?

In the 5-minute wait before the traffic moved on… I thought of all sorts of psychological impacting slogans that might appeal to a greater number of the motoring traffic.

I sat there and thought to myself… Why do people wash their cars?

Logically…. Because their car is dirty?

Okay, but let’s go beyond the obvious and delve into the emotional…..

People wash their cars because…

1. The state of the car is a reflection upon the driver or owner of the vehicle.

2. People want to protect their investment, especially if it is a new or expensive car, from the paint damaging effects of industrial fallout, bird droppings, acid rain, and road grime, etc.

3. It makes people feel better about themselves, just like wearing a freshly washed and ironed shirt or dress.

4. It sends a message to their friends, neighbors and piers that they take pride in their car.

There were other reasons of course, but these stuck in my mind as the major motivators.

I finally decided upon…. “ A clean car makes YOU look good”.

I reckoned that if the car wash proprietor had chosen a slogan based upon the psychological reasons behind WHY someone washes their car, instead of the minority motivators in our society, he or she would increase his response rate.

I guarantee, that if you try this time passing, mentally stimulating “game” while stuck in traffic, it will help you write better sales copy and headlines in your online marketing activities.

It’s even more fun and stimulating if you brainstorm ideas with a passenger.

Sometimes we can improve our online business ventures through offline real world simulations and experiences.

I’m sure you’ll think of this post, next time you’re stuck in traffic… “Damn that Ricky character…. Listening to the car stereo was so much more fun”

Warmest Regards & $uccess

Ricky Higgs

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