Which Headline Worked Best?

February 9th, 2009 by Bob Bly

I received 2 different mailings, promoting 2 different options trading systems, from 2 different companies. The headlines were:

Mailing A–Why Most Trading Systems Don’t Work … and Never Will.

Mailing B–Profit from the Only Market Timing System That Has NEVER Failed — and Never Will.

Which do you think works best, and why?

Share

This entry was posted on Monday, February 9th, 2009 at 10:29 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

63 responses about “Which Headline Worked Best?”

  1. Kurt said:

    That’s an easy one. I would have to say that when you tell them that “most trade systems don’t work and never will” you have defined a hurdle to overcome before they will invest with you. How are they going to believe that yours will work when “most never will”?

    So I would go with Mailing B – I do not love the line but at least it is positive and opens the door for less doubt of the viability of the product.

  2. gene said:

    A tells me what won’t work. B tells me what will work. I would rather know what does work. B

  3. dianacacy said:

    B

    Profit promises a benefit I’m interested in – Only draws attention by letting the reader know this is about one of the few working out there.

    Strong curiosity.

    I’m not a financial writer and it’s my husband who studies this, so impression beyond curiosity and worth taking the time to read it, is beyond me.

    But A feels like an article that I’m just not going to take the time and follow through with reading the rest of the way and will trash it.

    For a non-financial person like me, B works so that I read it. If the rest of the copy follows through with what the headline promises, I’d then pass it on to my husband. Otherwise, it gets trashed.

  4. Alison Harrison said:

    I’m very surprised by the answers. I looked at the two headlines and thought well,obviously, A. B is way too hype-y and I’d discount it straight away as too good to be true.

    Interesting!

  5. Carol Schiller said:

    The difference in opinions just reinforces what we all know, but often don’t take the time or money to follow though on: split testing is the only way to be sure which headline will pull better.

  6. Chad Kettner said:

    If I’m looking to read an article – I’d open “A”.

    If I’m looking to buy a system – I’d open “B”.

  7. Norio said:

    The first one is short, grabs my attention, is easy to read and isn’t trying to sell me anything (yet) so I’d imagine it would pull the most readers.

    The second one is obviously trying to sell me something, is longer, harder to read and is clearly trying to sell me something.

    I’d say option A definitely pulled in the most readers. Then it’s up to the rest of the copy to convert.

  8. SEO Copywriting | Daily SEO copywriting candy-Feb. 10, '09: clickable headlines & fun campaigns said:

    [...] Which Headline Works Best? Ah yes, as marketing writers we’re always seeking to compose that perfect headline. We push boundaries, we test headlines, we measure results. It’s a work in progress. Read Bob Bly’s latest blog post and share your thoughts on which of the two headlines works better. [...]

  9. Note Taking Nerd #2 said:

    Mailing A–Why Most Trading Systems Don’t Work … and Never Will.

    This headline speaks to what the World’s Greatest Stock Trader, Jesse Livermore calls… Suckers.

    In the book written about this man it was said he divided these suckers into three classes:

    1. Ignorant novices who know nothing, and know that they know nothing, but still want to play the market, Life span 3 to 30 months.

    2. Second-grade suckers or, as Livermore called them, semi-suckers, who get their information from suckers of an even higher grade. The have gone through the first phase of being suckers and have now moved into the second phase. They quote market aphorisms and the words of market sages. They are intelligent enough to play the game for a longer time than the basic suckers. Life span up to 42 months.

    3. Suckers of the third kind, who look for bargains, buy at the bottom, and wait for the rally. They do okay until they hit a stock that never rallies, or keeps declining.”

    This is where the 80/20 rule comes to play. Any segment of society falls into this equation.

    The NFL, Musicians, teachers, internet marketers… theres 20% of the segment who’re head and shoulders above everyone else and 5% of that 20 are elite.

    Then you have the 80% who are just average and there’s probably 20% of the 80 who are horrible.

    Knowing that the 80/20 rule will always replenish the 80% of what Jesse calls “suckers” there’s always room in a market for making the argument that “everything you’ve been told is wrong and here’s why…”

    Or… “It’s not your fault. Here’s why…”

    This man made 100 million dollars shorting the market in 1929 during the Great Crash. He kinda of knew his bidniz.

    His words are just as true now. Even though we aren’t as harsh as he was in calling the 80% who buy stuff but don’t make it work for them, “suckers”, headline A is one that speaks directly to this segment of the market.

    It’s also comforting to have someone just level with you and tell you the truth. Especially if it mirrors your thoughts.
    Note Taking Nerd #2
    http://www.mynotetakingnerd.wordpress.com

  10. Morgan said:

    Mailing A for two reasons: No. 1, it caught my attention with a pretty bold statement. I want to know more. No. 2, the mailing B headline lacks credibility.

  11. Derek said:

    It depends…

    Who’s the target market?

    The frame of mind of the receiver has a lot to do with which one I would pick.

    Are they traders now, or are they newbies?

    Have the been burned by the recent crash?

    Need more info. :)

    Derek

  12. Frank Irias said:

    I’m with Option A. It’s intriguing. “Oh really? It’ll never work? I want to know more.” Option B sounds too gimmicky, too good to be true.

  13. Art Derfall said:

    A reads “only” and “most” don’t and never will, leaving open the possibility that theirs does with an expectation of reasons why.

    B treads into dangerous claims – “never will”, which should raise the interest of the SEC if it has jurisdiction, but that statement would get most investors to want to know why. It’s basically guaranteeing a return on your investment. I think B would win, just to read what backs up the over-the-top claim.

    By the way… a great book that will be be republished with updates in April – “How to Make Money in Stocks” by William O’Neil. It combines technical analysis (market timing via the charts)with fundamentals. His proteges usually win stock picking contests.

  14. Matt said:

    B for sure.

    A is a curiosity headline. for someone who wants to make money on the markets the headline doesn’t address if they do have a solution or not. It’s not totally on target. If I read that headline I’d probably put it aside thinking “maybe I’ll read that later” then forget about it.

    B is a benefit headline with specifics (“market timing system”). They claim to have a solution and can explain how it works. For someone who wants to make money on the market… it promises exactly the kind of thing they’re looking for.

  15. Michael Lockyear said:

    Definitely B.

    The reason is simple: A is negative, while B is positive. Readers are probably more interested in making profit(B) than learning how the will lose money (A).

    That said, I would probably hit the spam button if an email arrived in my inbox with either headline as the subject (even if I had opted it).

  16. Bob Bly said:

    Answer: These 2 headlines were not split test. But “A” was tested against a positive headline very similar to “B.” Results: A generate 3X more orders than B. Reason: it resonates with the skepticism the prospect already has in his head about trading systems that make big claims and then don’t deliver.

  17. Nvestgrrl said:

    I don’t think your results are correct, Bob. A variation of headline ‘B’ has been used repeatedly for several years now, with aggressive testing against it. The more specific the head, the better it pulled. Especially when combined with a graph. The only way I would believe ‘A’ won is if the ‘B’ variations finally wore out. This company is a very aggressive mailer.

  18. Bob Bly said:

    We are surely not talking about the same company. And for the company that mailed A against its control, I know for a fact that it tripled sales and became the new control.

  19. Nvestgrrl said:

    In that case, the company is blatantly copying a multi-million dollar mailer. (No objections here.)

    But the fact remains, the more specific headlines have outpulled for that product. I believe it is because users of this type of system are very data and statistics-oriented. Facts are like chocolate truffles for them. And the headline does not stand alone — it is accompanied by a detailed chart with callouts. A veritable orgy of information for systems traders.

    I happened on your post here because I’m trying to take the temperature of investment promo respondants right now. Are we in a dominantly emotion or dominantly benefit phase for investment direct response? There’s anger in the markets, but I know of a few email and mail controls that are quite benefit-specific.

  20. Ken Norkin - Freelance Copywriter said:

    I was going to vote for A since B is not believeable, especially in light of recent history.

    But if someone here knows that a variation of B has been used successfully by some direct marketer, I can’t argue with results.

    However, I would ask: when you say that one headline tested better than another, was the headline the only difference between the pieces being tested? Or was the copy also different — which I would think it would need to be in order to pay off the claim of the headline.

    Ken

  21. Bob Bly said:

    Nvestgrrl: almost ALL the purveyors of trading software and systems use headlines that promise big gains and profits in specific percentage and dollar amounts. Therefore, when the reader gets your mailing, he has heard it 100 times before and his B.S. radar is triggered. Headline A worked because it complete disarms the reader — agreeing with what he is thinking when he gets your mailing (that most systems don’t work) and therefore making him trust you more. You cannot say that “A” did not work like gangbusters. I know for a fact it did, because I collected many thousands of dollars in royalties for writing it.

  22. mai said:

    for me as a commoner with a common mind, i will probably take a look at A than B. A doesn’t sound as boring as B.

  23. Rico Hollingshed said:

    Technicolor motor house was additional likely a refernce to Furthur, the bus the pranksters drove.

  24. Bast Lasik said:

    Good read. I surely liked every little bit of it. I have you ever book marked and can be reading again.

  25. Laser Vision Correction said:

    I appreciated this blog. I appreciate you taking time to write this.

  26. laser eye surgery said:

    I find myself returning for your web log mainly because you get lots of excellent insights, and that is very inspiring and tells me you understand a lot.

  27. Alonso said:

    YEAH thats a pretty good vid

  28. Kyong Colello said:

    I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I?ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I’m quite certain I?ll learn lots of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  29. jeep cj7 specs said:

    Really Welcome this post, how can I achieve is so that I take delivery of an alert piece of mail when you compose a new article?

  30. 1975 lincoln continental said:

    I’m impressed, I need to say. In fact not time and again solve I stumble upon a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you have got attain the nail by the head. Your thought is excellent; the difficulty is impressive that not as much as necessary people are speaking sharply concerning. I am very jovial that I stumbled throughout this in my get used for impressive regarding this.

  31. make money online data entry jobs said:

    Utterly indited written content, Really enjoyed examining.

  32. Michale said:

    amazing stuff thanx. Such a type of blog post will definitely click to numerous viewers. A good article and useful for its written content. Many thanks for sharing it up! great great.

  33. Franklyn said:

    It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  34. www said:

    I must thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this site. I’m hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal website now ;)

  35. Elias said:

    Passion is what’s missing in much of the online content I read these days. Your article contains the optimal combination of writing passion and well-written material and I am impressed.

  36. Aron Sesareo said:

    All in all, some things just work out better than others.

  37. Kaylee said:

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this info
    for my mission.

  38. amc hornet 1975 said:

    thanks to the author in support of attractive his clock calculate resting on this one.

  39. Fletcher said:

    voltage you’re vaping at. Provape the manufacturer of Provari will be releasing a Provari with Blue Led Display on November 28,

  40. j-hot tv said:

    Thanks so much for giving everyone a very superb possiblity to read in detail from this site. It is always very fantastic and also jam-packed with amusement for me and my office friends to search your web site not less than thrice in 7 days to find out the new secrets you will have. And indeed, we are actually fascinated with your tremendous strategies you give. Some 4 ideas on this page are indeed the best we’ve had.

  41. Taylor said:

    We wish to thank you again for the wonderful ideas you offered Jeremy when preparing a post-graduate research plus, most importantly, pertaining to providing many of the ideas in a single blog post. Provided we had known of your web-site a year ago, we will have been saved the unwanted measures we were choosing. Thanks to you. Teeth Whitening Pen

  42. Callie Henke said:

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I?ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I’m quite certain I?ll learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  43. na jego stronie said:

    I have seen loads of useful points on your web site about personal computers. However, I’ve the impression that laptop computers are still less than powerful more than enough to be a option if you often do jobs that require many power, such as video touch-ups. But for internet surfing, microsoft word processing, and the majority of other prevalent computer functions they are perfectly, provided you can’t mind the tiny screen size. Thank you sharing your ideas.

  44. Carmen said:

    dispatch Fire Marshall Bill for an assist’ visit.Another Betime tottyGirl on the Right:No Pants Friday pinup. Possible threat to The Pirate’s Cove here. This blog is officially Swiss, without so

  45. Apple Laptop said:

    I happen to be commenting to make you know what a brilliant discovery my cousin’s daughter developed visiting your blog. She picked up numerous things, which include how it is like to have a marvelous giving nature to get many others smoothly completely grasp selected advanced topics. You actually exceeded our own expectations. Many thanks for displaying these powerful, trustworthy, explanatory and as well as unique thoughts on this topic to Lizeth.

  46. Apple Laptop said:

    I am not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  47. car rental said:

    I was just searching for this information for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your site. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this type of informative sites in top of the list. Usually the top web sites are full of garbage.

  48. Tyson Vranes said:

    Consulter notre superbe web site: Sauvegarde externalisee

  49. Get More Info said:

    Excellent keen synthetic attention regarding details and may foresee difficulties before they occur.

  50. Veronique said:

    The only dilemma with them is that the price
    is obviously much greater. Bleaching is performed by placing a
    gel or rubber to defend the soft tissue off the gums. While
    it won’t help you with your desktop or online photos, you can easily edit your phone gallery images.

  51. Saul said:

    It was also easy to add text and watermark to my images in this section. In-office teeth whitening
    are also known to be the fastest and most effective way to
    get whiter teeth. The difference is that a urea molecule is added to hydrogen peroxide that results in the compound we know as carbamide.

  52. additional info said:

    What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has
    helped me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & help other customers
    like its aided me. Good job.

  53. Best anti aging creams said:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your
    blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write
    again very soon!

  54. ?????? ???? ??????? said:

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site
    before but after looking at many of the articles
    I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly happy I came across it and I’ll
    be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

  55. Charli said:

    Even reliable teeth whiteners may not turn out to be the most effective tooth whitening option. This article
    will compare the teeth whitening cost of every major whitening option. Luckily, there are a few choice teeth whitening
    products that will restore confidence in.

  56. angular cheilitis zit said:

    Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube
    sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had
    to share it with someone!

  57. Improve Your Bladder Health Naturally - Flotrol Bladder Control said:

    Hi to all, the contents present at this website are really
    remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up
    the good work fellows.

  58. social networking lesbians said:

    I do not know if it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems
    with your site. It appears as though some of the text on your posts are running
    off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?

    This may be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Thanks

  59. fake prada for sale said:

    Wow! Very good selling handbags website click here.

  60. Lesha Pete said:

    Thanks for your article. One other thing is always that individual states have their unique laws that will affect house owners, which makes it very hard for the the nation’s lawmakers to come up with the latest set of guidelines concerning foreclosed on homeowners. The problem is that each state features own regulations which may interact in an unfavorable manner in relation to foreclosure plans.

  61. buy omega outlet said:

    well! More exciting content and fantastic

  62. nrphone.co.kr said:

    A dental expert is the most suitable choice to go if you are considering bleaching.
    This article will compare the teeth whitening cost of every major
    whitening option. Many people are opting for mobile laser teeth
    whitening these days.

  63. watches-kingdom.com said:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own web site now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

Leave a Reply