Headline Mistakes

Th 5 headline mistakes that will cost you sales

Quick, name the best thing about going to ice cream shops.

Free samples!


You can’t get ice cream without trying 10 different flavors first.

Every place offers them, because they know it will entice you to buy and ensure you will enjoy it.

Those little tastes make a big difference.

But imagine asking for a sample of the mint chocolate chip, only for the shop to hand you a tiny spoonful of their new experimental pickle & pistachio flavor.

Or what if instead of a sample of cookie dough they handed you a business card saying they had the best ice cream in the city?

Think you’d stick around for a double scoop?

Or would you go down the street to a place where you could know you’d get something good?

Your website’s headline is like that little sample scoop.

It should be a sample of what your whole site (and business) has to offer, enticing the right people to go in for the whole cone and warning the wrong people to go somewhere else.

If your headline is bad, not many are going to stick around to read more, much less buy anything.

But I see a whole lot of pickle-flavored headlines.

Here are 5 major mistakes that will leave a bad taste in a patient’s mouth, costing you a lot of money:

Mistake 1: Just a Name

The mistake many new businesses make is thinking all they need at the top of their site is the company name.

It’s natural to feel proud of your business, excited about starting it, and wanting to broadcast it to the whole world at the top of your site, along with not knowing what else should go there.

But there’s nothing inherently enticing or informative about a name.

For many, you can’t even tell what a company does from their name (Amazon? Google?)

Even if your name mentions Physical Therapy or some specialty, that doesn’t do anything to distinguish you from the cheaper clinic down the street that takes insurance.

Mistake 2: Generic Message

Speaking of not distinguishing yourself, many sites have a message that would be fine, if it weren’t the same thing everyone else was saying.

Every physical therapist promises pain relief and helps with active adults (or some other specialty) and provides personal care.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever mention those things, but if that’s all you have to say, you’re not telling your clients what sets you apart from everyone else.

It’s like advertising that your ice cream shop has vanilla.

Mistake 3: Vague or Confusing

A tagline is not a message.

Taglines can quickly identify your brand (Just Do It!), but they don’t give enough information to introduce you to someone who is browsing, so trying to put yours at the top of the site usually comes off as too vague or confusing.

“Feel Like a Kid Again” is fine as a company motto or tagline, but if that’s the first (and possibly only) thing you see on a company’s site, would you know exactly what service they offer and why you need it?

Would you bother sticking around to find out?

Mistake 4: All About You

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you care a lot more about your awards and accolades and certifications than your patients do.

Telling them you’re the best Physical Therapist in town (or went to a top 5 school or are certified in goat yoga by the Dalai Lama) doesn’t have the effect you want it to, unfortunately, because lots of places say that about lots of things.

People want to know whether and how you can help them with their specific problems.

There’s a place for awards and testimonials down below.

At the top, you need to focus on the service and value you provide.

Mistake 5: Too Clever

I’m a writer, so I love a good pun, but putting one in your headline is a recipe for a stomach ache.

Don’t try to be too cute or clever, because you won’t get your full message across, and plenty of people just won’t get it.

They came for plain answers to their health problems, and you gave them a taste of pickle-flavored ice cream.

Just like you don’t want to be too generic, don’t try to be too unique, either.

A straightforward, informative, intelligent message about how you can help and why they should come to you is all you need.

Now that you know what NOT to do, what SHOULD you do?

Well, this post is too long already, so we’ll save that for next time, but here’s a sneak peak:

Hook = Problem + Solution + Results
Method = Who + What + How

Easy, right?

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