12 Tips for Writing Affiliate Marketing Headlines: A Copywriting Guide
When people see your ad or find you in the organic search results, your title is the first thing they notice. The same applies when they land on your landing page!
You might have the best landing page content in the world. However, if your affiliate marketing headlines don’t resonate with your target audience, they won’t engage with your landing page or click on your affiliate links.
In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into affiliate marketing headlines to help you create catchier titles that convert!
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The Value of Affiliate Marketing Headlines
In a previous article, I covered the characteristics of effective affiliate marketing landing pages. One of them is the AIDA principle which stands for the following:
- Attention: Attention-grabbing headline with a strong hook
- Interest: Expand on the headline and cover the pain point of the target audience
- Desire: Compelling benefits
- Action (Call to Action): Tell your visitor what to do next
In that article, I mentioned you only have a couple of seconds, at most, to grab a visitor’s attention. If your headline does not convey the right message, your audience will leave the landing page without reading your copy.
Statistics show that, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest!
Crafting an attention-grabbing headline can be challenging if you’re new to affiliate marketing.
However, if you follow the below tips and advice, you’ll be on your way to creating more appealing headlines that can give you higher conversions!
12 Tips for Writing Headlines That Convert
The following tips can help you write better headlines for your affiliate campaigns. Some of these ideas should be applied to all headlines you work on, but you may not be able to incorporate every tip into a single headline.
Just try to keep these in mind when you’re creating new headline ideas to elevate the quality and effectiveness of your ads, content, and overall marketing efforts!
#1. Avoid Sensationalist or Clickbait Headlines
Many affiliate marketers use clickbait techniques in page titles, headlines, social media posts, and ads to attract attention and get more clicks. But as tempting as this might be, it’s one of the worst things you can do.
Facebook defines clickbait as headlines or body text that intentionally withhold crucial information or create misleading expectations through exaggeration to get clicks.
Facebook shares the following two examples of clickbait:
- Withhold information in a headline or body text. For example, the headline “You’ll never believe who tripped and fell on the red carpet…” withholds information required to understand the article. (What happened? Who tripped?)
- Exaggerate or sensationalize content in a headline or body text. For example, the headline “Apples are actually bad for you?!” misleads the reader (apples may only be bad for you if you eat too many).
And it is not only Facebook that discourages and penalizes clickbait headlines.
In July 2020, Google updated its Misrepresentation policy to introduce the Clickbait Ads policy – this policy covers advertisement which uses sensationalist or clickbait text.
According to Google, sensationalist language instills a false sense of urgency in users who want to know what happened immediately. However, these statements are often false or exaggerated and fail to disclose the product or service behind the ad.
Google does not only deal with clickbait in its ads policy.
In their helpful content guidelines, Google includes the following questions content creators, including affiliates, should ask themselves:
- Does the main heading or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the main heading or page title avoid exaggerating or being shocking in nature?
To summarize, sensationalist or clickbait headlines do attract attention.
However, it is for all the wrong reasons. It can create a bad impression on your target audience. And it can also hurt the performance of your paid ads, social media posts, and website content. Avoid clickbait headlines!
#2. Keep Your Headlines Short
In principle, there is no rule that the ideal headline needs to contain a specific number of words or characters. However, shorter headlines are typically easier to read and are less likely to be truncated.
For example, Google removed the 110 character limit for the headline property in their article on structured data documentation.
According to Google:
“We recommend that you write concise titles as long titles may be truncated on some devices.”
Google typically truncates titles wider than 600 pixels – approximately 60 characters.
Moz.com has a handy title tag preview tool that shows how Google will display your title in their search results.
Many, if not most, affiliates use the same wording in their title tag as in their h1 tag (the most important headline on a page). The title tag preview tool can warn you if Google may truncate or cut off your title, as that might make it less desirable to click on.
Although search engines may truncate long titles, short titles are often not descriptive enough. I suggest a good length for a page title is between 50 and 60 characters, including spaces.
Unlike Google, many platforms have a character limit for headlines.
Pinterest, for example, has a 100 character limit. However, when someone sees your Pin in their feed or in a search result, only the first 30 characters of your title typically appear under your image – they have to click on your Pin to see your full title.
In the case of Pinterest, your Pin will have to do most of the work to attract attention. However, your title remains important – try to include your most important keywords in the first 30 characters.
Other platforms – like Facebook and Twitter – don’t truncate your title or headline like Google does at 600 pixels (or approximately 60 characters).
But generally, shorter is still better on organic social posts as well: one study analyzed 100 million of the best headlines across Facebook and Twitter and determined the ideal headline length to be 11 words and 65 characters.
#3. Use Numbers in Your Headline
According to Moz, few things in a headline resonate with readers to the extent that numbers do!
As illustrated in the above image, numbers in headlines resonate 15% more than the second-place reader-addressing headlines.
Numbers can make your landing page appear more authoritative, factual, and substantive.
To have the most impact with numbers in headlines, go with digits instead of words. For example, write “5 Tips” instead of “Five Tips.”
Here are some examples of numbers in headlines:
- 7 Tips on Effective Affiliate Marketing Headlines
- 5 Lessons I Learned From Writing Headlines for 20 Years
- 7 Facts & Statistics That Can Help You Write Better Headlines
- 10 Headline Writing Tips to Create Magnetic Headlines
#4. Make Your Headline Unique
Google always wants visitors to have a good user experience. This typically means offering them unique content that answers their search query, which includes titles or headlines.
Although specific keywords may appear in multiple headlines, Google seldom displays two identical headlines on the first page of the SERPs (including both paid search ads and organic results).
For example, Google shows the following results on their first page for the keyword how to bathe your cat:
Although several of the above headlines are similar, none are identical. As a rule of thumb for organic content, check to make sure that your headline is different than all others on the first page of Google.
Bonus Tip (Optional) – Use the following search query to find any identical headlines in Google:
intitle:”your landing page title”
For example, by searching for intitle:”how to bathe a cat that hates water” (use double quotation marks), you will find ten other pages with the same title.
#5. Match Where Your Audience is At
You should always be thinking about your headlines in relation to the customer journey or buyer’s journey. Understand where they’re at – problem-aware, solution-aware, or product-aware – and craft a headline that appeals to them at the appropriate stage.
As an example, in terms of Google, user or search intent is the reason why someone types a search query into a search engine.
As an affiliate, your job is to promote a product that is a good match for the needs of your target audience. Many marketers make the mistake of focusing too much on keywords and not enough on user intent.
The better you understand your target audience, the better you will know their intent in searching for solutions to problems.
For example, in the previous section, I showed you the Google search results for the keyword “how to bathe your cat.”
Are searchers of this term looking for free information – and if they are, do they prefer text, photos, or videos? Are they willing to spend money to get what they are searching for? If yes, what would be a good fit for their needs?
If you’re a cat lover and part of your target audience, you can probably imagine the intent of another cat lover typing how to bathe your cat into Google.
But what if you are not part of your target audience? Perhaps you don’t even own a cat and have no idea why anyone would be silly enough to attempt to bathe a cat.
Well, Google introduced their RankBrain Algorithm in 2015 to better understand the user intent behind a search query. And they have been working ever since to improve it – this feature helps them to deliver the best and most relevant content to users.
By looking at the titles or headlines on the first page of Google, you’ll get a good idea of what type of content is a good match, based on user intent, for the keyword you’re targeting.
As mentioned in the previous section, your headline should be unique. And it’s good practice to improve on the headlines of your competitors.
However, don’t get TOO creative – a catchy headline is only effective if it resonates with the user intent of your target audience.
NOTE: User intent goes well beyond only the headline of your landing page. Your content should also match the expectations of your visitors.
#6. Mind Your Language
To gain the trust and loyalty of your target market, the audience should view you as an authority in your niche.
However, even if you are the world’s foremost authority, your audience must understand you. That’s why you need to use common words that are familiar to them!
As a general guideline, your headline should be clear to a 9th grader (14 – 15 years old).
- Don’t write: 5 Tips on How to Build a Superlative Affiliate Website
- Write: 5 Tips on How to Build a High-Converting Affiliate Website
- Don’t write: How to Annihilate Skin Tags on Your Cervical Spine Expeditiously
- Write: How to Get Rid of Skin Tags on Your Neck Fast
Using the same language your target audience uses, you not only attract their attention, but also avoid any confusion that might put your affiliate commissions at risk.
In addition, use second-person narration, including you, your, and you’re. People typically respond and identify better with messages that address them!
#7. Ask Questions
Asking a question in your headline(s) and hinting that you have the answer often resonates with people who have that same question.
It’s like when you are sitting in the audience at a conference, and someone else asks the same question you have – you immediately pay attention.
Many prefer a concise answer to a question instead of reading through a lengthy blog post or landing page, hoping it will address their question. However, you have to phrase the question correctly.
Never ask a question that requires a yes or no answer!
Betteridge’s law of headlines, coined by journalist Ian Betteridge, says you can always answer questions in headlines with NO. It might be true for sensational newspaper headlines where journalists lack facts and ask hypothetical questions to appeal to emotion – but it isn’t typically true for most affiliate marketing headlines.
For example, if you Google the term “Elementor” (which is a WordPress page builder plugin), questions people also ask, according to Google, include:
The only question you might be able to answer with a NO is the second question: Is Elementor actually free?
But since Elementor has a free and paid version (Elementor Pro), neither a Yes nor a No answer is 100% correct.
NOTE: If you are an affiliate of Elementor, it might be a good idea to include the above questions under a FAQ heading on your post or page.
However, I would advise you not to post a question as a landing page title without adding context to the headline.
Sticking to our example of Elementor, here is the landing page title of SmartBlogger.com:
They add context to the headline by stating they are posting a review.
You might argue that you can answer the question they pose with a simple yes or no. And you would be partially correct in thinking that.
If you’re currently using Elementor, you might say yes. But you are likely to say no if you use another landing page builder, such as Convertri, and are happy with them.
This is where user intent, which I discussed earlier, plays an important role.
People searching for whether Elementor is the best landing page builder are likely not current users of Elementor. They have probably heard good things about the software, or they have already decided to use Elementor and are looking for confirmation that they’re making the right decision.
In my opinion, in this example, SmartBlogger.com has a good understanding of the user intent behind the search query, and that’s why their affiliate marketing headline works.
Writing REALLY in all caps is also a nice touch, although I would generally advise you not to use all caps in headlines – it might come across as shouting or an exaggeration. In this case, though, it draws attention and adds emphasis that works within the context of the headline.
#8. Deliver on What You Promise
One of the most frustrating user experiences is when you click on a headline, but the page content doesn’t live up to the expectations created in the headline.
It’s a super-fast way to lose your credibility and alienate the audience you want to promote products to.
If you promise to deliver ten tips in your headline, deliver ten tips. If your headline says you’re reviewing a product, post an actual review, not a landing page.
Always be as specific as possible in your headlines about what content your visitors can expect to find on your page, and do not disappoint them.
#9. Plan Your Headline Structure
If you have a landing page and rely on free organic traffic from Google, you should familiarize yourself with Google’s recommendations for headings and titles.
They include the following:
- Use a unique H1 heading for each page and only use one H1 heading per page.
- When possible, avoid using -ing verb forms as the first word in any heading or title.
- Avoid repeating the exact page title in a heading on the page if possible.
- Use punctuation in headings sparingly, if at all. Punctuation can be a sign that your heading is too complicated. Consider rewriting.
- When using an abbreviation in a heading or title, spell out the abbreviation in the first paragraph that follows the heading or title.
- Use a heading hierarchy and take the following items into consideration:
- Ensure that each page in your project includes a unique level-1 heading. In some publishing systems, a level-1 heading might be generated automatically based on a page title that you supply.
- Don’t skip levels of the heading hierarchy. For example, put an <h3> tag only under an <h2> tag.
NOTE: Headings come in six levels: h1 (main heading) through h6. Besides the h1 heading, the most common headings are h2 and h3 subheadings.
In addition, Google’s SEO Starter Guide mentions you should avoid the following:
- Erratically moving from one heading tag size to another.
- Excessive use of heading tags on a page.
- Using heading tags where other tags like <em> and <strong> may be more appropriate.
The above might sound straightforward. Unfortunately, Google sometimes contradicts itself.
For example, in a Google Search Central video, John Mueller has the following to say about h1 headings:
“Our systems don’t have a problem when it comes to multiple h1 headings on a page. That’s a fairly common pattern on the web. We use headings to better understand the context of different parts of a page.”
And in a Reddit post, John said you’ll never be penalized for not having an h1 headline.
Many affiliate marketers don’t understand how good Google is at reading and interpreting what their site or landing page is all about.
I recommend you write headlines for people while keeping your eye on Google’s best practices. But never prioritize Google over your visitors.
In addition, write your headings before you write any content. This will make it much easier for you to structure your content in a way that makes sense to your visitors and Google.
#10. Niche Down and Mention Your Target Audience
You’ll probably face significant competition promoting popular and highly profitable affiliate products from ClickBank or other sources.
One way to differentiate yourself from other affiliates is to niche down and mention your target audience. For instance, instead of writing about headlines in general, this article focuses on affiliate marketing headlines. I am identifying my target audience in the headline!
Here are some examples:
- The Ultimate Guide for Amateurs to Writing Blog Headlines – The target market is newbie writers wanting to start a blog.
- 10 Ways Stay-at-Home Moms Can Make Money Online in Their PJs – The target market is stay-at-home moms eager to make money working from home.
- 5 Best Productivity Tools for Small Business Owners – The target market is small business owners struggling to manage their time.
These headlines would work perfectly in a social media post or ad as well – even if you’re not being super deliberate with your audience targeting, this will help algorithms like Facebook get your content in front of the right people.
#11. Use Brackets
Using brackets or parentheses to insert non-essential text into your headline can make it stand out and increase your click-through rate (CTR).
Brackets can add additional information, clarifications, and benefits to your headline.
- How to Write Catchy Affiliate Marketing Headlines (With Examples)
Here is an example of how Reliablesoft.net does it:
Here is another example of how Neil Patel from NeilPatel.com does it:
Although most marketers insert brackets at the end of the headline, nothing stops you from inserting them in the middle.
- How to (Realistically) Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
Why does the above headline work?
Many people talk about how easy it is to make money with affiliate marketing. However, affiliate marketing can be a steep learning curve, and it takes time for anyone to earn a decent income from it.
By inserting the word realistically in the headline, you appeal to people who have tried it and failed, skeptical newbies, and those who know that many income claims on the internet are unrealistic – possible but not probable.
And most people would agree that “How to (Realistically) Make Money With Affiliate Marketing” is more eye-catching than “How to Realistically Make Money With Affiliate Marketing” or “How to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing.”
Adding brackets or parenthesis with additional words can help your headline grab attention and stand out in a big way!
#12. Think Outside the Box (Experiment!)
The final tip I want to share with you is: Think outside the box and break some stereotypical ways of writing affiliate marketing headlines.
Product reviews or comparisons, for example, is a popular and effective affiliate marketing method. But most affiliate marketers follow the same methodology.
For example, when you search for Bluehost versus SiteGround, Google displays the following results on their first page:
This is the stereotypical way of writing product comparison headlines: add the keyword (SiteGround vs. Bluehost) at the beginning, followed by a short blurb.
Unless you have an authority website that covers web hosting, you won’t rank on the first page of Google for this keyword. That is, unless you can spend $14+ per click for a sponsored listing (paid search ad).
Many product comparison pages do nothing but compare products without identifying a winner, which is what people are actually after. Readers are often torn between Option A and Option B, and after reading a lengthy product comparison, they are still unsure which option is the best.
Looking at the “people also ask” section, this becomes apparent.
People want to know which is the better option! And they don’t want to read through thousands of words to be left with an inconclusive answer.
So, it’s worth thinking outside the box: why don’t you answer their question in your headline?
- 5 Reasons Why SiteGround Is Better Than Bluehost
- 7 Reasons Why I Prefer SiteGround Over Bluehost
- 10 Reasons Why You Should Use SiteGround Instead of Bluehost
The above titles give users a direct answer to their question, making them more inclined to read the reasons on your landing page – and clicking on your affiliate link!
How to Create a Great Headline for Your Landing Page
Here is an easy five-step process to write catchy headlines, especially if you lack inspiration.
- Step 1: Spy on Your Competitors
- Step 2 (Optional): Get Ideas From ChatGPT
- Step 3: Improve Your Headline(s)
- Step 4: Use a Headline Analyzer
- Step 5: Final Selection
Let’s look at the steps in more detail now.
Step #1: Spy on Your Competitors
If you want to create an amazing headline for Google search, social media audiences, or your own landing page, it’s worth looking at the titles and headlines of similar content that’s already out there.
Although you want your headline to be different, you may get some inspiration from competitor with ideas for crafting a more effective headline.
If you don’t want to wait for organic traffic and prefer placing ads for faster results, I suggest you look at my article covering the best ad spy tools for affiliate marketing.
Step 2 (Optional): Get Ideas From ChatGPT
ChatGPT (along with other generative AI tools) has become all the rage in marketing circles. And although it has many limitations, it can be helpful in generating ideas for affiliate marketing headlines.
For example, if you want to promote Convertri as an affiliate, the following prompt can enable ChatGPT to generate headline suggestions:
Imagine you are an affiliate for Convertri. Suggest 10 catchy blog post titles for the keyword [Convertri] targeting people looking for landing page builders. The headlines should be maximum 60 characters including spaces.
Within seconds, ChatGPT created the following ten headlines:
Not bad. However, the headlines are more than 60 characters long.
When I add the prompt again that the headlines should be maximum 60 characters, including spaces, I get the following results:
None of these headlines are perfect as-is, but you can easily fine-tune them with further prompts or ask ChatGPT to create more headlines. And even if you don’t use any of these specifically, they can give you different ideas to run with for coming up with your own headline.
Step 3: Improve Your Headline(s)
By spying on your competitors and using tools like ChatGPT, you can compile a list of several potential headlines for any piece of content or marketing campaign.
Go through your list and think how you might be able to improve them. And do consider the tips I shared earlier about writing headlines that convert!
Step 4: Use a Headline Analyzer
There are many headline analyzers that will score your headlines and suggest how you might further improve them.
The top headline analyzers include the following:
Unfortunately, the headline scores often vary significantly from one to the other. But they can suggest things that might make your headline more appealing.
I recommend you try the above headline analyzers and choose one that works the best for you.
Step 5: Final Selection
Once you have completed the first four steps, it is time to make a final selection. And if you are planning on testing more than one headline (A/B Testing), you can experiment first before making your final decision.
The above process might seem cumbersome. However, remember that, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest!
It’s well worth spending time to create great headlines! Best of all, as you get better at writing headlines, you’ll reach a point where it will only take you minutes to craft the perfect winning headline.
Affiliate Marketing Headlines Wrap-up
You can’t build effective, high-converting landing pages if they don’t attract attention. And since the first thing anyone visiting your site will see is your headline, you MUST have a catchy headline!
The 12 affiliate marketing headline tips I shared in this post will help you get off to a solid start.
However, writing catchy headlines is only one piece of the affiliate marketing puzzle. If you want to significantly boost your chances of earning more commissions faster, you’ll want to invest in your affiliate marketing knowledge and skills.
I reviewed several affiliate marketing courses that can help flatten the learning curve. With that said, many of them may be too expensive or niche for someone who’s new to affiliate marketing.
The good news is, you can join a top-notch and affordable education platform like Spark by ClickBank, which includes an optional Convertri landing page builder at a discounted rate, plus landing page templates, a comprehensive funnel-building course, and a community to help you every step fo the way.
To get started, sign up for Spark now!