15 FEB 2017 - Industry

Can Questions in Headlines Be Effective in Affiliate Marketing?

It’s easy to find proponents for both sides of the argument in regards to using questions in headline copy. For affiliates, that will frequently be the copy they write for the top of a custom landing page or squeeze page. Some will argue headlines structured as a question are ineffective, while others will swear by it’s connective nature to the user. Betteridge's law of headlines even states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." It is named after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist. There’s definitely some truth to that statement, but the challenge and benefit comes from using questions that aren’t simply answered with a ‘No’.

We think the real answer to the question found in this headline is likely somewhere in between the two trains of thought, and we’re going to tell you why.

The best headline copy questions are ones that ensure the user’s answer to that question persuades them to become more invested in what you’re promoting. That’s why the phrasing of the question is so important, because you’re aiming to minimize the possibility of a user answering that question negatively. If anything, you don’t want them to be able to answer it at all. You want them to have to read through the rest of your copy to find their answer. Doing this will increase their interest in what you’re promoting, ensuring they invest more time into your landing page and learning about the offer.

If you directly tie the answer to the question with the campaign’s product or service you’re promoting, there’s a greater likelihood the user will go looking for the answer. To properly answer the question you’ve asked them, they will literally HAVE to find out more information first. You want a conversation to open within their user’s head, where perhaps without even realizing it they’re automatically trying to answer what you’ve asked.

An example of this could be: “Is This Weight Loss Program The Perfect Match For YOUR Body?”

The user isn’t going to be able to answer this question without delving in a bit further, inevitably learning more about the program. They’re engaging with your ad, article, social media post, or landing page, and spending quality time learning more about the product. This is going to increase the probability of a conversion significantly. The goal is to inspire the curiosity of the user.

If you were to just ask: “Are You Looking to Shed Pounds Right Now?” it’s very easy for the user to answer “No.” in their heads if they feel unmotivated or are still considering options when it comes to weight loss or living a healthier lifestyle. The disconnect between the headline and the content (which for affiliates will be the campaign landing page or a custom squeeze page) allows for an easy “exit” out of the sales path, leading to a reduced conversion rate.

Questions aren’t always the best option for headline copy, but they can still be useful way to attract users to engage if you put some thought behind what is you’re asking. Strive to make them as inclusive as possible to maximize the amount of users who want to learn more about the campaign you’re promoting.

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