The best headline I’ve seen

February 5, 2013 at 6:06 am | Posted in copywriting | 8 Comments
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Remember how I unintentionally ‘mozzed’ my neighbour’s home auction by invoking a thunderstorm?

Well, I just got a letter with the best headline I’ve seen:


This is a corker.

This isn’t the best headline you’ve seen, but it wasn’t written for you. It was written for me, by Andrew Crotty, who wants to sell my home.

I am his target audience.

I wasn’t thinking of selling my home: now I am.

I’ve had emails, letters, postcards, magnets, phone calls and calendars from six other agents: I binned them all. Yet now I’m blogging about Biggin Scott.

Good headline.

In 10 Steps to Perfect Recruitment Ads I explain that the best ads have four elements: attention, interest, desire and action.


This house is four up from mine, with a similar floor plan. Mine’s better (of course)!

So if this sold for $530K, mine must be worth $550K; maybe more. That sure got my attention.

The subheader was the street address, which rammed home the local nature of this happy news.


Under the subheader was:

(Two bedroom cottage, no parking).

These diminutive italics were like a friendly aside, ‘So much loot for such a crap home – imagine what yours could fetch!’

I recalled that the pitch to buyers was rather more fulsome. Fortunately, it was still online*:

This Brick Victorian offers quick & easy access to the city along with being situated close to Victoria Park and public transport.

• 2 bedrooms both with built in robes

• Recently renovated lounge & dining area

• Modern Kitchen-s/s appliances

• Timber flooring – Built in entertainment unit

• Near new bathroom & laundry

• Private paved courtyard – feature fish pond

I LOVE how Cinderella-like, the robes vanished and the Brick Victorian reverted to a cottage for the purpose of my letter.

Interested? I couldn’t stop reading!


Andrew wisely gave a third of his space to the photo and headline. His body copy was uncommonly brief, yet it included everything a home owner could desire*:

We…have other…buyers keen to purchase in this area.

If you…would like a hassle free quick sale we would love to talk to you.

Why not see what your property is worth today.


The bottom bore Andrew’s name and number in a massive, bold font. This was smart, as my eyesight is indeed waning.

Next to this was a full-length photo of Andrew: standing, smiling, handsome and tieless in a very nice suit.

My action? Though I wasn’t ready to sell my home, I asked Andrew if I could praise him in public. He replied:

I must admit I know very little about blogs but am happy to assist in any way. Feel free to use what you need…

Ye gods; honest too! That settles it: I’d better tell Fonnie we’re moving.

Anyway: attention, interest, desire, action – that’s how you write killer copy!


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

 * For journalistic integrity, I (barely) resisted the urge to optimise this copy. I’ve tried to ‘help’ many real estate agents, but they always get cross. I think it’s my delivery …


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  1. This is SUCH a great example of telling a story differently depending on your audience. Thanks for sharing it Paul!

    I understand how tempting it is for businesses to try and get max return on their copywriting investment by rolling it out on as many different audiences and platforms as possible. But it becomes like super skim milk, diluted so much that it simple gives a vague impression of being milk.

    The thing I really love about this is the fact that this guy clearly has a great understanding of his target audience and what they’re interested…. the rest must have seemed easy.

    • Cor; that’s some high praise Belinda! 🙂 I’m so pleased you dug this scene. I utterly endorse your analysis. Skim milk is a great metaphor (simile? analogy? … I always get those confused). I use chairs myself. Like, when a client tries to sit on five chairs (i.e. audiences) at once, they fall between them all and end up on their bum. Many thanks for weighing in! 🙂

      • Hey, my pleasure Paul. It really struck a cord as I’d only recently read Sarah Mitchell’s blog post about digging deep to tell a richer, more relevant story to your customers. Shazaam!

        • Ah, well; you’re in fine company with Sarah. I think it’s high time we called a big Onya Sonya for all us grouse riters. 😀

  2. How did Fonnie take the news Paul? That was a very funny line.

    • Hee hee. Thank you, Bella. Not at all well. Fonnie loves our home and is loath to leave. While willing to entertain thoughts of moving, she has set one condition: that the place we move to be at least as good as this one. To date, despite my most strenuous efforts, I’ve been unable to meet that criterion. So, Empire House is safe for now. Great to see you here, Bella. I hope you come back soon. Kind regards, P. 🙂

  3. Excellent example of brief copy aimed at an audience, Paul.

    I am intrigued by… the use of …many ellipses … maybe it worked better as a package!

    • Thank you, Tash. Nice observation! I had to cut a truckload of fat from the brochure to present only the meat. Otherwise, everyone would’ve nodded off … and I’d have missed out on your ace comment! 😛

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