Successful Newspaper Advertising for Contractors Part 3: Headline Development

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I am happy to present another insightful guest post from Darren Slaughter, a construction marketing consultant who works with contractors large and small to sell more, advertise better, and market to buyers. Thanks for stopping by, Darren!

This is Part 3 of a 3-part article.

Read Part 1 here >>

Read Part 2 here >>

When creating your ad, you should spend as much time thinking of the headline as you do the rest of the ad. As I mentioned in my previous post, the headline sells the reader on reading the rest of the ad. Follow these tips when creating your headlines and watch your conversion rates shoot through the roof… no pun intended to my roofing contractor readers!

  • Start your headline by telling the story. Stories are a great way to pull your reader into the ad
  • By using something like “Act Now” usually conveys a sense of urgency to the reader
  • Use your headline to tell the reader what to do
  • The headline is a great place to announce a free offer
  • Write your headline as if you were speaking to one person, in other words, make it personal
  • Your headline has to either relay a benefit or intrigue the reader into wanting more

Again, people will make a decision to read or ignore your ad-based off of your headline. If the rest of the ad is fantastic but your headline sucks, than shame on you for not taking the time to create a compelling headline.

  • Make sure your ad appears within the first 15 pages of the newspaper. Many newspapers use to charge a premium for this but you should be able to negotiate this into your ad price considering the shape most newspapers are in today.
  • When possible, use an advertorial type of ad. I will be doing a detailed approach to advertorials in the future but for now here’s a good link on how to make one.
  • If possible, tie your ads to something that is going on in the local news. A good example would be a basement waterproofing company tying their ad in while the township tries to fix the flooding problems during heavy rains.
  • In 2011, you can’t get away with just including a name, address and phone number. You have to include every possible way to reach you because people want to contact you in their own way, so make it easy for them. Include one phone number, an e-mail address, your website, and if practical, your physical street address.

About Darren

My story is pretty simple, I write a marketing blog for contractors that is a plain-English, pull-no-punches tale of what I see working for the clients I work with everyday. What I talk about isn’t theory out of some book, I am living it. I’m in the trenches getting my hands dirty just like you! The topics I tend to talk about are print and online advertising, website design, social media marketing and sales tips and strategies that I hope will help grow your business. If you want to read more, you can check out my blog at

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3 thoughts on “Successful Newspaper Advertising for Contractors Part 3: Headline Development”

  1. Very good article. One thing I am learning from Tess’ blog is writing material is very important for your branding and or advertising.
    If you can’t write, hire Tess to do it for you – LOL

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