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Headline Formulas to Make People Sign Up & Take Action

Are your website headlines making people sign up for your trial?

Do your email subjects entice people to open your emails?

Do your call-to-action buttons animate people to actually click them?

In this post, you’ll learn my simple 4-step formula to writing headlines that convert.

Do You Need Conversion-Driving Copy?

Last summer, I finally launched my new website. I was thrilled.

The hardest part had been writing all the headlines, copy, call-to-action buttons.

I had cranked it out. I was ready for the surge of new clients. Yes!

But a few weeks later, reality hit me:

Almost nobody was signing up for my newsletter, downloading my great lead magnets or getting in touch. ****.

So I did a ton of research. I dived into Google Analytics. And I found the cause.

That’s my old website at the time:

The bottom line: I had focused too much on me, on my services.
So I switched the perspective.

I put my clients first. Their challenges. Their dreams.

The result? Headlines full of benefits:

Two months later, results were in: People were spending twice the time on my website. I was getting my message across. People were signing up for my newsletter and online courses. What about your website, your landing pages, your email newsletters? What would you do with all those additional sign-ups and leads you could generate just by rewriting your headlines? Your buttons? Your email subject lines? In this post, I’ll share my simple 4-step formula to write conversion-driving headlines and copy in a breeze. And I’ll be sharing my two fill-in-the-blanks templates I use to quickly come up with great copy.
So if you want more people to sign up for your newsletter or trial, then keep reading – or grab a coffee, lean back and watch my video tutorial:

How Are Your Texts Doing?

And by texts I mean: How about the subject lines of your email newsletters: Do they really entice people to open your emails?

And how about your website: Does your headline spark enough interest that people will scroll down and find out more about your product?

And how about those precious call-to-action buttons that you place anywhere on your website, in your emails, on your landing pages:

Do they really make people click and sign up for your trial? Give their email address to you?

Have you actually learned how to write compelling copy?

This is what I’ll show you step by step in this post.

Good texts, good headlines, good copy make all the difference whether people will really sign up for your trial or get lost and move on.

And you will never hear from them again.

But who actually writes the copy in your business?

I mean: If you’re just starting out that’s probably you. And later, when you grow, you just keep writing.

Then you have a trainee, maybe a marketing guy. But probably you don’t have a professional copywriter.

And by the way: those do cost a fortune.

The good news: You don’t need an expensive copywriter if you follow the formula that I’m gonna share with you.

A proven and simple formula that in just four steps guarantees that you are gonna write sizzling-hot interest-creating headlines.

Headlines that are gonna make people sign up for your trial. And copy that is really gonna convert those trial users to paying customers.

Your Clients’ Pains, Challenges & Dreams

Your Product’s Features
Matching Pains & Dreams With Features
Conversion-Driving Headlines & Copy
Headline Formulas: Just Fill In The Blanks!
Bonus Tip: Start With Your Website Headlines

Step 1: Your Clients’ Pains, Challenges & Dreams

Discovering what keeps your customers up at night, what they worry about and what they dream of – that’s the foundation of all copy. So don’t skip this step. Actually, when following this formula, you should invest 50% of the time just for this first step. Why? I’m gonna be brutally honest here: Your clients don’t care at all about your product or service. All they care about is themselves: What’s in it for them? So there are two big questions:
  • How can you help your clients solve those pains solves those challenges, and make their lives better?
  • How can you help your clients achieve their dreams, achieve their aspirations?
Or in short: How can you help them get where they want? You really need to get into their heads: What’s driving them? What’s keeping them up at night?

How To Surface What’s Driving Your Clients

Think back to your recent conversations with clients. If you have some raving fans amongst your clients, just call and ask them. Another great resource to find out about your clients’ pains and challenges are online forums like Quora and Reddit:
Just go there and search for the industry of your client:
  • What questions are they asking?
  • What problems are they facing?
And don’t worry whether you already have an idea of how your product or service can help your clients really solve those problems and challenges. Now it’s just about making a long list of all those pains and challenges. And of course of their dreams, where your clients want to be. If you haven’t already, download the templates mentioned above, and put the pains and dreams in line 11 of the spreadsheet:

Step 2:
Your Product’s Features

Now, list all your features. I guess that’s a straightforward one.

You’ve developed your software or SaaS solution for many years, or your products or services.

So just go through it and create a long list of all the big features.

But don’t forget about the small features.

Because sometimes – from the perspective of your clients – a small feature might have a big impact on their lives.

So in this step, just make this really long list of all the features, and add them to the first column of the spreadsheet:

Step 3:
Matching Pains & Dreams With Features

Now, this is the really interesting part.

And there is an easy but quite powerful formula:

So let’s look at the three possible cases here:

Case 1

Let’s say you have a feature that does NOT help at all solve any of your clients’ pains, or that does NOT help at all get them where they want to be.

Well, this feature – from the point of view of your client – is quite useless.

Maybe your tool shouldn’t even have that feature.

Case 2

Now on the other hand if there is a pain that your client is facing and you have NO feature at all to help him with that pain.

It’s still important to know about that pain. It informs you about where your clients need help so that you can develop future features or even entire products to help them out.

But as long as you don’t have any corresponding feature, it’s not interesting for now.

Case 3

But now let’s look at the match:

There is a big pain your client is struggling with, and you have one or several features to help him with that pain.

Well, this is the moment where you create true benefits for your client.

And this is the moment you can really convince him, you can really sell him on your solution.

So whenever a feature helps solve a pain or achieve a dream, put an “x” in the pain-feature-matrix:


Let’s say you have a task management part in your software or SaaS. You’ve just added a new feature to assign tasks to specific people.

  • Feature
    The feature itself – frankly – sounds quite boring.
  • Pain
    But what’s the pain behind it? Maybe your client doesn’t know which of his colleagues or team members is working on what project.

So by combining the feature of assigning tasks with that pain, it becomes powerful.

It becomes a benefit.

How would you put that into writing? Well:

“Always know what all of your teammates and colleagues are working on by assigning tasks to them.”

Do you feel the difference?

You’ve just turned a boring feature into a tangible benefit for your client.

This is what we’re going for.

And by the way: By creating this pain-feature matrix, you’ve just created a powerful resource for your whole sales and marketing department.

Every time you communicate with your clients, every time you are selling your product, it’s important to touch on those pain, dreams, and challenges and of course to combine those with your features to create those benefits, right?

  • One-on-one sales calls
  • One-on-one sales presentations
  • Demo videos & tutorials of your software

So this matrix – that you create once – you can then distribute throughout your whole company to empower all your sales and marketing guys.

Even your project guys, to help them communicate better with your clients, to connect better with them.

And this will ultimately help you create trust and rapport because your clients feel that you understand their pains and challenges.

That you really want to help them.

And of course with your tool, product or service that you’re actually capable of helping them out and getting them where they want.

Step 4: Conversion-Driving Headlines & Copy

Now let’s take all this and turn it into compelling, conversion-driving copy. It’s just a formula – there’s no magic involved:
  • Start with your client: Always start with his pains, challenges, dreams or aspirations.
  • Back it up with your features: Then back up your promise with the specific features of your product or service. How you actually help your clients solve their problem or reach their dreams.
There are two sub-formulas here:

And that’s all there is.

No matter what types of texts you write – headlines, email subjects, call-to-actions:

Start with your client’s pain or dream, and you will immediately catch his attention and spark his curiosity.

And you will make your client take action – that’s why you’re writing conversion-driving copy in the first place, right?

Headline Formulas:
Just Fill In The Blanks!

If you haven’t already, download my two fill-in-the-blanks templates that will get you through the process in a breeze:

The first template – just-fill-in-the-blanks – helps you make that long list of pains, dreams and challenges, and the long list of features, and then connect those.

The second template contains my favorite headline formulas. Again, just fill-in-the-blanks. You’ll find great examples like the following:


  • “Stop worrying about {pain} by starting to use {feature}”
  • “The secret to stop {pain}: {feature}.”
  • “The new way to {dream}: {feature}.”

Bonus Tip:
Start With Your Website Headlines

With the help of the two templates, you can start writing compelling conversion-driving headlines and copy right away.

Your Most Visited Place: Your Website

Before you start feeling overwhelmed, just make the first step: Start with your website.

More specifically, start with the homepage – that first page that gets so many visits (thousands or tens and hundreds of thousands – when did you last check Google Analytics?).

How many of those visitors are you converting?

Meaning: How many of those visitors are signing up for your newsletter or trial?

  • Have a second look at your website.
    Are you talking about yourself? Just about your features? Or do you already have your clients pains and aspirations on your mind?
  • Create the pain-feature-matrix.
    Spend most of the time diving deep into your client’s pains, challenges, dreams and aspirations.
  • Re-write your website headlines.
    Turn them into compelling conversion-driving headlines that really make people sign up for your trial. Sign up for your service.

Your Newsletters & Transactional Emails

Or when you write your next newsletter: Think about the subject line.

How you can implement some pain or benefit right into the subject line?

Your Demo Videos & Tutorials

And when you’re recording your next YouTube video, your next software demo or your next software tutorial:

Always lead with the pain, lead with the dreams of your clients. Then back it up with your specific features, so that you don’t make empty promises but really show and tell how you, your product, your service, your SaaS or your software helps your client get where he wants.

That’s all there is.

Step up your writing game and get more sign-ups for your trial and newsletter, then convert more of those to happy paying customers.

Are you already building your messaging on your clients’ pains and dreams? Let me know in the comments below!

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