There is one sentence that decides if your ad or blog post gets read or ignored.
And if you’re thinking it’s the headline, you’re wrong. Hard to believe? Check out this statistic from copyblogger.com:
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.
But wait a sec, doesn’t this mean the headline is the most important? Seems that way, but no. Believe it or not…
The most important sentence is the first sentence.
The first sentence is the biggest hump for the reader to get past. It is the deciding factor if the rest of your ad gets read or ignored.
Let’s take a closer look.
80% of people will read your headline. So you better make sure it’s a good one, because only 20% will read any further. The biggest challenge isn’t getting people to read your headline (people will do that simply because it’s in front of them). No, it’s getting them to read that first sentence. You know, the beginning of the actual post. The start of your well thought out message.
That really needs to be the purpose of the entire ad or post. The headline needs to spark enough interest to get them to read the first sentence. The design needs to make the first sentence easy for the eyes to find. And your first sentence needs to be so easy to read that your reader can’t help but read it.
This is one of the concepts that made Joseph Sugarman, copywriting genius, an immortal legend in the world of copywriting. And if you’re remotely serious about being a copywriter you will read his book The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters.
The purpose of the first sentence
So why do I place such a high value on the first sentence? What is its purpose? The purpose of the first sentence is…
…to get the reader to read the second sentence!
Every part of your ad should be designed to keep the person reading. Why? Because if someone only reads part of your ad, how likely are they to buy what you’re selling? Not very likely at all I would say.
At the same token, If someone only reads half a blog post, they aren’t likely to take a desired action like signing up for your email list. Or downloading your eBook.
You of course need to write something that convinces the reader of the value of what you are trying to get them to do. But your chances of getting them to that point drastically increase if they actually finish reading what you wrote.
An Essential Resource
This is not a concept I came up with. It is a proven technique that works! So please give it a try. For those of you who have read Joseph Sugarman’s book, you will recognize this as the “Slippery Slide” technique. For those of you who haven’t, there is a lot more to it than this. I would advise you to pick up a copy of the book and study it cover to cover. You can get one from Amazon by clicking the link below. This is an affiliate link, meaning I get a commission of your purchase. It doesn’t cost you anything extra. Please believe me when I say I would never recommend anything I didn’t review personally and benefit immensely from. I reference this book almost every time I write an ad or blog post.