Whether a prospect reads your direct mail, email or landing page completely or they scan it, they will always glance at your subheads and highlights.

Some may read every word and decide. Some may skim and decide. But your prospect will read the subheadlines and color-highlighted areas.

According to one study, headlines and subheads are the most important elements in the sales letter. On average, five times as many people read headlines and subheads as people who read body copy.

If you haven’t done some selling in your headline/subhead, you’re wasting money.

Subheads that Sell

 For best results, always craft your content with the following points in mind:

  1. Subheads must flag down the prospect. This is how you qualify the reader.
  2. The subhead must appeal to the reader’s self interest. It should promise a benefit or exciting news.
  3. The subhead should always be in a second color.
  4. Readers will be more likely to read your body copy if the subhead arouses their curiosity.

Your prospect may only be interested in certain key points. The subhead allows the skimmer to zero in on what is of most interest to him/her.

But, they also help the devoted reader to capture all the important benefits as outlined in your sales presentation.

Here is one example of a successful transition from subhead to body copy:

[subhead] How to avoid the harmful side effects of drugs and safeguard your heart

[body copy] “It’s all too easy to get misdiagnosed, and easier still to get drugs and therapy you don’t need. Why? Because nutritional and structural problems can mimic far more dangerous illnesses – and your doctor can’t tell the difference.”

The subhead must be written with the objective of informing the reader of the next major transition and teasing the reader into continuing on.

Here are some other examples of effective subhead usages:

  1. “5 Employee Relations Bombshells – and How You Can Avoid Them”
  2. “An Upbeat, Positive Website Dedicated to the Needs and Interest of Your 6-12 Year-Old”
  3. “7 Shocking 2020 Forecasts You Won’t Read About in the Mass Media”
  4. “The Five Most Common Mistakes of Caregiving”
  5. “Powerful New Technological Advances Increase Productivity and Customer Satisfaction in Results You Can Measure”
  6. “Believers, Skeptics, and Everyone in Between: Be Inspired, Challenged, and Transformed”
  7. “Call Today for Your FREE ‘Ultimate Wealth Protection Survival Kit’ So You Can Safeguard Your Wealth Immediately – a $169.70 Value…”

Color Highlights

Color highlights are a proven way to draw in readers, similarly to subheads. By carefully selecting key paragraphs for highlighting, you can ensure that the most important elements of your story are ready by all recipients…skimmers and non-skimmers alike.

Color highlighting also serves to break up blocks of copy, making it easier to read.


One of the ways to draw attention to a key point is indenting a paragraph.

Indented paragraphs should also be color-highlighted so that they stand out.

When highlighting, always use colors that pop.


Winning subheads and effective highlighting can often make the difference between a great response and a mediocre one.

Take time with them, write them as a powerful set-up to your body and make them stand out.

If you’d like to talk about creating powerful, attention-grabbing copy that gets a response, give me a call at (310)212-5727 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com.


Here are the rest of this week’s articles: