Apr 10, 2008

Why Titles Matter

Whether creating a new product or writing an article or book, you'll find that your titles matter.
Why do titles matter? There's several reasons why, ranging from the obvious First Impression to Searchability. We'll cover the basics here.

Why Titles Matter

1. First Impressions Matter.

It is critical that you explain what your product is from the name. Or, in a book, if people don't know what it is about, they won't read it. It also helps to categorize your product or information if it is named appropriately. So, the title you give your product, book, or article is as important as naming a baby. Take time to get it right.

2. Titles Set The Tone.

The title we give to a product, book, or article helps set the tone for what people might expect to follow. For example, "Fling or Ring: Which Finger To Give Him" makes clear it is about how to know if a man a woman is dating is "the one" for him. But, it could simply say "Is He The One, Or Not?" and it would have a different tone, right? Clearly, there's a sense of humor involved in the Fling or Ring title that suggests there's some sassy content to follow.

3. Titles Create Mood.

Spanx is hosiery by Sara Blakely. What I love about that name is it suggests a little sexiness, a playful way of covering your bottom, hosiery for women. Even their slogan "We've Got Your Butt Covered" continues to set the mood Sara's going for. Product titles also set the mood. Coca-cola became big during the era when manufacturers actually included cocaine as an ingredient in their products. Coca-cola still makes you feel like you're "getting away with a little" when you drink their caramel-colored sodas. Tide: wash away the dirt from your laundry. Double the pleasure with doublemint gum. The title, especially when combined with a slogan, can create a fun mood, a clinical feeling, or a sense of urgency.

4. Title Determines Searchability.

It may not seem like a big idea, but you could write a title that sounds really clever:
"We fooled them this time." and in the title of an article or book called "We fooled them this time" might get someone curious enough to open the cover if they were standing in front of it. However, we must keep in mind that for anything marketed over the internet that a search engine is a ROBOT.

Therefore, the search engine won't know what category or how to assign the fooling product! That's a serious problem. If you can't be organized you might not get found - and that will impact sells.
It is wiser to be more clear about the title so that a search engine can find it. For example: "Orange Tabby Cats Make The Most Loving Pets" might be an article about Orange Tabby cats and it would be OBVIOUS to the search engine what you're selling.

Deem: Green Dishsoap might be a name for a green dishwashing soap product. The search engine would know what it is by "Deem Dishsoap: Get Green and Clean" through a title and slogan.

Another approach is to use the reverse of what you want: "Want Poor Visibility, Don't Advertise" might be a teaser that provokes interest but it also gets keyword visibility for poor visibility and don't advertise. With email marketing, using the reverse is often more powerful than the stated desire approach. By stated-desire titles, I mean saying "The Cleanest, Most Safe, Comfortable Dentist In Los Angeles" is stating what the user most desires. In the instance of a service like a dentist-office, it might be wise.

In the event of naming a consumer-packaged good, it is wiser to use words that mean something versus hype. The Wine Merchant, Ltd uses the phrase "The Best Store To Buy Wine" http://www.winemerchantltd.com/) which came from a newspaper article poll. That's a bit of hype, although it may work for them. I prefer "Buy in multiples of 12 bottles for free shipping. Select Wines Only!" which is the current tag-line for http://www.thewinebuyer.com/. This is likely to produce more wine sales, because they're using smart copy that produces higher results. The best store is bragging. Buy in multiples of 12 bottles for free shipping is a fact and a cost savings. There's a big difference and both search engines AND the customer will notice the difference.

5. Begin With The End In Mind.
Begin with end-user (customer, site visitor, reader, buyer, etc.), that is. If we don't think about how the person shopping visits a store thinks, we'll probably pick the wrong title. For example, a company selling shoes might say "the latest brands for less money." Well, that didn't tell us much, did it? What if they were focused on the niche of comfort and style? They could say, instead, "The most stylish comfortable shoes you've ever worn." Now, that's a shoe store I'd enter. The same thing with titles.

For example, this article's title of "Why Titles Matter" was written with YOU in mind. My intention was to draw attention to the fact that if you don't set the write name you're already off on the wrong foot. So, get a good start, pick a title that matters not just to you but to the buyer or potential buyer of your wares.

You'll have more success when you do. ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps company leaders determine best names for products and services. If you need help, contact us at 805-459-6939.

Learn more about why titles matter through related posts at ARRiiVE's Blog:

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