Ever since I was young, I’ve found marketing to be totally fascinating. The whole idea of using psychology to get people’s attention, of helping them understand that you HAVE something worthwhile…. I’ve never understood why “selling” has such a NEGATIVE connotation.

I mean, think about it— it is the most basic human concept, and it has existed as long as we have, back to the cavemen. It is making someone fall in love with an idea, using only your words. And before SOMETHING exists, that’s all there is… an Idea. Everything starts in that one little seed.

But planting the RIGHT idea using the RIGHT words is crucial. It’s easy to bungle an opportunity by using dull words or even just word-vomiting. That’s why I’ve listed some basic tools for creating captivating headlines, and how to specifically apply them to your Practice! (Because without application… what’s the point, right?)


1) Direct:

If you have a GREAT topic, the best method of hooking your reader might actually be to just tell them what they are going to be reading. Be clear, concise, and straightforward… but DON’T forget to use interesting verbiage! Direct does NOT mean boring.

The Scheduling Institute’s example:

“Learn WHY Your Hygiene Department is NOT Growing and How to Fix it”

What YOUR PRACTICE could write:

“Discover the Royal Treatment Awaiting YOU at DentalPro”


2) Indirect:

The curiosity tactic is tricky, but can be effective when used appropriately. Give the reader some bait— pique their curiosity on the topic, and then reel them in with the copy. (Get to the point within the first few sentences.) Sometimes it is also helpful to provide a sub-header that makes the meaning of the headline a little clearer.

The Scheduling Institute’s example:

“The Secret Has Been EXPOSED”

What YOUR PRACTICE could write:

“They Say Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend…

But What About Her Pearly Whites?”


3) How to:

 How-to headlines are classic. They have worked for many years, and continue to work to drive traffic to an article or advertisement. Articulate (in one line or less) what exactly you’re teaching the reader “How To” do.

The Scheduling Institute’s example:

“How to Add at Least $100,000 to Your Practice… Instantly!”

 What YOUR PRACTICE could write:

“How to Change Your ‘CHEESE!’ Grimace Into a Grin”


4) Ask a Question:

Asking a question creates a pretend space in the reader’s mind— a space that they subconsciously want to fill in. They might find themselves bothered, curious, or uncertain about the question’s answer, and will read the advertisement to find out more information for themselves. These headlines are a favorite at the Scheduling Institute!

The Scheduling Institute’s example:

“Want to Know the Secret to Generating More (Top Quality) New Patients Effortlessly?”

What YOUR PRACTICE could write:

“What is the First Thing You Think of When You Hear the Word ‘Dentist’?”


5) Command:

Command the reader to do something in your headline. This up-front call to action demands immediate attention, and might even surprise the reader. A lot of times this command calls upon the reader’s desire for a change or improvement, and a subtle (or not so subtle!) implication that the information in the advertisement can achieve this change.

The Scheduling Institute’s example:

“Is Your Practice Up to the Challenge? Request Your Free Mystery Call Today!”

What YOUR PRACTICE could write:

“Give Yourself 6 Reasons to Smile”


6) Testimonial:

Sometimes the best headlines write themselves. Consider using a strong quote from a testimonial that explains the benefits of your Practice, or how satisfied a patient was with their experience.

The Scheduling Institute’s example:

“If I Hadn’t Joined the Scheduling Institute… I Would Still Be Working Very Hard and Hoping That Things Would Get Better Someday”

What YOUR PRACTICE could write:

“ProDental Has Raised My Expectations for What a ‘Trip to the Dentist’ Should Mean!”


7) Benefit:

The more basic version of the Testimonial category… Explicitly state a benefit or multiple benefits of coming to your Practice. Remember: benefits sell, features do not. Use this to your advantage, and give your prospective patients a reason to call you. Sometimes these headlines overlap with other categories— they can be direct, questions, and how to’s.

The Scheduling Institute’s example:

“FREE CD Reveals the Latest Technique That is Guaranteed to Add an Extra 25% MORE New Patients to Your Practice and Increase your Production in 3 Months or Less! 

What YOUR PRACTICE could write:

“That Moment When You Get Carded… At Your Daughter’s Graduation Party”


8) Guarantee:

If your office guarantees ANYTHING, make sure to advertise this in your marketing. Whether it is a money-back guarantee, a satisfaction guarantee, a guarantee for a free consultation… Maximize that guarantee and use it as marketing leverage! Everyone loves promised value.

The Scheduling Institute’s example:

“See Over 10% Increase in New Patients in Under 60 Days, Guaranteed!”

What YOUR PRACTICE could write:

“See Your Smile Visibly Brightened by Two Shades, Guaranteed!”


Until next time,






Jay Geier