We’ve previously written about the 6 Keys to Writing Great Investment Teasers, but today we’re going to focus on the headline. We’ve researched over 7,300 teasers to find what works and what doesn’t, and have identified common threads among both the best and worst headlines, measured by the number of Pursuits each opportunity received. A Pursuit occurs when a buyer on the Axial network expresses interest in, or “Pursues,” an opportunity sent to them through the network.
Does it make a difference? Absolutely. Financial and Strategic buyers can review up to 500 teasers a year. Investment Teasers are meant to help buyers and investors quickly determine if an opportunity is relevant to their investment mandate. Teaser headlines allow them to quickly decide if reading on is a valuable use of their time.
It’s important to note that, ultimately, the fundamentals of the business drive the level of engagement from investors. No matter how great the headline is, some buyers just won’t be interested in companies that don’t align with their investment strategy.
Below are three elements which impact quality of teaser headlines.
Because teaser headlines need to be clear and concise, using the optimal keywords are critical. Keywords quickly tell prospective buyers if they should continue reading. Flowery adjectives and hyperbolic superlatives are not keywords and detract from the message. Proper keywords tell a story and are descriptive of your niche, location, and uniqueness. We also found the articles “the”, “a”, and “an” to be missing from the top teaser headlines on Axial. Likewise, including Revenue and EBITDA in the headline does not seem to impact interest from buyers, as these metrics are absent among the top 150 Axial teaser headlines. They will already be looking for these figures in the body of the teaser.
In analyzing more than 2,000 teaser headlines of opportunities between $3 and $5M EBITDA on the Axial network, we found the teaser headlines with seven words generated an average of 9.2 Pursuits per Opportunity compared to the overall average of 7.8 Pursuits per Opportunity. This is not hard causality, as there are numerous other variables that factor into an investor’s decision process, and headlines of every length received as many as 60 pursuits, but subjective qualitative analysis also led us to believe the best headlines used between seven and nine words, including articles (“a”, “an”, “the”). A three-word headline can be just as effective as a seven-word headline if the words are the optimal three.
A teaser headline using improper grammar is sure to elicit a negative prejudice and a reason to pass. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar are of utmost importance in making a good first impression to a potential investor. Misspelling is inexcusable and hurts your credibility instantly. Even if your opportunity is exciting otherwise, a misspelling makes it look too-good-to-be-true. Punctuate your teaser headline like you would punctuate a movie or a book title, capitalizing all words except articles, prepositions, conjunctions, and the “to” before an infinitive. AND DO NOT CAPITALIZE EVERY LETTER. Headlines capitalizing every letter received an average of 4.3 Pursuits per opportunity, compared to the overall average of 7.8.
Crafting a teaser headline is not about using the “right” words or the “right” length, but using the right language for the right audience. The goal of the teaser headline is not to get every buyer and investor to read the entire teaser, but to ensure that each buyer who should read it does.