Catchy Misleading Titles are “Un”worthy of Your Lead Nurturing Efforts


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Capturing mindshare is tough these days because there’s a TON of content and equally as many channels to consume it. Buyers are fatigued and sometimes frustrated because, as we all know, there’s actually some great content out there. But locating good content is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. So in the quest for mindshare, marketers are constantly looking for ways to stand out and entice buyers to engage. One popular trend that seems to be very effective is to draw users in with catchy, edgy, and compelling headlines on digital content. This ”click bait” approach is being used successfully by sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed. But what started as a useful tactic can be abused and downright misleading. If your customer experience is important to you, listen up.

Humans behave in predictable ways. We are forever curious and the concept of scarcity moves us to act. We don’t want to miss out on some juicy tidbit or best practice. We don’t want to miss critical information that our friends, colleagues, or competitors might have access to. As marketers, you can of course use that to your advantage in your content marketing strategy. But use caution because you can take it too far.

Don't hate the fact that you desperately want to click this to learn more.

Don’t hate the fact that you desperately want to click this to learn more.

Content is not created equal. Sometimes the best intentions from the stewards of your marketing strategy (such as consultants, agencies, and even your own marketing team) have unintentional consequences on the customer experience. So while “spicing up” the headlines on B2B content seems like the thing to do, just make sure it’s a win-win for the brand and the customer by driving clicks to quality content. For B2B marketers it’s important to strike a balance between engagement/conversion and your goals. To be sure, your goal is not just to get a click, it’s to drive someone (a lead) to content that is relevant.

In all honesty, the headline is your first, and if you don’t get it right, last opportunity to hook your reader. But hooking a reader and hooking the right reader are two entirely separate challenges. News sites like Upworthy are gaining a lot of attention these days because they cracked the code on driving the click with a headline. The problem is, sometimes headlines are so catchy or edgy they are downright misleading with respect to what loads after the click. That’s a bad user experience no matter how you cut it. More importantly, that’s not something you want associated with your brand on a regular basis.

I think this whole business of the super edgy headlines is a fad. It’s not sustainable unless the click-bait goes to quality content. If abused the fad will eventually subside, and all you’re left with is your tarnished brand. It’s fine for news and media sites that need to drive traffic. But for a business-to-business marketer there’s a line. I’m all about prospects locating compelling titles that drive clicks. Make sure the headline sufficiently captures what is covered in the actual body of the article, blog, whitepaper, or whatever it is. Take the high road on this one and I think your prospects will appreciate it.  Better yet, use the tactic, it works!  Just make sure you drive folks to quality content that’s in line with the title of the post.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


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