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Why clickbait titles are so bad for your brand, and what to do about it

It's important to build trust with truthful headlines. Clickbait only serves your ego, not your customers.

How many times have you been browsing online or searching for something on YouTube and then see a headline that is so enticing you just have to click, only to find that there was no truth behind the statement? You probably wished you could have your time back and then returned to whatever you were doing before you found the headline.

Clickbait headlines certainly get views and clicks that satisfy the ego, but they’re not exactly a good way to start a meaningful relationship with a potential customer. If you’ve considered (or even currently are) using clickbait headlines, titles, and images for your content, it’s time to think twice. Why? Let us explain…

Listen to an audio version of this blog or read on below.

What is clickbait?

Clickbait is a headline or image (or both) that makes promises to someone about the content within that aren’t true, partially or fully. There are degrees to clickbait - some are unacceptable in the eyes of your audience, while some will be forgiven. You’ve got to be careful to walk that line or you’ll end up leaving your audience feeling duped.

What is clickbait NOT?

A lot of people are so aware of not wanting to clickbait their audience that they end up being too afraid of making their headlines and images enticing. There’s a big difference between trying to entice someone to click and trying to bait and switch them.

For example, a video with the headline, “We’ve Made the Best Upgrade to Our Product EVER” for your latest product improvement, even if it’s not a groundbreaking upgrade, is perfectly fine. However, saying something like “We’re Closing Down FOR GOOD” and then never addressing the title in the video would be clickbait, as would simply coming across a closing-down sign and showing it for a few seconds.

How to Avoid Misleading Marketing Tactics

When deciding whether your marketing tactic is clickbait or not, ask yourself, “am I leading my customer to believe something false?” If you mislead your customers, they will learn (often immediately) not to trust you. You’ve got to fulfill your promises or you’ll lose those customers for good. Worse, they’ll probably tell other people about the fact that you’re not to be trusted, especially if you didn’t fulfill a promise after they parted with their cash.

3 Tips for Growing a Loyal & Trusting Customer Base

You can easily avoid making misleading promises by trying to give your audience and customers the best information you can at all times. Here are some tips that will help you grow a loyal and trusting customer base:

1. Be Human

Even if you want to show a united brand rather than having a figurehead as the face of your company, make sure you’re showing your human side in your marketing. Tell your audience real stories, don’t be afraid to share mistakes or learning experiences, and let them see behind the curtain from time to time.

2. Be Honest

It’s tempting to keep mistakes and things that aren’t as good as you’d like them to be hidden from your audience and customers, but the reality is that the more honest you are, the more your customers will trust you.

Being honest isn’t the same as “coming clean” about something - include your customers in the process so they can give you feedback as you go and learn something from your mistakes. This doesn’t have to be real-time on social media or in vlogs, either, it could be in your weekly email newsletter.

3. Engage

Wherever it is you connect with your customers, make sure you’re engaging with them. Reply to comments, spend a few minutes replying to emails, or answer questions in your lives. It can be nerve-wracking at first to engage actively with your audience when they’re not actively buying from you and you’re being honest and open about things being imperfect, but the connection you make with them can turn them into a life-long customer.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your brand can’t do these three things because it’s straight-laced or not a touchy-feeling brand. All businesses and brands can do this, you just need to think about the relationship your ideal customer is looking to have with you and aim to create that whenever you create content that communicates with them, whether it be a newsletter, social media post, or an ad.

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