No, I’m not talking about “cute puppy” tagline that opens dick pics. There is a middle ground.
Disclaimer : There is a thin line between growth hacking and marketing. Please be aware that this is a growth hacking trick and not a marketing tip. You shouldn’t be using it if you are an established brand. You will add nothing but instead lose valuable, prospective audience. This trick is ideal for startups. Tried and tested.
Marketing is a mixed play of content and distribution. Yet, most of the times they are disconnected. The middle ground is to:
1. write content that has value
2. write content that can attract easily
Your subject lines, blog titles, opening lines, etc. — all lie in the second bucket. They give people a glimpse of your content. Your mail body, blog, video, etc. fall in the first bucket. They make your content valuable. Connecting the two looks complicated but is quite simple. At least post few trials and errors.
There is a good reason I love Content Marketing. It is one such segment that you can be openly tricky with; given how differently things work for everyone. A mail that has a 60% open rate for one organisation might bring result in 5% for the other. A blog that went viral for you wouldn’t go viral for the other. This happens because a lot of things, apart from the content, come into play. Your previous impressions, the value your content provides, the timing of your content, etc. — they matter.
Let’s get to an example — Casey Neitstat, a globally famous vlogger on YouTube. Last November, Casey announced he is ending his vlogs. The news broke the internet so I went ahead and browsed through some of Casey’s vlogs. Guess what? It has NOTHING special. He doesn’t have any sketches, or any inspirational talks or any of such content, he just records his daily life in a video. Every angle of his camera is a delight to watch but that’s that. When I dug deeper into the vlogs, I noticed how he would share small things about his life, his past, his current plans, etc. He shared how hard he worked. It mattered to people. People found it inspirational.
Here’s the important thing to notice — the titles of his videos; you will find that they are highly clickbait. For instance, check out this one — “1 trick to 2.5 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS”
You might be expecting a magical trick but the reality is different. In this 10 minute vlog, he speaks about his way to reach to 2.5M for barely 2 minutes. And to sum up his trick, he advises people to keep working hard. Yet, people aren’t disappointed. The love the vlog. They love Casey. They still follow it. They still appreciate it.
You see, our subconscious mind is easy to fool. That’s the reason clickbait works. We are attracted by the title. Once we see the content inside, our conscious mind is responsible for evaluating the decision taken. The evaluation could go two ways:
1. I feel cheated. This is useless.
2. Okay, this looks useful even though the title is a little exaggerated.
The second statement is exactly what you have to aim for! Let your audience dilute your clickbait to exaggeration.
Keep your clickbait title in context with your content. Cute puppies leading to dick pics will NEVER work. But dick pics sugarcoated with overflooded cute puppies just might. To put it easily, say you have four things to share with your audience (A, B, C, D) but your audience cares only about A. Use that A and form an attractive subject line around it. Sugarcoat it with B, C, D in your body and you’re good to go. Your end aim is to not leave your audience feel cheated into reading your content. If you play safe, it works. Clickbait works.
PS. I’ve used this at RippleHire , where I work as a Growth Strategist. I have seen my mail open rates boom. The conversions through those open rates aren’t high. But, the aim was to register RippleHire into people’s minds and this trick did exactly that. I’ve advised two more startups and it has worked for them too! Ergo, this works at startups. Go ahead, try it out, and share your results. I’d love to know how this turns out for you. Awaiting all hearts and howlers at email@example.com . :)