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The Copywriting Fad That Grinds My Gears

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With over 15 years in the writing industry, I’ve know that writing is not a one-size-fits-all craft. What works for some people won’t work for others, and this holds across various sectors and even within the same field.

However, there’s a certain “trend” or “style”—call it what you will—that many businesses adopt, particularly on their websites, which I find utterly infuriating.

The Bane of Click-Bait Titles

Clickbait headlines are designed by marketers, websites, newspapers etc to pique curiosity and prompt potential customers to click. They often make big promises, however the problem, for me at least, arises when the content fails to deliver on these promises, leaving readers feeling duped.

They are interested. They want to find out more, but most importantly they want to find out two things:

  1. What value the offer is going to give them, why should they make this investment?
  2. How much it is going to cost them

In the digital age, it makes so much sense why click bait titles are so popular, because getting the attention of your target audience is an incredibly lucrative currency. That means that websites and online markets will go to extreme length to capture your attention, with the tried-and-tested tactic of using clickbaits titles.

Some businesses might find some success, however this tactic not only wastes the reader’s time but also erodes trust. When customers can’t rely on a headline to accurately represent content, they’re less likely to engage with the brand in the future. Instead, their potential audience is frustrated and annoyed.

The Hunt for Pricing: A Maze Without a Prize

My biggest grievance with the pages that these clickbait titles lead to, is the difficulty in finding product prices on long sales pages. These pages are often filled with testimonials, lengthy descriptions, and multiple calls-to-action before revealing the cost.

This tactic can be particularly frustrating for customers who simply want to know whether a product is within their budget. The longer it takes to find this information, the more likely customers are to abandon the page altogether.

It feels quite common for the lengthy content to be a clear indicator that it will lead to an overpriced course or membership.

The Impact on Customer Experience

The cumulative effect of these tactics is a negative customer experience. Online shopping should be efficient and straightforward. When customers have to navigate through misleading headlines and convoluted sales pages, it creates unnecessary friction in the buying process. This not only impacts individual sales but can also harm the long-term reputation of a business.

Remember: People talk. A lot of sales, no matter what business you own, come from word-of-mouth. If one person has a bad experience with your business, they are likely to pass on their experience to their friends.

Conclusion: Transparency Wins

In conclusion, while clickbait and hidden prices may seem like effective strategies for increasing engagement and sales, they can ultimately backfire by alienating customers. The key to sustainable online success is transparency. Clear, honest headlines and easily accessible pricing information respect the customer’s time and intelligence, fostering a positive relationship and encouraging repeat business.

Don’t make the process harder than it needs to be. Make it easy as possible for the customer to:

  1. Find prices
  2. Find out what they will get from what they are purchasing, in black-and-white terms