Photo by Tim & Selena Middleton

Readers, leads and customers

I hate spending ten bucks going to a movie only to find out all the good scenes were in the preview. Even worse is when the preview looked like a completely different movie then the one I’m watching.

I doesn’t cost me anything but time to follow a link online, but after a while I’m just as frustrated when I click a link and what I get is nothing like what I expected.

I understand why Hollywood does it. By the time I figure out the preview was a lie I’ve already paid for the ticket. That doesn’t work online if I have to actually read the article before I decide if I want to buy something.

That doesn’t make them stupid

Lots of people are making money – or trying to – with online advertising that pays “per impression”. As soon as you see the ad someone gets paid. This is why you see so many headlines for the Top 15 (or 25, or 75) of something. They’ll spread out the list over as many pages as possible. Every page you click through you see more ads and they get paid again.

Is that you? Are you trying to jack up your pageviews? Go read some other blog. Seriously, I’m not into that. I prefer engaging with people and making money by giving them something they want. That means getting the right people to click through is more important than just getting more people to click through.

Clever vs. clear vs. curiosity

I recently had a challenge to create three different tweets to promote an article on using giveaways to drive traffic to your newsletter. I took the opportunity to use three different techniques.


This one didn’t mention online newsletters or giveaways, and barely indicated it had anything to do with marketing. It’s pure clickbait, designed to get as many people as possible through to the article.

But how many of those people are looking to improve their newsletter signup rates? If they’re just Simpsons fans, they’re not even potential leads.


This one is straightforward. It’s the actual headline of the article. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not trying. If you’re doing it right, your headline is already written to draw people in. Why waste all the effort you put into coming up with a good headline by not using it when you tweet it out to your followers?

The key part of that is “your followers”. These are the people who are already interested in what you’re doing or they wouldn’t be following you. These people don’t need to be tricked into reading your article. They just need to know that you’ve published, and whether this post is one they need.


Sure, this one is a little in the “clever” category, too. The key difference is it’s clear about who it’s for. The people who are curious enough to click through are more likely to be potential customers. After all, tweets aren’t just intended to speak to your current customers.


Impressions Clicks Media views Likes Detail expands
Clever 25 2 3 0 1
Clear 37 2 N/A 0 0
Curiosity 53 0 N/A 1 0

The numbers here aren’t large enough to make it statistically significant. Before changing any ad buys or making changes in strategy you’d want to get at least 10 times the volume.

But if you had to make decisions based on what’s here, the “clear” option is better with the core audience than the “curiosity” option, despite the Like.

And the “clever” option? It seems to be drawing clicks, but you’d have to trace those clicks through to engagement on the target article to know whether they were qualified leads or just looking.