The One Test You Should Never Skip as a Marketer


confusing-unbelievable-boringI’m so guilty of making this mistake over and over again, but now that it was pointed out to me I have a chance to pay attention. I hope it helps you as well!

It’s called the “CUB test” and it applies to every piece of content you publish online, especially your headlines and titles, ads and imagery. You may remember ‘cus we’ve discussed this before, that every headline sells something.

Here it is:

Always before hitting send, ask yourself – or preferably someone else –

Is this Confusing, Unbelievable or Boring?

It starts from something you should already know:

In order to know if “they” will “get” it, and whether they find it
believable or boring, you need to know who “they” are, right?

Here’s an example:

When I was deciding on the name for my podcast, I did a quick poll on Facebook groups I’m a member of. One of my alternatives was something like “Business Citius, Altius, Fortius”, which refers to the Olympics slogan (that’s “faster, higher, stronger”).

Comments on that were always the same: “I have no idea what you mean by this”, which can be caused by asking the wrong people with the wrong educational background. Quite frankly I believe that was the case.

However, if the RIGHT audience tells you it’s confusing, it the most certainly is.

Giving you have only a few seconds time to make an impact, you’ll lose a ton of interaction and potential business by being cute or clever but confusing.

Same thing with being unbelievable or boring.

If you listened to my free call last week, I was discussing the important questions you must answer for your prospective client. One of those was “What do they need to believe to buy?”

While you want to make the biggest promise you possibly can, it still needs to be believable or you will lose them at the handshake.

Avoiding boring isn’t easy. Of course, staying away from clichés and overused is a start, but boring isn’t the same for everyone. For instance I find most so called comedies boring, especially if the only theme has to do with 30-something guys stuck on their puberty, discussing body fluids – that if anything is a cliché!

Still millions of people pay money to watch that and they’re not bored at all. If they saw the movie I just watched 3 times in one week (unfortunately it’s in Finnish so I can’t recommend, but think of “The Bridges of Madison County” by Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep and you’ll get the picture) they’d probably be bored to death.


This test applies to images as well. I know I’m the master of using very confusing images and I always need to explain how they connect with my story. Just take a look at the feature image of this post and you know exactly what I mean.

When it comes to my blog and newsletter I can do that, but on ads that just doesn’t work at all.

I know that for many it’s not always possible to run these polls, and certainly not with every headline you write, but sometimes it would just be good to go the extra mile and test different options before making up your mind, because checking these 3 things always has the biggest impact on conversions.

And yes: Writing to a targeted audience – or in fact, to just one targeted person makes or breaks the whole deal!


  • Susan Cooper

    Reply Reply March 17, 2015

    Hi Eveliina, I don’t know which is worse for me… Confusing or boring blogs or articles (unbelievable might books my attention for a smidge longer). But if I’m bored or confused and it is causing me to have to go back and reread a paragraph multiple times, I usually just say forget it and move on to the next thing. However, an ad that is confusing sometimes really grabs my attention because I want to figure it out… What is this even an ad FOR? How does THAT relate to their product??

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply March 18, 2015

      I’ve noticed this new trend lately, which is a new form of confusing. The commercial itself is very entertaining and I like it a lot, but even after seeing it multiple times I still can’t remember what it sells.

      That doesn’t work either I suppose. LOL

  • Lenie

    Reply Reply March 22, 2015

    Here’s what I think:
    Confusing – you’ve lost me. It’s not up to me to figure out what you mean.
    Unbelievable – too good to be true? You need to back up that claim or else it makes me leery of doing business with you.
    Boring – sorry, I have other things to do.

    Writing to a targeted audience is the best one and yet, somehow can be difficult. Since my post covers different topics I sometimes wonder who my targeted audience is.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply March 27, 2015

      Well, I would say you seem to have a loyal audience and a cohesive theme so I’d say you don’t need t worry about that.

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