We’re living in a world of gross hype. So you may ask me why bother about subtle lies?
“Don’t know anything? Join us and make millions within weeks” will affect only idiots without common sense. However, from a certain point of view, subtle lies are more dangerous… They affect more people. Not only stupid people but also average normal guys and even more than that.
One of the most common subtle lies I noticed these days in internet marketing occurs on “watch over my shoulder” articles, ebooks or videos.
What are those “watch over my shoulder” things? Basically the marketer explains step-by-step or more briefly how she or he achieved a certain good result. Nothing wrong so far but…
There are 2 ways of sharing such experience. Using fair headlines and sales letters or using misleading ones…
What do you think about this headline?… “How to Increase Blog Email Subscribers by 128% in 3 Months”
It’s a recent title of an article published by a very known inbound marketing company. The article describes how that company made a small change to some of their pages and then their blog subscribers have increased by 128% in 3 months.
Well, now that you know what the article was about, what do you think about the headline? It looks fair enough, right? But it isn’t! It’s a subtle lie, it’s only partially true…
Now pay attention please:
“How We Increased Blog Email Subscribers by 128% in 3 Months” is a slightly different headline. Read it once again: “How WE increased…” It promises a story. And the article delivers what was promised. Nothing suggests that you can get yourself an increase by 128% in 3 months.
What about the original headline?
It suggests that by reading that article you can learn how to increase the blog subscribers by 128% in 3 months. There’s very much different, don’t you think?
Let me tell you the truth: even if the author applies exactly the same techniques to another blog, she will not get an increase by 128%. She’ll get 50% or 127% or maybe 200%. But not 128% – that’s very unlikely.
Such figures depend on other people actions (visitors’ actions) and mood. You know very well that each of us is different. The final results will be different because they’re influenced by other persons, different than the ones who visited the original blog.
In order to show exact figures, you have to make a reasonable number of tests repeating the same procedure. And the final figure will be an average figure anyway. That’s how statistics work. Or you can use such exact figures when you tell a story about what happened ONCE under some circumstances (How we increased…). Otherwise… you’re just telling lies. Subtle lies. But still lies.
You may ask why is that so important? Why is it a sin?
Well, when it comes to a free article posted on a blog, a misleading headline won’t affect the readers too much. If the readers apply the tips from that article, most probably they’ll get an increase of their blog email subscribers. Not an increase by 128% but still an increase.
(Actually another fair headline would be “How to Increase Blog Email Subscribers”)
Moving on… When it comes to paid content such as ebooks, there’s indeed a big problem… Look at this headline:
“Do You Want To Pocket $17231.10 in 7 Days Like The Big Guys?”
By paying for such product, you don’t pay for learning how to make SOME money, do you? You pay for finding out how to pocket $17231.10 in 7 days. Well… Pay for that product, follow the tips exactly and I guarantee you that you won’t pocket $17231.10 in 7 days. It was a lie, wasn’t it?
Such lies aren’t innocent lies. Without showing amazing figures and without suggesting that the reader can do it too… the marketers know that the number of sales won’t be the same ;-)
This is effective copywriting indeed. But… if it’s deceptive, is it good? What’s your take?
To Your Success!
P.S. Want to discover another subtle lie pattern used by many internet marketers? Read Internet Marketing: The Secret Behind the Earning Claims