Marketing With Soft Lies Or Hard Truths. Does It Really Matter?

As a content writer, I sometimes struggle with the soft lie, hard truth balance. A soft lie is something your prospect knows is false, but they prefer to hear it anyway. You prefer to tell it. It relieves both of you of discomfort.

I told a soft lie yesterday. I did it to avoid an awkward situation.

Here’s what happened.

I’m on vacation at a spa. I decided to try something new. I never had a Thai massage before. It looked interesting. I figured, why not? I’m on vacation. This is the time to do something new.

After it ended the practitioner asked me how I liked it. I told him it was great. My body feels much looser.

One of those statements is true. The other is false.

My body felt looser. That was the truth.

I hated the massage. Admitting that would create tension, so I lied. I didn’t want the discomfort of giving bad news and then dealing with the fallout.

Telling hard truths feels uncomfortable to both parties. We hate to give it. They hate to receive it.

Lies In Marketing

Soft lies permeate every form of persuasion.

  • Businesses selling complex solutions never tell prospects to expect a long and complicated implementation.
  • Internet marketers, with few exceptions, never tell their prospects to expect a hard climb to success.

Here’s a hard truth of my own.

Lying brings in more customers than truth.

When a business avoids telling you the struggles of integrating their new software, they lie. It’s a soft lie. The ones doing the selling aren’t the ones doing the grunt work. The sales people remain ignorant of those details. It makes hiding the truth easier.

They know that once their new customer is in the thick of things they won’t back down. They know their customers fall for the sunk cost fallacy.

“We’ve already sunk so much time and money, we can’t back out now.”

Content That Competes With Lies

When we write content, where do we draw the line between soft lies and hard truths?

There’s a price to pay no matter what direction you choose.

Going heavy on the soft lies pulls in more but lower quality customers.

Promising to make millions online with little effort entices hordes of people with dreams of riches. Many of them gripe and demand refunds when they find it takes real work.

Going heavy on the hard truth brings in less but better customers.

The software company will bring in more customers with their lofty promises. Those customers complain and make life miserable for the grunts doing the work when those promises fail to materialize.

The opposite holds true too.

Telling your prospects to expect a hard-fought climb scares off customers. The customers you do gain with the hard truths are better quality. They know what to expect. They prepare for it.

In reality, it’s hard to survive only telling hard truths. You’ll scare too many people away. To win, you need to do both. Entice them with benefits to win their business. Tell enough hard-truths to manage their expectations.