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Don't Bamboozle Your Readers: Honesty in Copywriting is Key

Almost exactly four years ago, my husband and I decided to check out some new cars at one of the dealerships in town. We had no intentions of buying a new car, but we were just curious what was available and what prices were like. Six hours after walking on the lot, we were driving off in a car that we were never interested in buying. We left the dealership that Friday at midnight, and when we got home, we were completely baffled by what had just happened.

We got had.

The multiple salesmen that “worked” with us employed some of the dirtiest tactics I’ve ever witnessed:

  • They befriended us, pretending they liked the same things we did.
  • They played to our emotions by finding out what was important to us, like having a family, and used that as a tactic to encourage us to get the car.
  • They stuck us in a tiny office while they went to talk to their finance manager to see what they could do about the price.

Hungry, exhausted, and defenseless, we signed the contracts so that we could just leave.

In the middle of the night, I woke up in a panic, experiencing the worst case of buyer’s remorse. I consider myself a somewhat intelligent person and am good at doing business, but I’ve never been deceived by trickery before.

We got bamboozled.

My husband and I went down the next morning, walked straight into the manager’s office, and asked for our trade-in car back. They decided to take a few thousand dollars off the price of our new car and give us better financing. We agreed that would suffice for the way we were treated the night before. Needless to say, that was hands down the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced.

Four Years Later…

Earlier this week, I got the following card in the mail, in what I thought was a handwritten envelope.
envelope
card

Excited to get a Thanksgiving card from a friend in Illinois (I didn’t know I had one), I opened the card to find the following letter.
letter

Four years after the worst buying experience of my life, they again bamboozle me by making me think I’m getting a card from someone I like when, in actuality, it’s from the most awful car dealership in Reno.

How This Relates to SEO

Now, before you think this is just a rant about a terrible experience I had, there is actually a lesson to be learned here. In SEO, a lot of what can be done in this industry is trickery – both to the spiders and the customers. That’s why Google cracked down with PageRank; it was to try to keep the market honest.

In writing for SEO, you want to be honest.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “Write the truest line you know.” Being honest and up-front with products, features, services, etc. will get you a lot further than deceiving your readers will. Sure, they may buy your product, but if they’re dissatisfied, they’re more likely to tell others about it (as I just did above).

For whatever reason, people are more inclined to share bad experiences than they are to share great experiences. When was the last time you told someone about a great waiter at a restaurant? Now, when was the last time you told someone about awful customer service? See?

Customers aren’t naive like I was four years ago. And since we can’t lock them in a small room, hungry and tired, they can take their time to research to get the best product or service. They can see through transparent words meant to get them to buy. And if they don’t see through that, they’ll tell all their friends not to buy the same product or service. They want to protect the ones they care about by not letting their friends get had.

Be honest and up-front, and you’ll get more conversions.


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Max Speed

If the Pole Position Marketing team had a muse—and it does—it would be Max Speed. We love Max’s occasionally off-color, usually amusing and always pointed “Maxisms.” (Maybe “Maxims” would be a better word.) Max gives voice to some of the things we think but, bound by professional decorum, aren’t permitted to say. At least, not out loud. Read Max's full bio.

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