There’s a science to marketing and the importance of using the right words cannot be overstated.
By Ashlee Brayfield
As I scroll through my inbox, I am greeted by a plethora of phrases that share a common message.
“Last Chance!” “VIP Access!” “Limited Time!”
The businesses differ, but the goals are the same: Click this link. Now.
I find myself romanced by the latter. I don’t want to miss out as the subject line implies.
Not everyone is so willing to click.
Statistics show us that only 23.9% of sales emails are opened.
But don’t get discouraged. There’s a science to marketing and the importance of using the right words cannot be overstated.
Word choice can and will have an impact on getting your e-mails opened and read and whether you convert prospects to clients.
Let’s look at these magic marketing words that can help you boost conversions and improve the bottom line for your business.
What are Power Words?
Power words are words used by smart marketers and copywriters to trigger a psychological or emotional response.
Power words incite a feeling, action, or opinion. They make you desire a product, click ‘buy now’, or trigger a memory.
A strong power word is a difference between a reader adding themselves to your e-mail list, downloading that guide you worked tirelessly on or sharing your well-crafted content on social media.
The key to smart marketing words is using the right words at the right time, depending on your goals.
Stated plainly, you want to be sure to include one set of power words when trying to promote exclusivity and another when emphasizing urgency.
Adding even a single word (if it’s the right word) can dramatically impact the successful outcome.
Social Psychologist, Ellen Langer tested the impact of adding a single word in a social experiment where she asked to cut in line at a copy machine.
Seems pretty simple, right? The results speak for themselves.
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” – 60% said OK
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?” – 94% said OK
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?” – 93% said OK
Adding a single word, giving a reason, had powerful results. Even in the third example, where the reason was quite obvious, the results are clear.
What we say and how we say it matters.
In fact, as we emphasized in our comprehensive guide on developing a great brand identity for your company, you must be deliberate about everything you do to to create a strong business brand.
We have been trying to figure out the most powerful and impactful marketing words for decades. For example, look at this Washington Post ad from 1961:
Getting it right the first time is more important than ever before.
In the past, marketers had more time to reach the customer. In today’s tech-centric world, they have mere seconds to grab a customer’s attention.
How to boost conversions with power words
Below is our list of the most powerful words in marketing and SEO that you should be using now.
When you want the customer to know what assurances you offer:
Fed Ex has long used a slogan campaign promising deliveries on time, “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”
Introducing this promise within a slogan in the 1970s, set Fed Ex apart as the most reliable delivery company.
In the 2018 peak season, FedEx delivered 97.6 percent of peak season parcels on time, up slightly from 2017’s 97.4 percent, according to ShipMatrix, a firm analyzing shipping data.
Consider using these promising power words in your next copy to set the tone of what you are offering.
Guarantee. Offering a guarantee resolves a prospect’s number one concern – risk. When people know they are going to get what they paid for, they are compelled to move forward with your product or service.
Promise. When a brand follows through with what they say – the results are clear: a strong customer base that is likely to support your businesses growth through repeat sales and word of mouth marketing.
Pledge. Take a stand. Tell your followers what they can expect. There are places in your business to surprise your customers – knowing what they can count on from you shouldn’t be one of them. Transparency is king.
Remember that power words are not exclusively for marketing messages. Consider how you can also use them in other places, such as on your product packaging design if you sell physical products.
When you want to generate buzz and curiosity
Curiosity has been the driver behind the greatest discoveries in science, medicine, and technology.
In marketing, curiosity is what gets people to search for your business on Google or another search engine, and also persuades them to click your links or consider your products.
Psychology and economics professor George Loewenstein conducted an in-depth study and discovered that the peak combination for triggering a high level of curiosity included:
Violating the right expectations: incite curiosity by offering a solution that doesn’t seem possible. “How To Increase Sales 50% In Just 15 Minutes A Day.”
Suggested Power Words: Stop, Start, Just, Compare.
Tickling the “information gap”: acknowledging what the reader knows, but adding a twist of possible new information or technique. “You already know your stuff — but you haven’t seen it like this before.”
Suggested Power Words: New, Alternate, Discover.
If you use the right power words, you will also encourage your customers to use the same words. As we wrote in our complete guide on how to start a business, one creative way you can grow your business is to ask early customers to post their rave reviews everywhere other potential customers will see the reviews. If those reviews reflect some of the power words you used, they will have a greater impact on other prospective customers.
When You Want to Motivate or Inspire
When you motivate a prospect — you are encouraging them to consider what you are offering and imagine how it could benefit them.
You. Seems simple enough right? It’s perhaps the most important word. When trying to persuade someone of an idea, concept, product, or service you must make it about them and how it will meet their needs. A study at Yale revealed that it’s just as effective to use the word “you” as it is in saying someone’s name. Mentions of ‘you’ in marketing serve the Ultimate Question and Answer on a platter: ‘What’s in this for me?’ ‘ What will I be able to do that I couldn’t before?’ ‘ How will this improve my ____?’
Results. Some of the most powerful tools in marketing involve the ability to inspire with results. There are entire industries, (such as the Diet and Exercise industry) that bank on the ability to prove their products via results. Consumers want to know how what you offer could help them and if it has helped someone like themselves.
Imagine. Almost hypnotic, this power word asks your audience to consider what having your product or service in their life would look like. How much smoother would their business run with your program? Will your product help them automate tasks at work, freeing up more personal time? The moment you have someone connecting your product and them missing fewer t-ball games? You are one giant step closer to closing the deal.
When you want to express exclusivity
Andy Warhol said it best, “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.” In a world where Amazon Prime is the standard, the idea of having to wait or be invited into something is almost unbearable.
The agony of wait mixed with our innate need to belong or be a part of something has launched many products into a total success.
Consider Kylie Jenner, child celebrity turned billionaire.
Kylie has a makeup line that promotes exclusivity. She manufactures a limited supply of her makeup collections – to her benefit. The concept of, “limited offers” serves as an exclusive one time only feeling that fans use to think of “now or never”.
A simple Ebay search on Kylie Jenner reveals products being sold for over roughly three times the original selling price.
Exclusivity is working for Kylie.
Try these words:
Members Only. “Amazing deals on designer brands like Kate Spade and Michael Kors for club members only…..Interested in becoming a member? Limited spots available. Find out more here.”
Limited. “Limited edition while supplies last.”
Login Required. “Want exclusive access? Join our membership waitlist.”
When you need to sell
You. If your pitch or advertisement starts with words like “I/We/Us etc.” then you’ve already lost. As we recently shared, it’s all about them. Not only is ‘you’ important because it transfers the importance to the client, but ‘you’ and someone’s name is interchangeable. We immediately develop a connection when we hear our name.
And. The word “and” serves as a bridge between point A and point B. Unlike “but” which breaks the flow of conversation, “and” keeps things moving forward. While “but” is often prefacing something negative, “and” can focus in on brand positivity.
Instantly. We want it and we want it now.
Using words like instantly, immediately, and now can be the push needed to make the sale and deliver on instant gratification.
Take a second glance at your e-mail box and I’m confident you will see all the ways you are being wooed with smart marketing words. Consider which clever subject lines drew you in and on which you swiped left to delete them.
A customer’s first impression is often the only impression. Make it a strong one.
Ashlee Brayfield is a branding and support specialist at crowdspring, a marketplace for crowdsourced logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. Ashlee guides crowdspring customers through the process of obtaining affordable, high-quality custom designs and names for their business. She regularly writes about branding, marketing, small business, and design on crowdspring’s award-winning small-business blog.