Have you ever wondered why some articles go viral and others just… don’t? Or why one product flies off the shelves, but a similar (or maybe even superior) product collects dust?
Imagine being able to grab the attention of your target audience with ease, sucking them into your website, your blog, or your store. Imagine increasing your conversion rate by 12 percent or more. Now, imagine that doing so is easy.
Professional speakers, marketing specialists, copywriters, and salespeople are all aware of the magic of powerful words. Words that can influence decision making. Words that sell.
But specialists and professionals aren’t the only ones who can take advantage of the benefits of persuasive words. Changing the vocabulary you use on your website or in your online store is easy and can have a massive impact on your conversion rate. It’s entirely possible to do so simply by inserting powerful words into your copy, your advertisements, your blogs, and your call-to-action buttons.
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The Power of The Written Word
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Words have the power to change minds and evict emotion. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, Andrew Newberg, MD, and Mark Robert Waldman write: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”
What they are trying to say is that the words you use and the words you read affect your emotional state.
Words are the foundation of understanding and communication, which is essentially what you’re doing with your ads, copy, and blogs: you are trying to communicate. You are aiming to convey a message. That message may be “buy this,” “click here,” or “subscribe,” but you’re trying to communicate that without actually demanding it. The most effective way to do that is to elicit emotion within your target audience.
Using powerful words gives you the ability to pique curiosity, spark anger, and ignitepassion. These kinds of strong emotions are able to drive reactions and decision making, which in turn can help your e-commerce business flourish.
Take, for example, TeeSpring’s experiment with revamping their call-to-action button. In the example on the left, you can see the language below the button states: “This campaign will not be printed unless the goal is reached.” However, the example on the right states: “Don’t worry, you won’t be charged unless the goal is reached!” Which statement makes you feel more comfortable and more likely to invest in the campaign?
Image credit: Optimizely
This small change increased conversions on the site by a whopping 12.7 percent just by changing the language used and throwing in a few powerful words.
Let’s take a look at the different types of powerful words.
We already know that persuasive words are emotionally charged, so it makes sense to break them down into the types of emotions that are elicited. In the following sections, we will give you lists of power words for you to reference based on the kind of reaction you would like to trigger, as well as real life examples of these powerful words at play.
1. Fear and Anger Words To Spark Action
Anger and fear can cause irrational and split-second decisions. This emotion has a huge bearing on how we operate in the world. According to Fast Company, anger “drives you to pick long shots over [a] safe bet, succumb to stereotypes, and makes you less willing to listen to advice.”
Anger and fear come on strong and fast. While you do not want your target audience to feel anger towards your company, you can use anger or fear in your favor if it is directed towards something or someone else.
For example, have a look at the advertisement from Paessler below:
This ad is directing fear towards failing IT systems and the risk associated with not utilizing their services. It uses powerful fear words such as “critical,” “fail,” and “risk.” The goal with fear and anger words is to create the emotion and then to offer up a solution.
Image Credit: Entrepreneur
In this headline and subheadline, the words “survive,” “recession,” “crash,” “rampant,” and “hurt” are all utilized to instill fear in the reader.
List of Fear/Anger Words
2. Pique Their Curiosity
Next to anger and fear, curiosity is one of the most difficult feelings to ignore. It is human nature to explore the world and find answers to unresolved questions. Some psychologists say that curiosity is akin to hunger or thirst, that it is a drive that must be satisfied. This curiosity “drive theory” explains why humans try new experiences, seek education, and why they might follow the link on that clickbaity article. Curiosity is an urge that can’t easily be ignored.
Curiosity is the reason websites like Upworthy, Us Weekly, and People Magazine have headlines that practically beg you to click on them. Take, for example, the headline below from People Magazine:
Image Credit: People.com
The words “rare” and “never-before-seen” are powerful words that pique natural curiosity. Humans are drawn to things that are scarce or odd, such as gems or a new invention, so claiming that something is “rare” will automatically draw us towards it, even if it’s not something that is particularly important.
List of Curiosity Words
Be the first
No one talks about
Under the table
What no one tells you
3. Greed Words – Make Them Want More
Some say that greed is programmed into our genes, and may have aided in survival at an evolutionary period when food was scarce. Greed is another feeling that is hard to suppress. It taps into cravings and instant satisfaction, as well as the desire to get as much as possible, which is why it can be utilized in marketing with relative ease.
Take a look at the following image from a blog. Which powerful words do you see here?
Image Credit: ShaneBarker.com
“Monetize,” “earn,” and “fortune” are the three marketing words that are used to generate greed in the readers of the blog.
Image Credit: SoFi
This advertisement from SoFi uses “investing” and “free” as two powerful words. They also include “yes” to reinforce the message.
List of Greed Words
Don’t miss out
Sale ends soon
While they last
4. Rock-Solid Words To Build Trust
Ultimately, conversions won’t happen without trust. Even if you successfully draw people in with curiosity, anger, or greed, you are unlikely to earn your audience’s business unless they trust you.
According to Clickz.com, a whopping 84 percent of millennials do not trust traditional advertising. They want to know that what they are purchasing, and the company they’re purchasing it from, is safe and secure. So, building trust is hugely important.
This is where these powerful words come to play. On top of having a reputable and high-quality brand, these persuasive words can lend you a helping hand.
Take a peek at this advertisement from Casper mattresses:
Image credit: Casper
Adored. Trusted. Acclaimed.Original. Most popular. Award-winning. Loved. This ad is rife with catchy words that make you want to trust the company.
List of Trust Words
A cut above
No questions asked
No strings attached
Try before you buy
5. Words To Satisfy Desires
Have you noticed a pattern among these categories of powerful words? They all relate to deeply ingrained human drives and emotions. When hearing the words “desire” or “lust,” most people assume it has to do with the birds and the bees. While it may be true that “sex sells,” lust can refer to having a strong desire for anything, including a product or a service.
The difference between “lust” and “want” is that lust usually terminates rational thinking. With lust words, you can create or recognize a desire within your consumers and then offer a way to sate the thirst for it.
The ad below from Max Factor has a slew of “desire” words:
Photo credit: Luxurytopics.com
Can you pick them out? This list of lusty marketing words includes: gorgeous, flawless, caring, perfected, glamour, and statement. These powerful words are meant to create a desire for perfect skin among the consumers.
List of Desire Words
There are dozens of ways to sneak power words into your copy, advertisements, and your blogs. And there are countless other words and catchy terms that you can use on your website to evoke the response you desire.
Do you have any favorite powerful words that were not included in these lists? If so, share them in the comments below!