The words you see below are split into a number of categories, along with some ideas on how I’ve used them in the past (and how you can use them, too).
You’ve seen these words countless times before—and for good reason.
For instance, immediate words like “instantly” trigger mid-brain activity and feed our zest for quick gratification.
Where to try these words: Calls-to-action, headlines, email subject lines, headings, opening sentences and paragraphs David Ogilvy is to advertising as Jimi Hendrix is to the electric guitar.
To connect the dots then, you’re probably wondering: If a single word makes that much difference, then what words should I be using? The science of copywriting, the psychology of headlines, and the art of CTAs has revealed quite a number of go-to moves for marketers looking to gain a linguistic edge in their words and pitches.
I’ve enjoyed saving several lists of these so-called power words and pulling them out to use in a pinch.(You’ll notice that we use the word “join” in our email newsletter form.) Where to try these words: Email signups, trial offers, in-app messaging Garrett Moon of Co Schedule explains exclusivity as being like a club with membership restrictions. There’s a bit of social pressure with exclusivity wording, and it helps drive decisions and actions for the user.Where to try these: Signup forms, links, calls-to-action, subheads The fear of missing out (often abbreviated as FOMO) is a common driver of action for marketers and advertisers. By showing that an item or product is in limited supply, you hope to ratchet up demand.It’s my favorite group from Morrow’s list because these safety words have an amazing effect on the person reading: They create trust.Where to try these: Payment forms, signup forms, testimonials Each employee on the circulation and email marketing teams at Interweave Press has these words printed and posted on their wall.She tried three different ways of asking: “Excuse me, I have five pages. Renvoise and Morin highlight the three different brains we have: the new brain, the middle brain, and the old brain.The old brain is the part that controls decisions, and it also happens to be the most primitive.“smashed”) paints the way eyewitnesses view the event.Another study found that simple stock names that are easier to pronounce lead to quicker gains post-IPO. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies? The takeaway: When you want people to take action, always give a reason.His list of influential words you see above was first published in 1963, and many remain in vogue today.Where to try these: Headlines, bullet points, subject lines (Sidenote: For a fun blast from the past, courtesy of Ben Locker, here are a couple advertisements for power words that date back to 1961.