October 27, 2015

This Is How Power Words Can Make Your Copy More Persuasive

Don’t you feel like copy often just reads bland, unclear and boring?

When this occurs in your own web copy…you are expecting too much from your visitor.

You expect them to be concentrated when they get to your site, but this is far from reality. People are rushed, they have  a million things on their mind.

“What’s for dinner?” – “I really need to lose 5 pounds by summer”. 

Plus, they have another 7 tabs open in their browser. Don’t tell me you’ve never ended up on social media while you where planning on doing something productive. Our brains like to be distracted.

Your copy should be so clear and interesting that they don’t even notice they’re even reading.

Obviously, a couple of power words won’t make the difference between copy that sucks and copy that sells.

But I want to show you how you can use them in context, so you can get an idea of what they are and when you should use them. This will absolutely help you to create copy that is more persuasive. Sounds good?

By now you should be ready to jump into the material. Agree?

Let’s go!

How You Can Easily Make Your Copy
More Persuasive Starting Today

Disclaimer: I know some copywriters that hate it when I use these words. Others swear by them. I have read their books, learned from them and I appreciate their opinion.

So why do I still share this here with you even though I learned from them and I appreciate them?

Because copywriting is not about opinion. It’s about what works, so I want you to test it. I don’t mind being a bit controversial. Your and my focus should be all about the conversion rates.

Let’s start with one of the most controversial words just to get it out the way. Agree? Here we go:

Breakthrough

Wait…what? Is this a power word? Well, according to John Carlton it is….

He wouldn’t use it in his very own sales letter if it was hurting his conversion rates, don’t you think?

examplejc

If you wouldn’t know better, you might think this is bad copy. Do you think this is gimmicky and overdone? Well, this copy was written by one of the most recognized copywriters in this world.

  • It’s exciting.
  • It’s engaging.
  • It’s very specific.
  • It uses power words.
  • It’s specifically written to his target market.

Now, does this mean you should be trying to implement the word “breakthrough” in all of your emails and sales letters? Of course not. But it IS a power word, and it WILL help you to boost your sales when used wisely and appropriately.

So there you have it. Let’s move on to #2 on the menu:

Instantly

This has been a power word for ages, but in todays day and age it is even more prevalent, wouldn’t you say?

We instantly want the answer of our search result. We would like our phone to be charged instantly. When we have all our groceries, we would like to pay instantly. 

Needless to say, this is a very powerful word that you should use whenever you have any reason to.

Just a simple Twitter search for the word “instantly” brought quote some interesting results:

instantly

instantly2

As a marketing consultant and copywriter, both of these articles instantly get my attention. But if that didn’t interest you, I bet this would:

instant-click

Does your product or service allow the customer to accomplish something instantly? Then you should mention it without a doubt. As humans, we love this word and can never have enough of it.

Secret

This might just be one of the most powerful words, ever….But don’t tell anybody 😉

You may have already recognized this word earlier in John Carlton’s ad. His product is called “Kick-ass Copywriting Secrets From a Marketing Rebel”.

A secret means it is well hidden from the public, and therefore scarce. There must be something to this information if people are keeping it to themselves to stay one up to everyone else, don’t you think?

Let’s say you are selling a product for small business owners that want to start doing their own accounting to save money on hiring one. You’re giving valuable knowledge away for a price a lot lower than hiring an accountant yourself, except they have to do the work. You could leverage this by saying:

Accounting Secrets Exposed: Your Accountant Hates It
When I Give Away All The Secrets To Leave More Money
In Your Pocket For The Price Of A Restaurant Meal!

Now this might sound gimmicky or too bold to you if you aren’t interested in the particular product. But it speaks directly to the target market, and thats who you’re selling to!

Unexpected

When something is unexpected, people pull towards it and want to know exactly what it is. It is a major curiosity generator.

Want some examples? Alright then. Because you asked so friendly:

  • The unexpected cure for stage 3 cancer.
  • The unexpected way to get rid of weight long-term.
  • Find out the unexpected reason this child does not get treated with Ritalin for his ADHD.

Chances are, you’re already curious to read more by now.

Too bad, I just made them up :).

However, Washington Post just came out with a new article on  five unexpected shocks that could hurt your retirement. That also brings me to my next power word…

Shocking

Doesn’t this word just get your attention right away? Just recently, the whole world was in shock when Patricia quickly evolved to be the biggest storm ever measured in the western hemisphere. Something so shocking demands attention.

  • New study reveals the shocking impact of climate change within the next 5 years.
  • Do you love bread? Doctors now say the impact on your health is shocking!

I don’t think anyone has missed this one and we can all agree that this global scandal has been quite the shock. Therefore, it demands the attention of the public.

Shocking is a very powerful word when used appropriately, especially in headlines.

Imagine

This word is very powerful word because it accesses a different of your readers brain. To imagine something, they have to put away the rational thinking for a minute to drift off to a scene – or a possible future outcome they’d like to have.

Why is this so important if you are selling a product or a service? Because you don’t….

This is what you are really selling:

 

Some examples of “imagine” in copy might be:

  • Imagine what it would be like if you could work from home and be with your family
  • Imagine how you would feel if you lost those 23 pounds and people would notice the difference
  • Imagine yourself in the infinity pool at night, looking at the breathtaking skyline of Singapore

Proven

Nothing like a little reassurance, right? We do not always have time to figure things out. Sometimes we just want a quick solution to something and we look for shortcuts to help us make our choices.

When we buy high involvement products, we do a lot of research and also like ample proof to reassure us.

  • The Proven Way To Get Rid Of Acne Within 14 Days
  • Oral B whitening toothpaste has been proven to reduce surface stains by up to 74% within 8 days
  • Our revolutionary braking system has been proven to reduce stopping time by 2.4 seconds over regular braking systems when intervening at a speed of 60 miles an hour

The text below is from a website that sells P90X classes to gyms, clubs & sport facilities. This is how the ad copy starts:

Free

1445986260_open_safety_boxPeople love free, no doubt about that huh?

Do you ever think to yourself “I just wish I could have paid for it!”.

Yeah, me either.

I have found this word especially effective for lead generation, because you often give something for free in exchange for an e-mail address.

You want to elicit the idea that if they give their e-mail address, they will get access to something they really want. Something of value to them.

Free means nothing if there is no value. How does “Free Junk” sound to you? Probably not that enticing.

This is why some marketers tell you the value you receive, without paying for it:

Did you notice the word “free” was used 4 times in this lead generation form? That’s because this word is very powerful. If you also noticed the word “secret” being used in the copy – congratulations! You are really starting to get the hang of it 🙂

Conclusion

I started a swipe file in which I keep plenty of power words, formulas, phrases and advertisements that have been proven (there’s that word again) to work well over and over again. If you’d like to start one yourself, why not start here with 502 phrases that can magically transform your regular copy to irresistible copy?

Don’t forget to add the above words to your list, even though you’ll likely see them used (and abused) everywhere. Like I said, power words should be used when appropriately. But when you do, you can be sure that your copy will truly benefit from it.

Are there have any words that you would NEVER use, even if you we’re paid for it? Or think I missed out on some major power words that you have had great success with and think should’ve been added here?

Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. Don’t want to write your own copy, but want me to write your copy for you? I currently offer a free 30 minute consultation to see if we are a good fit. I look forward to talk to you and help you move forward with your business!  

Jasper Oldersom

Hey, I am Jasper and I am an authentic freelance (copy)writer and marketer. If you need time to focus on other parts of your business, while I write a quality article for your website - I'm your guy.

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Adrienne - October 27, 2015 Reply

Hey Jasper,

I’ve found a few lists of power words but at times they’re hard to weave into my headline because I don’t want to promise my readers something that I can’t deliver. Like the examples you used here.

I have used the word secret in the past and then of course let my readers know that it’s really not a secret but some people just hadn’t thought of it in a certain way or weren’t educated enough yet.

I used to follow John when I was trying to learn more about copywriting but I have to admit that some of it is still over my head. I can appreciate though you sharing these particular words and how they can be used to help us understand why they are so powerful in our own copy.

I also definitely appreciated Kevin’s post where he shared those 502 phrases that I have definitely bookmarked myself.

Awesome share my friend, thank you for this and I’m off to share it as well. Enjoy the rest of your week. Almost halfway over now.

~Adrienne
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    Jasper Oldersom - October 28, 2015 Reply

    Hey Adrienne,

    Thank you so much my friend for stopping by and reading my article 🙂 When you make a promise you really do have to deliver on it, and when possible even give them more than they expected.

    When you encounter something like this, you could try using sensory words instead. Henneke Duistermaat has an excellent post on this on her blog.

    I try to learn from a lot of different copywriters. I like Neville Medhora’s modern and edgy style of writing, but that probably won’t work when selling to an older audience. Joseph Sugarman is one of my favorites when giving simple but clear advice on copywriting (selling).

    Kevin’s resource was and still is amazing, it’s in my swipe file as well…just had to share it.

    I had a very busy day but it was all good 🙂 Hope yours will be just amazing.

    I’m really happy you liked this one and thank you so much for sharing it too and leaving this wonderful comment. I am so thankful for all your help, always!!

    – Jasper
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      Adrienne - October 29, 2015 Reply

      Thanks for that reply Jasper and I have gone and bookmarked Henneke’s post. I’ve been so busy lately I’ve missed so much awesome content so I appreciate you pointing that out.

      Appreciate all the advice you’re shared and happy to comment and share. As you know, I love shared awesome content with my friends and followers. I don’t want them to miss a thing.

      Have a great evening and a wonderful ending to your week.

      ~Adrienne
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        Jasper Oldersom - October 29, 2015 Reply

        Hi Adrienne,

        I totally get what you’re talking about. I’ve been really busy lately as well and it makes me realize how fast time moves, and that it doesn’t wait for anyone. And as much as I don’t want to burn myself down, I feel like I need to do more.

        It’s good to have customers but you always need to keep writing new blog posts and staying active in the community or the business will eventually run dry. Frankly I feel left behind when i’m not connecting enough with other bloggers.

        It means a LOT to have you supporting me Adrienne and having you as a friend. You’re a wonderful person and I have nothing but good words for you 🙂

        You have a great end of your week as well Adrienne, i’m going for a productive weekend!

        – Jasper
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Kim Willis - November 2, 2015 Reply

Hi Jasper,

Great post!

(Actually I took a different approach when I wrote a report a while ago called ‘The 9 Suicide Words That Will Kill Your Ads’. It created quite a stir!)

But I love the words you’ve chosen. It’s funny how words like ‘free’ still work so well – you’d think people would be sick of them by now, but no – they keep working just as they always have.

You mentioned John Carlton. Certainly a great copywriter. Others I like are Joe Sugarman, Gary Halbert, Drayton Bird and Dan Kennedy. But my all time fav is Herschell Gordon Lewis – a class act.

Thanks for your finely crafted post, Jasper

Kim
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    Jasper Oldersom - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Hey Kim,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate the compliment.

    As long as human nature remains the same, these words will never lose it’s true power when they are applied correctly. This is what Direct Marketing has taught us and why some ads run for over 30 years.

    John Carlton certainly is a great copywriter but every single name you mentioned in your comment deserves a place in the top ranks and learning from any of them will certainly improve anyones copywriting skills.

    Thanks again Kim, have a great week ahead!

    – Jasper
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Sherman Smith - November 2, 2015 Reply

Hey Jasper,

I love learning about new power words, and you’ve mention a few that I keep overlooking like ‘Secret’ and ‘Proven’.

The one thing that’s so powerful about power words is that it gets your audience moving. They are used to spark some type of emotion and have them take some type of action depending on the word you use.

The words I’ve used the most are Free and Instantly. Why? Because of the audience I want to attract which are those that are pressed for time and have little to invest but are willing to take some chances. When you look at these words from the angle of who you want to track them you’ll see the benefit.

Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great week ahead!
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    Jasper Oldersom - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Hi Sherman,

    I love learning about them, too! If you’ll start using secret and proven in your own copy now and then, i’d love to hear about your experiences.

    Exactly Sherman, that’s what it does. Copywriters get people to take action, and power words are one of the most important things in our “toolbox” 😉

    Your reason for using those particular power words is excellent Sherman, and it helps a lot that you have your target audience down very well.

    You have a great week as well Sherman and of course I want to thank you a ton for your comment and sharing my post on Twitter and Google+!

    – Jasper
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Don Purdum - November 3, 2015 Reply

Hi Jasper,

Great set of words. The truth is we all looking for something and these words tap into a powerful, emotional reason to read the article.

I think many feel and think that appealing on emotion is awkward. But the truth is every decision we make is an emotional one but many of us struggle because we fail to see that. The challenge is not to go solely on emotion. We have to connect logic to it so that both the right and left brain work together to validate a choice.

Another great word I learned several years ago is “Ultimate.”

Great post and I definitely will be evaluating the use of these words again in my titles moving forward.

Have a great week.

~ Don Purdum
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    Jasper Oldersom - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Hello Don,

    I always love seeing you here on my blog, thanks for stopping by!

    You got it right when you said we all looking for something and these words tap into a powerful, emotional reason to read an article. We do this at an unconscious level most of the time, and when people ask us we give the “rational” reason for our actions.

    This is why you have to appeal to both parts of the brain, the emotional part makes the decision but the rational part likes to know that the product is durable and has a lifetime warranty 😉

    Great additional power word Don, I especially like seeing that word in blog titles. To me it is code for “EPIC” So I expect a lot from a post with that word in the title.

    I’m glad you liked this article Don, have a great week. I always appreciate you and I want to thank you for sharing my post as well!

    – Jasper
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    Jasper Oldersom - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Hello Don,

    I always love seeing you here on my blog, thanks for stopping by!

    You got it right when you said we all looking for something and these words tap into a powerful, emotional reason to read an article. We do this at an unconscious level most of the time, and when people ask us we give the “rational” reason for our actions.

    This is why you have to appeal to both parts of the brain, the emotional part makes the decision but the rational part likes to know that the product is durable and has a lifetime warranty 😉

    Great additional power word Don, I especially like seeing that word in blog titles. To me it is code for “EPIC” So I expect a lot from a post with that word in the title.

    I’m glad you liked this article Don, have a great week. I always appreciate you and I want to thank you for sharing my post as well!

    – Jasper
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Chris Hufnagel - November 3, 2015 Reply

Dude! How did I not know about your site before??? Awesome stuff!

As a designer it took me forever to find my voice as a blog author. I still struggle when it comes to writing, and it gets even worse when it comes to writing sales copy.

These power words are awesome, and they worked to get me through the entire post!

Will be back, great stuff!

Chris
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    Jasper Oldersom - November 16, 2015 Reply

    Hey Chris,

    Thank you so much for the amazing compliment!

    I was pleasantly surprised to see the copy on your website, I think you have found your voice and I think the copy is pretty strong! It’s friendly, to the point and engaging.

    Writing sales copy is not an easy task. Reading about it and writing ads from the greats out by hand helps a lot! I also like how you made the text on your website easily scannable 🙂

    I’m glad you liked it enough to read the whole thing. I’ll be checking out your blog soon, too!

    Thanks again for stopping by and leaving an awesome comment, Chris!

    – Jasper
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Okto - November 5, 2015 Reply

Hi Jasper,

First time for me here and your post is so good.

Simply supplanting a couple of common words with power words can transform conventional sentences into persuading ones. We might consolidate them in our sales letters, site and all promoting materials. The use of solid, positive words stacked with feelings that are suited to our target audiences and sprinkle them into our written work to make killer marketing materials is smart thing to do.

Amazing post! Wish you great week.
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Atinder - November 8, 2015 Reply

Hi Don,

Great Post Indeed!! I got through the post due to Power Words, SO AMAZINGLY DONE!!

BTW, I am here for the first time, but will try to be here on regular occasions.

Thanks & Cheers,

Atinder
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Ryan Biddulph - November 15, 2015 Reply

Hi Jasper,

These tips and words work, and work darn well. It’s like we’re programmed to respond to certain buzz words. We can’t help it. I respond to some words and react to others. When you inspire folks to react you are on to something, big time, because this is when your readers aren’t thinking much….they’re gratefully reacting to your copy writing skills. It’s like you write, using certain words, and readers have no choice but to react to your choicest copy.

Loving this post Jasper. Thanks for sharing the awesome buzz words with us.

Ryan
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    Jasper Oldersom - November 16, 2015 Reply

    Hi Ryan,

    Thank you so much for your awesome comment! I think you are right on the bullseye when you said we are programmed for these words. Just like some copywriting principles worked for years and will continue to work, these words have a certain effect on us. They push the triggers that we just have to respond to.

    When people react we are certainly on the right path with our copy, because all we want is people to take action. Good copy can help people take the actions they know they should take. I should know because your books motivated me too, Ryan 😉

    Thanks so much for your support, it means a lot to me. Have a great week ahead!

    – Jasper
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Tom Southern - January 21, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

This is a great post because you’ve included some really powerful words – and included excellent examples of how to make them work. This is key. So many times people just talk about power words without adding this extra benefit that you’ve added here.

“Imagine” is a truly powerful word because it “opens the brain” to accepting what you hear, or read, has having taken place. The body responds. It’s a favourite word of many top copywriters.

You could add “Yes” to this list. “Yes” is also a power word, used in the right context at the write time because it gets people into positive mood, ready for action. This is why it’s a good word to include in Call-to-Actions, like email opt-in boxes and landing pages, e.g. “Yes, I Want Instant Access Now.”, “Yes, Enrol Me Now”.

Great post, Jasper. Cheers!

-Tom
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    Jasper Oldersom - January 21, 2016 Reply

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the compliment! I do think that including examples supports reader by giving them a framework.

    I love the word imagine, I’m glad to hear you like that one too. It increases involvement for example, because if you can make someone imagine sitting behind the steering wheel of their new car, they are already also envisioning ownership.

    Yes is a fantastic addition to this list, so thank you so much for contributing. For clients I often use these in call-to-action buttons. It’s such a simple word, but so incredibly powerful.

    Great to see you back here again Tom, have a great day!

    – Jasper

Kaycee Chukwu - March 16, 2016 Reply

Very informative. Have used power words like ‘proven’ ‘powerful’ and ‘secret’ but never thought of ‘free’ as a power word. Thanks for sharing

Chris Robert - April 17, 2016 Reply

Hi there!

Awesome Post… power words really an awesome way to increase ctr in SERP which will definitely give positive effect in ranking.

thanks for writing such a great post.

Regards
Chris
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J-P - April 25, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

Thank you so much for this awesome list of power words. I am going to start testing them right away in my Facebook Ads.

I never realized how those words had been used so effectively on me until today. I f they worked on me, I guess they will work on my target audience as well.

J-P

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