Today’s question comes from Frank Q., who asks, “Obviously, I want my copy to be as effective as possible. What are the most powerful words I can use in my copy?”
Good question, Frank. It’s definitely useful to know what the most powerful words in copywriting are. That said, though, I’m going to answer your question in two parts—first with the most powerful words, and then with the true effectiveness silver bullet.
Many people have lists of the most powerful words you can use in copy, so you’ll see some discrepancy among them, but here are the ones most widely agreed upon:
- Free — This is a huge one and grabs people’s attention like no other. If something is free, make sure people know!
- You — It seems a little silly, but it’s true: People respond better to being directly addressed. If it works for the brand you’re working on give it a try.
- Bonus — This falls into the category of free, but implies more, more, more! People are more likely to buy things if they can get “bonuses”, “freebies”, or “extras”.
- Limited-Time — These words fall into the category of urgency. Along with “ends soon!” and even the softer-sell “don’t miss out!” they call up the potential pain of missing out on a great deal.
- Numerals — Digits draw people’s eyes first if they’re among a bunch of words. If you can use a numeral in a headline instead of a word, give it a shot. When left with the choice between “Half Off!” and “50% Off!”, the latter will almost always win.
So there’s your short list of the most powerful words in copywriting. The big truth, though, is that these are only a small, small part of how to make your copy effective. You could write a headline using every single one of these and that line could still fail miserably. Why? You’d be missing the substance behind the words. You’d be missing the benefit to consumer.
The benefit to consumer is what really makes copy effective. The “benefit” is exactly how something you’re selling will be useful to the reader. In other words, the benefit answers the question, “What’s in it for them?” For example, you can advertise that a razor has “six super-sleek, titanium blades” but if you don’t explain, too, that those blades give the user “the softest, closest and most skin-saving shave ever,” no one’s going to buy them.
So, by all means, use those “most powerful words”—just be sure you combine them with the benefit to consumer. That’s where the real power comes from.
Your turn! What lines have you written that have been most effective? Have you combined the power words and the benefit to consumer? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on August 10, 2014 by Nicki Krawczyk