Seasoned marketers and copywriters know that a single word can drastically improve conversion rates. Yet, even when you test out different language and finally find that magic word, you’re still left with so many questions.
Why did that one word triple your conversions? What makes that word or phrase so influential? How can I predict what people will respond to? Rather than leave it as an unsolved mystery, simply read today’s blog post. We’ll reveal why certain words and phrases are more influential than others and how you can use language to improve your marketing ROI.
Whether your next project is to optimize the bullets on a landing page, adjust a CTA on a blog post, or tweak the wording on an email signup form, we can all benefit from a lesson on powerful words. To get things going, let’s first review the five most persuasive words in the English language – a handy list compiled by marketing strategist Gregory Ciotti. Let’s get into it!
The five most persuasive words in the English language
Why? The word ‘you’ is effective because it addresses the reader directly, as an individual. It captures attention and builds trust. It allows you, as the marketer, to connect with your audience on an individual level.
How to use it: As you write marketing copy, pretend that you’re speaking directly to a friend and adopt a conversational tone.
Why? Everyone likes free things. It turns out that loss aversion—or the fear of missing out—leads people to take action when something free is up for grabs. Another important factor to note here is people perceive free items to have more value because they’re low risk. Free means they won’t lose money.
How to use it: Use the word “free” in CTAs, button text, and headlines to entice customers to take action. The key here is to not to give just anything away—the offer must appeal to your target audience and relate to your product or service somehow. It could be as simple as a free infographic or a downloadable template.
Why? Because is a persuasive word in marketing, because it explains the reason why someone should do something. In fact, research shows that weak reasons are still better than not mentioning a reason at all (source). The bottom line: If you give your customers a reason to take action, they will be more likely to do so.
How to use it: Use the word “because” in a statement or question along with a compelling reason for your audience to take an action. Also note, if you want your audience to take a more tedious or time-consuming action, you must make it worth their while. Test out different value prop, and make note of which drive conversions.
Why: Instantly is a powerful word, because it promises something right away. Think about it, if you ordered a new laptop online, would you want it to arrive today or tomorrow? Instantly also facilitates a sense of urgency—almost as if the reader waits to take action, they’ll miss out on a deal.
How to use it: The right time to employ this persuasive word is when you can deliver something immediately. This might be as simple as instant access to an e-book when a user signs up for your mailing list. Similar words have the same effect—try “immediately”, “instant”, “now”, and “right away” and measure the results.
Why: People are programmed to seek out novelty, making “new” a very persuasive word. In fact, science shows that when we try new things, it activates the pleasure pathways in our brain (source).
How to use it: Use the word “new” in copy to peak customers’ interest in the latest products, features, or offers. If you’re sick of the word new, try something similar, such as “just in”, “announcing”, “introducing”, “just arrived”, “the latest”, and so on.
Although these five words are a great starting point, there’s still much more to cover. Next, we’ll dig into other types of words and phrases to keep in your writing toolbox. Let’s keep going.
Words and phrases that convey urgency
As previously noted, urgency is a powerful motivator. In fact, a phenomenon called the “mere urgency effect” shows that urgency drives priorities. The truth is, people are more likely to prioritize unimportant tasks when there feel a sense of urgency, even if they have a more important task that holds a larger payoff (source). What does that mean for marketers? The answer is simple: If you can instill a sense of urgency with the words and phrases you use, you can motivate people to take action.
We’ve compiled a handy list of urgency inducing phrases that you can reference the next time you want to motivate someone to take action. Be sure to choose the ones that make the most sense for your target audience and business.
- Last chance
- Access ending
- Deadline approaching
- Only X days left
- Ending soon
- This is the last time
- Before time runs out
- Closing soon
- This weekend only
- Act now
- One time only
- Your X is expiring
- Hours left
- Don’t miss out
One important consideration before we move on: Make sure to use urgent words in moderation to make them more impactful. You can easily lose the trust of your customers if you overuse urgency in your marketing initiatives.
Words and phrases that show social proof
Another way marketers can boost conversions is to use words and phrases that demonstrate social proof. Before we get into it, what exactly is social proof? Social proof is a phenomenon where people look to the actions of others to inform their own decisions. In fact, research shows that the opinions of others drastically influence the way humans make purchases. Just consider these statistics:
- 61% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision (source).
- Consumer reviews are 12x more trusted than manufacturer descriptions (source)
- 83% of consumers trust product recommendations from their friends and family (source)
This presents a unique opportunity for marketers to use words and phrases that appeal to the desire to conform. Here are some phrases you can use to get this message across:
- Join over X number of people
- Your peers/friends have tried this
- X number of people have already claimed this
- This popular [offer]
- This [offer] is popular among your peers
- Join us – Thousands already have
Words and phrases that create a sense of scarcity
Every marketer knows scarcity can drive interest and encourage action. Just consider this study: In 1975, researchers set out to compare the value of identical cookies in two identical jars. Even though the first jar contained 10 cookies and the second one held just two, participants valued the jar with fewer cookies more highly (source). In psychology, this is known as the scarcity principle: We put a higher value on things that seem limited in quantity.
Marketers can take advantage of this just by using the right words and phrases. We recommend the following:
- In high demand
- Only X left
- Be among the first to own
- You’re invited
- Be the first
- Back in stock
- Members only
- Before everyone else
- Only available to
- Limited availability
- Limited-time offer
- Get it while you still can
- Exclusive access
- Request invite
- Just for you
- Become an insider
- Join the waitlist
- While supplies last
Words and phrases that create curiosity
Curiosity—the desire to learn or know something—can be used to every marketer’s advantage. When you don’t know the answer to something, it’s natural to want to find more information. Research shows that multiple emotions are at play when it comes to curiosity. For instance, learning something new can lead to joy, while seeking to reduce gaps in knowledge can lead to anxiety and tension (source).
Marketers can create curiosity among their core audience in two ways. First, use the words and phrases that spark curiosity. Second, give away just a little bit of information. Here are some words and phrases we recommend to build curiosity and boost conversions:
- How to
- Did you know
- The real reason
- Inside look
- Good news
- Click to find out
- Discover the answer
- You will never guess
- Here’s how
- Find out why
- Sneak peak
- The truth
- Behind the scenes
- You won’t believe
Asking questions is another great way to build curiosity in your marketing copy. To come up with questions to spark curiosity, simply put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Ask yourself, what does my audience want to learn? What are questions commonly asked about my product? Here are a few ways to phrase your questions:
- How should you do X? Find out inside
- Who’s speaking at [event]?
- Can you answer this?
- What’s the reason for X?
Final Thoughts about Words and Phrases that Convert
And there you have it, a list of words and phrases to boost your marketing conversion rates. Keep this comprehensive list handy to inspire your marketing copy, create more effective call-to-actions (CTAs)—and ultimately maximize your conversions.
As you identify the right words and phrases from this list, determine the ones that work best with your audience and brand voice. We recommend A/B testing to see which words and phrases are the most effective for you. Roll up your sleeves, test different word choices, and use these insights for a more strategic, targeted marketing strategy.
To learn more ways to maximize conversions, contact ZoomInfo, a leading B2B contact database.