Marketers produce massive amounts of content annually, and each piece has a specific goal — to engage customers, generate leads, or drive sales. Creating this content takes time and resources, so it’s critical that every component performs well.
Some marketers are cracking the code on a trick that advertising innovators such as David Ogilvy and Leo Burnett figured out decades ago: A single word can have a serious impact on results. But what exactly are those key terms, and how can you more effectively use them for greater impact? Here are six keywords that help you instantly drive more results:
“It’s not you, it’s me” is the pseudo-compassionate breakup line, but it’s also important in marketing. For customers, it’s all about them, yet many companies talk far too much about themselves. Turn this around by using the word “you” more frequently in your marketing materials.
Maximize results even further by combining the word “you” with greater personalization. Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, yet 70 percent of brands fail to use them. For example, use the prospective customer’s name in the subject line of an email or integrate it throughout the content where it makes sense. This level of personalization assists with creating content that resonates better with your audience and drives greater impact.
Some marketers have shied away from the word “free,” afraid that it’s overused and not potent. But “free” is still highly effective and helps convert a greater number of leads into sales.
Check out this example of QuickSprout, a company that offers services to help companies grow their Websites. To increase sales, the company must start a relationship with customers, so it entices prospects to sign up for a free course titled “Double Your Traffic in 30 Days.” Notice how QuickSprout uses that powerful word “free” in the sign-up box.
FreshBooks, a cloud accounting software, also leverages the word “free” in its initial offer to entice prospects to sign up. The company says, “Try it free for 30 days,” and explains that no credit card is required up front.
The book Predictability Irrational describes an example from Amazon.com that details what happened when the company launched its “free shipping” promotion with the purchase of a second book. Every country excluding France experienced a significant increase in sales. So marketers asked the question, “Why aren’t French shoppers taking advantage of the promotion?”
After some digging, the marketers discovered that shipping for the second book wasn’t showing up as free in France. Instead, shoppers were charged the equivalent of 20 cents for that second book. The company quickly fixed the mistake, and once that was corrected France experienced a sales increase similar to those in other geographic locations.
The above example includes an interesting lesson for marketers, because even though the price of the second book was small (20 cents), the word “free” was far more powerful than a low price. Test this strategy on your next offer to determine whether it drives greater conversions and results.
Have you ever tried to put a procrastinating child to bed? If so, you’ll find that this child instinctively knows something that Robert Cialdini, author of Influence, teaches his readers.
You say, “Hey, it’s time for bed.” And the child says, “But I need a drink of water because I’m so thirsty.” The magic word here is “because.”
In Cialdini’s book, he explains that people are more willing to meet demands when given an explanation. He proved this through a series of tests. In the first test, a person said the following to a line of people who were waiting to make copies:
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
Sixty percent of the people waiting in line allowed him to cut and use the machine first. The tester then asked the same question, but altered the words he used slightly. He said:
“I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I am in a rush?”
You’d think the others would say, “Hey buddy, we’re all in a rush here ― wait in line.” But surprisingly, 94 percent of the people allowed him to cut in line when he said “because” and included a reason, even though the reason wasn’t really that good.
So if you want to make your marketing more persuasive instantly, add the word “because.”
Customer expectations are rising, and consumers increasingly want things now. In fact, the midbrain becomes activated when a person envisions instant rewards. As a result, when marketers use the word “instant,” a switch flips in customers’ brains. They become engaged, attentive, and ready to take action.
Using this word is a start, but you can add even more impact by over-delivering on this promise. This involves delivering exactly what you promised, plus a little more.
For example, let’s say you have a “download now” button on your Website. When customers click the button, they can provide their names and email addresses in exchange for a free guide. Instead of using the phrase “download now,” test the words “download now for instant access.” Then, when you deliver the free guide, throw in a bonus resource the prospect wasn’t expecting.
The word “new” is powerful when used correctly, but according to a recent article written by Copyblogger, you must strike the right balance when integrating this word into your content. Start by asking yourself, “Which parts of our business generate trust and which parts generate utility?” For the “trust” parts of your business, don’t change anything too major or make it appear new.
However, features of your products that deal with utility can be altered and marketed as new. Use this word to generate more interest and conversions from your target market.
6. Money-back guarantee
The money-back guarantee encourages customers and prospects to test your products and services. It also helps remove that psychological barrier to trying something new. Once people try and then love your offering, they become paying customers. Yet the simple money-back guarantee often isn’t enough to entice potential customers to try products and services in the first place.
Find new ways to promote and capture attention for your existing guarantee. For example, Amazon.com offers an interesting guarantee on a product preorder — the company promises that if you order a product before it is in stock, you’ll receive the lowest price available for the first 30 days.
So if the product goes on sale after its release, you’ll get a refund. Without this guarantee, a customer may think, “Gosh, why prepay and buy this item now? … There might be a better deal when it comes out.” With this type of guarantee, you’re facing those objectives head on.
Another variation of making a guarantee stand out is shoe company Zappos’ incredible “free shipping, free returns, 365-day return policy.” Not only can you buy the shoes and get your money back if you don’t like them — you have an entire year to decide.
Identify what is different about your guarantee, then use this powerful phrase to generate greater conversion rates.
More words to try
The above words are a great place to start, but a handful of other words and phrases also deliver greater results, including:
- Highlight the value of the product or service that you’re offering. For example, “This $300 value is available to you at no cost until noon Friday.”
- Tell customers that the process they need to complete is easy, while being specific. For example, “Signing up is fast and easy. It’s simpler and less time-consuming than tying your shoes.”
- Highlight the value the customer will gain from acting quickly. “Save 50 percent today only.”
- No obligation. If your free trial does not require a credit card up front, let the customer know. “Free 30-day trial. No long-term obligation and no credit card required up front.”
- The key to using this word is to piggyback it onto a statistic. “Our solution is proven to deliver 33 percent greater results than the competition.”
- Show that your product is a step above what’s out there and tell why. For example, “This premium product offers a powerful feature that leading competitors’ products don’t, which is why it delivers 33 percent greater results.”
Words to avoid
Words can drive greater conversions, but, unfortunately, they can also create negative impacts. Experience greater results by avoiding these words and phrases:
- Sure, you want customers to act fast, but this word is overused and may turn off readers. Instead, try including “limited-time offer” with a specific expiration date to create a sense of urgency.
- In the past, marketers used this word to describe even the slightest of advancements in products. Instead, use data and statistics to show how your company is revolutionary.
- Game-changer. Unless you can back up this phrase with something really amazing, such as statistics that show how it’s producing excellent results, take a pass on it.
- World-class. This phrase may sound good, but it doesn’t really deliver any value to your target audience. It’s too brand focused. Instead, focus on the specific results or impact you produce for the audience.
Marketers are busy, and they know that each word provides an opportunity to drive greater interest, leads, and results. Avoid the above words, but also try integrating some of the power words into your marketing, and then test the impact. You might be surprised that a simple word change can make your results skyrocket instantly.
Have you tried any of the above words in your marketing materials? If so, please share your experience.