The Seven Words to Use in Marketing (and the Five to Lose)

Recently, food marketers targeting Millennials have been using “crazy” or “loco”, the Spanish word for crazy.

Pizza Hut has Crazy Cheesy Crust pizza. Taco Bell serves Doritos Locos Tacos. Pop Tarts uses the slogan “Crazy good.”

While “Crazy” is likely a fad,  marketing has go-to words that help create conversion no matter age, industry or era.

Here are seven words to use in marketing copy to earn better results.

Thumbs Up - Words to Use in Marketing1. Because – People are more likely to do something for you if you give them a reason, even if it’s a crappy one.

A study tested the power of “because” by having participants interrupt someone waiting to use a copy machine.

Sixty percent of people allowed someone to cut in front of them when they said, “Excuse me, I have five pages, may I use the Xerox machine?”

That number jumped to 90 percent when the line cutter said, “I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I am in a rush?”

2. Value – When considering a product, people want value. They will pay more for something if it provides lasts longer, performs better, etc.

Whereas “value” implies that customers gain something, the words “price” and “cost” (two no-no’s listed below) imply that your customers are losing something, most often money.

3. Free – “Free” is a word powerful enough to grab your customers’ attention and even change their buying habits.

Consider a study that offered participants a truffle for 15 cents or a Hershey Kiss for 1 cent. Three-quarters of participants bought the truffle.

When the study dropped the price of both candies a penny, making the Kisses free and the truffles 14 cents, two-thirds of participants chose the Kiss.

4. Secret – Everyone wants to be in on a secret. Using “secret” will draw customers in and make them feel special.

An added bonus for using “secret”? It makes content more shareable. Jonah Berger notes that once people learn something is secret, they have the urge to spread the word.

5. You – Using the second person makes customers feel like you’re speaking directly to them, creating a powerful subconscious connection.

According to StartupNation, “you” is “listed as the #1 most powerful word in every study reviewed.”

Use “you” in your headlines, ledes and anywhere else you can fit it. Many marketers will discard a headline that doesn’t use the second person.

6. The – When analyzing The Economist, two colleagues of mine noticed a theme among the headlines on the cover: “The.”

They determined that using the word at the beginning of headlines makes it sound like the definitive answer to a question.

Compare these two sentences: Five Secrets of Making Sales on Twitter / The Five Secrets of Making Sales on Twitter

7. Instantly – People like immediate results, a line of thinking unlikely to change in a world of smartphones and Twitter. “Instantly,” “now,” “immediately” and similar words appeal to this need for instant gratification.

Other words to use: Amazing, Understand, Easy, Free, How to, New, Now, Love, Discovery, Deserve, Happy, Fun

Five Words to Lose 

Thumbs Down - Words to Use in Marketing1. Will – ‘Will’ puts customers in the future. Instead, make the benefit of the product appear in the present, enabling your customer to envision using the product here and now. The more connected they are, the more likely they are to buy.

Example: Your computer will run faster with this new software. / Your computer runs faster with this new software.

2. Exceed expectations – When saying that a product or service will exceed expectations, you automatically raise customer expectations. Instead focus your content on what the product does.

Case studies are an exception to this rule. You can certainly quote customers who talk about receiving surprising results.

3. Seasoned, Experienced, Veteran – Experience doesn’t always equal success. Just because someone cooks dinner every night for the past 10 years, doesn’t mean they make good food. Instead of talking about experience, use concrete evidence to show the effectiveness of your product or service.

4. Noncommittal words (generally, relatively, sometimes, somewhat, etc.) – Copy that sells is authoritative. Customers research because they are informed or have doubts or concerns. Be the authority that delivers the answer.

Note: Avoid noncommittal words in calls to action, especially.

5. Adjectives – Writing copy without adjectives makes copy shorter and more straightforward. Eliminate adjectives whenever possible, especially when giving instructions. If compelled to use an adjective, make sure they add to the copy.

Other words to lose: Deal, Cost, Pay, Contract, Worry, Loss, Lose, Hurt, Buy, Bad, Sell, Sold, Price, Decision, Hard, Difficult, Obligation, Liable, Fail

Image: Phillip Worsnopforwardstl (Creative Commons)

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