Have you ever wondered why your well-written, well-researched copy is getting no traffic?
If so, then maybe it’s time to think about "power words".
What are Power Words?
Power words are words that provoke emotional and psychological responses.
Copywriters and marketers like them because they nudge people into action, be that by clicking on an article or trialing a product. Power words tend to be emotional or bring out a particular sensation.
They can range from inflammatory to reassuring and are almost always action-driven.
To glimpse what power words can do, compare the following sentences:
I have an interesting potential investment to share.
Don’t miss out! Lucrative six-figure investment!
It’s clear which one is calling you to action and playing on your curiosity and your emotion.
Now you might think that people won’t fall for that. But they do, time after time, even when they know they shouldn’t.
Why You Should Use Power Words
You want your readers to have an emotional response to your work. If you believe in your content and want to improve your click throughs or conversions, use power words.
With so few chances to get noticed online, the real question is: why aren't you already using them?
We'll look at ten categories of power words to help you evoke a whole range of human emotions. But first, let's sum up six "super" power words that are known for their incredible conversion powers whenever you use them.
Six Super Power Words
These six "super" power words will come as little surprise to most people. Anywhere there is advertising or marketing, you will find them being used:
New software, new models, new stories—all attract our attention. Look carefully and you will see new in book titles, blog posts, and banner headlines. Add new to your next article or blog post and watch your conversion rate increase significantly.
The other thing guaranteed to turn heads and increase clicks is the promise of something free. By offering a free gift, you can move people to take action much more easily.
This is used by marketers and copywriters to give people a reason to do something. A because answer to why someone should buy a product will massively increase conversion.
Instant is an incredible power word because it taps directly into our need for instant gratification. Everyone knows the feeling of wanting something right now and using instant in your copy or blog posts feeds that feeling.
Think instant access or download instantly.
5. How To
Not only is how to one of the most retweeted phrases online, it's pretty common in blog titles too. It's extremely powerful and one of the best ways to compel your readers to take action.
People love information that will teach them something and make them better off in some way.
A super power word because it focuses on the reader and why a product or service should matter to them. It gives the writing a conversational tone and makes it feel less sales-oriented. It's actually frequently described as one of the most persuasive words in the English language!
156 Power Words to Use in Your Marketing Copy
Greed-Based Power Words
Greed is a negative emotion, but it's also a very natural tendency. All of us will at some point or another want more of something than we need. And it is entirely understandable that people would want a higher salary or better mortgage deal. This is not negative, but it still counts as greed.
Greed power words focusing on saving or making money are therefore very effective.
If you want to appeal to greed then you need to either play on scarcity or value, offering readers a bargain or the chance to accrue more—if they act quickly enough.
Here are more greed power words:
Don’t Miss Out
There are infinite variations on this theme—money saving is often preferred to save money and instead of sale you can use reduced. These power words may be overused online, but guess what? They still work.
Curiosity Power Words
Being curious is one of the things that makes us human. It is part of our nature to want to learn. We all want answers and to discover hidden knowledge.
Curiosity drives people to want to improve their skills and further their education. It drives them to read articles or click through to courses or product descriptions, to see if something can improve their lives. If you can draw people in with curiosity power words—and the promise of secrets—they will find it hard to resist.
And this is why curiosity power words are so good in your blog posts or landing pages—because they are impossible to resist. They are the reason the term clickbait was invented.
Here are some curiosity power words:
Behind the Scenes
Lust Power Words
The truth is sex sells and people still, it seems, make purchasing decisions based on the beautiful woman or man in the photograph. A quick look through the headlines in most women’s magazines will tell you that the same applies to words.
Using lust power words in your articles, emails, and copy will certainly get you more click throughs. It is also worth bearing in mind that lust words don’t just have to be about sex. They can also be about a desire for certain items and feeding a craving for these items.
Lust power words do this by adding a sense of naughty or desire to your copy.
However you plan to use them, there are hundreds of lust power words out there to stir up emotions in your readers.
Here are a few:
Laziness Power Words
You might be surprised that there is such a thing as a laziness power word. But when it comes to power words, it’s ok to have a bit of laziness in your life. The desire to do less often drives us to find easier and faster ways to achieve tasks or goals, and so a bit of laziness can be quite the motivator.
Laziness power words let readers know that you have found a way for them to somehow do less work for more reward, thanks to the advice or products you are offering.
Power words for laziness include:
Nothing To It
Authority Power Words
Half the battle with marketing is getting people to respect your products and your company. This is where authority power words are essential.
Certain authority power words can be deployed to amplify the professionalism of the products or services you are offering. They are often used in conjunction with the testimonials or statements you get from other people about your service.
Using authority power words to introduce testimonials will give them more emphasis and gravitas and give you more authority in the eye of the reader.
Consider using some of the following power words in your marketing materials:
Safety Power Words
Just like other human needs and desires, everyone wants safety—whether in their home, their job, or in buying something online. When you use safety power words in your writing, you are assuring people that they can feel secure in dealing with your business or site.
Safety power words give customers a feeling of protection through actionable, reassuring words.
Think how often you see the following online:
- 14 Days Free Trial
These safe marketing words convince potential customers that there is no scam or possibility of losing money:
Try Before You Buy
Trust Power Words
Trust power words are like safety words in that they offer reassurance and security to readers, but they differ slightly because they are more about convincing people that you and your brand will keep your word, deliver what you promise, and do so on an ongoing basis.
The way to do this is to build trust over time by using trust-related power words consistently in all your copy. Of course, you must also deliver on your promises, so it's important to ensure that you don’t over-promise and under-deliver!
For example, an advert could claim:
This would therefore be re-emphasizing the trust already earned and using it to win new customers.
Trust power words include:
Anger Power Words
Anger is all too often a driver of actions and decisions in life and can affect our reasoning. It can be rash, irrational, and negative and yet it can also spur us on to do amazing, positive things.
How can you use anger power words in a positive way for both you and your customers? By using anger that is aimed at something negative elsewhere. And that anger is incredibly persuasive.
Use anger power words to offer readers an opportunity to correct an annoying problem right away, like this:
Using anger power words such as stamp out and annoying or pointless will channel readers rage about pop-ups, and they will click through to your product immediately.
Other anger power words include:
Sick and Tired
Charities and political parties are experts at channeling anger, and you will see a lot of anger power words in their advertising.
Fear Power Words
If you want to understand fear power words, just look at your daily newspaper. Fear sells and fear motivates, because it is a primal instinct that we all have inside us.
Fear is the most powerful emotion for getting the attention of a reader. Consequently, any marketer worth his or her salt will know that just a dash of anxiety can have a massive effect on conversion rates.
However, the key is to use your words wisely, using the fear of missing out or fear of something going wrong, to drive readers towards you and your actionable solution.
Job interviews are bad enough, but what are these embarrassing things we shouldn’t say? How does this meltdown happen? Headlines like this pull you in with anxiety before calming you down with a boring article about interview techniques. And they work because people do click on these again and again.
Here are some other fear power words:
Encouragement Power Words
One of the most enjoyable aspects of marketing is writing articles or blog posts that improve people’s lives and try to help them to feel better about themselves. People are crying out for this kind of encouragement, and offering it is a very powerful and enticing strategy in your marketing.
If you offer an article that promises to show someone how to transform an element of their life they are unhappy with—career, dating, dieting—they will find it almost impossible not to click through and read what you are saying.
Now who doesn’t want to transform their life with a delicious chocolate and cheese diet? I would be clicking on that headline immediately for sure.
Other encouragement power words include:
The reason copywriters and marketers keep blatantly inserting power words into their headlines is because they know they will provoke the emotions needed to make their readers click through and convert. They use power words for sales because they are words that sell.
The key is to use them strategically and not overuse them.
Power words are only powerful in moderation. Make sure you don't dilute your meaning by overusing them. ProWritingAid's repeats report highlights all the repeated words in your article so you can make sure you're using them effectively.
Why Do Power Words Work?
Most of us will look at this list of power words and think that they would never work on us. We’re too savvy, we’re not falling for that nonsense! But the fact is they do work on us, every day.
We’ve listed 156 power words in this article, but there are thousands of power words that will boost your conversions if you’re willing to give them a try. Just be careful—they’re really powerful!