The Copywriter’s Box of Words, Myths and Facts

November 30, 2017| Travis Moore

Having great copy is the best way you will succeed in your landing page goals. Do you need to have a good design and great imagery? Of course. But nobody is going to buy your product because they saw a photo of it. They want to know how it will benefit them. They want to be sold. Your job is to sell them. Sell yourself. Sell your product.

So how do you do that? With your copy. You need to weave a story for your prospects that will persuade them to take actions that you want them to take. Your words are the way that you do that.

Which Words Help Persuade?

This question is NOT an easy one to answer. Not at all. There are, of course, words which will help to persuade your clients more than the words commonly used on sites and in marketing materials, but those words, like the language itself, is always shifting. You probably already know some of the “magic words” that are out there in the wild, and those will be discussed soon. In the meantime, just know that some words convey more information than others.

The best words are going to do some of the following:

  • Convey a sense of scarcity. You know some of these. They usually convey a sense of urgency as well. Such as time based offers.
  • Alert the reader to something new. For example: new, introducing, announcing, etc.
    Something which sets the item apart. Examples include: revolutionary, improvement, miracle, etc.
  • Words which solve a pain point. Examples include: quick, easy, now, etc.

Not all words are going to meet all of these conditions. Every few years, a list comes out which tries to state the most powerful and persuasive words that you can use in your copy to make sales. With that being said, here is something to keep in mind: Once a word becomes so popular that it makes a list like that, it is already going to be saturated in the market and lose all of the power that once made it great. Many words wind up becoming “fad” words, which go in cycles, much like baby names do every few years.

Here are some examples of “magic word” lists:

  • 2014, Business Insider
    You, free, because, instantly
  • David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man
    Suddenly, now, announcing, introducing, improvement, amazing, sensational, remarkable, revolutionary, startling, miracle, magic, offer, quick, easy, wanted, challenge, compare, bargain, hurry
  • William Wells, “Communicating with Children”, Journal of Advertising Research 1965
    Free, new, suddenly, now, announcing, introducing, sensational, remarkable, revolutionary, startling, miracle, magic, improvement, amazing, offer, quick, it’s here, just arrived, last chance, important development

Some of these words are timeless. Others are simply fads. Pay attention to the reasoning people use to lit these words. Often, that reasoning is flawed. In the example from Business Insider, for instance, the word “instantly” is included simply because “people love instant gratification”. Come on.

The Myth of Magic Words

Since the beginning of the written word, there have been myths thrown around regarding what is and what is not good writing. Many of those myths are just what they sound like: myths. They are pervasive because people pass them along between each other time and time again without doing any checking or without bothering to verify them along the way. One of the most pervasive myths is that there are some magic words which you can use in your text which will guarantee you success. Likewise, there are generally no magic words which will guarantee you failure either.

There is no one, single, method by which you will be able to figure out the best combination of words for your particular situation. The best way to figure this out is also the most straightforward way: start testing words and trying out combinations today. Constantly be testing and constantly be improving the copy in your landing pages by using new word combinations and tweaked headlines/call-to-actions to improve your click-through rates.

Want to verify this for yourself? Go ahead and do it. All you need to do is set up an A/B test in which one of the options utilized one of these myths. The results will speak for themselves. Take your current copy, change it a bit, and compare the results of an A/B test between the two. If it is better now, change it, if not, then keep the old copy and start modifying again and repeating the process. Always be refining.

When you look at these lists of “magic words”, you will probably come to the conclusion that many of them sound ridiculous. To call “announcing” a magic word is absolutely ridiculous, because there are times when you have to use it and have no choice. The same with “offer” or “introducing”. Are they magic? No. They are necessary. Magic words are not going to be words that you have to use, they are words that you choose to use. If something sounds corny, it is probably because you are attempting to stuff too much into it. Don’t live or die by these lists. Come up with your own copy and keep it succinct and to the point. That’s the real secret to writing great copy.

Recommendations

Start using some of these words in your landing pages today and you will probably be shocked by the results that you get. As everyone who has a landing page already knows (or should), you need to be paying close attention to what is going on with your landing page through various analytic tools. You should also be testing your pages via A/B tests to determine which versions make the most impact on your prospects.

Regardless of your landing page goal, testing your copy and remembering the way words come across to prospects will help you to improve your chances of reaching that goal. Don’t rely on myths and magic to write your copy. Rely on yourself, your message, and your testing.

Categories: Copywriting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rating*

Skip to toolbar