WHAT’S THE MAGIC WORD? How to Capture Your Customer’s Attention

Top Words of Persuasion


It’s not what your mother may have taught you growing up. Saying “please” in business isn’t the most attractive way to get new customers. Can you imagine saying, “Please, join my health club,” to a potential client? Probably not. I’m not saying that your teachings in polite manners are wrong or misplaced here but the words you use in marketing are crucial to creating a successful or doomed campaign.

From gravitating to a “Buy One Game, Get One Free!” sales sign as a child to deleting email newsletters titled “Sign Up Today for a $25 gift card to Starbucks!” saturating your inbox, your subconscious mind probably doesn’t even realize the amount of linguistic punches to the brain it’s taking on a daily basis.

It may sound unbelievable and mythical to have hidden magic words casted upon you, somehow compelling you to buy a product or sign up for a service, but the truth is, they’re not magic. Understanding the science of writing engaging and alluring copy and the art of creating compulsory calls to action is extremely important in driving your business’s prosperity.

Here’s one of the most interesting and integral parts of the psychology: One word can make all the difference.

The power of one word is incredible if mastered and implemented correctly. The research is there. A single word has the ability to catch your attention in a split second or instigate a wave of emotions. Both results are beneficial in marketing depending on what you want your potential clients to do.

For instance, since we’re recanting about our youth, can you imagine a time when you possibly got into an argument with a sibling or another child on the playground? What kind of words did you use to describe the incident to your parents or supervisors? Saying “Jimmy ripped the ball from my hands” provides quite a different impact than saying “Jimmy took the ball from me.”

The difference between the word “ripped,” implying an aggressive tearing of the ball from your possession, and the word “took,” a still impolite but softer sounding method of taking your ball away, is huge and each word might result in a different level of punishment Jimmy will have to face.

But sometimes, it isn’t enough to swap out one word for another to persuade your audience. In almost all cases, if you want someone to do something, you have to be able to tell them why. That’s where the word “because” comes into play.

How likely are you to hand over your cellphone to a complete stranger if he/she came up to you and asked, “Could I use your phone?” Some of you might say “yes” and some of you might require more reasoning before you hand over a costly piece of hardware. What if that same stranger added, “...because my friend is bleeding badly from falling off his bike, and I need to call for help.” For some of you, your answer still might be not to lend the stranger your phone but for others you might now be a little more sympathetic toward the situation and help.

Apply that same philosophy to your own marketing strategy by asking these important questions:

• What do I want to accomplish with this marketing campaign?
• What emotions are important in the message I am trying to send?
• What emotions am I trying to instill in my audience when receiving my marketing material?
• Why should a potential client side with me over my competition?
• How much time do I have to make an impression on my audience?
• What are the specific goals I am trying to accomplish with these tactics?
• Am I being clear, direct and captivating in my presentation?

Evaluating your marketing goals with these questions is critical because the intent of a campaign may not necessarily be about making a sale or selling a product. Perhaps the goal of a tweet is to drive traffic to your website which would use different wording in contrast to a coupon you run in the newspaper. Either way, the words you choose to use matter, so do the research and choose them wisely.