When was the last time you thought about the impact of your words on your online copy?
If you’ve been reading this blog or some of the others focused on conversion, you’re probably already keyed in. Individual words and phrases can make the difference between someone clicking a button or bouncing off a page.
It seems amazing that by simply changing a word or two you can affect such a big change.
But… you can. It has everything to do with persuasion and using a few power words.
So, let’s cut to the chase and go over 3 of the most powerful.
#1: “You” and the case for “What’s in it for me?”
Such a little word that packs an enormous punch, everything in your copy should come back to the word “you.” If you’ve been writing your copy all from your perspective, it’s time to make a shift.
Because your visitors are coming to your site or landing page looking to find answers to their questions… solutions for their needs. The reality is that their main concern is themselves – not you.
Harsh. I know.
As I’ve talked about in this post about getting people to respond to your email surveys, customers are frustrated when they encounter messaging that doesn’t resonate with them. Beyond addressing what’s most important to your prospects, centering your copy on them will go a long way to making them feel that there may just be something in it for them.
Practical tip: Replace “we” and “I” with “you” whenever possible
If you’ve got a headline with the word “I” or “we” either change it around so that “you” can be substituted. Or, simply get rid of the pronoun.
A headline like this…
I Help Small Businesses Build Better Widgets
… would be so much better simply by changing it to this…
Helping Small Businesses Build Better Widgets
Just by taking yourself out of it, you’ve shifted the focus to your customer.
#2: “Because” or giving people a reason to believe
Because is an amazing word. It’s power comes from the fact that it triggers people to expect a reason behind a request or an argument.
Dr. Ellen Langer’s experiment – that has been written about multiple times around the web in this context – shows just how effective using because can be.
In it, she asked study participants to cut to the front of the line where people were waiting to make copies at a Xerox machine. When the participants gave no reason to cut in line, the compliance rate was 60%. When a reason was given (no matter how silly or meaningless such as “I’m in a hurry”), the rate went up to 95%.
It seems that we’ve been programmed to accept a request when it’s part of a larger statement – where the why has been spelled out.
Practical tip: Use because to make an impact with your argument
With all of your sales copy (website copy included), you’re developing an argument as to why someone should hire you, buy from you, opt-in to your newsletter, etc.
You’re setting up a problem your customer is having and then telling them why your solution is the one to solve it.
Go back to the top of this blog post. Notice how I used the word “because” to start a sentence.
See how effective because can be?
I’m asking you to buy into my argument then asking you to believe in it with the one word that triggers acceptance.
Be careful. If your claim is too outrageous or request too large, even the word “because” won’t help you.
Langer’s experiments were primarily about how people will mindlessly react in certain situations. The copy machine example worked so well because the why behind the request was so minimal. As soon as the participants in the study told people they needed to cut in line to make 20 copies, they weren’t nearly so successful.
Tweet This! [clickandtweet handle=”jenhavice” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Use your persuasive language thoughtfully, even if your readers don’t always respond mindfully[/clickandtweet]
#3: “Get” a word that provides value
With all the talk about A/B testing these days, “get” has become the conversion community’s “it girl.”
Between button copy and various call to action tests, the word “get” is the one to beat.
Check out Michael Aagaard’s split test where he changed the button copy from “Order information and prices” to “Get information and prices.”
As he notes in this test:
The word “Order” emphasizes what you have to do – instead of what you’re going to get. Whereas, “Get” conveys value as it emphasizes what you’re going to get – rather than what you have to do to get it. Michael Aagaard
The last thing we want to do is give people the impression that they will have to work for something when interacting with our websites.
Practical tip: Give all your “Submit” buttons the heave ho
No one likes to be told to submit to anything – especially on a website. So unless you’ve got a website for people into bondage, focus your button copy on the value added.
Think opt-in email button copy like this…
Get your regular copy tips now
You may be surprised at how much more effective your calls to action become.
Because, You, Get…
Take a look through your website, landing pages, and even emails to see where you can change up your copy.
Your headlines, sub-headlines, and buttons are ideal places to start. Then, test it out.
Do you think your copy can improve using these words?
Just making sure the comments are working.
Great article! I particularly like the last example. I’ll have to start using that in my posts.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m glad this post was helpful. Every little bit helps with your copy. Good luck with it.
Great stuff. Bookmarked!
Copy writing is all about your readers, the “you” is very powerful! Also, remember to give them a reason to believe in you. Why you could do xyz for them and stuffs.
So glad you enjoyed it! Yep, having reasons to believe is crucial too. There’s always so much to remember.
Jen! How can three little words be such good advice? I’m going to revise my latest blog draft before I publish it, and keep this advice in mind. Thank you!
So glad it’s helpful! Thanks for stopping by.
I switched my email subscribe button to “get the latest posts” recently based on your spot on tips. We all like to get. Only little minions “submit”, lol, as you aptly describe.
I feel, YOU is the word of words, even if you’re an old story-telling yarn-spinning cat like I am. Our readers buy our stuff. We do not.
Better talk to them 😉
Jen, 3 power words indeed here, guaranteed to get your ad copy game in order.
Thanks for sharing your copy cleverness!
Let me know how the change in your button copy works out. Yes, “you” is a magic word. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them – so you might as well frame your copy that way. Keep me posted on how things go.
My opt-in box in my header I have the word get and it’s my highest converting one on my blog. Never thought that the word “get” could help with that too. Now that’s interesting to know.
I definitely know to use you a lot and unless I am specifically using me as an example I do use you a lot in my copy. As you know I want my reader to feel like I’m talking just to them and I believe I’ve definitely been able to achieve that.
Never knew about the word because but then again I’m not really a writer. I’m not really aware of “power” words so to speak but you’ve definitely given me some lessons here Jen. Thanks so much.
Sounds like you’re already on the right track. So glad to hear that “get” is working for you in your call to action!
Great value here. I use the words “You” and “Because” quite often. When it comes to my headlines I use an headline analyzer. It would score my headlines as being poor, good, or great. Whenever I get a poor score and add the word “You”, more score goes up a lot.
One thing that I need to change is some of my submit business. Since you told us the reason why or should I say “because” why the words “submit” and “Order” wouldn’t work well, that was persuasive enough to double check my optin boxes as well as my capture pages.
Thanks for the share! Have a great weekend!
Glad you found this helpful! Let me know if you see a difference with your button copy. It’s always good to find out what’s working for others.