For online marketers, capturing and keeping your audience’s attention can be like scurrying across a metal cable strung taut over a hellscape of lava.
Your heart thumps with fear, but also with exhilaration. You realize you have your balance and a clear path to victory. You get closer and closer to safety…
Now, if we got your attention, it was through the use of power words. Not all words are equal, and power words are the ones that propel you across that highwire to conversions from your audience.
What are Power Words?
The gold, shimmering words that beam into your user’s minds are: rutabaga, forest, and loam.
Just kidding! Of course, there are no exact magic words, but more a quality or kind of word. Those words aren’t rutabaga or anything like that, but ones closer to those at the beginning of the above sentence: shimmering, beam, gold. Notice how vivid they are, and how active.
That’s because power words share these characteristics. They are:
- Vivid—causing a reader to picture something shimmering (as opposed to being “bright”) or someone scurrying (as opposed to “going,” “walking,” “crossing” etc.). Vivid imagery forces attention by making the reader active.
- Active-above, the words are active, with something to do—”beaming.” Likewise, you aren’t afraid, but your heart “thumps” with fear. Always have nouns performing actions.
- Emotion-grabbing- in this article’s first sentence, you were asked to imagine yourself scurrying (a verb indicating fear or urgency), with heart thumping. But then you were exhilarated and feeling security. Research has shown that producing a change in the user’s emotional state is effective in grabbing and keeping their attention. Power words do so by taking the target audience on an emotional roller-coaster, switching from various emotions, such as dread or fear and then the resolution of fear, which comes from the product or service you are marketing.
Power Words are Vivid
This may not be English class, and you may not be Shakespeare, but vivid words serve a practical purpose—they alert the mind that something is happening here: “hey, pay attention!”
Professional article writers use these words all the time!
It’s easy to ignore words like “special,” “important,” “unique” “fun,” yet impossible easy to ignore neon flashes like “searing,” “icy-blue” “towering” and “parched.”
Power Words are Active
Your audience skims. It doubts, hurries, scurries, darts, and drifts. It looks for something surprising, quirky, joyful, soul-stirring. You don’t enjoy a yawning cavern of time with your audience’s attention. Pat them on the back with the assurance that action is unfolding.
Your product or service is doing something. Your company has changed. It is offering something that is peculiar to the here and now. The audience can do something. They can change or progress, solving a problem in their lives.
Instead of writing “We have a wide selection of baseball hats,” try “we’re hording a wide array of hats for discriminating fans,” so that you’re hording something rather than merely having. Or: “mine our bottomless stock of baseball hats,” so that the audience is active.
Power Words Hit Emotions
It’s important to use words that refer to emotions, such as “want,” “crave,” “pride,” “nervous,” etc. Also, there are words that can trigger emotions, such as “custom,” “you” “we” “honest,” etc.
Let’s be honest. You laugh at the same old cliches.
In that sentence, the reader is being brought into a fold (“we”) with the marketer. The word “you” gets attention because it refers to the reader, treating her or him like an individual. You then get, in Power Words fashion, the active verb “laugh.” Since the reader is being treated with honesty, he or she feels that hard-to-describe positive emotion, a warm glow inside. That’s what you want your target audience to feel.
Power up with power words, and you’ll enjoy the increase in your conversions!
Any thought? Please feel free!