There’s a skill in using persuasive words to avoid being received as annoying or demanding. Let alone manipulative.
But copywriters and editors need to take heed when trying to convert clicks to sales. It’s all about hitting the right notes, while being sincere that you’re delivering value to end consumers.
With the advent of globalized markets, that’s a lot easier said than done. Every campaign, every advertising makes consumers less receptive and weary of marketing tactics, especially when they’re doing it in overtly persuasive ways.
So what’s the solution?
It’s about balancing between being persuasive and liked. Walking this fine line can be difficult, but, fortunately, copy editors and writers looking for subtle persuasive words for sales need look no further.
Here’s what we’ll cover in our persuasive words list guide:
The Importance of Grammar, Syntax and Voice
Before we delve into how to persuade someone to buy something with the words you use, let’s take a step back and consider the role that grammar and syntax plays in our lives.
As writers and copyeditors, we know the power that words have on potential sales, especially when using power word for sales. Sales words are great, but how words are arranged matters just as much – if not more so.
Avoid repetitive long and arduous sentences and many short ones. Opt instead for a mixture of short, medium and long sentences.
The change in pace will not only keep your reader engaged, but will also rectify the problem of sounding overly monotonous.
Whenever possible, practice writing with an “active” voice. The subject should always act upon the object instead of the other way around.
For example – “my business provides a service” has an active voice, whereas “the service is provided by my business” has a passive one. An active voice ensures clear, precise and direct writing. It avoids the issue of “wordiness” by requiring few words.
Following this, it’s a good idea to avoid adnouns. An adnoun is a word that is usually an adjective but is being used as a noun. Adnouns act to generalize a target population (e.g. “the rich,” “the blind”). Take for example, the phrase, “tax cuts for the rich”. “Rich” is an adnoun because it stands in for the noun phrase “rich people.”
You should also use adverbs very sparingly. Adverbs complicate your keyword optimization and overall SEO efficiency. For example, “pink headphones” is a good keyword, while “very cute pink headphones” is not. The additional adverb, “very”, complicates the sentence.
20 Persuasive Words That Make People Buy
So, how does one maximize the use of verbs, and action-inducing, positive sales words, without sounding overly coercive or pushy?
Besides practice, practice, practice, test variations of the below, measure. And iterate until you get the sort of profit margins you have been looking for all along!
- Because: Consumers are smart, and nobody wants to spend their money frivolously. Give your client base a reason for purchasing your product or service – what problem does it aim to solve? Why should consumers purchase your product – because it solves X problem.
- Free: People love free. Incentivize users by providing a free sample of the product or service that you’re offering. Try offering a “buy one get one” promotion to drive more traffic!
- Best: Superlatives carry weight and perhaps none are as impactful as “best.” Consumers aren’t interested in just a product, they’re interested in the products which perform the best in their category or sector.
- Limited: Everybody hates to miss out. Offering a time-sensitive sense of urgency is a great way to make people move quick and act soon.
- Members: As with “limited,” the idea of an exclusive or members-only product drives consumers to wonder what they’re missing out on. Incentivize your user base to sign up for a newsletter or free PDF for exclusive offers and/or discounts.
- You: Writing with an active voice makes your tone direct and personal. This effect is also achieved through writing in the first-person perspective which makes your audience feel as if you’re addressing them personally. The first-person also makes your writing conversational – opening the opportunity for you to connect with the reader.
- Tell: While tips and questions for your readership are great, they run the chance of coming off as too passive. Instead of offering suggestions, tell them. Being direct shows integrity and sincerity – the difficulty lies in not crossing over the threshold into coercion.
- Compare: What does you or your business provide that your competitors don’t? Why should consumers choose you instead of them?
When you do the work, you set the narrative.
- Expert: The word ‘expert’ is something you want to be associated with. Consumers may not trust your brand or marketing campaigns, but they’ll place a lot of trust in experts who can back up their claims. While it may be difficult to obtain a celebrity endorsement, a product specialist or expert will do well to produce similar results.
- Numbers: Using numbers is a classic case of “show, don’t tell.” If you have the statistics and data to back up your claims, don’t be scared to use them. It builds not only trust, but also acts as “expert knowledge” when you have the numbers to prove it.
- Premium: As impactful as superlatives are, not everyone in your audience will be inclined to agree with you that your product is the “best” or the “greatest.” In fact, using such superlatives can make you come off as arrogant if you’re not cautious about your tone. Premium implies quality without condescension – everyone will say that their product is the “best,” so stand out and tell your audience that your products are premium instead.
- Pioneer: Everybody wants to be a trendsetter, but nobody wants to be the first to take the plunge into trying something new. Instead of simply advertising your product as “new” – be the trailblazer. You’re the innovator; the groundbreaker; the spearhead – let your customers know that you’re a trendsetter – not a trend follower.
- Improve: We’re all looking for ways to better ourselves, whether it be our health, relationships or even just finding a few extra minutes in our busy days – improvement is growth. Let your audience know how your product or service will provide a benefit for them. What is your unique selling proposition and what problem does it aim to solve and what facet of life does it seek to improve?
- Discover: Although being direct and telling your client base what they should do shows confidence and integrity, it also runs the risk of coming off as coercive. Instead of alienating a potential customer; encourage them to “crawl” through your website and organically learn more about your products and services while you act as their “guide.” You can expect much more self-directed site crawling this way and won’t come off as demanding as a result.
- Backed. No matter the product or service, having the empirical, scientific data ready to “back up” your claims is a massive boon. There’s a reason why so many nutrition and health supplements advertise themselves as either “research-backed,” or “science-backed” – it instills a sense of authority and tells your audience that you’re not just making things up.
- Endorsed. Celebrity endorsements are plentiful; and it’s because they work, but that doesn’t necessitate the need to onboard an A-list. Toothpastes and toothbrushes are often endorsed by “9/10 dentists,” and trendy skincare products are seen commonly endorsed by “9 out of 10 leading dermatologists.” If you want to quickly and persuade your audience, have your products/services endorsed by the experts.
- Bonus Next to “free,” bonus comes close as top contender for words that consumers love. We all enjoy that accidental, bonus curly fry in our bag of shoestring fries – what better way to emulate that feeling of surprise and amazement than by including a “bonus” product with your purchase?
- Breakthrough: Scientific research drives innovative products and it’s a given that people want the next “hot” thing. The original iPod was a product so original and ground-breaking that it revolutionized the way people thought about, designed and consumed mobile technology. You don’t have to be Apple to capitalize on this term; identify how your products fit into their unique niche and how they’re a “breakthrough” innovation.
- Instant: More than any cocktail or carefully prepared dish, the one thing that can be understood as universally loved is instant gratification. Capitalize on this basic human desire by offering instant discounts and rebates on time-sensitive purchases. Invoking a sense of urgency does wonders in being persuasive.
- Signature: Guiding new customers to a crowd-favorite product is an effective and easy method to build brand loyalty early on in the customer relationship. Depending on how many products you have and how your e-commerce site is set up, finding your single most popular product can be difficult for your customers. Easily denote your best performing and most popular product by delineating it as your “signature” offering.
Combine persuasive words with these guides to create better, stronger and longer marketing campaigns:
Final Thoughts on Persuasive Words
While these persuasive words remain as powerful words for sales, the bottom line is whether your content can close the sale. But sales oriented content should never feel coercive or obtrusive.
If you’re stuck, use our list above for your next campaign and witness your bottom line balloon in a respectful and inviting way.