You’ve heard about power words, right? It’s been scientifically proven that they grab users’ attention and have the ability to impact people’s subconscious minds and convince them to take action. Kind of like in a real hypnosis.
Words hold a lot of power. They can stimulate your imagination, distract your focus, create a scene or picture in your mind, play tricks on your senses, generate associations, and give rise to many other feelings or reactions – both positive and negative.
Power words are capable of putting people in a trance all thanks to the ABS formula:
Bypass the Critical Factor
Stimulate the Unconscious
Oftentimes they achieve all three stages at once. In a magical way, power words grab ahold of people’s attention causing them to become engrossed in your message without even knowing it. This engagement lets you bypass the critical factor, which means that you can unconsciously get people to do something you wanted them to, and they won’t even notice they’re following your request. And since following your request is a form of identifying with ideals one may or may not agree with, a feeling of either satisfaction or discomfort will eventually take over.
Why is it that some words have the power to trigger the ABS formula and other words simply don’t work on us in this way?
Practically all words have the potential to become powerful, and it’s only a case of using them right, in the right way and context.
However, mainly because of repetition, some words have more power than others. This is because throughout our life we’ve been taught by parents, friends, and the environment to react to some words in a particular way. As a result, when part of the right scenario, certain words sound natural to us and will provoke specific, subliminal actions.
Of course, we’re all separate individuals with differing identities and our reactions – to a certain extent – will vary; but in similar cultural circles, there are observable patterns in the way we communicate verbally, and they can allow us to define and predict typical behaviors.
The knowledge of powerful words and how to use them right is a strong skill to have for any marketer.
Fine-tune your hypnotic language skills and start using certain words consciously in your content writing. Once you learn how to apply them efficiently, you’ll be capable of controlling (and skyrocketing) conversion rates.
I’m sure you can’t wait to find out what 5 big power words we’ve included; so let’s just delve into it.
The First Powerful Word
The first big power word is “YOU.” It’s hypnotic when used in any form of communication because it changes the tone of the copy or speech from general to individual.
The “YOU” personalizes your message.
It turns an official voice into a personal, one-to-one dialogue and builds a relationship between the author and receiver of the message. Copies that use the word “YOU” seem as if they were written by someone that has our back, wants to give us advice, and simply cares.
“YOU” speaks to us on a much deeper level and is much more actionable than a copy directed at a group. It makes your writing much more persuasive.
Try to leverage and implement this style of conversation in all your marketing campaigns and messages that you share with your audience. Always talk to each person separately and not to many people at once.
By doing so, you will immediately see a strong improvement in the results of all of your different types of marketing communication. Include it in the copy on your site, blog posts, emails and social media. “YOU” works everywhere.
Immediately, go to your website, social media channels, blog and landings to double check if “YOU” is present where it should be. If not, make the change.
The word “YOU” also represents a customer focused approach in marketing communication. Remember to always talk about your prospects and the benefits they could reap from using your products and services; do not talk about yourself.
PS: The power of “YOU” can easily be noticed in everyday life; not only in the online marketing world. Think of all the shows in which the actor speaks directly to you – for instance, in House of Cards. When Francis looked directly at the camera and told you exactly what’s running through his mind, didn’t it immediately make you feel as if you were a part of the show?
My dad comes to mind when I think of the perfect example of the power of ”YOU” used in everyday life. He’s always able to get the best products in a crowded grocery shop. How?
My dad always strives to create a sort-of bond with the lady behind the counter: he notices her name written on the label attached to her uniform and makes spontaneous small talk, making her feel special.
Of course, he does it because he is a nice and friendly guy, but this is a persuasion technique too, and it works.
You can read more about this technique in Robert Cialdini’s books about persuasion.
Btw: There is a very interesting Customer Focus Calculator that lets you check if your site is customer focused. It’s fun and free :-). Nice stuff.
And now, let’s move on to the next power word!
The Second Powerful Word
The second big power word is “BECAUSE.” It’s scientifically proven that when you ask someone for a favor and explain the reason why you need their help, they are much more likely to agree. The “BECAUSE” can literally double your success rate.
According to Psychology for Marketers – Giving a reason for your request can increase compliance from 60% to 90%.
Psychology for Marketers is getting its statistics from the 1970s case study that tested differently framed variations of a request asking someone to make photocopies.
When the request was given without any reason, the initiator was successful 60% of the time. When a reason was added – it jumped to over 90%. Interestingly, it did not matter what kind of reason was given.
The “BECAUSE” stimulates the unconscious mind in exactly the same way the first powerful word, “YOU,” does. It activates the automatic compliance trigger deeply rooted in our minds.
The answer to why the word “BECAUSE” is so powerful lies in a particular cause and effect relationship. – The human brain must know the why behind anything it does. Once there’s a why, there’s a reason, and acceptance follows.
Very often when people hear the word “BECAUSE,” no matter what goes afterwards, they treat it as an adequate communication formula that has already been fulfilled. When the magic “BECAUSE” is included, whether you’ve got a justified reason for your request or not, doesn’t matter.
So use “BECAUSE” extensively when communicating with your prospects. Whether it be in a copy mentioning seasonal discounts, giveaways, or standard prices of goods, there should always be room for “BECAUSE.”
Explain why your solutions are helpful and be open about issues with your system(s). The transparency of openly giving people the real reasons for problems will drastically limit complaints and refund requests.
The Third Powerful Word
Another magic word that hypnotizes people is… the word “IMAGINE”.
This word instantly removes you from reality.
If you only tell someone that they should do something, they’ll question it.
But that’s not the case with “IMAGINE.” This powerful word applies to a world where anything can happen: there are no rules and everybody can visualize things differently.
“IMAGINE” starts a mind-game, triggers in people feelings of ownership, and helps them visualize being a part of a specific scenario.
And from this state of mind, the way to execution is much shorter than in any other because a person has already imagined that they own or are a part of something.
Sitting at home you can still feel the salty ocean breeze and taste the sweet coconut water, all while the sun rays warm up your face and body. “IMAGINE” speaks to you so effectively that it’s capable of taking you inside of a daydream, just for a second. Just like that.
Once a well-written copy gets you to envision what it wants, you are sold… then all that’s left to do is work around the reality that sometimes limits us and our capabilities.
The Fourth Powerful Word
The next power word in life and marketing that speaks to our subconscious mind is the word “REMEMBER.”
“REMEMBER” stimulates the imagination similarly to the previous magic word “IMAGINE,” but it also does something extra: it recalls past situations and recreates them, enabling you to experience those same feelings and emotions. So we can say that “REMEMBER” has a doubled effect because it evokes a clear memory and automatically puts you in a mindset relevant to that situation.
As a result, it’s highly beneficial to leverage its power in your marketing efforts. Whenever you can refer to your audience’s memory or past experience, do it. Bringing back a breath of the past will strengthen your message.
The Fifth Powerful Word
Never underestimate the power of “WHY.” Humans are curious by nature and “WHY” satisfies the basic and natural feeling of curiosity. “WHY” promises an explanation and it has been proven that it can double CTRs when used in headlines.
This is due to the phenomenon referred to as the curiosity gap. According to George Loewenstein, the professor from Carnegie Melon University, the curiosity gap is literally the gap between what we know and what we want to know.
When a person realizes there’s a gap regarding a specific topic, the subconscious desire to find out more is triggered, and it can only be satisfied through learning.
Peter Koechley, the co-founder of Upworthy, advises how to use the curiosity gap technique efficiently when creating headlines. According to him, it’s all about revealing just enough to maximize curiosity without giving away the whole story. You need to find the right balance for each headline, so the perfect amount is said.