Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

244 Insanely Powerful Words That Sell in Emotional Marketing (+Where To Use Them)

The customer is searching for the perfect product and after all of your hard work and strategic search engine optimization, she comes across your online shop.

But it’s buried in a list with nine other shops, all of which are fighting for her fleeting attention, hoping to get that invaluable click.

And that click happens fast. So fast that even she doesn’t know how or why she does it.

So how do you make sure that your shop gets that coveted click?

And, more importantly, how do you get her to notice your shop or product before any others?

By using power words that sell.

The words that you use on your website are extremely important.

They will be the determining factor in every step of the way through the customer cycle, from getting them to your site via the search engines to adding a product to their cart via the product descriptions.

Every part of the customer experience can be influenced by your word choice, so choose very wisely.

And luckily for you, I’ve got all of the most powerful, high-converting words for you right here; words that stoke emotion and urge action and ultimately, words that sell.

Multi-million dollar marketing teams and small business owners alike use these words.

Why?

Because they work. Human beings are funnily predictable and so once you understand how to navigate their emotions in your marketing campaigns, you will be well on your way to growing your business (and sales).

Let’s dig in.

(click to jump to these headers!)

Understanding The Role of Emotions in Content Marketing

Just because I’m about to give you a list of high converting powerful words that sell, it doesn’t mean that you can sprinkle them all throughout your website in hopes of tricking your customers into making a purchase.

Why?

Because these words play on four basic emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, and anger.

And if you toss these emotion-based words in randomly, without the right context or against your brand personality, then they could do the exact opposite of what you’re hoping for.

Instead, they are best used when you can evoke certain feelings in your customers that compel them to make a purchase.

This is called emotional marketing and is an entire strategy designed around tapping into the basic emotions of human beings.

And when done well, customers will act out of instinct rather than rational thinking.

It’s true.

Marketing campaigns that use emotional ads perform twice as well as those that rely on rational content. The same is true for content marketing, too. Content that taps into happiness spreads more quickly than content that elicits other emotions. That means emotional marketing is like a secret formula for successful marketing.

Why?

Because people rely on their emotions way more than they rely on information to make decisions.

And considering that trust in a brand can be determined within one tenth of a second, it’s super important that you hit the right emotion right from the start.

Think about it.

If your potential customers have two ad campaigns before them, one speaking to them emotionally and the other simply advertising a product or brand, which do you think they will prefer?

The emotional ads, every time.

But don’t worry, it’s not just emotionally positive ad campaigns that get the clicks (though they spread more easily, which is good for brand awareness). Negative emotions, such as fear and sadness, can also elicit responses in potential customers as well.

Whether used for growing brand awareness or for eliciting a purchase, emotionally based words can help drive activity in the consumer:

  • Tapping into happiness leads to more social sharing, making it the primary emotion for viral content. Good news spreads more quickly on social media than content focused on negative emotions, which is a reflection of a social phenomenon that has been happening since birth. We mirror the emotions around us, especially when it comes to positive emotions.
  • Sadness, on the other hand, leads to generosity and altruistic behavior. Some of the biggest charitable organizations use this emotional marketing strategy by displaying photos and videos of malnourished children, abused animals, and natural disasters to elicit a certain (monetary) response by its audience. This is also why a lot of business owners opt for a charity component in their business model, to help provoke potential customers to spend money on their product or brand in the name of altruism.
  • One of the most popular political strategies used at the moment is based on fear, one of the most basic negative emotions for all mammals. When it comes to advertising, it makes people cling onto what they know and what is comfortable. This leads to increased brand loyalty as customers begin to see your brand as the proverbial safety net in the face of fear. While many businesses might want to avoid negative feelings in their marketing message, it can actually be a powerful driver of customer loyalty when used correctly.
  • One of the easiest ways to create a buzz around something is to provoke anger in your audience. Think about it. All of the emotionally charged viral content you see on social media tends to be based on something totally innocent and happy (like a dog welcoming his owner home from war) or something based on intense anger. While it’s probably not a good idea to begin creating angry content as a way to develop your brand identity, it is certainly a way to gain attention… which will help with brand awareness, a very important part of the customer life cycle.

As a marketer, one of the most powerful marketing strategies you can have is to elicit emotional reactions in your target audience. This will not only impact consumer behavior on social media but also influence their buying decisions once they get to your store.

Which is exactly why these power words are indeed so powerful.

Insanely Powerful Words That Sell

The ultimate goal of using power words is to motivate a person to purchase a product or service. Understanding the reason why certain words in the English language can be used to evoke certain emotions (and buying decisions) will help you increase your conversion rates and explode your sales.

So, are you ready?

Here are the most persuasive and powerful words used in copywriting by marketing professionals and small business owners alike.

Classic Words For Sales

Before we dig into the nitty gritty of emotionally charged power words, there are a few basic words that will stand the test of time and apply to all campaigns, no matter the emotion. Whenever you have the ability to work them into your writing, make it happen.

You

People like to talk about themselves and think about themselves. They also like to imagine themselves with your product or service. You can help them do exactly that by positioning all of your campaigns from their point of view. Whenever you are writing for your website or advertising, speak directly to the person reading your content by using the word ‘you’.

Bob (Or, Their Actual Name)

The ultimate power word that you can use is the name of your customer. This grabs their attention quickly and peaks their curiosity, which is perhaps the biggest hurdle of all for marketers.

Because

If you want people to do something, be sure to give them a reason why. As demonstrated in the infamous Copy Machine study by Ellen Langer, people are more likely to do what you ask of them when you give them a reason to. Don’t just evoke a feeling or create a sense of urgency in your writing. Follow it up with a reason too.

And

And is a very inclusive word that allows you to acknowledge any potential limitations that the potential customer might have as well as offer a solution. Rather than trying to convince your audience to purchase your product or service with phrases like ‘but I’ve got a deal for you’, show them that you offer a friendly solution to their problem by replacing the word ‘but’ with ‘and’.

Or

People really like to feel as if they have the freedom to choose whatever they like, which is why it’s good to give them many purchasing options. If you only provide one product option, then their choice is between making the purchase or not. When you give them multiple product options, though, they odds of them choosing to purchase one of your products significantly increases.

Consensus

The ultimate form of social proof is when a consensus is made on a certain brand or product. If you can demonstrate a consensus, either by sharing reviews or by listing known supporters, you will more easily convince consumers to trust your brand.

Imagine

Before language was brought to written form, it was shared through storytelling. In this way, our brains are designed to imagine possibilities that haven’t quite been experienced yet. And if you can help your audience imagine themselves with your product or service, they’re more likely to actually purchase it.

Words That Play On Fear

Fear-based words are especially powerful with social media marketing because they grab and keep your attention. Many copywriters rely on fear to get clicks and you can do the same. Try putting these words into your next headline or blog post to get the undivided attention of your audience as you strike fear with emotional marketing.

Beware - frightful words abound!

Afraid

Agony

Alone

Apocalypse

Assault

Backlash

Beware

Bloodbath

Bloodcurdling

Catastrophe

Caution

Collapse

Crazy

Crisis

Danger

Dark

Deadly

Destroy

Devastating

Disastrous

Doom

Failure

Fooled

Frantic

Frightening

Gullible

Hack

Hate

Hazardous

Hoax

Horrific

Humiliation

Hurricane

Invasion

Looming

Lurking

Meltdown

Menacing

Mistake

Nightmare

Painful

Panic

Peril

Pitfall

Played

Plummet

Poison

Poor

Pummel

Revenge

Risky

Scary

Scream

Searing

Shame

Shatter

Shocked

Silly

Slaughter

Stress

Stupid

Tank

Targeted

Torture

Toxic

Tragedy

Trap

Vaporize

Victim

Volatile

Vulnerable

Warning

Worry

Wounded

Words That Evoke Anger

Most of us are just trying to stay under the radar, trying to keep the peace and avoid confrontation.

The problem?

Complacency is the antithesis of action and sometimes we need to add a little fuel to the fire to get things moving. If you want your readers to act because they have been wronged, the world has gone awry, or whatever-other-worst-case-scenario, then try using one of these words that evoke anger.

Argh! Blatantly annoying words

Abhorrent

Abuse

Annoying

Arrogant

Blatant

Brutal

Cheat

Cocky

Coward

Crooked

Crush

Curse

Demolish

Disgusting

Dishonest

Distorted

Evil

Exploit

Greedy

Hate

Infuriating

Kill

Lies

Loser

Lying

Misleading

Nasty

No good

Obnoxious

Pain in the ass

Payback

Pesky

Phony

Pissed off

Pollute

Pompous

Preposterous

Pretentious

Punish

Rampant

Ravage

Revolting

Rotten

Rude

Ruined

Ruthless

Savage

Scam

Sick and tired

Slay

Smash

Smug

Sniveling

Suck

Trash

Useless

Violate

Words That Create A Sense Of Urgency

FOMO is a real social phenomenon that extends far beyond social media. In fact, this ‘fear of missing out’ can be capitalized in your marketing campaigns, as well. By creating a sense of urgency, you are motivating your audience to act quickly before time runs out.

Hurry! Last chance to see these words!

Deadline

Expires

Fast

Final

Hurry

Last Chance

Limited

Never again

New

Now

Quick

Running Out

Words That Make It Exclusive

Human beings have survived for millennia, thanks to our ability to work in groups. So it is absolutely hard-wired into our brains to want to belong. One way you can capitalize on that is by creating a sense of exclusivity in your offer. You can either create a members only area of your site or a product that is offered to a limited number of customers.

These words are available only to a select few...

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Words That Are Secretive

One of the easiest ways to get someone to think about something is to explicitly tell them not to think about it.

Why?

Because, just like Yuval Noah Harari points out in Sapiens, it is essential to our survival as humans to be able to know ‘insider information’. Our brains are designed to know exclusive information and so even in our modern age, we are obsessed with knowing things. If you want to tap into that obsession, sprinkle a few of these secretive words into your content.

Hush: Insider secret words

Backdoor

Banned

Behind the scenes

Censored

Concealed

Confession

Controversial

Cover-up

Forgotten

Hush-hush

Insider

Little-known

Off the record

Off-limits

Outlawed

Private

Restricted

Secret

Strange

Tried to hide

Unauthorized

Undercover

Underground

Unexpected

Unlock

Unspoken

Withheld

Words That Offer Reassurance

Though humans make decisions based mostly off of their emotions, they also need to discern whether or not they trust the source the information is coming from (i.e. you and your brand). One way to address this is by using words of reassurance in your content.

No worries, certified words only!

Authentic

Backed

Certified

Dependable

Endorsed

Genuine

Guarantee

Ironclad

Lifetime

Money back

No obligation

No risk

No strings attached

Official

Protected

Proven

Rock-solid

Safety

Scientific

Secure

Unconditional

Verify

Where To Use Your Powerful Words For Sales

Basically any place that has text on your website serves as an opportunity to increase conversion rate, whether it’s converting your target audience to site visitors or passive shoppers to buying customers.

But there are a few places that are especially important.

And that is where you should strategically place your power words.

Here are the best opportunities for you to use them:

Headlines

Headlines are perhaps the most important place to spice up your word choice. They are what people will see first, before they even hear of your brand or the products you offer.

It’s what will put you on their radar, which is a crucial step in the customer life cycle.

Check out this headline by BuzzFeed.

words-that-sell-buzzfeed-headline-adjectives

Though the title doesn’t allude to what the article is even about, at least 71,000 people were curious enough to click on it.

Why?

Because it’s loaded with power words, and plays with emotional marketing: you feel curious, you feel interest in looking at the weird tricks, and you anticipate humour and happiness from looking at the tricks. And maybe you’ll even feel pride that you can do the weird trick.

This headline from Bored Panda is just as enticing. Prepare to be outraged!

pasted image 0 8

For the more business-minded readers, Inc. also plays into the power words in their headlines. Again, there is a curiosity gap, but you also feel prepared to be blown away and be in awe of the ritual.

pasted image 0 2

While these headlines aren’t used to sell products or services, they certainly get visitors to their blog.

And that is the very first step of the customer lifecycle.

Email Subject Lines

If you’ve been able to secure a potential customer’s email to send promotions to, then congrats!

But that’s not where the hard work ends.

When you finally cozy up in their inbox, it’s important to get them to open your emails rather than be cast away as just-another-promotional-email.

Or worse, sent to the spam folder.

The easiest way to do that is by including power words in your subject lines, like Raw Shorts does here.

pasted image 0 6

Raw Shorts helps you create cute informational videos quickly and easily. They also send out helpful information about how to be more creative in your branding and marketing.

And this subject line is a compelling way to get me to see what kinda inspiration I can draw from their content.

Oberlo, a dropshipping app that is compatible with Shopify, is exceptionally good at this.

pasted image 0 3

They touched on exclusivity and reassurance while also making it personable with the question form.

You can easily do the same by sprinkling a few power words in your email subject lines.

Call to Action

Most shops have little buttons all throughout their websites, asking customers to ‘shop now’ or ‘learn more’.

These are called calls to action and couldn’t be more mundane and boring if you tried.

But you also need them to be super clear so that there is no question what the customer is expected to do.

So how do you spice it up?

With a couple power words, of course.

Toms Shoes does this by coyly saying ‘join forces’, a hint to the project that is just behind the collection being promoted.

pasted image 0 4

Sivana Spirit does something similar with their compelling call to action, ‘See How We Give’.

The action verb ‘see’ combined with the charitable verb ‘give’ touches on very basic positive emotions, which motivates people to act more than a simple ‘learn more’ call to action.

Product Titles

Your product titles should always include the keyword that shoppers will be using to find the perfect outfit, or else how would they find it?

But it doesn’t have to be a boring product title just because it’s efficient.

You can also add some lively power words to get more clicks than a basic keyword alone.

NastyGal does this by giving funky names to their products, all of which include exciting power words.

pasted image 0 5

Converse does the same by adding power words to their otherwise classic shoes. Rather than plainly naming the gold color, they’ve added ‘precious’ to the title to make it way more exciting.

pasted image 0 9

Not only that but they’ve also added another title to their product description so that they could fit in this ‘bold’ message.

It’s all very clever and very clickable.

Product Descriptions

As long as you have your customer’s attention you can continue to use power words.

After all, it’s how you will gently push them through the customer lifecycle.

FreePeople knows this and doesn’t miss a single opportunity to drop a few power words along the way.

pasted image 0 7

In the product description for an overpriced jacket, they’ve hit on ‘beautiful’ as well as ‘exclusive’, making it seem like an irresistible purchase.

Opt-In Boxes

When you’re trying to get people to perform a certain task, like in the case with opt-in boxes, then you’d better grab their attention right from the start.

Mashable does this by mentioning ‘cool stuff’ and ‘your favorite goodies’.

pasted image 0 1

With an exciting promise like that, it’s hard not to opt-in to whatever they’re doing here.

Final Thoughts

You’ve likely seen power words in action already, but now that you know why they are used and how they work, I’ll bet that you’ll start noticing them everywhere.

And that’s a really good thing.

As you begin to notice other shops and brands using emotionally based power words, it’ll spark some ideas for you and your own brand.

Give them a try and see what happens. And, of course, if you’ve found some super effective words that I’ve missed, please drop them below in the comments. Let’s share our collective knowledge with each other!

Every Power Word in One Big 244-Long List 244
WORD LIST 244

Afraid

Agony

Alone

Apocalypse

Assault

Backlash

Beware

Bloodbath

Bloodcurdling

Catastrophe

Caution

Collapse

Crazy

Crisis

Danger

Dark

Deadly

Destroy

Devastating

Disastrous

Doom

Failure

Fooled

Frantic

Frightening

Gullible

Hack

Hate

Hazardous

Hoax

Horrific

Humiliation

Hurricane

Invasion

Looming

Lurking

Meltdown

Menacing

Mistake

Nightmare

Painful

Panic

Peril

Pitfall

Played

Plummet

Poison

Poor

Pummel

Revenge

Risky

Scary

Scream

Searing

Shame

Shatter

Shocked

Silly

Slaughter

Stress

Stupid

Tank

Targeted

Torture

Toxic

Tragedy

Trap

Vaporize

Victim

Volatile

Vulnerable

Warning

Worry

Wounded

Abhorrent

Abuse

Annoying

Arrogant

Blatant

Brutal

Cheat

Cocky

Coward

Crooked

Crush

Curse

Demolish

Disgusting

Dishonest

Distorted

Evil

Exploit

Greedy

Hate

Infuriating

Kill

Lies

Loser

Lying

Misleading

Nasty

No good

Obnoxious

Pain in the ass

Payback

Pesky

Phony

Pissed off

Pollute

Pompous

Preposterous

Pretentious

Punish

Rampant

Ravage

Revolting

Rotten

Rude

Ruined

Ruthless

Savage

Scam

Sick and tired

Slay

Smash

Smug

Sniveling

Suck

Trash

Useless

Violate

Deadline

Expires

Fast

Final

Hurry

Last Chance

Limited

Never again

New

Now

Quick

Running Out

Ask for an Invitation

Be one of the few

Be the first to hear about…

Become an insider

Class full

Limited

Login required

Members Only

Only available to subscribers/existing customers

Backdoor

Banned

Behind the scenes

Censored

Concealed

Confession

Controversial

Cover-up

Forgotten

Hush-hush

Insider

Little-known

Off the record

Off-limits

Outlawed

Private

Restricted

Secret

Strange

Tried to hide

Unauthorized

Undercover

Underground

Unexpected

Unlock

Unspoken

Withheld

Authentic

Backed

Certified

Dependable

Endorsed

Genuine

Guarantee

Ironclad

Lifetime

Money back

No obligation

No risk

No strings attached

Official

Protected

Proven

Rock-solid

Safety

Scientific

Secure

Unconditional

Verify

Marquis Matson

Marquis Matson

Marquis Matson is an SEO analyst, content marketer, and writer. She specializes in search engine optimization for ecommerce sites in the yoga and wellness niche. She lives as a digital nomad, spending time in Ecuador, California, Thailand, India, and more. You can find her on LinkedIn or contact her directly at marquis@anafore.com.