The Words To Use And Avoid For Your Small Biz Marketing

August 25, 2017
Your brand’s word choice will need to influence emotions and inspire action from consumers in order to boost overall response and conversion rates. The following list is a great reference for sales-boosting and sales-deflating terms to use and avoid, respectively.

Whether through social media posts, website descriptions, or email newsletters, your small business will want to craft its marketing message to successfully reach new and existing customers. Words are the building blocks of communication and thus, marketing. Your brand’s word choice will need to influence emotions and inspire action from consumers in order to boost overall response and conversion rates. The following list is a great reference for sales-boosting and sales-deflating terms to use and avoid, respectively.

Sales-boosting words & terms

No. 1: Sale. The grandfather of marketing language, the word “sale” is effective at prompting customers to consider or make a purchase. Even though nearly every business has used this word at some point, “sale” has kept its charm over the years and evolution of marketing. At the end of the day, everybody loves a good deal.

No. 2: Off. Offering your small business’ social media or email marketing audience a discount such as “10% Off” or “$10 Off Your Next Visit” will heighten interest in your product/service. This kind of special offer creates an incentive for customers to make the initial purchase immediately and also return to your brand in the future.

No. 3: Now. This three-letter word is frequently used in call-to-actions such as “Buy Now,” “Subscribe Now,” or “Shop Now.” While persuading customers to act, “now” creates an underlying sense of urgency for your audience.

No. 4: New. People love novelty. Using the word “new” will hook customers, especially in your email campaign. It will make your audience feel like insiders on the newest offer, product/service, or technological gadget.

No. 5: Best-sellers. To this day, word-of-mouth and social proof remain the most authoritative when impacting consumer behavior and buying decisions. People like to know what products or services are the most popular, especially new customers. “Best-sellers” appeals to consumers’ social natures, paving the opportunity for increased sales. To best utilize this compound word, your brand ought to use it in the subject or tag line of your message then try to incorporate in the body of your email or copy.

No. 6: Be the first. This phrase will single out individuals within your audience and make them feel like a V.I.P. with special access to your brand. To boost engagement with your small business, use these words when giving customers a preview of high-quality content, upcoming offers, and new products/services.

No. 7: Your. Framing the voice of your marketing message in the second person (you, your, you’re) not only shows customers that your brand is thinking of them but also helps them personally connect to what your business offers. This small flourish of personalization can do a great deal to increase revenue. Whenever possible (and appropriate), you will want consumers to feel as if you are addressing them directly and individually.

No. 8: Thank You. Showing gratitude towards your audience is the best way to build brand loyalty for the long-term. This can be something as simple as automating a thoughtful thank you email to new subscribers of your mailing list. Other ideas include thanking your customers when your business reaches a new goal or milestone or even hosting a customer appreciation event.  

No. 9: Remember. Life is busy, and no matter how invested they are in your brand, customers will forget about a special offer, event, or accumulated reward points. Reminder emails or posts on social media will show your audience that your business is looking out for them. An effective use of this word is shown in the following copy: “Remember, you have 24 hours to redeem your offer!”

No. 10: Tips. Content in the form of advice or life hacks will engage your audience while also positioning your brand as a go-to expert for industry-related topics. Furthermore, offering tips just further establishes your business’ commitment to bettering your customers’ everyday lives.

No. 11: Because. This word will give your audience a reason to take action on behalf of your brand. Even though this is great for appealing to the objective consumer who makes purchases based on logic, “because” can also give customers a reason that implies emotional satisfaction. For example, L'oreal Paris used the slogan “Because you’re worth it” to captivate its audience, and now the phrase is iconic (and meme-worthy).

No. 12: Free. This one is a no-brainer. “Free” is the average consumer’s favorite number, and the word is great for generating more leads for your brand or pushing a particular product/service.

No. 13: Value. When communicating to your audience, your brand will always want to highlight what they’ll be gaining rather than drawing attention to what they’ll be losing, which is money (as denoted by the words “cost” and “price”).

No. 14: Caused by. Whilst building up the credibility of your product/service, good use of transitions will help reiterate the objective and logical benefits of purchase. Besides “caused by,” “therefore” and “thus” are also very effective for your business to establish reasons for its audience.

No. 15: Easy. When marketing to your audience, make it clear how their lives will become much easier upon buying into your brand. Furthermore, you will want to make it easy for customers to take the next step of the purchasing process by having a coherent call-to-action. Streamlined service and operations will support this claim and earn your audience’s loyalty.

No. 16: Discover. This word evokes novelty and the unknown among customers and should be used to suggest the benefits of your products/services. Furthermore, it is an action word that will prompt your audience to learn more about your brand.

No. 17: Never. When using this word within your marketing message, be sure to point out a negative benefit. Examples of a negative benefit include “Never worry again,” or “Never overpay again.”

No. 18: Secret. By unveiling secrets, or hinting that your brand knows the secret(s) for success and/or results, your business is positioning itself as an expert. Similar to “discover,” “secrets” imply the unknown, piquing consumer interest and encouraging action.

No. 19: The. To piggyback off  “secrets,” “the” frames your brand’s solutions and advice as the final word. Consider the difference in effect between these two titles: “10 Solutions for Marketing Success” and “The 10 Solutions for Marketing Success.”

No. 20: How to. Your audience has a problem or needs help, and your brand offers the solution. Beginning your message with “how to” will tell customers that you have the answers they’re looking for, and as a result, they’ll keep reading.

Sales-deflating words & terms

No. 1: Hurry. The overall goal for your marketing campaigns is to motivate customers to act fast, but the word “hurry” has been exhausted and doesn’t convey the same level of urgency such as “Act now” or “Limited-time offer.”

No. 2: Look inside. Typically, this phrase is used in email subject lines and only points out the obvious. The email recipient already knows they have to open the email to read content or claim an offer. “Look inside” also employs an overly commanding tone. Instead, your brand should try to evoke an action and/or emotion from its audience.

No. 3: Guaranteed. This word mostly causes more problems than customer engagement or satisfaction. Try backing up your offer with statistics, testimonials, or your brand’s word rather than using this blacklisted word.

No. 4: Groundbreaking. Similar to “guaranteed,” “groundbreaking” is another word your small business will want to avoid. Though it sounds impressive, it actually doesn’t convey any information to your customers or offer a solution. Unless your brand has indeed created a brand-new, never-seen-before technology, the use of this word will just come off as over-exaggeration to your audience.

No. 5: Huge. All events and sales are a big deal to the business putting them on. Because the word is subjective and vague, your brand will want to think of more descriptive alternatives like “Our biggest sale of the season!”

No. 6: Cyber-space. Even if your brand is targeting an older demographic, it should still try to portray itself as modern and cutting-edge by avoiding this 1980s reminiscent term. Words like “cyber-space” and “information superhighway” are outdated and should only be used in the form of irony.

No. 7: Hassle-free. Although this word is trying to imply how easy a customer’s life will become with the help of your brand, the word actually carries a negative connotation. Instead of the intended meaning, the use of this word will actually associate your brand with “hassle” in the minds of your audience.

No. 8: Once in a lifetime. This statement has been overused and over-exaggerates your brand’s offer without increasing overall sales or leads. It will always be in your small business’ best interest to stay creative and strive for originality with its copy.

No. 9: Final days to save. Although this phrase aims to communicate a sense of urgency, it remains unclear for the audience. When informing your customers and subscribers about sales or deals, always articulate a specific time frame. This will  be more informative to your audience and more effective for getting buyers through the door.

No. 10: SAVE UP TO 25% RIGHT NOW!!! There are two aspects of this marketing message that will make consumers cringe. First, using all caps does not motivate customers to respond or act immediately. Instead, it just makes your audience feel like you’re shouting at them. Secondly, punctuation, especially exclamation points, should be kept to a minimum. Specific word choice will be more effective at conveying the excitement of your offer.

Written by Melissa McElhose, NALA Blog Writer

The NALA Blog

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