The Second Most Powerful Word in Marketing

powerful man with muscles

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Yesterday’s copywriting tip discussed the most powerful word in copywriting.

Today’s copywriting tip is the second most powerful word in copywriting.

It’s probably not a word you’re expecting.  It’s not something we normally associate with marketing.

Usually, the sort of power words that come to mind with marketing or copywriting are words such as “new” or “free.”

Those are both important, but they’re not nearly as effective as this word.

What is this super word?

It’s “because.”

In fact, research has shown people will respond to it, even if you use it badly.

Here’s what one study found (from The New York Times)

In the 1970’s and 1980’s] research psychologist Dr. Ellen] Langer studied what happened when she stationed someone at a copy machine in a busy graduate school office. When someone stepped up and began copying, Dr. Langer’s plant would come up to the person and interrupt, asking to butt in and make copies…[P]ermission was granted almost 95 percent of the time if the person stepping up to interrupt not only asked, ”May I use the copy machine?” but added a reason, ”because I’m in a rush.”

That seems to make sense. People heard the reason and decided they were willing to step aside for a moment. What was odd, Dr. Langer found, was that if the interrupter asked, ”Can I use the machine?” and added a meaningless phrase, ”because I have to make copies,” the people at the machine also stepped aside nearly 95 percent of the time.”

If it works that well used poorly, think of  the results if you use it well!  Tell people why they should buy. And know why people buy from you.

I’m not a psychologist, but I think it works because it’s a story (even if it’s not a good one).  We want to know why things are happening, and as long as it’s not a big hassle, we’ll go along.

What do you think?

The Most Powerful Word in Copywriting and Marketing

you made me love you..

Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that there is a word that will have clients and readers running to do your bidding (and buy from you). Many call it the most powerful word in copywriting.

It’s a really common word, used everyday.

But, only a few thousand smart copywriters know how to use it properly.

In fact, many businesses make the mistake of failing to use it at all.

Do you?

What’s the word? I just used it. Right there above this sentence. OK, OK, the word is “you.”

Why is this word so powerful?

Because people want to know that you’re talking to them – directly. Using the word “you” reinforces that. It’s much more powerful than saying “they” or “their”. Who is “they”, anyway? And, it’s much more persuasive than “we” or “my” or “our.” More on why that’s true in a minute.

Nobody comes to a business website to read about the company’s talking about your “cutting edge” graphics or its years of business experience. They don’t even care if the site won a Webby award.

If they aren’t technically minded, they might want to know you can give them a site they can update themselves. They may also want to know that you can translate geek-speak into English.

Or, that you are familiar with their industries’ compliance requirements and understand why they may need extra bandwidth or paperwork.

Ultimately, your clients want to read about themselves.  They want to know that you can solve their problems.  The stuff that frustrates them. And, if you can show them how to solve those problems, even better!

Avoid we and us

The other side of the coin is avoiding words such as “we”, “us” and “our.” Your audience wants to know that you will focus on them (and their needs), rather than your own.  They want you fix their problems, not your own.

Try my one-minute marketing test on your own website to see how well it’s doing.


This works even better if you can personalize your message.  You can’t necessarily do that on a web page, but you can do it in email marketing.  Get those first names on your sign up forms.

Your readers will love you (even if they didn’t want to).