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Money Words: Seven of the words and phrases we use most often in high-converting copy

Joanna Wiebe

The original conversion copywriter and creator of Copy Hackers.

Very sunny Edmonton, Canada
Joanna Wiebe

This talk is very tactical: the actual words you're putting on the page.

CopyHackers produces lots of copy. They went through the copy they've written over the years to see the highest ROI words.

What kinds of ROI?

Normally when Wiebe gives a talk, she walks through specific case studies of tech companies, sports and entertainment companies. They've achieved 3.5x the paid conversions for Wistia, a 20% drop in churn for Canva, 3,000 enrolled students for Amy Porterfield's $2,000 course.

Magic Words

"Because" is a common magic word (popularized by Influence).

If you have a big objection to overcome, what persuasive technique should you prioritize in your copy?

If you have particularly jumpy customers, what phrase should you use to make them feel like they're comfortable?

If you're struggling to keep people reading down the page, what persuasive technique could you pop into your copy?

Money Word #1: should

Before the end of this session, you'll have answers to these questions. But first: which of these makes the outcome or benefit feel more within reach for you?

  1. You could win a million dollars
  2. You should win a million dollars

Or:

  1. You could file your taxes without worrying.
  2. You should file your taxes without worrying

Or:

  1. You could be as famous as Kim Kardashian.
  2. You should be as famous as Kim Kardashian.

In all of the above examples, "should" is more persuasive. Why? It feels more one-on-one. Aspiration is good ("could"), but an unrealized destiny, regret and the restoration of justice are more human.

TODO: email example

Andy Dufresne from the Shaw Shank Redemption "could" crawl through two football fields of sewage to reach freedom, but a more powerful way to express that is that he should reach freedom. He deserves it.

Money Word #2: "you"

The copy school 2019 sales page uses the word "you" for 5% of the total words.

To practice using this word, try rewriting every line of your copy with "you" at the start.

Instead of "with drift on your website, any conversastion can be a conversion. Instead of traditional marketing and sales platforms that rely on forms and follow ups, Drift connects your business with the best leads in real-time," try "Your team can turn any conversation into a conversion with Drift on your website. You'll get the best leads in real-time - in ways you simply can't with traditional marketing and sales platforms."

Make sure "you" is the subject of your copy. You can say "I" and talk about your own product, but only after you've talked about "you" repeatedly. Earn the right to talk about yourself.

Money Word #3: "still" and "already"

"You've already gone through X, and still Y isn't happening"

"Already" signals a step taken, which ought to put the reader ahead. "Still" signals a lack of progression forward in spite of the step taken. This technique works well because it takes advantage of Exclusive Empowerment.

Nobody wants what everyone else can have. People respond to even nuanced moments of VIP-ness. You're tapping into what your customer believes they've already worked for.

Money Word #4: "here's the thing" or "the tricky thing is"

"Here's the thing" is an empty statement, but it sets up an important section of text to follow.

This word works because of the "Bucket Brigade" persuasive technique: by keeping movement going like a bucket of water through a line of firefighters, you can pull the reader along and keep their attention focused. You can get people to stick with you by using a little more words than you're comfortable with.

Scannable copy isn't about bullets and bolding. Use colons and line breaks to carry attention line after line. People are more likely to read things directly after "here's the thing" than if you bolded the actual thing.

Money Word #5: "the truth is" or "the fact is"

"The truth is" is persuasive because it's signaling logic.

We make decisions on emotion, but like to believe we're making them on logic.

Money Word #6: "even if"

You can handle objections by taking the benefit of the action you want your audience to take, then add "even if" and an objection: ${benefit} even if ${outcome}.

"Immediately boost your copy's persuasive power, even if you've never written a line of copy."

Money Word #7: the word your reader keeps using

Mirroring is a powerful persuasive technique. Immediately after a customer does something you want (like purchase your product), you can send them to a thank you page. A great way to get the words your customers use is to add a single-question form asking "what was going on in your life that brought you to ${action} today?"

TODO: screenshot of "confidence" coming up over and over

Joanna Wiebe's students for CopySchool kept using the word "confidence" in their responses, so she added that word several times to

The most convincing copy isn't waiting in a list or in your head. It's waiting in the heart and mind of your customer.

Recap

If you have a big objection to overcome, what persuasive technique should you prioritize in your copy? Even if.

If you have particularly jumpy customers, what phrase should you use to make them feel like they're comfortable?

If you're struggling to keep people reading down the page, what persuasive technique could you pop into your copy? Here's the thing

Questions

How can we use these ideas and also talk in the customer's voice?

Still use the voice of the customer in writing copy. These techniques work together.

Do you have a list of words not to use?

No, but double check everything you write to make sure you don't have something flagrantly wrong like placeholder text.

How do I write a call-to-action (CTA)?

We teach that!

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