Have you ever heard the saying that “the pen is mightier than the sword”? As it turns out, it’s absolutely true!
Power words – sometimes confused with trigger words – evoke an emotional response from people. This can be incredibly valuable for entrepreneurs and marketers looking to increase their conversions.
I’ve put together a list of 400+ copywriting power words that can help you to persuade your readers. Don’t worry – I know that sounds like a lot, but I won’t just dump a bunch of words on you.
Instead, I’ll tell you exactly how you can use these tools to incite specific emotions, which you can use to influence your audience’s decisions.
By understanding what power words are and how they work, marketers can arm themselves with an effective tool to capture attention, spark emotion, and increase conversions.
Let’s get started unlocking the potential of these persuasive power words!
What Are Power Words?
In the world of content marketing, power words are the ultimate tools for catching attention. They are the heavy hitters that draw in audiences, inspiring action and securing engagement.
You’ve probably encountered lots of power words over the last week and not even realized, whether you’ve clicked on a blog post like this one, or opened an intriguing promotional email.
Marketers use power words all the time, with the main purpose of evoking an immediate response from their audience via “calls to action”.
Although in reality most words could be seen as powerful in the right context, power words are special in that they can be impactful without any support. When incorporated into your copy, these words immediately captivate your reader’s attention.
In most cases, power words are tied to a couple of key attributes. They have to stand out from regular text and be action-driven, descriptive, or inflammatory/surprising.
If your word fits one or more of the qualities mentioned above, you’re probably looking at a power word.
Power Word Misnomers
It’s important to keep in mind that the term “power word” is occasionally a misnomer. Similar to “keyword,” it might refer to a phrase as opposed to a single word. A popular example of a power word is “Right Away”, as it implies a sense of urgency. Don’t be deterred by the fact that it’s two words.
If the concept isn’t clicking with you, consider this example:
Event vs. Scam
Only one of these two words is a power word. The first word lacks any real impact just by itself, whilst in comparison, the second word elicits a visceral reaction. It stands out and grabs your attention. But why?
People have already heard stories of scams and formed opinions and thoughts around them. Perhaps they have been scammed themselves or know someone who has, or maybe they have seen videos or movies that include scams.
That additional layer of context immediately catches the audience’s eye and causes them to link the text back to themselves.
The word “scam” is a power word because it already holds weight in the audience’s lives, whilst the word “event” could refer to anything from a concert to a car crash – it doesn’t inspire attention.
Power Words Prompt Questions
Alongside capturing their attention, power words can also prompt your readers to ask questions – furthering their interest in the subject.
“Since the word “scam” already has a cemented place in your audience’s minds, you don’t have to prompt the reader with a question.
After reading a power word, they come into the situation armed with their own questions already – e.g. wanting to know what’s happened, who’s affected, and what can be done to stop the problem/how they can help.
Any preconceptions and emotions that the audience has tied to this power word are called into the fray, leaving the audience itching to learn more about the situation and fill in the blanks.
As you can imagine, using a power word like this one is a very powerful marketing technique due to its ability to evoke emotion and action right out of the box, along with a desire to know more.
Take, for example, the following headline:
“Crypto Scam Strips Thousands of Their Livelihoods – Investors File for Bankruptcy”
Here, the use of multiple power words prompts immediate engagement from the reader. The headline is click-worthy, giving the reader just enough information to catch their attention whilst still leaving them wanting more.
Of course, identifying power words is only half the battle. Knowing how and when to use them is key to maximizing their potential.
In the rest of this article, I will delve deeper into the techniques and strategies surrounding the most effective power words, along with going into some more examples of why it’s a good idea to use them in your copy.
Why Should You Use Power Words In Your Marketing Copy?
As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with words, from the text in our emails to the subtitles on a YouTube video.
With every word vying for our attention, it’s crucial for marketing copy to make every word count.
Power words serve to provoke an emotional response that snatches the reader’s attention. They prompt readers to feel something deeply, spurring them into action, whether that be clicking on a title or purchasing a product.
The best power words trigger emotions like curiosity, anxiety, excitement, and awe, as those emotions typically lead to instantaneous decision-making.
You should use power words whenever you want to motivate someone to carry out an action, or to strike up an interest in your readers.
Using Emotive Power Words Effectively
Now that we’re clear on the definition of power words and the reasons why you should use them in your marketing copy, let’s get down to earth on how you should actually use them.
We’ve talked about using power words to bring forth emotions, and through emotions – action. To use these tools to their maximum potential, you have to keep in mind that the type of emotion you want to evoke will depend on the action you want the reader to carry out.
For example, if you’re targeting consumers who are already well-informed and aware of the niche/brand, you’ll want to induce excitement and urgency. Your objective is to get them to buy right away.
However, if you’re targeting consumers at the top of the sales funnel, the power words you are using should trigger emotions like curiosity, anger, and greed. At this stage, you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to purchase anything, but you want to incite an interest in the topic and get them to click.
So now that you know that there are different emotions that you can take advantage of depending on the action you want to prompt, let’s dive into some actual examples of power words in the context of different emotions and situations.
Here is my list of 400+ copywriting power words:
Appealing To Greed
Greed is a powerful tool of persuasion. Everyone is a little greedy – that’s just human – nobody wants to waste money, and everybody wants to only use as much of it as they have to. If your readers think that you can help them attain what they want, they will listen.
Attaching your words to something that already has value really goes a long way toward making what you’re saying seem valuable to your audience and worth their time.
Greed is a great emotion to go after if you are trying to make sales or conversions, and appealing to greed can help you become a better marketer by providing a sense of real-world value for your readers.
Here are a few greed power words that will propel your conversion rates:
99% Off (etc.)
As a side note – you have to be careful using words that could have negative connotations. “Affordable”, “cheap”, “budget”, and “discount” are words that line up with the buyer’s objective (getting the best deal) but could have some other undesirable implications – e.g. being shoddy or low-quality. In most scenarios using a more complex counterpart to these words such as “inexpensive” is often more favorable.
It’s always important to think about how your power words will come across in different situations before you use them.
Curiosity is a virtue that can be used to great avail by any competent copywriter.
Curiosity is powerful – it’s what inspires people to start their own businesses, broaden their horizons and expand their education. It might be the reason you’re reading this article right now.
When we hear or read something intriguing, we are hard-wired to investigate it a little. We want to know more.
You can use that instinct to capture your audience’s attention and boost your conversions through power words that appeal to that curiosity.
Some of my favorite power words for curiosity include:
You’ll notice a pattern with all these words. They are intended to prompt people to click by giving them a teaser of what you intend to reveal or share. However, it’s paramount that you can deliver on your headlines – at the risk of it seeming like clickbait if you disappoint.
Implying Exclusivity and Engendering Fear
Exclusivity and fear go hand and hand – fear of missing out on a limited time opportunity is something I’m sure many consumers have felt before. This is useful as a marketer because this anxiety is another one of those emotions that can lead to immediate action.
If you make your consumer feel like they are on a timer and have to act now, then odds are they will. And once they do, they will feel glad they caught that deal in time.
This is a tried and true marketing technique, and is the main reason you so often see limited-time bundles and sales.
You can also appeal to your reader’s anxieties, offering the solution to their worries. You can hook them by using relatable language and hit those pain points using fear-based power words, but then let them know that you recognise their anxiety and can help.
This can lead to them ultimately following a string of actions that you put in place – e.g. a 7 step editing course to fix your terrible video quality etc. etc.
This is VERY effective for furthering people’s interactions with your site, and keeping people engaged in your copy whilst offering a sense of value to your readers.
These power words can really pull their weight when used in headlines or to drive conversions:
Fostering trust in your customers is essential for growing any business in the long term and acquiring bigger clients. Simply put, people don’t like taking unnecessary risks. By using power words to enunciate the safety and quality of your services, you ensure your prospects feel more secure dealing with your business.
You want your readers to know that they can rely on you over and over again to deliver what you promise. So although you can – and should – use power words to assure your readers of the authenticity and quality of your products/services, you have to be careful you don’t make false claims or exaggerate.
In order to build trust and authority with your audience, you have to have solid evidence backing up your copy. As evidence often comes from outside sources, so you can use power words when referencing third-party statements, statistics, or data to ensure your readers see the evidence backing up your work.
For instance, if an expert has given you a testimonial, you might use a power word to introduce it and hammer home the authenticity of your previous statements. A little extra assurance goes a long way toward customer confidence.
Adding power words to your evidence can give your data or statistics more appeal, and a using strong, authoritative tone throughout your copy paired with power words that push the same energy is a great way to assure customers and close the gap on your conversions.
Here are some more power words that are great for building trust and authority in your audience:
Free of Danger
In order to build trust with your prospects and customers over time, any claims you make should remain consistent across all of your marketing copy and informational products. This is essential if you want your brand to seem credible – alongside having solid, citable evidence to back your claims up.
Above all, you must ensure that your audience doesn’t fear they’re taking a risk by buying from you or by taking your advice. They should feel that your guidance is safeguarding them from harm by providing information that is secure and actionable, and using more power words like these can help give that impression.
Making People Feel Powerful
By making someone feel powerful, you can establish trust. An often-overlooked aspect of marketing is that empowering others is more impactful than exerting power over them.
In essence, you aim to appeal to the target customer’s sense of empowerment and self-possession. Customers who feel powerless are typically hesitant to purchase products, as they feel unsure of their decisions and feel vulnerable.
Often they may feel afraid that they are making a mistake by pursuing your product, and could back out due to that insecurity.
Using the aforementioned trust-centered power words is a good way to calm their nerves and assure them they are on the right path, alongside words focused on empowering the reader and inspiring them to grow. Self-betterment is a powerful motivation, so these power words are really great for driving traffic to learning resources and informational articles.
Use these power words to inspire your readers and spur them into action:
Here are a few powerful words that will help you capture greed your audience:
Anger is a powerful tool that can ignite passion and fuel immediate action in your readers. This will make sense to you if you’ve ever lost your head a little when you’ve gotten angry and acted rashly – whether that’s yelling at someone or saying something you shouldn’t have.
While anger is technically a negative emotion, it’s also very persuasive. For instance, if you tell people that someone is taking advantage of them, they’re going to be angry and immediately go out of their way to express that anger – e.g. going on a work strike.
Anger is at its most persuasive when it’s for a good reason. People will act on something that they perceive is unjust.
Similarly, if people are riled up over a problem, they’ll want to remedy it in some way. When you provide the solution, you are perceived as the good guy and build trust with your readers.
Anger is a good emotion to call upon with your power words when you want to spark an interest and get your readers to click, or carry out an action related to the subject. (e.g. petitions, protests, charities, etc.)
Disclaimer: I do not condone abuse in any form – this is not me advertising hate speech – this is purely a way of capturing your audience’s attention using injustice.
Here are a few powerful words that will help you ignite anger among your audience (in a safe way):
Simplifying Your Readers’ Lives
Everyone is constantly searching for a simpler way of achieving their goals and getting what they desire. Although finding it isn’t always achievable, we keep looking for the answer.
By suggesting or implying that your product offers an easier alternative than the common approach to achieving a goal, more people will be enticed to purchase it. In this busy world we live in, efficiency is key.
Utilizing power words like these that hint your product can make life simpler is a great way to boost sales:
Without [Negative Consequences such as “Effort” “Time” or “Pain”]
Appealing To Vanity
We all have insecurities and areas of our physical appearance we would like to improve on. Leveraging this human tendency for vanity can help you become a more successful marketer.
By using power words related to vanity, you can appeal to customers’ intense desire to look/feel better and thus increase product sales, not just in the beauty and fitness industries but across all products that tap into the desire to better one’s self.
Anything that someone is proud of is something that they will want to improve in some way. For instance, a photographer might want tips on taking better portraits while an artist may wish to enhance their aesthetic.
Similarly, public speakers may want advice on how they can display confidence and deliver their speeches well. Vanity isn’t just to do with people’s bodies – it’s tied to any part of a person that means something to them.
By appealing to vanity you can take advantage of people’s desire to do well to drive clicks and conversions for things like courses and self-improvement products.
Here is a collection of power words that will help your copy stand out – avoiding dull, overused words:
Examples of Copywriting Power Words
Now that you’ve been provided with 400+ power words to chew on, let’s take a look at a few examples. How would you actually use these words on your brand to boost conversions?
Power words are useful all across marketing, from creating irresistible email subject lines to tantalizing advertisements. Here are some of the best uses for power words for your brand:
Power Words in Headlines
If you’re writing a headline, you’ve got to grab your prospect’s attention right away. You can do this by promising big things in the opening line!
Add some extra pizazz with power words – adjectives and verbs that create momentum and convince people to click. Top it off with a powerful call-to-action (CTA) and you’ll see an increase in conversion rates.
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Power Words in Product Names
When you’re naming a Knowledge Commerce product, use power words that communicate what the customer will get out of it.
Think about how your product can make their life easier or better and pick some words that express that idea.
Power words give boring product names a major boost by evoking emotion and commanding attention.
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Power Words on Landing Pages
Boost your landing page’s performance by using power words in the headline, body copy, and bullet points. Landing pages are all about conversions and you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities for sales or new subscribers.
Keep experimenting with different combinations of words to find out which ones work best on your landing page – A/B testing is a great way to assess and tweak what you’re doing.
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Power Words in Calls to Action
Make sure your call to action is powerful by using impactful power words. Your CTA should be concise, but feel free to add in commas between the power words for an even bigger punch. Having fewer words makes it easier to grab the reader’s attention and encourages them to click.
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Power words are no joke – they are a proven way to boost conversions on your products. If you weren’t using them before you read this article, I’m glad I caught your attention.
With over 400 power words to choose from, it’s just a matter of choosing the right words so you can craft a message that resonates with your ideal customers and drive conversions for your brand.
Choose power words that appeal most to your target audience, and experiment by applying them to headlines, subheads, product names, landing pages, and calls to action.
Leverage emotions like curiosity, laziness, vanity, strength, trust, anger, fear, and greed in order to capture attention and increase conversions. Remember that different emotions have different use cases and that sometimes emotions overlap.
Don’t forget to A/B test your choices – it’s the best way to keep ahead of the competition. Good luck!