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Choosing the right words in your writing is like adding spice to your cooking.

Everything gets better.

A single word can turn a ho-hum headline into a traffic magnet or the opening sentence in your next blog post into a show stopper.

And a single word can motivate a reader to join your list, buy your book or book a consultation call.

In this article, we’re going to explore 7 power words that can add spice to your next writing recipe. Plus, we’re sharing some words that might send the wrong message and you’ll want to avoid.

Ready to dig in?

If you are new to CTA’s, check out our article about the different variations you can use to move your blog readers to action.

Words Have Power

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

That’s a quote by Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts. He may be a fictional character, but his quote is certainly grounded in reality. Words are powerful, magical, and capable of great things.

Words are magical, says Albus Dumbledore—use them to your advantage. Click To Tweet

Not all words are created equal, however. Some are more powerful than others.

It doesn’t matter if you have the best product or service around if the reader is not hooked straight away. By using the right words, you can get their attention, and get them to take action all in one or two sentences!

Seven words that will make your reader take action:

#1: Discover

The first word is “discover”. It has an almost magical sound to it, doesn’t it? Like you’re about to discover a lost land, a buried treasure, or a hidden secret to getting more traffic to your website.

Discover is a great word to use in a headline or a call-to-action (CTA). Instead of something mundate like ‘learn’, or ‘get’, lead your promise with ‘discover’ to create intrigue and a sense of action.

You could write something like:

  • Discover 5 ways to get rid of your acne now!” – This makes a great headline and equally great link to an ebook or product page.
  • Discover 5 simple ways to be a better listener.”
  • Discover the best writing template for speeding up your blog writing process.”

#2: Reveal

Similar to discover, “reveal” has a mystical property. It’s like you’re pulling back the curtain to reveal a magician’s (aka a “marketer’s”) secrets.

The word 'reveal' has a mystical property. Like you're pulling back the curtain. Click To Tweet

When you reveal something you are letting the reader into a desirable world. Like the waiter at the fine dining restaurant revealing your perfectly plated meal or the realtor revealing the view from the balcony of your future home.

You are the author of a new experience that the reader is being welcomed into.

You could write a CTA along the lines of:

#3: Secret

Something that’s revealed is almost always a “secret”, is it not? People love to hear about secrets because it means we know something someone else doesn’t, it gives us a leg up.

This works perfectly for getting people to take action. If the reader is looking for ways to get ahead of their competition, something ‘secret’ will be more likely to pique their interest.

As an example, use a headline or CTA like:

  • “How to use the 5 communication secrets of Steve Jobs to motivate your team”
  • “Learn the secret to finally overcoming procrastination”
  • “The secret to getting better sleep without medication”

#4: Quick (or Fast)

There are two things in this world everyone wants more of; money, and time. In this world of ever-increasing automation, if you can give people a way to save time, they’ll love you. When we see the word “quick” it suggests we are getting an advantage – a shortcut – that has more value than alternatives.

Here are some examples of CTA’s you could use:

  • “Here are 5 quick ways you can get the most of your marketing budget.”
  • “A proven method to quickly reduce stress and help you focus”
  • “A fast way to overcome list-overload and feel productive again”

#5: New

We all like new stuff, right? Like secrets, getting something “new” makes people feel they have an edge. If it’s new, it might mean not a lot of people have it yet. It’s also a status symbol if you have new things.

Examples of CTA’s using the word “New” might be:

  • “Get your new guide now!”
  • “To learn more about what I teach in my coaching, download my brand new Ebook now!”
  • “Check out this new blog post about…”

#6: Free

This is the holy grail of power words. Remember before when I said people like to save money and time? Well, here’s the money part! If it’s free, it’s for me.

Here are some examples:

  • “Get your FREE worksheet now!”
  • “Enjoy my free Ebook here”
  • “Want to write articles yourself? Download our FREE Ultimate Writing Template.
How to make your reader stop and take action.

A great example of the use of “Free” in this CTA

#7: You

Did you notice that a number of the examples I gave above contained the word “you” (or “your”, for you smart alecs out there)?

Making the reader feel connected to your CTA by using personalized language will make them 202% more likely to take action.1Hubspot

You are the most important person in your life. Everyone else is the most important person in their lives. That’s what makes “you” so special – it pertains to the most important person in the world!

Here are some examples of how to include your reader in your CTA:

  • “Are you tired all the time? Check out my blog post about getting a good nights sleep”
  • “Here is our new information booklet just for you
  • “Do you need help writing your blog? Learn how you can outsource it to save you time here!”
How to make your reader stop and take action.

Here is a CTA from Spotify that uses “your” in the copy.

3 words you should NOT use:

#1: Submit

This is an interesting one because while it CAN be effective in certain situations, it is often used incorrectly, or can be perceived by readers in a way that will negatively affect the chances of the reader clicking.

Submit is often used in place of other words such as “register”. This can lead the reader to think they are going to have to put more work in than just simply entering their name and email.

People have short attention spans. For a CTA to be as effective as possible, the reader needs to think that the process will be as simple as possible.

#2: Signup

When websites use “signup” it’s often attached to a big button that suggests commitment and possibly some hidden, unwanted surprise, like an upsell.

There are lots of other, less threatening ways to get a reader to take action without using “signup.”

Some alternatives are:

  • Register now to hold your space.
  • Learn more.
  • Discover all the benefits.
  • And if you’re trying to build your list: “Receive Suzie’s weight loss tips directly to your inbox.”

Here is an example where the CTA includes “Sign Up” but also has “Free” in it which will make it more effective.

#3: Buy

Using “Buy” in your CTA, whether it be on your homepage or an inline CTA on your blog, is a risk-reward strategy that often does not pay off.

There are already many hurdles that a possible client or buyer has to get over in order to decide to purchase your product. By using the words “buy” or “buy now” too early, you are likely to scare them away as it is unlikely they will want to commit without learning more about your product first.

Try using “Get Started” instead of Buy, just like Dropbox!

Some extra tips on headlines and CTAs:

You’ve got seven powerful words, but it doesn’t stop there! Here are a few tips to get the most of your new-found power:

Use Verbs:

Verbs create a sense of urgency for your reader. By using action words in your CTA the reader is more likely to take action themselves.

Examples:

  • “Discover the Newest Secrets of Millionaires… for FREE!”
  • “Click here to reveal the secrets to losing weight fast and free”

Be Specific:

Readers are less likely to click if they do not know where they are going. Use your CTA to explain the benefits of what you are trying to get them to take action on.

Example: “Find out how you can increase email signups by 300% in just 30 minutes“

Provide data

Data legitimizes anything, whether it be a research paper or a CTA. Consider using data in your CTA to entice your readers.

Example: “One study found that sitting can cut 10 years off your life. Click here to find out why.”

Know your audience.

Imagine you’re reading an article about training your dog, and the CTA in the article is to an Ebook about looking after a horse. You won’t bite because, even though your dog might eat like a horse, it’s still a dog—not a horse.

It doesn’t matter how clever your CTA is or how compelling the choice of words. If you don’t know your audience you’ve lost them. With a little research and some experimentation with language you can motivate readers to become followers and followers to become buyers. And now everybody wins.

Want to learn how Blogworks can help you get more leads? Watch this new video about how we can grow your audience for as little as $97 a month! 

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you: 

7 Types of Call To Actions to Move Your Blog Readers to Action
7 Strategies for Crafting Blogs for Lead Generation
How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads

This article was originally published in 2016 and was updated for your pleasure in 2020. Enjoy!

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