The 15 Most Powerful Words in Advertising

These 15 Proven Words Will Bring You Big Results

Love is Power
••• Love is Power. Getty Images

Words sell. They always have and they always will—especially in today's social media-driven world which is primarily text-based. And as more brands gravitate to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogs, words will become even more important. 

The question is, which words?

Here are the twenty words that—is used properly and judisically—should be considered because they resonate with consumer and help sell goods and services.


Top 20 Words in Advertising

You. You is the most powerful word in advertising for a reason—it's personal. Let's talk about you. People are invested in themselves, so if you promise to make people rich that's one thing, but, if you say, "I'll make you rich, that's a different story. You is also a word you must use when talking to your customers because that's who you're addressing. And when you do that, you're talking about a person's favorite subject.

Results. This word is synonymous with success. We all want results, whether it's from a household cleaner or our bank manager It's also a powerful word because it's a promise that helps the consumer rationalize the purchase.

Health. This is used a lot these days, and not just when talking about physical health. Perhaps the most commonly-used variation is "improve your financial health." It works because we all know what good health is. If you can make a promise of good health, be it in a food or service, you are doing well.

But don't abuse the word, and make a promise you can't keep.

Guarantee. This word is a safety net. Just think of the way you use it in everyday life. "I guarantee I will be home by 5 p.m." is your way of removing any doubt. In advertising, a guarantee is a promise made by a corporation to a consumer, and it's viewed as a commitment.

Money-back guarantees are particularly powerful because you remove the risk from trying a new product. And, if you're worried about going broke, don't be. Invariably, few people are so annoyed by a product that they ask for a refund because it's usually too much trouble to return it.  Again, only use it if you can back up the guarantee, or your credibility will be varnished.

Discover. Discover is a prompt that advertisers use to say, "you're going to get something out of this, it's worth your time to keep reading." Or, when it comes products, it's worth trying. Discover is a promise of something more to come. Like unwrapping a gift on your birthday. And, any time you evoke those fond childhood feelings, you're on a winner.

Love. This one has multiple meanings. You can be "in love" with something (like new shoes) or you can "love" how well something works or performs. Either way, love is a strong word. Of course, you must be judicious in its use. It's one thing to say, "you're going to love the way it smells" when talking about a perfume. It's quite another to say, "you will instantly fall in love with our toilet cleaner." No one falls in love with a toilet cleaner. Remember, love may work well, but don't lay it on too thick.

Proven. When you have a brand new product, not a new version of an existing product, there's a hump that you need to get over. It's basically "buyer beware," because the customer is dealing with an unknown. They can wait to see what the reviews on the product or service are, or they can ask friends and relatives. Another way to get over this hump is to provide the proof yourself.

Safety (or Safe). We demand safety from our products. We want to know that our investment is safe, or that our children are playing with toys that meet the highest safety standards. We want food that has been inspected, and we want safe choices in clothing and shoes. The question becomes how to talk about safety. Sometimes, it naturally comes up, such as baby products or items that are designed to provide safety. However, sometimes the word safe is a negative because it raises an issue considered a given.

For example, "our burgers are 100 percent safe to eat."

Save. Even the wealthiest people like getting a deal. If you can genuinely promise to save someone money, you'd be foolish not to point this out. And as for saving time, time is money, which is something we all want to save.

New. Except for vintage Gucci, people want the latest, even if it's not all that new in reality. Consumers want the next new smartphone, the newest model car, new clothes, the hot new espresso maker—and are willing to pay for it. 

Best. When used correctly—like "best in class" or "winner of Car & Driver's Best New SUV of 2018," best has real power. However, best is subjective in advertising. You can't back up, "The World's Best Cup of Coffee" unless you have concrete evidence to prove it.

Now. Instant gratification is important to people, especially in this age of fast, free shipping, and immediate downloads of movies and music. Just make sure when you say now, you mean now. And don't forget about the converse usage of now in advertising; getting the customers to "act now." The word has power, especially when coupled with language that creates urgency. For example, "call now and you'll get free shipping and an additional product free." 

Free. When something is genuinely free, a consumer will sit up and take notice. However, often the word is followed by the dreaded asterisk (*) followed by fine print too small to read—such as free trial. However, free samples, free shipping, free returns, buy-one-get-one-free, and other offers make this word a consistent power player in advertising. 

Sex. Just like free, a word like sex has suffered from all kinds of misleading statements. However, humans are sexual creatures and respond to the word. So, when using the word, be mindful of relevancy and context. You can use variations on the word, like sexy, or sexual, but it should be applicable. It's one of the reasons magazines like Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Seventeen consistently have the word sex on the front cover. It sells. 

Increase. This word is an absolute must for B2B advertisements. When decision makers look for products, they are looking for a lift in return in investment or productivity. This word highlights how your product provides tangible value such as increasing sales, intelligence, or time with family.

Try. If you think the word "buy" is too he word buy aggressive, try something softer. One variation is the word try that’s motivating and action-oriented, but won’t overwhelm people not quite ready to commit.

Opportunity. Chances are that your target audience has some kind of goal that they’d like to reach. Give your customers the opportunity they’ve been looking for, whether it's a career opportunity or the opportunity to relax.

Easiest. Consumers and decision makers want products that make their lives easier.  They don’t want the hassle of something complicated. If your product or service has the potential to make a task easier, then advertise that selling point.

Compare. If your company’s rates or offerings qualitatively or quantitatively beat the competition, use the word compare by challenging your prospective customers to run their own comparison. By using this word, you’ll be showing confidence in your ability to stand behind your brand and empowering customers to make their own conclusions about why your product is the best.

Unique. By using this word, you’ll generate a sense of allure that will catch peoples’ attention. Begin by thinking about what makes your products stand out from the competition. If you have a unique secret sauce, let your customers know.