Do you agonize over choosing just the right word for your letter, brochure, Web site, ad or other written materials? Words have meaning, and choosing the right words is important.
Richard Bayan’s book, Words that Sell,
is a collection of words and phrases you can use in marketing copy. For example, if you’re looking for a new way to say something is ‘easy,’ you’ll find suggestions such as child’s play, step-by-step, amazingly simple, effortless and others.
Words that Sell focuses on marketing terms, so it is especially helpful when writing ad copy, sales letters, etc. However, any thesaurus can be useful when looking for new and creative ways to get your message across. When using a thesaurus, however, remember that the words you find will be similar in meaning but not identical. Make sure you fully understand the meaning of any word you might use.
You should also build your own marketing thesaurus with words and phrases relating to your business. Sit down at your computer or with a pad and pen. Record all the words you can think of that describe what you do. How do customers describe your product or service? What do they say you do for them? How do you make their lives better?
The more you have, the better. Next, pull out a thesaurus (or use the one in your word processor) to come up with more words and phrases. You now have a custom marketing thesaurus. Use it when writing catalog copy, ads, web pages—anywhere you need just the right word to convince potential customers to buy.
Choose words that produce the emotional response you want. Words that get attention include new, secret, free, unknown, cash, insider, etc. These words give the impression that you are letting the reader in on something special.
Use alliteration (i.e., words that begin with the same sound). For example, Peter’s Perfect Plan or Secrets of Super Success. Hard sounds (such as p, k or t) and the s sound are especially good. Say your line out loud to see how it sounds.
Watch for hidden meanings. Words may have acquired new meanings that alter the effect of your sentence. Be aware of new slang usage. Borrow a teenager for the most up-to-date information!
Avoid jargon. Don’t assume your readers will understand what you mean when you use a technical term. If you must use jargon, explain it. One time you can use jargon is when you know your audience will understand it, and your use of jargon will mark you as one of “them.” Jargon can identify you as someone who knows an industry.
Ask for input. Ask friends and potential customers to read what you’ve written. What do readers think of when they read or hear your words? Do they come across as friendly or abrupt? Do they seem believable? Do they properly convey your message? If so, congratulations! If not, keep working at it.
Keep reading, keep writing, keep testing and revising to make your writing as good as it can be.