How to Use the Right Word to Get the Right Response

To increase response, consider treating every word and punctuation mark in your copy as your weapons of mass persuasion.

Each keystroke can propel — or deter — your prospects through your maze towards the cheese you want them to buy, says veteran copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis, who regards marketers as the mazemasters.

Here are some of the ways he traps more "rats" than other marketers:

Some suggest, others direct
Even words that appear to mean the same thing can pack a different punch, says Lewis.

Two examples: Suggesting buyers should "respond" instead of "reply," for example, will increase response because "respond" seems like a smaller commitment. Similarly, saying your company "made" a product may be okay if you're trying to convey the down-home touch. But "manufactured" is better for sophisticated buyers.

A Quarter Pounder outsells 4-ounces
Other subtle changes can hook readers. For instance, compare these two sentences:

  • "This is what you want to see, isn't it?"
  • "This is what you want to see."
Sentences like the first always outsell the second because words like "isn't it" direct the reader. Even the same number or amount can seem more impressive when it's expressed a different way. Just imagine if a Quarter Pounder were described as a four-ouncer.
Info: http://herschellgordonlewis.com
Words that work
ban these
We shall
use these
Asked for
We will

Reprinted with permission from
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