Words WILL Hurt You

March 15, 2012

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.  That's what we said whenever a bully menaced us with a bit of name-calling, and sure enough, we believed it.  But in the world of marketing, words can and will hurt you if you don't take a strategic approach to your design and copy. If you run an online search for powerful copywriting words, you'll find dozens of excellent lists full of motivating actions words, soothing synonyms for “buy,” and benefit-laden words such as “results.”  What's more difficult to determine, however, are negative words in copy. Certain words can turn customers off cost your sales.  Words such as “buy” make customers uneasy, while “claim” or “check out” tend to take the pain out of purchasing.  Vague terms lose customers fast, such as when you write a list of 10 “things” instead of a list of 10 “tips.” Not only are the words you write important, how you design them can have a major impact on how they're perceived.  Well-recognized fonts are easy to read and trusted, while trendy or gimmicky fonts are not.  Colors and applied design styles can also have a major impact; a light blue is perceived as trustworthy, for example; while a hyperlink blue could be viewed as being cheap or out of date.  A slight drop shadow can enhance headline text, but overuse of design style elements can make you seem amateurish and therefore untrustworthy. I'm not saying you shouldn't experiment or that you should be like everyone else, but I am saying to choose your words wisely.  Doing so will help you land more sales.  Apply your font designs in a way that matches the tone of your copy and can be taken seriously by customers.  When your design and copy mesh, you maximize your profit potential. For more information, check out this list of Power Words for Emotional Selling and These 8 Bad Words Are Causing You Sales Suicide. Image use Creative Commons license via Flickr user rabble.

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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