37 Power Words to Use in Direct Response Marketing—and Why

From the time we were kids, we’ve been told by family members, teachers, and marketing gurus to “use the right words” and avoid using the wrong ones. Most of us have figured out how to communicate effectively—in most situations, anyway—and we know how powerful words can be. The right ones can make your heart sing, and the wrong ones can cut like a knife.

Write the Right Words, All Right?
In direct response marketing, the right words can work like magic. Word choice is fundamental to creating a message that resonates and building an offer and call to action that performs. Let’s take a look at which words tend to “work” for today’s direct response marketers, and what makes them effective.

The #1 Power Word

  1. YOU – You’re seeking a personal connection with your customers, so always use the dependable second person narrative in your marketing.

The Most Popular Power Words
You can decide if the following words are overused or don’t represent your brand or offers. But what they share in common is a tremendous ability to get noticed. But more importantly, they evoke emotional response. People are triggered by fear, uncertainty, hope, security, love, flattery, health, freedom from worry, a desire to be in the “in” group…so it’s a good idea to choose words that resonate with your customers while aligning with the value of your product, service, or brand.

  1. Now – There’s no time like the present to consider your offer and take action.
  1. New – People tend to be interested in the latest and greatest.
  1. Love – Is there a faster route to your customer’s heart?
  1. Free – If their heart isn’t looking for love, chances are they’re open to receiving value without having to spend a penny.
  1. Instant – Similar to “now,” this word communicates immediate gratification.
  1. Save – Most consumers in most markets appreciate a deal.
  1. Hot – This word connotes a highly desirable form of “new” if used in the right context and offer.
  1. Amazing/Powerful – These persuasive words are tied for their ability to quickly impart the dramatic efficacy of the product, service, or solution they’re used to describe.
  1. Easy – In a world fill of complexities, who doesn’t gravitate toward simplicity?
  1. Guarantee – This word gets across the sentiment “There’s no harm in trying?”
  1. Because – This gets right down to the “why” and the ultimate reason your prospects will take action.

Power Words That Drive Response
Here are words that express urgency and just might convince your audience members to take action.

  1. Act now – Basically, take the call to action at this moment…a pretty clear-cut directive.
  1. Don’t miss out – This phrase can strike a nerve associated with wanting to be a part of something valuable, whether that’s a tangible experience or a savings opportunity.
  1. Hurry/Time is running out – These put the “act now!” pedal to the metal and support the offer expiration date!
  1. Last chance/Limited time – If the valuable offer isn’t going to pass this way again, it’s literally now or never.

Power Words That Motivate Engagement
In the era of content marketing and lead nurturing, direct marketing copywriters sometimes need to take a “softer” approach. When the goal is to encourage sales-supporting or social activity, these words come in handy:

  1. Join – A clear invitation to connect with the brand’s community, whether that’s a membership or social media base.
  1. Share – A flat-out request to spread the information or opportunity.
  1. Comment – This call-to-action is very specific—and if the underlying content is compelling enough and valuable to the reader, it will yield results.
  1. Discover – This word welcomes your prospect or customer to broaden their horizons, learn something new, or receive some needed guidance without a hard-sell.
  1. Respond – While obvious, it’s a clear directive that’s worthy of a place in almost any direct marketing offer. It’s usually followed by “Call,” “Email,” or “Visit (a URL).”
  1. Tips/How-to – These are content marketing words that repeatedly drive clicks and leads for direct marketers. Content promising to provide actionable ideas, best practices, and tutorials are valuable to prospects in the sales funnel.

Power Words That Impart Exclusivity
A common tactic in direct response marketing is to make the prospect or customer feel like they’re special: they’re receiving a specific offer because they’re part of a unique group. And that’s because they usually are! Taking advantage of that offer affirms their status Here are words that help drive the point home:

  1. Exclusive – This word tells the recipient of the message that they’re not just part of the crowd—they’re among the lucky ones to receive this offer.
  1. Elite – This word speaks to privilege: “you’re receiving this offer because you’re best-in-class.”
  1. Members only – If you’re a member of something, you qualify for insider perks, deals, or otherwise hard to come by value.
  1. Be one of the few – A phrase that can help promote your offer as scarce and in high-demand—and positions the person who responds to your offer as being “in on something” that’s important to them.

Power Words That Lower Barriers
The following words are potent because they help the prospect, on a psychological level, respond to your offer.

  1. Complimentary – This word puts a more valuable twist on “Free.” If you’re graciously providing something of value without monetary exchange, your audience may feel compelled to take the action required to learn more about it.
  1. Everything you need – Telling your audience that your solution (or offer) is going to cover all the bases makes their life or a particular process easier—and can make it easier to give it a try. This also works well in direct mail kits because it advises that everything the recipient needs to respond to the offer is enclosed. Easy-peasy!
  1. No obligation (or no risk) – You’re basically saying, “It’s unconditional: we won’t bother you or make you talk to us or give us money” in exchange for trying something they may actually end up liking and wanting to buy. It puts the customer in the power position.

Power Words That Convey Trust
Sometimes your prospects need a little extra peace of mind before taking you up on your offer. They might be skeptical—and that’s ok—so use these words to convince them otherwise:

  1. Proven/Real results – These words say that your approach or solution isn’t fly-by-night—that it has been shown to work and provide satisfaction for real, live customers.
  1. Safe – Safety is among the most basic human needs, so it’s inherently powerful.
  1. Backed – It might be important to show that your solution or guarantee has credibility from a third party or a stable organization.
  1. Thank you – Who doesn’t want to partner with a brand who’s appreciative? People like to be appreciated (for their time, attention to your marketing message, for their business, etc.) and they appreciate your efforts to show your gratitude.

Power Words That Generate Curiosity
You want your message to resonate and pique interest, right? You want prospects and customers to want to learn more or place their order or perform some other call to action. Try these words to spark some interest:

  1. Finally/At Last – Is this what your customer has been waiting for?!
  1. Introducing – This says, “Look here what’s new, different, and worth sending this message about!”
  1. Attention – Here’s a word that gets the reader’s, ahem, attention, if it’s positioned well in the copy.
  1. 37 Power Words/25% More – OK, these aren’t really words, or even phrases. But using a number or statistic not only stands out from all of the letters but it also makes people stop and say, “What’s that all about?”

BONUS: Power Words to Avoid
Use these words with caution:

  1. Any of the Power Words used in a spammy way, like
  • Guarantee!!!
  • Act now (used more than once or twice in the copy)
  1. Great – This word is vague, so pick a more powerful one that relates to your offer’s value or solution.
  1. Miracle – Are you really offering a miracle?
  1. Once in a lifetime – This phrase is over-the-top and over used.
  1. Get rich quick/Lose weight fast – Can you say “It’s too good to be true?!”

A Few More “Words” to the Wise
Before you set off to create some powerful copy, consider a few best practices:

Speak in your brand’s voice. Is it edgy? Conservative? Whimsical? This impacts the words you use and how you use them. For instance, would a conservative B2B brand with a C-Suite audience use the word “Hot” in its promotions? It’s possible, but unlikely!