Compelling Words that Sell With the Magic of Pixie Dust
-- (c)2003 By Linda Alexander
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Subject: Business, Writing
Number of Words: 474
This was going to be an article about "power" words and
phrases with "juice," those "magic" words that will add
punch to your copy and bring thousands of affluent
customers to your doorstep, just waiting to empty their
wallets to call themselves owners of your merchandise.
I knew that topic had been done a hundred times, so I
thought I would have no trouble making a list of words to
share with you. Then about two minutes after I began my
research, I changed the focus of the article. Why? Because
there are no magic words.
Like the IBM commercial where they remind you that there's
no pixie dust, only qualified consultants, I'm here to
remind you that words are just tools. Petting dogs can
lower your blood pressure: it's the petting that does it,
not the pet. Similarly, good writing will bring customers
to you, but it's the writing, not the individual words.
That said, of course you know certain words have been
proven to work. Words like free, buy now, don?t miss out,
etc., are trite *because* they have worked for years in
mail order. But your business may be different. Not every
product benefits from a hard sell. In fact, there are so
many ways of selling, not selling, and everything in
between, that you must keep a list of words that have
worked for YOU, in your job, in your industry, for your
Start by looking through some of your more successful
communication pieces: Did a particular memo cause
controversy in your office? Did a sales letter you never
expected to work instead have phenomenal response? Analyze
these items for timing, offer, context, audience, and what
happened before or after the message was sent.
There are a lot of factors that play into the success of a
particular communication. Only after you have figured out a
number of the above variables, should you look at the
individual words you used.
If you can narrow it down at all to a particular headline
that worked, make a note. Keep the headline in a "swipe
file" for the next time you are looking for a successful
headline. Did you use a phrase that angered customers,
perked up your lawyers' ears, or released a flood of gossip
around the water cooler? Write that one down too, in your
file of phrases NOT to use again. Unless, of course,
angering people is your aim.
Over time your list will build and you too will be able to
write an article about magic words that are proven to bring
you tons of sales overnight.
Linda Elizabeth Alexander writes marketing copy for
nonprofits and traditional businesses. Sign up for her free
business writing newsletter, Write to the Point, at
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