Powerful Words To Take Your Marketing Off The Ground

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powerful words

I was at the gym the other day, running on the treadmill and all, when my iPod died.

Veeery bad timing, let me tell you.

I had barely started. And those miles weren’t going to run themselves- I needed some kind of mental stimulation to get me going.

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Which, lucky for me, came about when those two ladies started running on the treadmills next to me.

I wasn’t really paying attention to what they were talking about but their conversation did catch my attention when one of them used an unexpected phrase.

Here’s what the dialogue went like:

– Yesterday’s training was crazy! When it was over I felt as if I had climbed up a mountain!

– Wow, that exhausting, huh?

– What? No, I mean I felt great!

And this, my friends, is why you gotta love Linguistics.

Why subject lines are beautiful quizzes

What I’m about to describe in this section is for the inquisitive minds out there who are always looking to explore, discover and learn. If that’s not you, simply skip to the sheer Marketing part.

The objective of this section is to explain to fellow Marketers who come from different academic backgrounds than I, that meaning (subject lines included) is a function of i) something as small as phonemes, ii) culture (see cultural background), iii) psychology (see perception, self-image, attitude towards the speaker) and iv) the medium used to serve its purpose to communication.

I’ve been trying to hold back and NOT play the Linguistics/Semantics/Semiotics card. But it’s BEYOND me.

Linguistics picks up from phonemes, those tiny bits of language named sounds. It spans over a wide range of topics, all the way to Structuralism (not like there is a continuum of Linguistics, or an extreme to it, for that matter).

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But, to get the hang of it, know that Linguistics goes as far as to encompass Structuralism, this magical methodology which unearths the underlying interactions among cultural elements and the entire spectrum of human emotions, cognition, etc. Yes, I majored in English Studies.

And during my studies there, anything from Linguistics I, II, (and more Latin numerals), to Sociolinguistics, to Theoretical Linguistics, you name it, was on every semester’s specials. I’ll tell you where I’m going with this.

Then, there is Semiotics, Semantics. The medium itself (blog) does not allow for (lucky you!) merely touching upon the beauty of Semiotics and Semantics, which de-compress multiple layers of meaning and its subtleties from a word. It’s like corn turning into popcorn; yes, that’s the perfect analogy!

Undoubtedly, disciplines in Communication go hand in hand with these.

That’s why I feel the duty to raise the bar for our blog readers and share the knowledge that has benefited me this much.

And, well, linguistics is to blame for one more thing. And not without a reason, if I may add.

People argue over Linguistics ALL the time

…but they just don’t know it. [You can always skip to the Marketing part right here.]

The reason why there are misunderstandings lies in linguistics. Most of the time, at least.

Ever heard of the expression “It’s not the what, it’s the how!”? It refers to the way we choose to communicate a message.

For instance, if someone asks for our opinion on something, we might reply with “I don’t care/I don’t mind”. But this will most likely elicit discomfort in our interlocutor, unlike “I trust you entirely/ I trust your opinion.

Let’s take a look at a few more instances:

“Suh-rry!”
“Love ya.”
“No way!”
“Miss you.”

Every given event offers itself to a number of expression paths.

This means that when picking one word to express one thing, situation, feeling, we overrule a number of others in its place.

The words we use to articulate and externalize our thoughts go above and beyond simply an expressive mechanism.

We select our words; whether consciously or subconsciously.

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Suppose you accidentally step on someone’s foot; it’s one thing to say “I’m sorry” and another thing to say “Are you alright?”. The former caters to defending ourselves and purging us from the suspicion of a bad intention. The latter, on the other hand, aims to express concern over the person suffering and serve an apology indirectly.

Now let’s compare the expressions above with the enhanced versions:

“I’m terribly sorry.”
“I love you immensely.”
I’m afraid not.
“I miss you awfully.”

I know what some of you might say: “The second batch has extra words- adverbs are there to add meaning to these”. Yes, but even so, there is a difference in meaning, isn’t there?

How about “Miss ya” and “I miss you”? What do these vowels add to the intended meaning by the speaker?

I believe all of us have similar examples to share.

Linguistics 101: Signifier VS Signified

Going back to the example I mentioned at the beginning (the one with “going up a mountain”), I would like to explain it using Saussure’s concepts of the signifier and the signified.

The Marketing benefit: These can help marketers unravel more levels of meaning and improve their copywriting game.

Saussure was a Swiss linguist who essentially paved the way for 20th-century linguists.

With “signifier” Saussure started referring to the object or material; this is what we see in real life. It does not vary and cannot be manipulated.

Now, “signified” refers to what we understand by, say, a word, that is, the concept in our minds. The signifier refers to what we understand. This is manipulated by our conscience, personality, experiences, and so on.

Let’s consider this example:

  • Tell me what image comes to mind when I say this word:

“Tree”

What’s yours? For example, I always get a flashcard-like image of a tree, you know, like clipart. And from the red circles on it I can guess it probably is an apple tree.

The signified is what you and I think of when we hear the word.

And it had never occurred to me that not everyone gets the same image in their heads, let alone that I had a designated image in my head for almost every.single.world.out.there.

Now, the signifier is the word “tree”: this refers to a plant with a trunk, branches, and leaves. For the most part, at least.

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What’s KODAK got to do with it?

In my attempt to help you grasp quickly the concept of Linguistics, I’ve collected a number of points I would like to cover, much like in a lecture.

The Marketing benefit: My doing so aims to help marketers broaden their horizons when coming up with names for new products, as well as consider more linguistic aspects when crafting taglines for their products or services, and so on.

I’m going to take you a step back, to phonemes. Phonemes are the smallest unit of language.

Phonemes are sounds, essentially.

Now, ever wondered whether different sounds carry different meanings? Or if they are perceived so, anyway?

Time for one more flashback

I was doing my Master’s on International Marketing and I remember reading a case study about KODAK, the imaging technology company.

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Do you know what KODAK means? Well, according to that case study, KODAK doesn’t mean anything.

Instead, the letter “K” was selected both as a starting letter and an ending letter because, according to the founder, it connoted strength and power.

Think about it for a second: What if, instead of KODAK, we had gotten LODAL instead? Would LODAL be as innovative and ground-breaking as KODAK, or would LODAL connote something else?

This is everything

Ever even heard of sound symbolism?

Let me illustrate my point:

One of the following shapes (a 1, a 2) is called a takete and the other one is called a maluma. Can you guess which is which?

random shapes with round edges and straight lines elicit distinct naming

I’m channeling my psychic superpowers and… I’m guessing you called the left-hand column a set of malumas and the right-hand one a set of taketes, right?

Well, turns out you are not alone. According to a 1929 study by Köhler W. it was found that “rounder sounds” were matched to curvier shapes, and “taketes” to straight lines.

What does this tell us of our brains? That there is a lot to explore.

What does this tell us of our branding? That maybe our logos are wrong! Or that revamps are due, anyway.

And this extends to brand personality. I’ll tell you why. One thing I’ve figured out over the years is that things that are “perfect” in Marketing are things that have been well-thought out, well-executed. By that, I mean that they are most likely backed by a multi-million dollar neuromarketing research, crossed with international marketing, ethnologists, and many other disciplines. 

Long story short; some extra reading might save you some extra bucks.

Powerful Words infographic

<p><strong>Please include attribution to https://moosend.com/blog/ with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href='https://moosend.com/blog/powerful-words/'><img src='https://moosend.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Powerful-Words.png' alt='powerful words infographic' 540px border='0' /></a></p>

The “purely Marketing” part (…finally!)

Having said all that, having meandered for the proper bit, it’s now time for the Marketing aspect of meaning; the best marketing words in this solar system.

In today’s article, we are going to go over the power words to use in subject lines from 13 email categories.

Let me tell you how these powerful marketing words came about:

1. I combed our subject line database (THOUSANDS of subject lines, that is) per industry for top words. By “top” I mean words that score high in terms of relevance to the topic.

2. Then, my team and I assigned a score for each words for the following pointers, namely formality, sophistication, urgency, friendliness, directness, and positivity.

3. For every one of the most representative and powerful marketing words in every email category, you get a list of synonyms to improve the existing score in the particular pointer.

For example, under the “Sales and Discounts” category, we encounter the word “get”. To make that word more to the friendly side and still accomplish my target (i.e. sell), we use words such as “hit”, “deal”, or “wow”. To turn up the urgency in this one, we use words such as “grab”, “steal”, or “snatch”.

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How to use the best marketing words for your subject line

#1 Step: Establish your subject line objective

Especially if you are setting up your automated workflows, you must check out our valuable infographic [click the banner above].

The main reason is that by setting up automated emails you are automating growth for your business; therefore you need to make the subject lines and content as compelling as possible.

These successful marketing words are your ticket to greatness.

See for yourself!

Browse all 13 newsletter categories: are you writing a Sales & Discounts pitch? Setting up any of the following drip campaigns, maybe?: Happy Birthday emails, Cart Abandonment workflows, Happy Anniversary email sequence, or Loyalty Reward emails?

You can also browse for our Welcome, and Thank You email sequence top marketing word recommendations.

Last, remember to check out our workflow-specific power word recommendations for Repeat Purchase reminders, Product Recommendation emails, Special Offer reminders, Buyer Surveys, Upsell emails, and Back In Stock emails.

#2 Step: Choose the intended meaning

Determine your intention for the message. What style are you going for?

As I mentioned earlier, every top marketing word is scored across the continuum of the following pointers: formality, sophistication, urgency, friendliness, directness, and positivity.

Provided that you have selected a category already, keep in mind that for the main word you will find different synonyms.

Before we move on, you need to assess where your brand personality falls into:
– Is it more to the formal side?
– How sophisticated (vs simple) is it?
– Where does your brand rank in the friendliness radar?
– How urgent is what you are communicating?
– Are you all for positive wording over fear-mongering?
– Are your messages direct and straightforward?

Here’s what to do:

Score your brand personality on each of the aforementioned pointers.

Ask your team and friends to do the same.

Get an average for each pointer and pick the highest-scoring pointers for your brand.

This is how your brand personality is perceived by those who know it.

Now, from this point on, look for words on the infographic with the specific characteristics.

If you do not come across many of the particular combination you are after, don’t fret.

Instead of looking for popular marketing words to use, go for short phrases or expressions.

Before you decide on one, run it through the six pointers to make sure that you are on point.

Repeat until you no longer have to consciously run the word through the pointers!

#3 Step: Scale this to suit your communication strategy

The point of all this is to create a seamless branding fabric for your business.

And what’s the point of going into all this trouble if your communication strategy remains intact?

Think of how you could apply this entire system of powerful words, together with the snackable Linguistics content I provided you with earlier, for branding purposes.

Look into your eCommerce strategy and make the necessary tweaks; do you need to take the Urgency pointer up a notch? Should you consider moving the needle towards the Informal side?

All I’m saying is, become your brand’s own expert; use this step-by-step guide to quantify your writing personality.

Break down the words you use and explore new heights of potential!

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Conclusion

  1. Grab the bonus material by clicking here. Don’t forget to download the infographic as well!
  2. Now, if you’re in a hurry but still want to learn a thing or two, scroll up and just read the parts in bold.
  3. Revisit the article as soon as you run out of inspiration.
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