Whether your marketing piece is a brochure, e-mail, sales page or Web site, the words you use either entice your readers or put them to sleep. To get customers and prospects to take action, your content needs to be active.
One of the pointers my mentor, the late Eugene Schwartz, passed onto me was to delete the word “will.” With the first project I worked on with Gene (more than 22 years ago), he returned my first draft and there was the red pen – crossing out “will” wherever it appeared. Of course, once he explained it to me, it made absolute sense. The word “will” makes the sentence passive, or as the title of this post suggests, “quiet.”
For example, which of the following do you find more compelling?
“You will walk away with 5 tips to greater wealth.” OR “Walk away with 5 tips to greater wealth.”
“You will increase your leads by 50%.” OR “Increase your leads by 50%.”
“You will look 10 years younger in 10 days.” OR “Look 10 years younger in 10 days.”
The difference is plain to see, isn’t it? Just one little word can make a big difference. To this day, whenever I write copy or am asked to review it, Gene’s pointer is one of the first tips I pass along.
Quiet or Compelling?
Keeping your eyes open for that little word “will,” is just one way to transform your quiet content into compelling content.
Another great tip came from veteran copywriter, Milt Pierce. His advice was to avoid the word “learn.” He said (and I paraphrase) that most people don’t want to learn something. Learning insinuates that they have to work at it and they want it to be easy.
With this in mind, which of the following do you find more compelling?
“Learn 3 ways to convert prospects into paying customers.” OR “Uncover 3 ways to convert prospects into paying customers.”
“Learn how to build a professional network.” OR “Unleash the power of building a professional network.”
Whether you’re writing your own content or hiring a copywriter, your content should be active not passive. Keep some of these active verbs in your toolbox and you’ll have a head start:
Which words are you using? Let me know. I’d love to hear what works for you.
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