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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Twelve Words that Can Help You Sell More

 
Last week, FEI marketing guru Marka gave marketing greenhorn Lucy tips on creating a broadcast email headline that stands out from the clutter. This week, Marka teaches Lucy how to use 12 of the most persuasive words in advertising. Remember, fire = print.

One day, Marka was spending her lunch break in her office practicing her O-putting on a rollout green. Mid-putt, someone knocked on her office door.

“Come in!” Marka said, wondering if someone found her ball that rolled into the hallway.

Lucy opened the door. “I need to pick your brain.”

“Shoot,” Marka replied, happy to see apprentice Lucy coming to her for advice.

“I want to send 50 of our top restaurant prospects a letter announcing the ZX10 model torches. Here’s what I have so far,” Lucy said as she placed a letter on Marka’s desk. “Can you help?”

Marka read the letter carefully.

Dear Joe Firebuyer,

FEI’s ZX10 model torches are an excellent product. They will warm your restaurant. More fuel-efficient than regular torches, these torches can reduce your heating bill.

Interested? Please call me at 1-800-FEI-1234.

Yours truly,

Lucy
Marketing Manager, Fire Enterprises, Inc.


“I see what you mean. I don’t find this very persuasive,” Marka admitted. “This is a good opportunity to incorporate some of the 12 most persuasive words in advertising.”

“Tell me more,” Lucy said eagerly.

“Using certain words—in sales letters, in advertisements, during sales calls—can help you nudge your prospects toward a sale. Thanks to decades of trial-and-error by past marketers, we now know which words are most likely to inspire prospect action. They are…” Marka grabbed a piece of coal and began writing.
  • You
  • Discover
  • Easy
  • Proven
  • Save
  • Money
  • Guarantee
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • New
  • Love
  • Results
 
“Notice what these words have in common,” Marka continued. “They all appeal to universal human desires. Everybody wants to save money. Everybody wants something that’s easy, guaranteed and proven. Use these words in your copy to connect with your prospects and drive them toward a buying decision.”

“Can you show me an example of an effective communication that uses these words?” Lucy asked.

“Give me 10 minutes,” Marka said. Exactly 10 minutes later, Marka showed Lucy this letter:

Dear Joe Firebuyer,

FEI’s new ZX10 torch-lighting solution is an easy way for you to save money. The ZX10’s fuel-efficient technology is proven to lower your business’s energy output and monthly energy bill.

The ZX10 will keep your restaurant well-heated and well-lit, guaranteeing that your patrons have a healthy and happy dining experience.

You’ll love the results of our new ZX10. To discover more, please call me at 1-800-FEI-1234.

Yours truly,

Lucy
Marketing Manager, Fire Enterprises, Inc.


“I just incorporated all 12 words into this letter without breaking a sweat,” Marka bragged. “As a rule, these are the most persuasive words you can use when selling or advertising something. Like all rules, however, this one has exceptions. Use these words only when appropriate. Figure out what you want to say, then work in the words where they make sense—not the other way around.”

“Got it,” Lucy said.

The next day, Lucy mailed a batch of Marka’s letters. A week later, she got a call from Amber, owner of Amber’s Ambrosia Café. “I’ve never considered changing up my fire solution before,” Amber said, “but I gotta say, your letter was persuasive. Let’s get started.”

“Was it persuasive?” Lucy mused with a knowing smile. “I had no idea.”

FIRE! Point
Using certain key words—in sales letters, in advertisements, during sales calls—can help you nudge your prospects toward a sale. Thanks to decades of trial-and-error by past marketers, we now know which words are most likely to inspire prospect action. Use these words only when appropriate. Figure out what you want to say, then incorporate the words where they make sense—not the other way around

FIRE! in Action: Headlines Matter
For years, The Wall Street Journal sent a direct-mail letter that promised recipients increased success and stature if they subscribed to the Journal. This now-famous letter generated an estimated $2 billion in revenue over the years. 

Next week: Marka gives Lucy some tips on creating killer landing pages for email and other promotions.

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