The Top 42 Marketing Words that Tempt and Turn Off Customers

Ever wonder which words motivate and resonate with customers, and which ones definitely don’t?

It turns out we’re not the only ones wondering about the most powerful marketing words. Lists of persuasive marketing words were reported in newspapers starting back in 1961. Here’s an old Washington Post ad from that year:

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The list of words has changed through the years, but the quest to write the best marketing message hasn’t. To make sure the next promotional text message, email or social post you write ignites action, and compels rather than repels customers, here are 31 of the best marketing words to use and 11 of the worst to avoid.

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Best marketing words

We’ll split the list of most effective marketing words up by category, and provide a quick reason you should include them in your copy.

  • Incentive words

A little incentive can tip the sale scale in your favor. Customers love a good bargain, so if you’re hosting a sale or a promotion these words and phrases are a marketing do:

1. Free – Everyone loves a freebie.

2. Buy one, get one – Customers can see the money value here.

3. Complimentary – Instantly tells customers it won’t hurt their wallet.

4. On the house – Shows customers you’re doing something for them.

5. Off (as in 20% off) – A specific deal is a great incentive for customers to act.

6. New – Everyone wants the latest, greatest thing. Look at the iPhone.

7. Best sellers – Provides social proof that others like your products too.

8. Starting at…(provide a $) – Specific prices help customers make a purchase decision.

9. Bargain – Who doesn’t love a bargain?

  • Trust-based words

Words that provide a sense of trust or leadership are also great to use. Here are a few that make the list:

10. Safe – Tells customers the product is tested.

11. Effective – Provides reassurance.

12. Mom-approved (or approval of a certain group) – Provides social proof.

13. Authentic – Customers want authentic products and experiences.

14. Verified – Tell customers who verified the product to provide reassurance.

15. Results – Customers want products that provide excellent results.

16. No obligation – Convinces customers to try something new without hesitation.

17. Thank you – Shows customers you appreciate them.

  • Urgent words

It’s important that your marketing materials compel customers to act. To do so, try these urgent, or time-sensitive words and phrases:

18. Act – A popular, yet effective word, to encourage customers to follow through.

19. Today – Puts a customer in the present-day mindset.

20. Now – Makes a deal seem fleeting.

21. Fast – Good descriptive word for sales or promotions.

22. Instant – Makes a sale or coupon redemption sound seamless.

23. Book now before the offer’s gone again – Tells customers this event has sold out in the past.

24. Limited-time offer – Tells customers this is a rare deal.

25. Last chance – Tells customers this deal won’t be around again.

26. Flash sale – Flash sales are synonymous with deals that only last for a few hours.

27. Deal ends today – If customers are interested, they’ll have to act with this deadline.

  • Helpful words

Your customers are always looking for helpful advice. Here are a few words that show your audience that you’re here to provide support:

28. How-to – Tells customers they’ll get specific instructions to do something.

29. Tips – Provides customers with a new way to complete a task.

30. Timesaving – Everyone wants to save time, right?

31. Hassle-free – Yes, please. No one wants a time-consuming deal.

Worst marketing words

There are a few marketing words that you’ll want to stay away from. Here’s a list of words you should avoid, broken up by category again:

  • Overused words

There are a few words that are overused, so stay away from these:

1. Epic – This word was all the rage for about a year. It’s time to let it go.

2. Hurry – Just about every emails start with, “Hurry!” Provide a deadline instead.

3. Revolutionary – Few things in life are revolutionary. Unless you’re curing cancer, stay away from this one.

4. Unique – Yes, you want to set your product apart from others, but this isn’t a good fit.

5. Exciting – It’s so overused it sounds like a lie. An “exciting deal” makes customers more skeptical than excited. Just describe the deal instead.

  • Words that could get you into trouble

A few words that could spell disaster:

6. Guaranteed – Be careful. Nothing in life is guaranteed.

7. Or your money back – Be more specific when you’re offering any kind of money back.

8. Miracle – Really? A miracle? Don’t oversell it.

  • Generic words

Your business or product shouldn’t be described using these generic words:

9. Amazing – Everything is amazing these days. Be a little more creative.

10. Huge – What’s so huge about it? Use more detail instead.

11. Great – Talk about generic, you can find a better descriptive word.

Which marketing words encourage your customers to shop? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Lisa Furgison
About the Author
Lisa Furgison

Lisa is a writer at FiveStars, a freelance journalist, and co-owner of a media company, McEwen’s Media.

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