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I'm Erika Fitzgerald, a website copywriter and educator with a big heart for small businesses. Here on the blog, you'll find copywriting education, online business tips, client case studies, and snippets from my life as an entrepreneur.
With so much content on the internet, many people—myself included—struggle to feel seen and heard.
We’re afraid of being ordinary.
We’re afraid of blending in.
We’re afraid of missing out.
We’re afraid of falling behind.
We’re afraid of losing followers.
We’re afraid of being boring.
This list goes on but I think we can all agree that fear is counterproductive to happiness. Fear leads us to overthink and overstretch. To twist ourselves into shapes that don’t feel quite right because of our desire to stand out.
When fear manifests itself in our writing, we end up with words that don’t feel entirely like our own. Words that feel foreign and awkward, like wearing a neon green wool sweater to the gym. This becomes problematic because when you lack authenticity and confidence in your writing, your readers feel it too.
As a writer, I read a lot—of emails, blogs, websites, sales letters, transcripts, and books. It’s easy to notice when a writer is trying too hard to stand out or mimicking someone else’s voice. But…
…just because someone who’s achieved huge success throws the occasional F-bomb in their copy doesn’t mean you should.
…just because someone with 500,000 Instagram followers addresses their reader as “hey lovelies” doesn’t mean you should.
…just because someone who claims to have a 6-figure business uses the phrase “GET AFTER IT!” for every call-to-action doesn’t mean you should.
Rather, you should write how *you* speak and make it easy for your readers to follow along—even if it means sometimes using the same basic words and phrases everyone else uses. In fact, many of these phrases make frequent appearances for a reason: they communicate clearly and hold attention.
If you walk away from this article with one big “ah-ha!” moment, let it be this:
You don’t need to force or fake your writing style. You don’t need a huge vocabulary or perfect grammar. All you need to do is tap into your own voice and set a clear goal for your copy. Often, the most effective and persuasive words are also the simplest.
In his memoir, On Writing, Stephen King says: “One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones … Make yourself a solemn promise right now that you’ll never use ‘emolument’ when you mean ‘tip.’”
King is talking about fiction writing but his advice holds true for copywriting, too. So before you whip out the thesaurus to fluff up your copy, consider using any of these 35 tried-and-true persuasive words that sell.
06. Join now, Buy now, Enroll now
07. Get instant access
08. Become a member
09. 100% satisfaction guarantee
11. Endorsed by
12. No questions asked
14. 30-day money-back
16. Tell me
21. Limited offer
22. Only a few spots left
24. Get in before anybody else
26. Doors close at midnight
27. Today only
31. Imagine if
32. Learn more
33. Save time
You’ll see variations of these words pop up in sales copy all the time because they effectively ignite interest, establish trust, spark engagement, acknowledge the reader, create a sense of urgency, or prompt action.
Remember: copy exists to sell and clarity is king. If you want people to buy your ideas, services, or products, you need to convey your message clearly. You don’t need an impressive vocabulary or perfect grammar to write effective copy. Imagine having a casual conversation with your reader—only in writing.
01. Purpose-driven, Heart-centered
02. Leading, Leader
06. Groundbreaking, Breakthrough
08. Largest, Fastest, Biggest
These words make lofty and exaggerated claims but lack substance. Without showing your reader how your business is innovative, unique, and purpose-driven, you risk losing trust and credibility.
For example, when everyone claims to be the “leading provider,” it becomes impossible for readers to decipher who’s really the leading provider and therefore, the term falls flat. Instead of telling people about your “innovative new product” or “heart-centered coaching business,” lead your readers to make their own conclusions by sharing real results, social proof, and testimonials.
Comment below and tell me: what words do you most often use in your copy and why? Or, what words do you avoid?