Small business owners need to be ready to be the jacks of all trades. Essentially, we are CEO’s, marketers, secretaries, writers, and the janitorial staff – all rolled into one person.

Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this gig. I was fully aware of the pitfalls and trials that waited along the way but I had no idea just how hard and time-consuming all of it is going to be.

Personally, I struggled most with writing – and I still do sometimes. How do you package something using the right set of words that will prompt your readers to action? It was beyond me, but I knew that all my hard work is going to be in vain if people are too bored to go through my email. I needed to sell but things just weren’t working out!

So I stepped up my game. I studied storytelling, enticing writing, formatting – a whole myriad of techniques that I felt would make my writing more interesting.

Guess what. It was like college. A lot of hours put into all of that, but the results were still depressing.



Imagine my disappointment when after months of experimenting, I discover that it all boils down to word choice. So I’m writing this to let you know – writing a great sales letter is actually easy!

The goal is to avoid bland and boring words that put people to sleep. All you need to do is prod and poke your reader – with words of course – to evoke the right emotions, and they’ll soon be reaching inside their wallets to give you their hard-earned money.

Mix in some fear, greed and lust and you will have a winning writing formula. Certain words trigger those emotions so I’ve prepared a short list for each category as well. Think of it as your cheat-sheet. And yes, you’re welcome!

Prey on their fears

When it comes to people, fear is the lowest common denominator. Everyone is afraid of something – afraid of failure, inadequacy, ending up alone, or being left behind. Everywhere you look you’re being bombarded by messages of fear – TV, Internet, newspapers, billboards.

It feels ugly to write this, but fear sells. If you can pinpoint what someone is afraid of you can expand and build on that fear. The effect is two-fold, hopefully. First, you will get your reader to read through the whole thing. Second, they’ll buy whatever you’re selling just to quench that fear.

  1. Agony
  2. Catastrophe
  3. Collapse
  4. Beating
  5. Bloodbath
  6. Crisis
  7. Danger
  8. Deadly
  9. Death
  10. Devastating
  11. Crazy
  12. Murder
  13. Plunge
  14. Slaughter
  15. Tailspin
  16. Volatile
  17. Terrorize
  18. Pitfall
  19. Lurking
  20. Worry

Fire your readers up

Let’s face it; most people find reading boring – especially if they feel they are being sold on something. Reading a novel is one thing but reading an email that has a singular purpose of making you spend your money is totally another.

You need to energize your readers and you will do that by picking action-packed words and avoiding boring ones. Everyone is slightly bored, depressed and tired these days. Don’t add to that.

  1. Audacious
  2. Daring
  3. Defying
  4. Breathtaking
  5. Courageous
  6. Excited
  7. Fearless
  8. Guts
  9. Hope
  10. Miracle
  11. Bold
  12. Spirit
  13. Stunning
  14. Triumph
  15. Mind-blowing
  16. Hero
  17. Uplifting
  18. Victory
  19. Bravery
  20. Wonderful

Sex sells everything

Ah, the best salesman in the world: sex. It still works like a charm. If you can make something sound sexy, it will sell a lot easier.

Case in point: almost every headline you read in today’s newspapers will be either indirectly or directly about sex. Open your favorite news page and it will prove my point almost certainly.

Whenever you’re writing something, sprinkle a little of lust-inviting words inside to make the copy pop and the topic more intriguing.

  1. Crave
  2. Craze
  3. Dirty
  4. Forbidden
  5. Lick
  6. Lustful
  7. Naked
  8. Naughty
  9. Sex
  10. Provocative
  11. Shameless
  12. Sensual
  13. Sin
  14. Sleazy
  15. Spank
  16. Tie
  17. Bond
  18. Sweaty
  19. Steamy
  20. Whip

Remember, people are greedy

A penchant for more – of anything – is also something most people share. Usually, it comes down to money. If you can have more money, you can buy more of anything. It’s a sad, sordid state of affairs, but there you have it.

Good marketers know this and every other sentence they write carries a promise of making money fast and easy. You shouldn’t be squeamish about taking advantage of this apparent human design flaw.

To paraphrase Halbert: ‘Stomp on their greed glands until they bleed’.

  1. Bargain
  2. Best
  3. Cash
  4. Billion
  5. Cheap
  6. Discount
  7. Dollar
  8. Double
  9. Free
  10. Frenzy
  11. Fortune
  12. Jackpot
  13. Gift
  14. Money
  15. Zero
  16. Pay
  17. Prize
  18. Rich
  19. Six-figure
  20. Soaring
  21. Skyrocket

Now, this is definitely not a complete list. There are hundreds of other great emotion-packed words you will want to consider using. I suggest you open up an empty word file and add to it whenever you get the chance.

Stop using the words you use in everyday talk. They are run-of-the-mill words that people are tired of hearing, let alone reading. Granted, there is more to writing effective copy than word selection but enriching your vocabulary and being conscious of what and why you’re writing is the easiest thing you can do and it’s guaranteed to bring immediate results.

I’d love to hear what works for you so be sure to drop by the comments section and let us all know!


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