Feeling a little triggered? Well, you should be. These are emotional times, making us more susceptible marketing and media manipulation. Most of us aware that there are certain words that influence conversion, purchase and viral sharing of our content. But that is only scratching the surface. Beyond the familiar words such as “free,” “now,” and “ultimate” are well over 800 words that trigger our emotions. Here is a free list of 800 Trigger Words (also known as Power Words), the science behind them, and where to use them for the greatest impact.
Why Do We Fall for Trigger Words?
Even when we know media and marketers are using trigger words on us, we still can’t seem to resist at least clicking to read more. How is this possible? In an information-saturated world, we are constantly searching for useful content that addresses our immediate and specific need. Trigger words jump out at us off of the screen, billboard or page. They promise a solution which always has a feeling attached.
However, don’t be fooled. You can’t just grab a bunch of trigger words off the list I am providing, and expect it to get anyone to do anything you ask of them. We might fall for the trigger word-laden headline, but if the content behind it doesn’t deliver on the promise, we will quickly lose trust in the source of the content.
We’re conditioned to respond to certain words and phrases, but context is critical. The word “free” may be enough to get us to take a look at something, but if the rest of the information isn’t equally compelling, we will likely never open something from that source again.
Trigger words can get you into the conversation, but you need to use the correct words for the audience you’re trying to reach, and for the action you want them to take.
Choosing the right trigger words means knowing your audience, and what inspires them or scares them. What moves them to action? What are their pain points? What makes them feel safe or happy? What makes them laugh or cry? This is how you build trust and community with your audience.
If you don’t know them, and if they don’t trust you, no amount of trigger words are going to work.
Finding Your Perfect Trigger Words
Trigger words are generally grouped into 8 categories which follow psychologist, Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions, below. He stated that there are 8 basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. His Wheel illustrates these 8 basic emotions and the various ways they relate to one another, including which ones are opposites and which ones can easily turn into another one. His main premise was that the purpose of emotions is to focus our attention and motivate us to action.
When you know what emotion you want to evoke, as a result of the action you hope your audience will take, then you can reference the free 800 Trigger Words PDF, and select from the ones in that category. For real impact, you can combine emotions, and see how you want the audience to move from one emotion to another.
Where Should You Use Trigger Words? You can use trigger words throughout your communications, but again, integrity is Using trigger words just for the sake of using them, or overloading your content with them needlessly, will backfire fast. Use them wisely and with the intention of entering into a relationship with your audience that is mutually beneficial. The best places to integrate trigger words (and yes, you can use more than one in each location where warranted) are:
Headlines – for ads, websites and other marketing communications
Subheadings – a great way to add a layer of emotion
Product Names – this is true for lead magnets, book titles and many other products
Pop-ups – these omnipresent website ads are the perfect place to cinch the action of moving to the next step
Landing Pages – when your ad or lead magnet works, the landing page keeps the momentum going
Buttons – these digital “calls to action” can include “Now” “Free” and so much more
Email Subject Lines – this is a great way to get your communications read – every time
Your Business / Domain Name – not many organizations do this, but as fewer domain names are available, this is worth consideration – just keep it short. In a noisy world, instead of shouting, choose your words carefully – and use this Cheat Sheet to do so. They have real power to capture our attention and motivate us to action – just as Plutchik suggests.