273 (MORE!) Phrases to Use In Your Emotional Advertising Copy

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While we like to think we make decisions based on rationale and logic, the truth is that they are largely, if not entirely, emotion-based. We are wired to respond to external stimuli with emotions first (the limbic system, in the center of the brain), followed only then by logic (the outer neocortex). So indeed, our brains operate from the inside out.

Please tell me you’ve seen this movie.

In fact, studies have found that people with damage to their limbic system are incapable of making decisionsSo what does this have to do with marketing? Well, consumers are faced with countless decisions every day. So by triggering particular emotions with your marketing copy (so long as they have a limbic system), you have the ability to influence their behavior. 

Not long ago, we presented you with 120 words and phrases to use for emotional marketing. It was a huge hit! That’s why we’re coming back with over 200 more words to use—this time broken into five categories:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Confidence
  3. Fear
  4. Anger
  5. Curiosity

We’ll cover the role each of these emotions plays in consumer behavior and buying habits, then shower you with all the words you can use to evoke them

Why use emotions in marketing?

So we know that emotions drive decisions, but let’s talk about the other reasons you should spend time on emotional marketing.

Humanize your business

Research shows that consumers perceive the same type of personality characteristics in brands as they do in people, and that attraction is emotion-based, not rational. So, just as an emotionless human is hard to connect with and oftentimes avoided…

words-marketing-emotion-daria

Image source

…so, too, is a brand that represents itself as a colorless array of products, features, and benefits. Emotional words and phrases transform your brand into a character with a particular tone, voice, and personality that consumers can be attracted to and connect with.

Build a community

Think of emotions as a way not to get in front of your audience, but behind them. By producing content that represents the emotions they want to avoid or achieve, you can demonstrate that you really get them. That you have their back.

And a person that feels validated and accepted is going to want to give others who are like-minded the opportunity to experience that too. And before you know it, your audience is building itself into a niche of individuals who share the same values.

Leave an imprint

With consumers being exposed to 6-10,000 ads a day, most content goes in one consumer’s ear (or eye) and out the other in a matter of seconds. However, studies show (and you have experienced this yourself) that emotional experiences are more likely to be retained in our memory than non-emotional experiences. The more that your content can produce an emotional experience for your viewers and readers, the higher the chances are that they will remember you later.

words for marketing with emotion profit gains

Image source

Convey more with less

There’s a time and a place for long-form content, but for a lot of marketing material (blog post titles, social media posts, email subject lines, short blurbs), you only have a certain number of characters to work with and make an impression. Emotional words hold power and can enable you to convey more with less. In other words, you can write less because you’re writing best.

Outlast products and promotions

Promotions come and go, product and service offerings evolve over time, and persona pain points and desires change. But emotions are here. Hardwired in. For infinity. Anger will always be anger, joy will always be joy, and fear will always be fear. So as long as humans have brains (with functioning limbic systems, of course), marketers can always count on them for effective campaigns, no matter what changes around them.

Why these particular emotions?

Emotions are powerful, motivating, colorful, and abundant.

Exhibit A:

marketing-with-emotion-emotion-wheel

We picked these five because they are effective in getting consumers to act, and in different ways. For example:

  • Loyalty: Helps prospects to trust you faster (i.e. providing their contact information) and existing customers to spend more over time. 
  • Confidence: Encourages consumers to purchase more in the beginning and turn to you for ongoing support.
  • Anger: Inspires immediate action and helps you to highlight your solution.
  • Fear: Strengthens your connection with your audience, increases their reliance on your business, and improves their memory of your brand.
  • Curiosity: Gets your audience to explore your brand and click through to your content.

Words and phrases that communicate loyalty

Is loyalty even an emotion? Actually, there are two types of loyalty: transactional loyalty and emotional loyalty. With transactional loyalty, customers stick with you for rational reasons: you’re the closest to them, you offer the lowest prices, or there simply aren’t any nearby alternatives.

With emotional loyalty, on the other hand, customers stick with you because they feel connected to you. And they are more likely to stick with you even if a competing business offers a lower price or better offer. Not only that, but customer loyalty reduces costs and drives revenue. Here’s the data to prove it:

  • Loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones.
  • 82% of companies agree that customer retention is cheaper than acquisition.
  • It costs up to 7x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one.

But while customer loyalty programs can bring major benefits to your business, they are quite transactional. Think about the words we often use to describe and promote the program:

Accrue
Appreciation
Bonus
Cash in
Collect and save
Earn
Rewards
Redeem
Perks
Points
Start saving

So let’s take a more emotional approach to loyalty. There are three aspects of messaging to cover here: The first is your loyalty to your mission. The second is loyalty to your customers. The third is your customers’ loyalty to you.

Communicate loyalty to your mission 

Loyalty to your mission starts with the leadership in your business, trickles down through its employees, and gets picked up on by customers. When you have cultivated this kind of loyalty, the words should come easy. But if they don’t, try some of these:

Along the way
Always

marketing-with-emotion-always-members

Cemented
Committed
Consistent

Cornerstone
Countless
Dedicated
Devoted
Embedded
Enduring
Entrenched

Evergreen
Everlasting
For over X years
Hallmark
Ingrained
Longevity
Maintain

Mission
Never
 

words and phrases for marketing with emotion never

No matter what
Our promise

Our standards
Over the years

words for marketing with emotion over the years

Pride ourselves on
Remain
Steadfast
Sustained
Tradition
Uncompromising
Unshakeable 

words-marketing-emotion-standards

Now let’s talk about the other two aspects of loyalty: how faithful you are to your current customers and vice versa. Did you know that 91% of customers from the ages of 18 to 34 trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations?

This, of course, highlights the importance of having reviews and testimonials. But it also means that prospects trust the personal opinions of strangers.

So if prospects pick up on the fact that current customers aren’t just happy with you, but keep returning, and that you aren’t just helpful to them but are committed to their ongoing success, will they not want to become a part of that?

Here are some words and phrases that can communicate the loyalty between you and your customers:

Bond
Community
Connected
Customer spotlight
Customer success
Evangelists
Family

Frequent flyers
Friends
Gratitude
Have stuck with us
Join X others
Like our own
Long-time
Members

Mutual
Neighbors
Regulars
Relationships
See why our customers keep returning
Throughout your/our journey
Together
Unwavering

words for marketing together

Words and phrases that foster confidence

Businesses exist to solve other people’s or business’s problems. And yet there exist countless other businesses that solve the same problems as you. So how can you stand out from your competitors? By fostering a sense of confidence—in your business and in your audience.

Confidence in your business

Like loyalty, confidence grows from the inside out. So first, make sure you build confidence within your organization—in your products, services, mission, and values. Hold regular meetings or dedicate chat channels to sharing milestones, acknowledging people who demonstrate your core values, and showing tangible ways you have benefited your customers.

When your employees believe in and are enthusiastic about your mission, they will naturally inspire others to believe in it too. An expression of confidence can really make the difference between customers feeling good about your business and feeling passionate about it.

Here are some words and phrases that will have your business radiating confidence:

Best-in-class

words for marketing with emotion best in class

Caliber
Capable
Count on
Data-backed

Definitive
Deliver | We deliver on our promise of ______.
Depend
[Eliminate problem] for good
Equipped
Every single time
Evidence-based
Experts
Focused

Fool-proof
Forefront

Founded on
Hands-down

Market leader
Most reliable
Only
Pioneers
Proven

Recommended
Rely | [X] small businesses rely on our solutions to [reach desired goal].
Rooted
See who we’ve helped so far
Specialty
Swear by | 
See why our clients swear by our [solution].
The [company name] difference/advantage
Thorough
Top tier
Top trusted
Tried and true
Trusted by over X [brands, businesses, designers, etc].

words-marketing-with-emotion-join

Vetted
Why choose us? [then answer that]
Why [your product/service] beats [a larger competitor’s]
World-class

Foster confidence in your customers

Conveying confidence in what your business does is only half of the equation. It is also an emotion your customers want to feel within themselves and their decision to use your business. So it’s up to you to reassure them that they’re not alone with the problem they wish to solve; and that they can and will identify and achieve the right solution with you.

Here are the words that will reassure and empower them:

Achieve
Available
Become the ____ you’ve always wanted to be.
Belong
Clarity
Compassionate
Doubt no longer
Eliminate the guesswork

words for marketing with emotion eliminate the guesswork

Every step
Fear not
From start to finish
Guide

words and phrases for marketing with emotion guidance

Got your back
Got you covered
In good hands

If you’re like most [members of niche]… (This is better than saying “It’s obvious that” or “Clearly”).
Informed decisions

Master
Meet you where you are

words for marketing with emotion meet you where you're at

Move the needle
No matter where you’re at
Own your ______
Pull the trigger
Rest assured

words for marketing with emotion rest assured

Results you want
Say goodbye to
Secure

marketing-with-emotion-compassionate

Sound decisions
Surefooted

Tackle
Take charge of
Take control

words for marketing with emotion take control

The support you need
Tips we swear by

words for marketing with emotion swear

Together we can [accomplish client’s vision]
Under our wing
Uncover the [ability/desired entity] you didn’t know you had
Walk you through
We’ll find a way
You hold the power
You’re not alone

As they say, confidence is attractive. Celebrate your wins and show off what you’re proud of, but don’t forget words of affirmation for your customers.

Words and phrases that elicit fear

It can be easy to think that loyalty, confidence, joy, and other positive emotions are the only ones to appeal to with your marketing copy. But as mentioned above, businesses exist to solve a problem. And consumers want their problem solved in order to escape from the negative emotions it causes—stress, anxiety, overwhelm, exasperation, fear, and anger. Those last two are what we’ll focus on next.

Fear can be a powerful motivator for taking action. Consumers can be fearful of missing out, losing something, falling short, and the list goes on.

Did someone say FOMO?

Yes. And it’s a big one. According to one study:

  • 60% of millennial consumers said they make a reactive purchase after experiencing FOMO, most often within 24 hours.
  • 40% of millennials overspend or go into debt to keep up with their friends.

You’re not looking to put your customers into debt, of course. But we can see that fear influences purchasing decisions, and not just for millennials. 

So how do you use it in your marketing? Your goal with eliciting fear isn’t to completely scare your target customers, but rather to spur them to action that will be to their benefit.

Here are some words and phrases that can trigger [healthy levels of] fear:

Alone
Are you ready/prepared/equipped?

Avoid
Befall
Before it’s too late
Beware
Caution
Cost you
Danger

words-marketing-emotion-danger

Decline
Drop
Fail
Fall victim too
Fooled
Helpless
Hurting

words-marketing-with-emotion-helpless

Jeopardize
Killing
This one is a bit harsh, but hear me out:

words-marketing-emotion-kill

Lose
Loss
Miss
Mistake
Neglect
Never
Not enough

words-marketing-emotion-enough

Pitfalls
Plummet
Prevent [bad outcome]
Preventing | Could your habits be preventing you from achieving [desired outcome]?
Protect your
Powerless

words and phrases for marketing with emotion powerless

[Don’t] realize
Really  | But are you really moving the needle?
Regret
Rejection
Risk
Sabotage
Scary
Should  | 
X scary stats every [target customer persona] should be aware of.
Suffer

words-marketing-with-emotion-suffer

Steal
Threat
Too late
Tragic
Trapped
Vulnerable
Waste |
Are you wasting your time on strategies that don’t work?

Worry
What NOT to do
Why you need to [stop/get rid of] right now 
Will you survive

Remember, triggering a sense of fear in your readers will only be effective if you insert your brand as the solution. Acknowledging a problem is not the same as fixing it.

Also keep in mind that you’re not trying to make your readers feel bad or guilty, but rather that there’s opportunity for improvement. By showing your brand as their safety net, you can strengthen their reliance on you. 

Words and phrases that stir up anger

While fear focuses on anxiety over something that has not yet happened, anger tends to be the feeling about something undesirable that is already happening. And it gets people to take action.

A 2009 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that content that evoked anger was 38% more likely to be shared, compared to that which was awe-inspiring (34%) or anxiety-inducing (24%).

marketing-with-emotion-anger-shares

Anger also plays a role in one of the tried-and-true copywriting formulas called problem-agitate-solution. With this strategy, you vividly and thoroughly describe the key problems your prospects face, describe it some more to the point of agitation, and then present your offer as a solution.

Here are some words you can use to stir up that agitation:

Atrocious
Burned

Can’t seem to
Driving you mad
Disappoint
Deal with
Endless

Envy
Fed up with

words-marketing-emotion-so-are-we

Fleeced
Frustrated

Greedy
Had enough of
Had it with
Hassle

Hidden
Irritated by
Jealous
Maddening
Ruthless

words and phrases for marketing with emotion roto rooter

I threw this one in just because.

Never-ending
Reached your limit
Relentless

Misleading
Infuriating
Pointless
Reclaim
Sick and tired
Sick of
Swindled
Trigger
Unacceptable

Victim Even with consumer protection laws, many still fall victim to false advertising practices.
Violate

You’re not trying to put out provocative content that incites anger, although big brands can afford to (and do) take that risk. Rather, you’re trying to recreate the experience they don’t want so they can immediately associate your business with it as the hero.

Plus, the better you can articulate how they feel, the more they will trust that you have what they’re looking for. Even phrases like “If you’re as irritated as we are about [pain point]…” can solidify that you are in their corner. Notice how in the example above, they say “So are we.”

Words and phrases that trigger curiosity

While we may have an affinity for what’s familiar to us, we actually have a strong attraction to unpredictability when it comes to rewards. In fact, our brains actually light up like a Christmas tree on an MRI in response to unpredictability. Why do you think casinos are so addicting? Because sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t, and it’s this variability that entices you to keep pursuing the outcome. 

When it comes to copywriting, there’s a time and a place for curiosity. For landing pages, ads, and free trials, for example, the consumer is not looking to use their imagination to predict the outcome—they want to know exactly what to expect when they click. But for blog posts and email subject lines, curiosity can drive clicks.

Here are some words and phrases to pique the curiosity of your blog readers and email subscribers.
 

Bonus
Brilliant
Change your mind

words for marketing with emotion change your mind

Choose your own adventure
Confessions of a
Confidential
Different
Discover
Dramatic
Eye-opening
Fascinating
Favorite
Find out/Find out why
Game-changing
Hidden/hidden gems

words and phrases for marketing with emotion hidden gems

It’s not what you think
Jaw-dropping
Lesser-known
Little-known
Life-changing
Mind-blowing
Mind-bending
Must-know
Must-read
Myths
New
No one talks about
Odd
Overlooked
Remarkable
Rethink
Revealed
Revolutionary
Secret
Secret weapon
Shocking
Spoiler
Strange
Teaser
That you didn’t know you needed
That you’ve been waiting for
The last one is our favorite
Things nobody tells you
Truth
Unconventional
Unusual
Wait and see
Weird
What we found
What do you have to lose?
You’ll wish you knew/created/learned sooner

words-marketing-emotion-sooner

…and if you’re feeling curious on the above, here are the hacks.

You will never guess
You won’t believe

Use these words to inject emotion into your marketing copy

Evoking emotion comes easy with images, video, or through real-world interactions with your customers (hopefully not anger or fear in this case). It’s far more difficult when writing text. But you now have over 200 words you can use to write more powerful copy than your competitors and influence the behaviors of your audience.

Just make sure that you have your buyer personas nailed down—their pain points, desires, fears, and needs—and that you employ these emotions in conjunction with one another. Follow fear with confidence, anger with loyalty, and so on.

And don’t limit yourself to these five! The emotions that will be the most powerful in your marketing will vary depending on your industry and offers, and the traits of your target customers.

Here’s the full list without the images:

 

Loyalty

To your mission:

Along the way
Always
Cemented
Committed
Consistent

Cornerstone
Countless
Dedicated
Devoted
Embedded
Enduring
Entrenched

Evergreen
Everlasting
For over X years
Hallmark
Ingrained
Longevity
Maintain

Mission
Never
No matter what
Our promise

Our standards
Over the years

Pride ourselves on
Remain
Steadfast
Sustained
Tradition
Uncompromising
Unshakeable 

Between you and your customers
Bond
Community
Connected
Customer spotlight
Customer success
Evangelists
Family

Frequent flyers
Friends
Gratitude
Have stuck with us
Join X others
Like our own
Long-time
Members

Mutual
Neighbors
Regulars
Relationships
See why our customers keep returning
Throughout your/our journey
Together
Unwavering

Confidence

Confidence in your business

Best-in-class
Caliber
Capable
Count on
Data-backed

Definitive
Deliver | We deliver on our promise of ______.
Depend
[Eliminate problem] for good
Equipped
Every single time
Evidence-based
Experts
Focused

Fool-proof
Forefront

Founded on
Hands-down

Market leader
Most reliable
Only
Pioneers
Proven

Recommended
Rely | [X] small businesses rely on our solutions to [reach desired goal].
Rooted
See who we’ve helped so far
Specialty
Swear by | 
See why our clients swear by our [solution].
The [company name] difference/advantage
Thorough
Top tier
Top trusted
Tried and true
Trusted by over X [brands, businesses, designers, etc].
Vetted
Why choose us? [then answer that]
Why [your product/service] beats [a larger competitor’s]
World-class

Confidence in your customers

Achieve
Available
Become the ____ you’ve always wanted to be.
Belong
Clarity
Compassionate
Doubt no longer
Eliminate the guesswork

Every step
Fear not
From start to finish
Guide
Got your back
Got you covered
In good hands

If you’re like most [members of niche]… (This is better than saying “It’s obvious that” or “Clearly”).
Informed decisions

Master
Meet you where you are
Move the needle
No matter where you’re at
Own your ______
Pull the trigger
Rest assured
Results you want
Say goodbye to
Secure
Sound decisions
Surefooted

Tackle
Take charge of
Take control
The support you need
Tips we swear by
Together we can [accomplish client’s vision]
Under our wing
Uncover the [ability/desired entity] you didn’t know you had
Walk you through
We’ll find a way
You hold the power
You’re not alone

Fear

Alone
Are you ready/prepared/equipped?

Avoid
Befall
Before it’s too late
Beware
Caution
Cost you
Danger
Decline
Drop
Fail
Fall victim too
Fooled
Helpless
Hurting
Jeopardize
Killing
Lose
Loss
Miss
Mistake
Neglect
Never
Not enough
Pitfalls
Plummet
Prevent [bad outcome]
Preventing | Could your habits be preventing you from achieving [desired outcome]?
Protect your
Powerless
[Don’t] realize
Really  | But are you really moving the needle?
Regret
Rejection
Risk
Sabotage
Scary
Should  | 
X scary stats every [target customer persona] should be aware of.
Suffer
Steal
Threat
Too late
Tragic
Trapped
Vulnerable
Waste |
Are you wasting your time on strategies that don’t work?

Worry
What NOT to do
Why you need to [stop/get rid of] right now 
Will you survive

Anger

Atrocious
Burned

Can’t seem to
Driving you mad
Disappoint
Deal with
Endless

Envy
Fed up with

Fleeced
Frustrated

Greedy
Had enough of
Had it with
Hassle

Hidden
Irritated by
Jealous
Maddening
Ruthless
Never-ending
Reached your limit
Relentless

Misleading
Infuriating
Pointless
Reclaim
Sick and tired
Sick of
Swindled
Trigger
Unacceptable

Victim Even with consumer protection laws, many still fall victim to false advertising practices.
Violate

Curiosity

Bonus
Brilliant
Change your mind
Choose your own adventure
Confessions of a
Confidential
Different
Discover
Dramatic
Eye-opening
Fascinating
Favorite
Find out/Find out why
Game-changing
Hidden/hidden gems
It’s not what you think
Jaw-dropping
Lesser-known
Little-known
Life-changing
Mind-blowing
Mind-bending
Must-know
Must-read
Myths
New
No one talks about
Odd
Overlooked
Remarkable
Rethink
Revealed
Revolutionary
Secret
Secret weapon
Shocking
Spoiler
Strange
Teaser
That you didn’t know you needed
That you’ve been waiting for
The last one is our favorite
Things nobody tells you
Truth
Unconventional
Unusual
Wait and see
Weird
What we found
What do you have to lose?
You’ll wish you knew/created/learned sooner
You will never guess
You won’t believe

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