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Words That Make Or Lose Money

Feb 1, 2009

During the recent holiday shopping season, I noticed many stores using terms that seemed to contradict their intended purpose (to generate sales). As I continued to encounter them, it reminded me of a book I read years ago that said words are grouped into two categories: those which lose money and those words which make money.

Since that time, I have carried a partial list of terms from each category, and review them whenever I write. Sales copy should be persuasive and enticing. It should speak to the visitor and encourage them that what you offer is exactly what they want. Anything less may end up jeopardizing a sale.

In reviewing ecommerce sites this holiday shopping season, I noticed a number of words that fall under the "lose money" list being used without regard. In some cases, it may seem unavoidable, I realize this. However, take careful note of the two lists in this article. They outline 14 words which lose money and 200 words that make money. Each list is an invaluable tool you can use to gauge how you have been speaking to your customers. With just a few adjustments in your wording, you can turn what might have been a lost sale into a closed sale.

14 Words That Lose Money

  1. Price. This may be one of those unavoidable terms, and, in fact, is one that seems to be expected on e-commerce sites. However, it might be worth testing different terms, or leaving this one out completely. Instead of saying "Price: $xxx," consider just listing the price as, "$xxx." Again, this depends on the site.
  2. Cost. Possibly another unavoidable term on an ecommerce site, but one that merits testing some substitutes.
  3. Sign. Do you ask your customers to "Sign in?" If so, you could be scaring them away before they ever complete a sale. If you must speak in these terms, consider phrases such as "Log in," "For your convenience, enter your details below," or, "For faster checkout, enter your information below."
  4. Buy. Do you have buttons on your site that say "Buy Now?" Consider altering them to something more friendly such as "Add to Cart," "Add to Bag," "Put in My Cart." I've even heard conversion tests show that a phrase such as "Proceed to checkout," works well.
  5. Expensive.
  6. Deal. Instead of saying "Weekly deals," or "monthly deals," etc., consider rephrasing to use the word "Sales," or, "Specials." The word "deals," could imply the products on the site might be of lesser quality. On the contrary, listing some products as deals could cause other consumers to think the rest of the products must be overpriced, ordinarily. The ultimate perception is in the eye of the consumer.
  7. Sold. Do you list products as "Sold Out?" If so, consider rewording to say, "Out of Stock," "Not Available," or removing the product from your catalog totally until it becomes available again.
  8. Charge. Does your site say things like "Charge information," "Charge card," "Charge your account," etc.? If so, think about rewording to something more user friendly such as "Billing Information," or, "Credit Card," etc.
  9. Try. When cross-selling products, do you say things like, "Try these other products you may like?" Adjust the copy to something like, "Other items of similar interest," or, "Other products you may also like," etc.
  10. Bad. Examples of usage you want to avoid are "Bad login," and "Bad credit card number." Reword to read, "Incorrect Login," or, "Invalid Credit Card Number."
  11. Lose. Under the right circumstances, saying, "You cannot lose," or, "You have nothing to lose," might mean you have already lost. You can turn this around by focusing instead on the benefits the product offers to the customer. Consider rephrasing to state a bullet list of customer benefits from the product instead.
  12. Complicated. Instead of describing a product as "not complicated," say it is, "easy to use."
  13. Risk.
  14. Obligation. Watch out for the double whammy, "Risk Free, No Obligation," statements.

The above is only a partial listing of words to look out for. They are the terms I most frequently see misused on e-commerce sites.

200 Words that Make Money

I placed in bold those words which you might want to consider using in various areas of your ecommerce store.

  1. Benefits
  2. Advantages
  3. Simple
  4. Proven
  5. Want
  6. Right
  7. Best
  8. Own
  9. Fun
  10. Deserver
  11. Unique
  12. Value
  13. Happy
  14. Invest
  15. Investment
  16. Powerful
  17. Easy
  18. Discovery
  19. Involved
  20. Profit
  21. Love
  22. Guarantee
  23. Vital
  24. Understand
  25. Understanding
  26. Good
  27. Health
  28. Natural
  29. Save
  30. Dynamic
  31. Results
  32. Trust
  33. Reasons
  34. FREE
  35. Now
  36. Gift
  37. Silver
  38. Diamond
  39. Platinum
  40. Deluxe
  41. Top
  42. Great
  43. Greatest
  44. Fantastic
  45. Awesome
  46. Only
  47. Effective
  48. Rush
  49. Genuine
  50. Luxury
  51. Breakthrough
  52. Treat
  53. Quality
  54. Service
  55. Integrity
  56. Training
  57. Trained
  58. Lifetime
  59. Experience
  60. Truth
  61. Superior
  62. Latest
  63. Organic
  64. Prize
  65. Win
  66. First
  67. Future
  68. Insight
  69. Team
  70. Heighten
  71. Aware
  72. Living
  73. Promise
  74. Ensure
  75. Insure
  76. Sure
  77. Assure
  78. Certain
  79. Promote
  80. Back-up
  81. Help
  82. Serving
  83. Easy
  84. Service
  85. Integrity
  86. Achieve
  87. Conquer
  88. Believe
  89. Belief
  90. Produce
  91. Response
  92. Results
  93. Play
  94. Leisure
  95. Beauty
  96. Beautiful
  97. Enjoy
  98. Elevate
  99. Resources
  100. Valid
  101. Validate
  102. Functional
  103. References
  104. Update
  105. Predict
  106. Relaxing
  107. Therapeutic
  108. Comforting
  109. Comfort
  110. Prestigious
  111. Young
  112. Youthful
  113. Wisdom
  114. Tradition
  115. Rewarding
  116. Fashionable
  117. Appealing
  118. Expert
  119. Leading
  120. Appreciate
  121. Restore
  122. Prosper
  123. Pleasurable
  124. Works
  125. Solve
  126. Answers
  127. Goals
  128. Performance
  129. Modern
  130. Friendly
  131. Positive
  132. Specialist
  133. Yes
  134. Quickly
  135. Protection
  136. Maximize
  137. Deliver
  138. Healing
  139. Whopping
  140. Reap
  141. Good
  142. Calming
  143. Recognized
  144. Immediately
  145. Bonus
  146. Tested
  147. Commitment
  148. Get
  149. Travel
  150. Worldwide
  151. National
  152. Nationwide
  153. Universal
  154. Report
  155. Secret
  156. How-to
  157. Fresh
  158. Delight
  159. Tasty
  160. Different
  161. Find
  162. Found
  163. Assist
  164. Ideas
  165. Extra
  166. Reduced
  167. Rich
  168. Original
  169. Quick
  170. Fast
  171. Tips
  172. Inside-information
  173. Nutritional
  174. Improved
  175. Cozy
  176. Professional
  177. Intelligent
  178. Clean
  179. Peaceful
  180. Cash-back
  181. Reliable
  182. Favorite
  183. Worth
  184. Exclusive
  185. Authorized
  186. Double
  187. Confidence
  188. Hurry
  189. Official
  190. Warranty
  191. Step-by-Step
  192. Information
  193. Rapid
  194. Essential
  195. Up-To-Date
  196. Consistent
  197. Sale
  198. Bargain
  199. You
  200. Dependable

The results you get from use of the various words will vary based on your target market, user demographic, product offering and other factors. The key is to test different combinations to determine which work best for your market. Use your imagination to find terms that more appropriately speak from the customer's perspective and fit your needs, but don't over do it, that can have an unpleasant effect.

Eric Leuenberger is an ecommerce conversion expert and author of a leading eCommerce Optimization blog ( He coaches etailers, wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers on how to increase their website sales through skillfully crafted online paid search advertising, targeted marketing strategies and website sales strategies. He can be contacted at 1-877-481-2323 or visit for more information.

Topic: Business Strategies

Related Articles: ecommerce 

Article ID: 926

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