A while back I ran a test on the use of B2B “power words.” By power words, I mean the words that evoke emotion and interest, commonly used in direct-response copywriting.
My goal was to see if power words had a place in B2B, and if they were as effective in a B2B setting as they are in direct-response copy.
In a very short time, the results came in. I was surprised how quickly they showed a clear winner.
As time went by, the results remained consistent. My “clear winner” held its position all through the test.
I split-tested a basic headline against a headline with B2B power words. The test was conducted online, in three different arenas. The main content, a mini-article promoting the use of case studies, remained the same in all three groups, but the different headlines tested were:
- Case Studies… Why?
(The non-power word headline)Vs.
- How to Market with a “Cutting Edge”… Case Studies
(The B2B power words headline)
Now here is where the fun begins…
Within a few short hours of posting online, the B2B power words headline was already winning by 12.2%. In addition, I found that this amazing 12.2% win was coupled with a nice 6.03% outreach to my intended target audience.
As I continued to monitor my test I saw my numbers double, and then triple. The B2B power words headline was a clear winner.
I went back a month later and checked to see if anything had shifted… it had not. The results were crystal clear right out of the gate, and remained so, even a month later.
Even after my results had tripled, I continued to watch the numbers climb. And I was thrilled to see that 100% of my target audience had been reached within one of my test groups.
Power words are called “power words” for a good reason. The reason being they evoke interest, emotion, and power. By “power” we mean the ability to get others to react and take action. This is what A-list direct-response copywriter John Carlton calls:
“Knocking them off the fence, and making them pull out their wallets.”
Whether spoken or written, words are the way we communicate. They make us happy, sad, excited, interested, and angry. Words can even make us want and desire.The results of my test prove their effectiveness.
The power words headline remained strong from start to finish, which is a very telling fact. Even so, you should be cautious when using power words in B2B writing.
I believe that overkill is real, and the following example of hype-driven copy is a good example of what NOT to do when using B2B power words:
Internet Secrets That Will Make
You Millions to Trillions
Learn this top-secret method that is kept under
iron wraps, and for good reason. This sure-fire,
rocket-powered, steroid-amped, top-secret
bonanza is going to flip the switch for you.
And that means…
You are going to hold the hidden key, one that
unlocks steel-bolted doors, and enables you to
make more money than most banks can process.
Although the above example is extreme, learning and knowing core direct-response basics is an asset for any B2B writer. It’s clear the core basics of direct response can be useful in B2B copy too.
In life, there is a principle of “everything in moderation,” which directly applies to our topic at hand. Power words clearly have a place in B2B, as my test results made clear. But don’t overdo them. Going to extremes is likely to do more harm than good.
So use your power words wisely, know your direct-response basics, and you will have an additional tool in your writer’s bag of tricks.
B2B shouldn’t be boring and dry. While B2B commands a certain level of professionalism, B2B buyers are still people and using power words can boost your results. Balance your use of them with your understanding of B2B principles and core basics, and you’re certain to be successful.