March 3, 2017

At my Master Mind group this week, Colleen reminded

me I had mentioned the 30 most important marketing

words at a recent business breakfast, and asked if I

could send her the list. “Sure,” I said, not knowing

where I may have hidden it. No matter, I’ll just send

her the blog I wrote about the top 10, I thought.

Much to my surprise, I never actually wrote a blog

post about such an item. Perhaps it’s because if you

ask 10 marketers to list their top 10 magic words

you’ll receive 10 different lists. Or perhaps it’s my

senility kicking in. Regardless, I’m here today to

rectify that oversight.

While every marketer’s list is different, some words

show up regularly because they are truly magic.

Should “Guarantee(d)” be on that list? A

VerticalResponse blog post lists it as No. 5: “Give

customers a guarantee to minimize risk

perception, so they feel they have everything to gain and nothing to lose.”

2014 blog post on the same site, however, lists it as No. 4—of the words you should avoid. “Nothing in life is guaranteed, [Eric] Fischgrund, [founder of marketing and public relations company FischTank] reminds us; so it’s best to stay away from this word. You can still back your product or service, just refrain from using the word ‘guaranteed.’” I agree with Fischgrund. Not on my list.

“Free” shows up on many lists too. My first reaction to “free” is it has the same feel as guaranteed. There is no such thing as a free lunch. It’s free—for the price of giving up your email address. But I use it for that purpose and it works, so it must be good.

Some words show up on virtually every good-word list. And if they don’t, you should avoid that list.

“You” or its derivative “your” is one of those words, and it’s No. 1 on my list. The reason is simple. In every workshop I present or blog I write about communicating with your audience, I urge my listeners and readers to think of their audience’s wants or needs. You must connect with them on their level, not yours. You want to talk directly to them. You want to bring them immediately into the conversation. “You” and “your” does that. “Our” and “we” work too under certain circumstances.

“New” also shows up on most lists, because many people like to be on the cutting edge of whatever is out there. What “you,” “new,” and “free” have in common is they are simple, one-syllable words. The fewer syllables the better in marketing copy. But “new” often feels stale to me and, in the right context, you may wish to use a synonym: state-of-the-art, advanced, cutting-edge, novel, original, fresh, newfangled, or futuristic, for example.

Can I tell you a secret about the word “secret?” “Secret” works too. Many people wish to know the secret of health, wealth, and happiness. Just make sure it’s new information or a new interpretation, otherwise you can be labeled a fraud.

Imagine if these words boosted your sales. Can you picture potential clients reading your copy and wanting what you have to offer? If you can, that’s why “imagine” also makes the list.

“Now” is another monosyllabic word on many lists. We live in a world of instant gratification, so let your customers know your offer is instantaneously available.

“Because” gives your customers and clients a reason to purchase your product: “Because your dog deserves to be happy.” “Because you deserve to feel healthy and be healthy.” “Because peace is an attainable goal.”

“Love” needs no explanation. At least, I hope it needs no explanation.

“Thank you” shows up on few lists, but it should be on everyone’s. Always be thankful to your clients who purchase from you. They have a choice and they chose you.

“Proven” is akin to guaranteed, but if it’s proven, you don’t need a guarantee. Back up your proven methods with testimonials.

So here, in list form, are Tom Pfeifer’s Top 10 secret list of proven free words that draw in your potential customers:

  • You
  • Free
  • New
  • Secret
  • Imagine
  • Now
  • Because
  • Love
  • Thank you
  • Proven

Thank you for reading.


Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications and author of Write It, Speak It: Writing a Speech They'll APPLAUD! Reach him at

Break down the walls between you and your audience. Write It, Speak It available in Kindle and paperback at

Imagine if You Had the Secret List of Proven Free Words that Sell