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September 12, 2023
This week, we’re sharing a new article that unpacks the psychology of getting the “yes” by tweaking the words you use.

Unlock the Power of Money Words: How Founders Can Write Copy That Converts

You’ve been in boardrooms and on Zoom calls where your whole team pores over new homepage copy or onboarding email copy line by line, word by word. You rewrite it until it sounds just right. But what if just right is actually wrong? What if the words you use (accidentally) stir the wrong reactions in your users and prospects?

Joanna Wiebe is here to steer you in the right direction. And given that she's the creator of conversion copywriting and the founder of Copyhackers (which has taught thousands of founders and marketers to write copy that converts), you couldn't ask for a better guide.

Wiebe is currently deep in the weeds of writing a new book on a concept that she calls “Money Words,” and we’re fortunate to share a special preview of her work here today on The Review.

As she wrote in her newsletter recently, “it’s all about the words… that… make you… money. But it’s also about how easily we lose money — by which I also mean persuasive potency — when we are lazy in our word choice, accidentally use the wrong words or simply outsource our word choice (and in turn persuasion / ability to sell and make money) to generative AI."

Here's how she puts it in our article today: “The words we use — or don’t use — impact decisions and, in turn, money. Money words are the low-hanging fruit that will help you sharpen your copy and speak better to prospects.”

Take me to The Review

Wiebe has been spending her days looking for this low-hanging fruit, and delving into the science of word choice — from the Google ads that get higher click-through-rates, to research on how word choice impacted the Brexit vote and studies on how personalization impacts donations to hurricane relief funds. In condensing this research down into actionable tactics, she’s penned the perfect primer for both founders and seasoned marketers who are looking to make small tweaks that will yield big results.

Today on The Review, she shares two powerful money words to start testing in your website, ad and email copy (as well as one “lose-money word” to start avoiding). Along with research to prove the power of these words, she shares tons of examples to guide you and outline conditions to meet before plugging these phrases into your copy. Here's a taste:

  • “You” tells the prospect that the copy they’re reading is about them, without actually using their name. This is in keeping with classic copywriting advice from David Ogilvy: “Do not address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.” But the message itself should be positive. (So avoid, “You need to stop sweating so much.” Instead try, “You deserve to live sweat-free.”)
  • “Get” is good, almost without exception. You’ve never seen a “Buy two, don’t pay for one” sign in a window. However, if you’ve found that your prospects perceive your solution to be higher risk – for example, if you’ve created a new category or if there are high switching costs – then you may need to first decrease any sense of uncertainty before applying get-focused messaging.

Read the full story here for all of her advice.

Thanks, as always, for reading and sharing!

-The Review editors

Recommended resources:

- 5 principles to follow when implementing OKRs.

- 10 lessons Lenny Rachitsky learned from building his newsletter.

This essay on admitting what is obvious.

- This flowchart on the product discovery process.

Trending this week — Review Reads:

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How Talent Teams Can Better Weather Boom-and-Bust Cycles — Advice from Two Decades at Gem, Facebook, and Robinhood
Longtime talent leader Richard Cho breaks down his capacity planning framework that will help startups lay the groundwork for their talent strategy.
How This 5X Founder Creates an Internal Culture With a “Crazy Focus” on Storytelling
As David Cancel puts it, they are “obsessed with story internally” at Drift. From the inspiration they’ve taken from the screenplay writing world, to how storytelling training is part of their onboarding, we dig deep into how he created this culture as the CEO.
Good Leaders are Great Storytellers — Our 6 Tips for Telling Stories That Resonate
Storytelling isn’t just the domain of marketers or PR — the ability to tell stories supercharges every part of company-building and leadership. We sifted through wisdom from founders and experts to gather the Review's six best tactics on telling stories that inform, persuade and inspire. 

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