If you aren’t using trigger words in your headlines, calls to action, and other marketing copy, you should start now. Trigger words can dramatically improve your conversion rates in your online business and boost sales.
This article defines trigger words, explains how they work, and provides you with 50 powerful words you can start using in your copy today.
What Is a Trigger Word?
A trigger word is any word that compels a person to act—whether that means purchasing a product, clicking a link, or sharing an email address. A trigger word isn’t exactly cash in hand, but it’s close. In a world where attention is scarce, trigger words can push you to the forefront.
Why Do Trigger Words Work?
Consider your typical prospect and what might be on their minds the moment they discover your online course, membership, or other digital product. They’re weighing multiple factors: Do I really need this? Is it worth the cost? Has it worked for others?
In the ideal scenario, you’re nudging them to buy with carefully crafted messages that connect on an emotional level. One word could spark curiosity and excitement. On the other hand, a word could remind people of a pain point they never want to experience again. You could use trigger words to evoke a sense of urgency, doubt, reassurance, and much more.
While emotional reactions can be extremely powerful, your prospects are also looking for specific direction on what to do next. The answer to “why” may have clicked in their mind. Now, they need to know “how.” Ultimately by “pulling the trigger,” your prospect decides to move forward.
24 Trigger Words and Phrases That’ll Increase Engagement In Your Strategy
To illustrate the power of each trigger word, below are headline examples focused on photography. Keep in mind, you can use these words to market any digital product.
Everybody loves getting free stuff. We’re willing to put forth a little effort if we don’t have to shell out cash. That’s why lead magnets work. Consumers can provide basic information, like names and email addresses, and get something valuable for free.
- Get 6 Free Tips to Improve Your Photography Overnight
- Check Out These Free Photoshop Actions for Better Photography Processing
- Free Textures to Enhance Your Favorite Photos
Pro tip: Be careful using the word “free” in your email subject lines and avoid using too many capital letters (no matter how excited you might be). Otherwise, your email could be flagged as spam.
As human beings, we’re programmed for novelty. We’re inherently programmed to seek out the latest and greatest products on the market. That’s why toy stores typically release new products just before Christmas. Try using the word “new” in your headlines and other marketing copy. Give people a reason to stop and pay attention.
- New Photography Tips and Tricks for Better Motion Shots
- Don’t Miss This New Online Course for Beginner Photographers
- Got a New Camera? Here’s How to Use It
Evidence-based trigger words can work extremely well when you want to establish credibility for your business. When used in a headline or sales copy, the word “proven” equates effective, legitimate, valid. Use it only when you can back up your claims. Ideally, you’ll want to provide evidence that you have collected independently.
- Try These 12 Proven Strategies to Improve Your Photography Overnight
- 15 Proven Methods for Landscape Photography Success
- How to Apply These Proven Post-Processing Strategies From Pro Photographers
Who doesn’t like a simple solution? Human beings are capable of hard work and sacrifice, but we prefer to take the easy route if at all possible. Adding the word “easy” to your sales copy can convince a prospect to jump over the fence and buy the product. They’re looking for a way to make their lives easier.
You can also use variations of the word. For instance “easiest” suggests that multiple easy options exist, but that you’re going to pinpoint the easiest among them. That’s powerful.
- 11 Easy Ways to Set Up a Home Photography Studio
- The Easiest Way to Improve Your Photography in Post
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Who doesn’t want to be in on a secret? Secrets imply success, exclusivity, and knowledge. Of course, your payoff has to answer to the promise. In other words, if you advertise a secret, you’d better deliver.
You can use the trigger word “secret” in blog headlines, sales copy for your online courses and other marketing copy.
- 11 Photography Pros Share Their Secrets to Success
- The Number One Portrait Photography Secret You Should Be Using
- The Secret Formula for Easy Photography Post-Processing
We live in a world that craves high value and abundance. Everyone wants more for their money, more time to spend with their loved ones, and more value from businesses. Adding the word “more” to your copy subtly communicates that you have the best option on the market. It suggests that consumers will get greater value for their buck or their time. That’s a good thing.
You can also use the trigger word “more” when you want to reference another piece of copy. For instance, you might write a blog post title “21 Photography Tips From Your Favorite Pros,” then follow it up a couple of weeks later with “11 More Photography Tips From Your Favorite Pros.” Don’t forget that you can use more than one trigger word in your marketing copy, too.
- 11 More Photography Tips From Your Favorite Pros
- How to Get More Light in Every Shot
- Enjoy More Praise From Photography Clients With These 11 Secrets
It’s arguably one of the simplest words in the human language. However, it can be a powerful trigger word when used strategically. Consider the difference between “the” versus “a.” With “the,” the tone is more definitive, even more authoritative, while “a” conveys a sense of randomness. Use “the” just before a descriptor, such as “best,” “cheapest,” “only,” or “greatest.”
- The Best Photography Gear You Can Own
- The Cheapest DIY Studio Photography Kit
- The Best Way to Light Your Indoor Shoots
Most of us like the word “yes.” It’s a positive word that primes your audience to say “yes” right back to you. Consider one of the most powerful political slogans in modern history, “Yes, we can.” When you start with an affirmative word, you’re building a relationship with feel-good emotions. Many CTAs start with the word “yes.” It assumes that the consumer wants whatever you’re selling or delivering.
- Wondering If You Can Make Money as a Photographer? Yes, You Can
- Yes, You Can Take This Online Course for Only $45 Per Month
- Yes, I Want to Get Free Coupons Via Email
Think about the mathematical equations from your high school algebra class. Each equation essentially boiled down to an “if” question: If you add X plus 50, you get Y. We think in patterns like these that often start with the word “if.” Think about the number of times you’ve daydreamed about a potential future. “If only I had $1 million, …”
You can use this tendency in your marketing copy. Start the equation with “If + a scenario,” then finish the equation with an outcome:
“If You Can Do This, You’ll Get That”
It completes an imaginary equation and implies that your consumers can achieve the desired outcome.
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Affirmative, positive words like “yes” are extremely powerful, but so are negative trigger words. Using a negative word helps set the stage for avoiding a miserable situation. Think about problems and pain points your potential customers face. What do they want to avoid in order to become successful at whatever they want to learn?
That’s how you use the trigger word “never.” Explain, for example, if consumers never do X, they’ll get Y. As you can see, this is another equation that can balance out when used effectively.
You can also use “never” as a bold statement that contradicts what your audience might believe to be true. Controversy can help generate traffic, clicks, and sales.
- Never Use On-Camera Flash for Indoor Photography
- If You Want Great Landscape Photos, Never Ignore the Rule of Thirds
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When you imagine a scenario, you most likely see images in your head. Perhaps you even feel the emotions of that hypothetical situation. When you use the word “imagine,” you encourage your prospects to daydream about their goals and desires. The possibilities suddenly seem more real after visualizing.
Use this trigger word to evoke desire. Paint a picture that illustrates how your digital product solves your prospect’s pain points.
- Imagine a Gallery Full of Your Photos
- Ready to Step Up Your Photography? Imagine the Possibilities with This Mini-Course
- Imagine Sharing Tips with Other Great Photographers
There’s a reason services like television streaming, one-day package delivery, and ride-share programs have become so successful. When we want something, we want it right away.
The word “instant” is about as fast as it gets. You’re offering something that can benefit your prospects not in several hours, not next week, and not tomorrow, but instantly.
This trigger word works great for lead magnets. You might offer an “instant download,” for example, which encourages consumers to sign up.
- $100 Value: Get the Instant Download Right Now
- 11 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Photography
- Get Instant Access to This Pivotal Online Course for Advanced Photographers
Showing a transformation of any kind—whether the change involved a person or an object—can prove the value of your expertise. When you use the word “convert,” your audience clearly sees before and after.
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Talking directly to your reader can have powerful results. The connection between your brand and the consumer becomes more powerful because of the familiar tone.
Instead of talking about “I” and “mine” or “his” and “theirs,” focus on “you” and “yours.” Pretend that you’re standing across from the reader and having a conversation.
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This is another trigger word that can create a positive equation in the reader’s mind. It also suggests a solution, which always appeals to consumers who are struggling with pain points.
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Just like “imagine,” “discover” inspires imagination. It suggests that something pivotal is just around the corner, which can capture your audience’s attention quickly. Use this trigger word to hint at a series of things to learn or to suggest a big secret that you might reveal if the user converts.
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- Don’t Miss This Opportunity to Discover the Photography Secrets of the Pros
- For a Limited Time: Discover How the Best Landscape Photographers Master the Shot
There’s a reason why all trigger words work. Many are fairly obvious, like “stop.” We’re conditioned to follow certain orders, and “stop” has the same effect of a red light at a traffic signal: your audience literally stops in their tracks. While you can’t force someone to buy your digital products, you can encourage them to pay attention. Use this trigger word to draw focus to whatever comes after it.
- Still Shooting Photographs on Auto? Stop. Here’s Why
- Stop. Don’t Miss the Chance to Get 40% Off My Latest Photography Course
- Heading Out on a Photo Shoot? Stop. Here’s What You Should Do First
Knowledge Commerce continues to grow partly because of our thirst for knowledge. We live in a DIY culture, and even those of us who eschew traditional education still love to learn.
The trigger word “how” tells your reader that you’re about to teach them something. Specifically, it suggests a tutorial or similar piece of content.
- Confused About How to Operate Your DSLR? Here’s How.
- How to Build an In-Home Photo Studio
- Learn How to Pan Your Shots
While this word might seem negative, it can nevertheless connect in an authentic voice to your audience. None of us wants to do something worse, right? We want to do better. And we want to know what we’re doing wrong.
You can use the word “worse” or “worst” to educate and inspire your audience. Tell them what they’re already doing incorrectly or what they should avoid doing wrong in the future.
- The Worst Thing You Can Do During a Photo Shoot
- What’s Worse Than Having the Wrong Camera? Having No Camera
- Why You’re Promoting Your Photo Business Wrong: The Worst Mistakes
Like “instant,” the word “now” commands immediacy. It lets your audience know that you’re sharing something of imminent importance. It’s a great way to inspire conversions on time-limited offers. If a consumer misses the opportunity, he or she will have to pay more (or endure another negative consequence) in the future.
- On Sale Now: My Most Popular Photography Course
- Take Better Photos Now: The Ultimate Guide
- Ready to Start a Photography Business Now? Here’s What You Need to Know
You can use the word “today” for time-sensitive material. It gives your readers a definite time period for taking advantage of an offer. It can also let your audience know how quickly they can solve a problem or reach a goal. It’s much more attractive to get results today than to see them in several days, weeks, or months.
- Today Only: 50% Off All My Photography Courses
- Improve Your Photography Today: My In-Depth Guide
- Expiring Today: My 3-Course Photography Bundle
Nobody likes to feel like a guinea pig in an unproven experiment. If they know that other people have purchased a product or done something before them, they’re more likely to hop on-board. They may even fear being the only one who hasn’t benefited yet. That’s why social proof is so powerful. Suggesting that everyone is doing something can result in more conversions and sales.
- Why Everyone Is Taking Photos With Their Cameras
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- Get the Deal Everyone Is Talking About
We all want something: money, influence, connection—you name it. “Want” conveys a sense of indulgence and desire, far different from “need,” which conveys desperation and necessity. You can capitalize on our human nature by using the word “want.” For instance, your customers might not realize that they want to know how to sleep more hours every night or learn to play the piano. Use the word “want” and let your audience make the connection.
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Who doesn’t like to win something? This trigger word is similar to “free” except that it implies scarcity. Everyone can get something if it’s offered for free to anyone who signs up or performs a specific action. To win, though, they have to be the chosen one or few. That’s a powerful way to get people to interact with your brand.
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Want more trigger words to experiment with? Here are 26.
Now that you have the most effective words in your toolbox, here are 26 more trigger words you may want to try, depending on your audience. Here, we’ve organized them in groups of sentiment, based on your audience’s emotions.
If you can imply scarcity or urgency in your sales copy, you’ll get far more conversions. It’s related to FOMO (fear of missing out). Nobody wants to miss out on a great opportunity. Let people know that if they don’t act now, they might miss out.
- Expiring Now
- Zero Hour
Hope for the future
When you help your audience imagine a brighter future for themselves or their loved ones, you can position your product as the vehicle to get there.
From frustration to clarity
When you address your audience’s pain points head on, you’re proving that you understand their perspective.
When you appeal to your audience’s core values, your message can motivate them to right a wrong.
When you position something as forbidden, it can arouse intrigue and curiosity. Depending on your audience, experimenting with these trigger words may help spice up your copy.
PS. I wanted to stuff the PS with at least 10 or even 20 trigger words but then reconsidered. I’m fighting the urge to sneak in at least one. See ya!