The Power of Words is Vastly Underestimated

The Power of Words is Vastly Underestimated

[This article appears courtesy of THE SUCCESS MARGIN, the Internet’s most valuable success and marketing e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit

I’m constantly hammering away on the importance of the words used in sales copy. Especially in headlines.

But, dear reader, the reality is few really “get it.”

Today my goal is to change all that for you.


By using several examples that I believe will drive home the importance of words even further for you. And hopefully inspire you as well.

I will share valuable lessons based on experience which also taught me so much about the power of words.

My goal is to help you become a far more successful marketer.

A few brief background experiences may be of help.

My first business beginning at age 21 was a roadside candy and ice cream parlor.

The first name I used was:

Peterson’s Home Made Ice Cream and Candy

Then I simply changed the name to:

Peterson’s House of Fudge

The result was an immediate sales increase by 10 times. That’s 1,000%!

My first promotions for my new confectionery business were not in print. They were on giant roadside signs at least 50 feet wide.

You know the kind -14 miles to Peterson’s House of Fudge. 10 miles… 7 miles … 1 mile…

I began experimenting by adding small additional signs with a few words of copy on the large billboards.

The number of customers who stopped and spent money in my shop was amazingly different depending on the copy used on each sign.

For example, when I added two words “Free Samples” on the sign 1 mile away. Result? Business doubled instantly!

I also had good success with added signs on each billboard with the following copy:

— See Candy Made

— Bring the Children

— Meet Miss Fountain Fresh in Person

— 77 Flavors of Fudge

— Try Delicious Mint Velvet

Words used in naming any business are also vitally important.

There is no question that creating your company name is a crucial marketing decision.

Here is an example.

I founded the very first direct to consumer incorporation company in the U.S. in 1972. Unlike competition, I dealt directly with entrepreneurs. Competitors at the time would only deal with lawyers.

I named the business:

The Company Corporation

Is that a good name?

Everyone who heard it seemed to remember it. And comment about it.

The Company Corporation soon became the largest incorporation company in the U.S. and the world.

When I sold it in 1991 I had over 125,000 clients.

After I sold, I acted as The Corporation Company’s marketing consultant for several years, until it was re-sold. Today the business has over 350,000 clients.

I’m always astonished by what seems to me the little attention most entrepreneurs give to the words in their company name.

I love to create great company names. It’s so incredibly important.

And it costs you no more to have an exciting and memorable name than a dull and boring one.

A brief story.

In early 1993 at one of my first seminars, one of my attendees, Lori Prokop, approached me.

Lori explained she was homeless and living in her car just 2 years earlier.

She and her husband owned a butcher shop in a small Minnesota town.

But they were about out of money. They were planning to pursue what they saw as their only option – to file bankruptcy.

She asked me if there was anything that could be done to save what seemed like a hopeless basket case.

My response was that I wasn’t sure what to suggest until I had more information. “Tell me more,” I said.

Lori went on to say that the butcher shop was on the outskirts of town. There was new road construction in front of their business.

So when you visited the shop, it was impossible to avoid getting muddy shoes.

I then asked Lori to tell me about her husband, the butcher. Lori described how the customers loved him and how he hugged each of them when they shopped.

Then an idea popped into my mind.

I then posed this question to Lori.

Do you know a good sign painter?

She said yes.

I then suggested the following plan (which would cost less than $250 total).

(1) Change the name to:

The Hugging Butcher

(2) Install a giant wooden sign on the front face of the store with the new name in giant letters.

(3) Create 5,000 flyers announcing the grand opening of the new butcher shop.

(4) Distribute the flyers on car windows in the nearby communities to the shop.

(5) Offer an amazing guarantee. Guarantee that every Hugging Butcher customer would get a warm hug from her husband!

(6) Continue to offer the best, quality meat in town. (Which was also the highest price.)

The local newspaper heard about the shop. They decided to do a story about the interesting “new” butcher shop. They ran the story.

Result of the publicity?

A huge turnaround for the butcher shop and remarkable success!

The very first weekend after the grand opening the shop was packed with customers.

A few years later the shop was sold at a big profit.

Today Lori and her husband are publishers of information and success products. They now live on a 20-acre estate.

What power do you think the new three-word name change, The Hugging Butcher, had? Can you see that it helped to reposition the entire business? And generate such a success?

Product names are also highly important.

A good name has an enormous impact on sales. Up or down.

Yet few entrepreneurs have really good names for their products.

After working hard on building the business and having good products, it’s astonishing to see boring product names used.

Yet success or failure does not depend on quality alone. It often rests on a “hot” product name.

It’s no wonder that even world-class, successful marketing companies such as Proctor and Gamble with amazingly dull product names succeed in just one out of five new product launches.

I love to shop in supermarkets. It’s always a kind of marketing lesson for me.

When I look at the names of most new products on the market, I can understand the high failure rate.

The next time you visit a supermarket I suggest you look more closely at the names used on products.

How many really great names can you find?

Perhaps books are the number one example of the importance of a good product name.

A book title is really a headline for a book.

Yet it’s well known that 95% of all new books published never sell out the first printing of usually around 5 to 10 thousand books.

Book titles are usually given to books by editors who, bless their souls, tend to know zilch about marketing.

Look at my book titles:

— “How to Form Your Own Corporation Without a Lawyer For Under $75”

I wrote 217 titles before choosing this, the longest one. This is the largest seller of any title in history on incorporation. Sales to date are over 2,000,000 copies!

— “Magic Words That Bring You Riches”

A perennial best seller.

— “How to Turn Words Into Money”

An “evergreen” book which will sell forever.

— “Billion Dollar Marketing Secrets”

My latest “baby.” When I state the name alone, most people want to buy it.

Because it’s so important, I invest lots of time to come up with my book titles.

Most writers will spend a year or two writing a book. And 20 minutes on the title.

This is dead wrong.

I write hundred of titles and choose one before I write a single word of copy for inside the book.

(In fact, I write the table of contents using magic words for the chapter titles before writing a word of the book itself.)

Of course, I emphasize the very same elements for copywriting and joint venture clients.

Bill Fischer, for example, came to me with two failed books.

He really needed help. I turned both into best sellers.

The first I renamed “How to Fight Cancer and Win.”

The second was originally called:

“The Mysterious Causes of Disease”

I changed it to:

“The Mysterious Causes and Cures of Disease”

Adding a single word to the title made all the difference between failure and success.

One fact is certain, consumers don’t care nearly as much about “causes” as they do “cures!”

I also created five free bonuses and created names for them. They were offered to the prospects as an added inducement to buy the book at once.

1. The Truth About a More Exciting Sex Life

2. How to Take Off the Pounds and the Years

3. Nutritional Secrets to More Youthful Skin

4. How to Improve Brain Capacity Naturally

5. How to Increase Your Energy and Enjoy Living Longer

These days free gifts are a must to help induce highly successful offers.

However, as with products you sell, the title of your free gifts are very important. And has everything to do with the success of your offer.

Tip: To be successful, any free gift you offer must be so appealing the prospect would gladly invest his/her money to buy it.

What about a weak or a poor free bonus? What will happen to sales?

A poor free bonus with a dull name will not boost sales. In fact, it will dramatically reduce sales!

One of the main secrets of creating a successful marketing program is this.

Really study the product wearing nothing but your marketer’s hat.

Your job. To identify as many benefits for the reader as possible.

For example, when I wrote the headline for Bill Fischer’s book eventually titled “How to Fight Cancer and Win,” I didn’t find the headline until I studied the whole book. I came across the winning “big idea” on page 117. Here is the final headline for the 16-page sales letter mailed in the millions.

“How to Prevent and Even Cure Cancer by Eating Two Natural Foods!”

I’ll bet you’d like to know what these foods are.

Am I right?

The mailing offline for this book averaged 500,000 to 750,000 pieces. They cost about $1.00 each to mail.

Bill Fischer is now retired due to this one sales letter. He loved the copy don’t you think? And my successful copy for the book is still being used today. Online and offline.

Final point. Testing of all elements of copy is necessary.

Possibly the very best thing about the Internet is how fast and inexpensive it is to test important elements of your copy.

This, of course, includes product names, company names, headlines, offers, the all-important body copy, and the P.S.

Good testimonials are also very important and should be tested as well.

When I began direct marketing offline in 1973 there was no Internet. Testing was much more expensive and time consuming. It could take 2-3 months to get a read on any test.

Now on the Web you can get an accurate “read” in just 24-48 hours!

There is every good reason to frequently test and re-test your copy elements online.

And remember.

A single magic word can be the difference between earning great wealth. Or being unsuccessful and flat broke!

One thought on “The Power of Words is Vastly Underestimated

  1. That’s a great post..
    I subscribed for the newsletter.. I think that nowadays testing is the central point of internet marketing, but we should never stop studying to get better creative resources.
    Thanks for sharing your own job experiences

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