Persuasive Language: Capture Their Attention Early

It’s as simple as this: Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.” In this fast-paced world, every second is precious when trying to convince and convert someone. We have to find a way to capture attention as quickly as possible.

People nowadays are a lot like goldfish. Our attention span has lowered significantly, even in the past few years. Since the digital revolution in 2010, we’ve gone from having about twelve seconds of attention down to eight. What does that mean for your business, when ads have a fraction of time to compel someone to take action?

A lot of websites and links fail the “thumb test.” What do I mean by this? Think about when you scroll through a site like Twitter or Facebook. What guides you? For most of us, it’s the thumb doing all the work, scrolling through as our eyes take in the content on the screen. If your thumb doesn’t pause the scroll, you’ll never read the ad or click the link. So, you have to be creative in your advertising. Remember: sometimes a scream is better.

With Millennials overtaking the existing workforce, the marketing has to change. The new generation of workers are taking leadership positions as they enter their prime working years, and most of them are digital natives. Not only does that make your competitor’s marketing more effective – it also means the market for new customers is going to expect better content out of advertisers. 

Assume you’ve got them onto your website – what now? Just because they make the jump from link to website, it doesn’t mean they’re sticking around. Your potential client or customer’s first impression of you is from what they see on Twitter or Facebook, for example. But the first date is when they come to your website. They’ve given you the benefit of their time, and you have to maximize it.

Typically, people will judge your website in the first 10 seconds. If they like it, great; if they don’t, they won’t stick around. But here’s the trick: If you keep them longer than 20 seconds, they’re more likely to stay for the long haul. Beyond half a minute, abandonment is basically flat. What can you do to make your website stand out and keep people from finding something they’d rather read?

Owen Fitzpatrick has pulled together a solid list of words that can help persuade. Remember: This section is all about the use of language. How can you use specific trigger words to help move people from maybe to yes.

Here are 33 words that persuade, starting with Attention Triggers:

Attention Triggers

  • New
  • Instantly
  • Free
  • Get
  • Surprising
  • Latest
  • Imagine

Relevancy Triggers

  • You
  • Their Name
  • Names
  • Why

Scarcity Triggers

  • Limited
  • Don’t Miss
  • Need / Must
  • Urgency / Now
  • Unique
  • Different

Credibility Triggers

  • Because
  • Proven / Proof
  • Evidence
  • Results
  • Tested
  • Popular
  • Recommended
  • Best
  • Same

Mindset Triggers

  • But
  • Try
  • Yet
  • Can
  • Easy
  • So
  • We

You can use these words, and others like them, to help keep readers engaged once they visit your site, or while reading your links on social media. You have to capture your audience’s attention early, or you won’t capture it all. 

Kirk Kovach

Kirk Kovach

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