When I moved to New York City, I’d get asked “So, what do you do?” roughly 5 million times a week. Since I’m a weirdo who loves to test everything, I’d try all kinds of different answers to see what would get the most positive response. I might say I was an author, writer, or even garbage man.

What was interesting was how job titles that sounded virtually the same — like writer or author — got a completely different response. I’d say writer and they’d say, “Oh I have a friend who’s a writer. He’s trying to publish his book on using cucumbers to generate sustainable energy for –” NO YOUR FRIEND IS NOT A WRITER, HE’S UNEMPLOYED.

But when I’d say author, they’d perk up, “Oh? What do you write about?”

You can get vastly different reactions from people when you say the same thing, just with different words. This gut-wrenching video proves the point beautifully:

That can be the difference between

  • a Facebook post people like vs. one they ignore
  • a resume that gets you a job vs. one that isn’t even read
  • someone buying from you instead of a competitor

Let me show you what I mean:

How the right words get you customers

At IWT we’re always testing to see what words resonate with our readers. One of the ways we do this is to write different subject lines for the same emails and see which get opened.

Even when we say the same thing, the responses change dramatically based on the words we used. Here are a few of the email subject headlines we’ve recently tested against each other. See if you can guess which ones performed best:


Subject Line A: Exactly what to do to start an online business
Subject Line B: Behind the scenes of my “online business playbook”

* * *


Subject Line A: $11,476 in one day — here’s how (Zero to Launch closes at midnight)
Subject Line B: Enough info. Time to decide. (Zero to Launch closes tonight)

* * *


Subject Line A: Ramit Learns to Dance
Subject Line B: Ramit Learns to Dance (IWT case study)

* * *

In every instance above, subject line A was opened by at least 3,000 more people than subject line B. We were able to engage far more readers simply by tweaking a few words.

The words you use matter. Use the right ones and more people will listen to what you have to say, buy the products or services you’re selling, and even refer their friends and family to you.

Now how do you find the exact words that your customers need to hear?

In today’s Call To Action Copywriting Bootcamp, you’ll learn exactly that. You can join for free here.

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