Every couple of years, we get sick of constantly reading the same words to describe our products. And that’s especially true in saturated markets like SaaS.
From “awesome” (overcompensating, much?) to “synergy” (soooo ‘90s), marketing lingo can quickly lose its shine. And when vocabs get repetitive, eyes glaze over…and no one is getting converted.
It’s easy to get in the habit of using zingy buzzwords and in-group lingo to get your point across. But when those phrases lose their flavor, all you’re left with is a pile of jargon that feels more than a little meaningless.
To cut through the clutter and nix the noise, you need language that works for you. Not against you.
That’s where action verbs come in. They’re vivid, precise, and evocative, breathing new life into your B2B writing.
Ready to detox your dictionary?
What we’ll cover
- What are action verbs? And how they give your marketing extra zing
- Before you use an action word… some guidelines
- 50 fresh action words to refresh your messaging
What are action verbs? And how they give your marketing extra zing
You can’t run a business without them. From newsletters to reports and yes, even those video scripts, language is the lifeblood of your brand.
Strong copywriting isn’t just fodder for the blog – it changes minds and influences purchasing decisions. The words you choose dictate your brand voice, humanizing your digital presence and building a brand people can trust.
So what sets action verbs apart? Why do they have that ~special something~ that other words just don’t?
Action verbs describe something you can do. Whether physical or mental, they tap into human emotion and give readers the sense that they need to take action. They can create a sense of urgency, a fear of missing out, and so much more – but at the end of the day, they motivate.
This reader-centered writing style is more persuasive and convincing. To understand why, let’s turn back the clock to your third-period English class!
Powerful action verbs are key components of active voice. In active voice sentences, the subject is the doer of the action. But in a passive voice sentence, the subject is the receiver of the action.
Take this sentence for example:
“She wrote the blog.”
Active voice (and an action verb) make this sentence sound confident, direct, and concise.
“The blog was written by her,” on the other hand, sounds convoluted, wordy, and just kinda…lame?
While passive voice isn’t technically wrong, it feels less confident. And in marketing land, you want to sound as certain as possible. That’s why active voice (and action verbs) are crucial to winning readers over.
Before you use an action word… some guidelines
Action verbs are attention-grabbing. They make statements concise and easier to understand.
But to get the most bang for your word-bank buck, you have to know when (and how) to use these terms. Here are three things to keep in mind when choosing action verbs:
1. Convey value
The right action verb inspires action. It persuades customers to buy, not just scroll. But only when the words convey the real value that only your business can provide.
Get inside your customer’s head, and think about how they might interact with your brand. Prompting them to “Hire a consultant today” probably won’t do much, but promising to “Transform your business fast” has head-turning potential.
When your customer can imagine what it would feel like to experience the ease and speed that only your help can provide, they’re much more likely to buy.
2. Don’t overcomplicate
Action verbs should make things feel easier – not more complicated.
While you should steer clear of overused language, don’t trade in easy-to-read words for obscure or unrelatable terminology. Keep things simple whenever possible.
Your audience doesn’t want to work hard to understand your message. And when you use clear and concise language, readers can connect with your brand and message effortlessly. Compelling ≠ difficult. And at the end of the day, the main goal is for your readers to relate to the action.
So keep it straightforward, and keep them hooked!
Ditch: Maximize your core competencies
Do: Make the most of your skill set
3. Draw out emotions
Effective copywriting subtly plays on the reader’s emotions to make a connection. Especially in the call to action.
When writing a CTA, don’t worry about what you’re prompting customers to do – think about how your language makes them feel. If you can elicit a stronger emotional response, your reader will be more likely to take action.
For example, Instead of saying “Sign up for the webinar now!” you could opt for more powerful language like, “Don’t miss out on on this exclusive webinar…” (Better yet, find a creative way to nix the word ‘webinar’ all together.)
For most of us, it’s easier to emotionally connect with the idea of ‘missing out’ versus ‘signing up’.
50 fresh action words to spruce up your messaging
Ready to spring clean your marketing vocabulary? It’s out with the old and in with the new as we cycle out stale, overused action words in favor of fresh alternatives.
Words that create urgency
People are more likely to interact with your content if they feel like opportunities are passing them by. Use these action verbs to add a sense of urgency to your content:
- Get it now!
- Don’t miss out!
- Get it before it’s gone!
- Don’t wait!
- Act fast!
- Save your spot!
- Get instant access!
Instead of falling back on overused adjectives like “quick” (too nondescript) or “easy” (kinda bland), describe how your product achieves these goals and what customers are missing out on if they don’t act now.
Words that inspire
Good content drives conversions, but it goes deeper than that. Truly great content prompts customers to aspire towards an easier, more seamless future using your products. Try out these action verbs to inspire readers:
- Break through
But for every attention-grabbing word, there’s an overused phrase that can make your writing sound dated. Avoid words like “disrupt” (too tech bro-y, even back in 2014), leverage (too mechanical), and “hack” (so 2010s) to keep your phrasing fresh.
Words that create exclusivity
Exclusivity is a powerful motivator. By using action words that generate that something-special feeling, you can create a strong desire in your customers to interact with your brand and join the club. Use these action verbs to add a sense of exclusivity to your content:
- Sign up
Steer clear of easy layups like “click here” (bland!), “submit” (lazy), and “buy now” (yawn). While they might technically inspire action, they lack creativity, and fresh marketing lingo needs that je ne sais quoi.
Words that create FOMO
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, isn’t just a friendship fear exacerbated by Instagram – it’s also a powerful marketing tool. Everybody wants to be included, and we all want to be in the know – including your potential customers. To inspire action, use these fear-of-losing verbs and phrases:
- Don’t miss out!
- Join the thousands who have already taken advantage of this offer!
- Register now for this one-time-only webinar!
- Don’t be the last to join!
We’re risk-averse creatures worried about missing the next great opportunity. Nobody wants to sit and wonder “what if,” so to create that threat of regret, pay close attention to the language you use. Stay away from words like “available” (where’s the sexy scarcity?) and “anytime” (too all-inclusive), and instead rely on action verbs that trigger FOMO with exclusivity.
Words that make us curious
Strong content not only converts; it also educates. And to grab customers’ attention, you need to pique their curiosity. Use these action verbs to make readers feel like they’re about to learn something brand new by engaging with your brand:
- Find out
Humans are naturally curious, and good content feeds our appetite for exploration. So when you’re writing interest-piquing content, avoid words like “possibly” (unsure), “probably” (unconfident), “maybe” (be decisive!), and “hope” (don’t dream it, do it). These words weaken your copy and dial back customer confidence.
Words that solve problems
Yes, brands offer benefits – but they also solve problems. And in the B2B sphere, easing customer pain points is the name of the game. That’s why using action verbs tinged with risk aversion can set the scene for your problem-solving products:
At the end of the day, customers care less about what you sell and more about how it can solve their problems. That’s why you need to carefully toe the line between solution-based language and wordy limitations. From “can’t” (too constraining) to “try” (why not succeed?), focus on action-oriented language that offers a clear solution to the problem, not a hazy cop-out.
Create content that’s inspired, not tired
Need help scaling back the jargon and leveling up your action verbs?
Get out of a marketing vocab rut with the help of our language nerds and comma enthusiasts. We’re a done-for-you copywriting agency that creates click-worthy content every time. If you’re ready to hit the ground running and fine-tune your B2B brand messaging, we’ve got your back.
Schedule a chat today!
Brittany is the Founder and Content Chief at Pointed Copywriting. She’s also an expat, entrepreneur, and ‘90s pop culture addict based in Nicosia, Cyprus. Brittany and the team at Pointed Copywriting are proud to serve quality copy and content strategy to groundbreaking SaaS, B2B and enterprise brands in over three countries and countless industry niches.