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Marketing Research: Individual Words
By
James D. Brausch -- February 15, 2006
We all know that phrases like "Who else wants to know" in a headline can improve our sales. Have you ever thought about the individual words and their impact on your profitability?

I recently performed a statistical analysis on several thousand ads while looking at individual words and profitability.
 

James D. Brausc

The first task was to determine the profitability of each ad being analyzed. This was done using the age-old mail order marketing method. Basically, if you see an advertisement month after month and year after year, it is probably profitable. If you see an ad only once or twice and then it changes or disappears completely, the advertisement was probably not very profitable.

The next task was to simply look for the occurrence of a list of words in each ad while noting whether the ad was profitable or not. The results were tallied and lots of words were removed from the list because there simply wasn't sufficient data to come up with a statistically significant result.

I won't bore you with the rest of the details. Here is a list of some of the words found much more often in profitable ads than in ads that didn't produce a profit:

accessories, an, best, blue, buy, by, causes, cheap, discount, discover, easily, fast, find, guaranteed, has, improve, increase, lower, more, nationwide, near, need, of, on, one, order, payments, powered, pricing, rates, reduce, stop, superb, the, view, what, with

Here is a list of the words found much more often in ads that were NOT profitable:

affordable, after, and, as, at, before, better, help, here, how, else, excellent, experience, for, led, listings, loan, method, money, mortgage, naturally, now, options, photos, search, secret, secrets, sell, step, to, try, unlimited, us, who, you, your

Now keep in mind that correlation can not prove causality. This research isn't saying that all ads that use the word "excellent" are doomed to being unprofitable. However, it is saying that a statistically significant percentage of ads that use the word "cheap" are profitable and a majority of those that use the word "affordable" are not profitable.

If your ad copy currently uses the word "affordable" (a word from the "bad" list above) and you change that word to "cheap" (a word from the "good" list above), will your profitability increase? There are no guarantees. There are an unlimited number of factors that could impact that result. Not ALL ads that use the word "cheap" were profitable. Not ALL ads that use the word "affordable" were unprofitable. However, the use of the word "cheap" instead of "affordable" is more likely to improve your profitability.

You still need to split test to find out the answer in any particular situation. But, why not start out with the most likely words to be profitable in ad copy generally speaking?

Take a look at your current ad copy and see if you can find any of the words in the "bad" list that have good replacements in the "good" list. Run a split test and see if your profitability increases. What can it hurt to put some math on your side?

James D. Brausch
Copyright
2006
All Rights Reserved

About the Author

James D. Brausch is the owner and coach of QuitThatJob.com, a step-by-step coaching membership site to help you build your Internet business.

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