49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
Recently I bought this book and immediately made some textual changes to my company website based upon the contents of this and "Hot Button Marketing" by Barry Feig. The two mixed together have already begun to pay dividends in terms of conversions of visitors into prospects which will lead to customers and/or partners.
The lessons I learned as I read some of the material:
1) You may believe you're using the right words to sell (as I did prior to reading over the book), but there are always improvements that can be made.
2) Have fun--if your current campaign isn't working as well as you'd like, tweak the copy by using some of the suggestions in this book to see if a different word sprinkled in here and there improves things. It's interesting to see what a little change can do as enough of them can add up to one big success over time.
In a nutshell, this book is a great reference to have handy regardless of what you're selling.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 1998
The Internet has presented opportunities for many people to market their products, services, and other information. Because many desire to generate an income or provide essential services online, it is imperative that Web developers, online business owners, and others present themselves in the best possible light. Richard Bayan has produced Words That Sell to provide us with a treasury of gripping words we need to effectively promote ourselves in whatever marketing circumstances we find ourselves in. This book lists over 2,500 high-powered words, phrases, and slogans that will grab the attention of our audiences. After a brief primer on writing in which the author lays down basic writing principles, readers are free to comb through the book to find the words they need to make a big difference in the way they communicate with others. The range of categories includes topics relating to message crafting and the fulfillment of our basic felt needs, expectations, and sensory qualities. Categories include headers, slogans, salutations, appeals, challenges, clinchers, grabbers, invitations, persuasion, questions, services, statements, transitions, convenience, discounts, improvements, money-making, money-saving, peace of mind, pleasure, reliability, satisfaction, excitement, experience, and more. There are words in this book for every need! Although this book was written a number of years ago (1984), it is still available and is an essential tool for meeting a variety of marketing needs. It is extremely easy to put to use and will result in a dynamic improvement in the way we present ourselves to others. You have my new selection of words on it!
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This is one of my favorite references. Whenever I have to draft copy, I page through it for ideas. To sell your product (in my case books), you have to describe it in (glowing) terms that relate to the needs of the potential buyer.
Bayan describes Grabbers (heads, salutations, invitations, openings, transitions), Descriptions and Benefits, Clinchers (persuasion and decision), Terms & Offers (discounts, freebies, trials, guarantees), and Special Strategies (company image, justifying a high price, knocking the competition, using demographics, flattering the reader, and appealing for contributions). Each section has pages of suggested phrasing. The appendix contains puffspeak-and its alternatives, wordy expressions, commonly confused words and more. This is not a book you read; it is a quick reference.
Richard Bayan is a full-time copywriter who shares his collection of WORDS THAT SELL in these pages.
As the author of 113 books (including revisions and foreign-language editions) and over 500 magazine articles, I highly recommend this volume to book publishers. DanPoynter@ParaPublishing.com.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2003
When I was looking for a title for this review, the word that came to mind was 'Indispensable' but I felt it was too cliche to use for this purpose. So I opened up the index of this book, looked up 'indispensable', went to page 38 and looked down the list of expressions till I found the title I felt comfortable with!
That's how this book is meant to be used. If you are writing copy for any type of advertising or promotional purposes, you will find this 'Thesaurus' style book very handy. This isn't strictly a thesaurus since the words in each section aren't necessarily synonyms but more like related words. If you are new to the world of copy writing, 'copy' generally refers to any type of writing associated with sales material. For example, when you read an advertisement for a soft drink, the art of writing the ad is called 'copy writing'.
You can find other uses for the content in this book as I did above with the title for this review. But in general, most people use this book to come up with writing that is compelling enough for the reader to perform the intended action whatever that action happens to be.
The book is split into 6 sections - Grabbers, Descriptions and Benefits, Clinchers, Terms & Offers, Special Strategies, and an Appendix containing miscellaneous sections. There is a 2 page copywriting primer included that has 8 tips to learn before you start writing copy. The Appendix has several miscellaneous topics like 'Categories of Copy', 'Puffspeak - And Its Alternative', 'Wordy Expressions', 'Commonly Misspelled Words', 'Commonly Confused Words', 'Selling Yourself', 'Sample Order Forms', and 'Further Reading'.
The book is filled with pages and pages of words and in some cases expressions that are categorized into different headings under each chapter. The largest chapter is Part 2: Descriptions and Benefits, taking up more than half the book. You can go through the table of contents and find the section with the relevant words. You could also go through the index and find a word that seems to fit approximately and then go to that page to read through the related words and expressions till you find the perfect fit.
Recently, a follow on book by the same author 'More Words That Sell' has been released. The fundamental difference between the two books is that this book is intended to be used for general purpose copy writing like your basic services and the new book is intended to be used for more specific and detailed copy writing. That's the best way I can describe the differences and this is also corroborated by the author at the beginning of the second book.
Overall, I believe this is a valuable resource to have if you are even remotely involved in coming up with 'sales copy' for your company. The low price of the book is well worth the value you get by using this book. Before buying this and other books on copy writing, I used to do a decent job in coming up with the sales copy for my company's services. After reading this book and others like it, I have decided to completely revise the sales copy of my services! I do believe that good copy writing takes practice and these kinds of books are helpful guides in that process. I wish you the best of luck!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2013
The lovely thing about the world of advertising is that it never changes. This book was published when bulk mailing, catalogs, and buck slips were still the daily fare of copywriters. Ezines and magalogs were just hitting the scene. And yet, despite all the furor of the internet, advertising language remains the same.
Bayan's book is essentially a thesaurus of what are now called "buzz words." These are the terms and phrases that people respond to when they are being cajoled, persuaded, or enticed to buy something. As you leaf through these terms, you will discover that they are all intimately familiar to you. After all, we grew up in a society in which everyone's purpose in life is to take money from everyone else. Copywriters make it their business to employ these terms in order to separate you from your cash, with as little pain as possible. When a product is couched in terms that flatter the buyer, or make him or her anxious that without the product they will suffer horribly (remember gingivitis?), or that associate the product with fun, or with a better life, that promise luxury, beauty, or comfort, your average person cannot resist.
It's all very Freudian.
What I enjoyed most about this book were the appendices, particularly the one on "Puffspeak." Puffspeak, as defined by Bayan, is comprised of words and phrases that have "pummeled their way into our language over the objections of writers and other worthy citizens." (I confess to being one of them.) Aside from the noteworthy inclusion of "meta-anything," "mega-anything," and "nano-anything," Bayan lists some of my personal favorites: "impact" (used as a verb), "access" (used as a verb) and "rightsizing." Bayan considerately provides translations for those unfortunate souls who may not realize that these words, or their usages, are not English.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
"Words that Sell" has long been the most well-used reference on my bookshelf ... I use it more often than my thesaurus. It is particularly helpful for finding just the right adjective, which is key for any kind of promotional writing.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2006
What a help this was in writing direct marketing copy and in setting up a web site. Broken down into categories it enables you to find positive words and phrases to fit any situation.
Any copy writer, marketing manager who doesn't have this book by there side must have rocks in their head. It is a quick easy to follow guide that can safe you heaps of thinking time.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 1999
I have used this book in all its editions, since 1984. Aside from the very useful list of words, what I like best is that it often helps me get started in creating my own phrases. That is, the list becomes a jumping-off point for me, particularly when I'm stuck for an idea. I've used it for fundraising letters, direct mail campaigns, news releases, brochures, ads, and more. I have been recommending it for years, and still do.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2010
That's about the only way I can sum up how awesome and powerful this book is for writing web copy that sells. Richard Bayan successfully organizes over six thousand synonyms and useful phrases into one slim book, which has never left my desk since I bought it.
What I love about this book is that it's much more than just a thesaurus, it contains a variety of useful phrases that work beautifully with basic copywriting strategies. The fundamentals of writing sales copy is simple: Grab their attention, build desire, create a sense of urgency, and call them to action. This book is a perfect complement to copywriting guides because it offers countless suggestions on how to word each step of your sales writing.
Some of the more original inclusions in the book include the section on justifying a high product or service price, and how to flatter the reader. While some of the suggestions (benefits, call to action, elmininating risk) are quite common, you'll no doubt find phrases that make you say, "Why didn't I think of that before?" Buy the book today, and you'll also tell yourself, "I can't believe I've been missing out on this."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2001
Then this is your book. Any time I am stuck on trying to find the right word, this is the book I go to. Do not let the fact that is an older book deceive you, the english language has not changed too much since 1984 and all of the words inside will make your writing much, much better.
Marketing is the same, regardless of which industry you are in, so anyone involved in sales, marketing or even writing internal reports for an organization should own a copy of this book.
I bought the book because I needed to write a great deal of copywriting and wanted to do it myself. Surprisingly, I find I use it to write many of my sales letters as well. I highly recommend you pick up this invaluable resource.