Skyrocket Your Conversions and Engagement With Trigger Words

Graphic that reads "passion, future, annoy, forbid"

Nothing demands more attention that emotionally-evoking words. No matter your industry, you can cherry-pick specific trigger words that evoke your readers’ emotions and, as a result, compel them to convert.

In the words of author Gary Halbert, “The written word is the strongest source of power in the universe.” And in the (hypothetical) words of every professional writer there ever was: not all words are created equal.

One of the most powerful marketing principles is also key to writing effective copy and crafting effective messages:

Logical arguments lead to a conclusion. Emotional arguments lead to action.

For that reason, ‘trigger words’ or ’emotionally-resonate’ language is a critical lever in conversion marketing. Conversion, after all, is when a visitor takes that one most meaningful action—whether it’s a purchase, an opt-in, or something else entirely.

As you might imagine, the success of your brand’s content is directly correlated to the words you use to demonstrate your value. And the words you choose determines if people will engage or convert. 

Read on as we’ll share insights into trigger words: what they are and how to use them to pack a bigger punch with your brand’s copywriting. 

Using emotional “trigger words” ties back to the principles of neuromarketing, which combines psychology and marketing.

It refers to using brain science to impact consumers through marketing and advertising. Using scientific principles about how the human brain thinks, decodes, and processes information, including what our conscious minds aren’t aware of. This provides insights into consumer decisions and actions that are invisible to traditional marketing.

Dive into the article or jump to the section that most stands out to you:

1. What are trigger words?
2. Why use emotional trigger words?
3. What words attract customers?
4. What are some powerful words to use?
5. Examples of positive trigger words to use
6. Examples of negative trigger words to use
7. Extra word! “You” wouldn’t have guessed it!
8. Infuse emotional trigger words and improve your bottom line

What are trigger words?

Heard of the phrase “pull the trigger”? A trigger word is a play on that phrase. It’s a word that inspires someone to act, make a decision, or buy your product or service.

A trigger word often describes something in such a way that encourages the consumer to buy it and it plays on emotion.

Why use emotional trigger words?

Logic and emotion come from two separate parts of the brain. In fact, emotions process sensory input into our subconscious mind, while human cognition brain takes time to understand more logical, black-and-white copy. Thus, emotional trigger words have a more profound impact on consumer action, create lasting impressions, and spurring repeat the same actions over time.  

It’s no secret that emotional marketing messages can subconsciously impact readers. You can persuade people to take action in several ways with trigger words. 

What words attract customers?

So, do you want to put more emotional copy to practice? Luckily, emotional trigger words can be grouped into positive, negative, and transactional words and are fairly easy to implement once you understand them and how they can be applied.

Negative emotional trigger words: These words provoke negative emotions like fear, sadness, or rage. They are memorable because they inflict very negative emotions. And in using them, you can offer a positive solution. 

Positive emotional trigger words: These words delight and uplift readers, making them feel good. They are memorable because it causes infectious cheer. You can associate positive trigger words with your brand and forge cheerful vibes.

Transactional trigger words: These words spark a reader to purchase something due to product, place, price, or promotion. 

What are some powerful words to use? 

Whether positive, negative, or transactional here are some powerful words to leverage in your copy.

Examples of positive trigger words to use: 


The word “yes” could be the most essential “positive” word. “It is a statement of possibility and personal investment,” says BlueLeadz. “In body copy, it can show readers you’re on their side by ‘agreeing’ with their thoughts. In headlines, it can even stand alone as an exclamation.” Synonyms that could be used are:

  • Accept
  • Affirm/Affirmative
  • Approve
  • Positive
  • True/Truth


Instill in your readers the desire to believe that things will be better in the future. In fact, it’s commonly used in political campaigns, for that very reason. Equally useful synonyms are: 

  • Aim
  • Aspiration
  • Bright
  • Foresight
  • Fortune
  • Destiny
  • Hope
  • Overcome
  • Promise


Consumers want to be the best versions of themselves. Thus, the word “imagine” allows them to paint a picture of a different future. This word and associated ones awaken readers with vivid thoughts of what could be.

  • Brainstorm
  • Conceptualize
  • Create 
  • Depict
  • Discover
  • Dream
  • Envision
  • Fabricate
  • Fantasy
  • Perceive


Many people are motivated by success and prestige. They want to be in the highest class possiblewhich means buying products and services associated with the cream of the crop. 

So, using words that indicate high-end can instantly hook readers and encourage them to buy a product or service that will help categorize themselves in this upper-echelon crowd. Similar words include: 

  • Best
  • Dignified 
  • Exclusive
  • Elite
  • Favorite
  • Greatest
  • Prime
  • Superior


“When your audience is passionate about what you have to say or sell, there’s no need to convince them of need, it’s all about want,” says Copyblogger. “Beyond attaining the objects of our desire, we love to experience excitement along the way.” So, enhance the “passion” in your copywriting with these additional words:

  • Adoration
  • Attachment
  • Bliss
  • Devotion
  • Jubilance
  • Sentiment
  • Spirit
  • Thrill 
  • Warmth


Without health, you have nothing. Using health-related words in your copy works in areas other than the health and fitness industry, too. An example: coaching and business-to-business relationships. When using health-related words, your reader can imagine a prosperous future for themselves and others. Here are some health-related words to try:

  • Boost
  • Cure
  • Fix
  • Energize
  • Well-being
  • Vigor

Examples of negative trigger words to use:


Even small annoyances prompt people to feel a certain way. Capitalizing on little (or big) annoyances in your copy can turn people’s heads and even make their blood boil. Use one of these synonyms: 

  • Agitate 
  • Bother
  • Disturb
  • Peeve
  • Trouble
  • Vex
  • Worry


Deception, or betrayal, continuously plague news headlines. People respond with great emotion when it comes to these negatively fueled words, and reasonably so. They create negative thoughts and prompt intrigue to figure out the root causes of the feeling. Use one of these varieties of deception: 

  • Betray
  • Cheat
  • Conspiracy
  • Deceive
  • Forsake
  • Mislead 
  • Swindle


When you think about emotion, one of the first types you could probably identify is anger, so using hatred or hostility is a powerful way to hook and sink readers into customers. (Tip: If using it in your copy, provide a solution to the negative reactions or pain points your readers have.)

  • Anger
  • Cruelty
  • Distain
  • Outrage
  • Rage


Humans want what they can’t have. The allure of a forbidden lover or a rare designer handbag sets our brains on fire with desire. Our brains evoke a response to terms associated with “forbidden” things. Use these associated words: 

  • Controversial
  • Closed-down
  • Exposed
  • Off-limits
  • Offensive
  • Taboo
  • Vetoed
  • Unauthorized


Everyone wants to be educated about the worst thing out there, right? Take online reviews, for example. We use them to find the best and worst products or services on the market. 

For instance, humans want to know the worst cases out there so they can avoid them or find a solution. Here are some examples of transactional words to use: 

  • Avoid 
  • Bad 
  • Inferior
  • Least
  • Lowest 
  • Unfavorable

Examples of transactional trigger words: 


Everyone likes a free thing, right? Whether it’s free advice, product, or service, using the word “free” in your copy will instantly perk people’s attention. Author Dan Ariely in Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions says, “The word ‘free’… gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is.” 

Using this word in your copy can broaden your brand’s appeal, too. Because most audiences love free things, you may get people clicking on your content that may not otherwise. Other words similar to “free” are: 

  • Complimentary
  • Costless
  • Freebie
  • Inexpensive
  • No-cost 


Humans are psychologically hardwired for novelty, reports The Telegraph. If our brains seek the adventure of a new thing, why not capitalize on these types of trigger words in your marketing copy? It gives people the urge to look and listen to whatever your business has to say. 

  • Brand new
  • Contemporary
  • Cutting-edge
  • Modern
  • Recent
  • Revolutionary
  • State-of-the-art


People love things that come effortlessly. Anything that is a challenge might not be worth it. In a world of instant gratification, the faster a brand can deliver a product, service, or idea. Indicating that your long-form content or lead magnets, can be downloaded instantly may urge people to take that extra step and click on the call-to-action. So, think about ways to create that “fast” appeal in your copy using these trigger words:

  • Direct
  • Fast
  • Instant
  • Pressing 
  • Present 


People attract to limited quantities or time-sensitive promotions. Urgency accelerates decisions and drives demand. Create a sense of urgency with timing words like:

  • Few 
  • Going
  • Low
  • Limited
  • No
  • Reduced
  • Urgent
  • Without
  • Soon

Extra word! “You” wouldn’t have guessed it!


While your English professor may disagree with you, the pronoun you should be used in all marketing copy is “you”. 

Point the finger at your readers, and make it personal. Personalized marketing is the way to market in this day in age, and simply focusing on using the right pronoun is a great start. 

In using “you”, you avoid referring to your readers as an ambiguous “they” audience, which allows you to speak directly to them.

Here’s an example:

  • DON’T: Here’s How Taxpayers Should Pay Their Taxes in 2020
  • DO: Here’s How You Should Submit Your 2020 Taxes 

Infuse emotional trigger words and improve your bottom line

Pair using emotional trigger words and writing unique copy, and you’ve got next-level content. Whether you’re writing copy for headlines, blogs, social media, landing pages, or websites, consider infusing some of these psychological trigger words and instantly see the attention to your brand, and conversions improve. 

Emotion impacts reader impressions, actions, and memories. So, nix that neutral tone in your brands copy and include emotional trigger words. For more tips on how to improve conversion rates, download our guide. 

Have you had luck using other trigger words? Add them in the comments below!