Priming in Copywriting: The Psychology of Writing Good Copy

Priming in Copywriting: The Psychology of Writing Good Copy


I was in this shopping mall. And it was simply grand!

Lights sparkled everywhere, bouncing off the shiny floors and walls. Everything was so clean and perfect, it looked brand new.

And that warm, inviting scent… as if I’m smelling dozens of flowers at once.

And the music. Oh, how pleasing it was. Happy hormones started clouding my mind. I suddenly felt relaxed, joyous, and excited.

I wanted to spend more time. And maybe purchase something. Like the T-shirts I saw.

Yeah, T-shirts would be awesome because I… then the thought hit me:

I don’t need T-shirts.

Then why… oh… I realized what was happening to me.

The designs. The scent. The music. They weren’t there just for nothing. They had a purpose. So I went out of the shopping mall and researched about it. And here’s what I found:

The Priming Effect.

That’s what was happening in there. That’s what made me want to stay and buy T-shirts.

Let me explain:


What is the Priming Effect in Psychology

The priming effect simply says that what we see, hear, or smell can affect how we think, feel, and behave later on. And it happens automatically, without us realizing it.

In the case of shopping malls, they prime us for more buying with the help of:

  • Visuals: Malls are designed to be visually appealing. This creates a sense of luxury and grandeur that makes shoppers feel good about being there.
  • Music: Upbeat music can prime shoppers to feel happy and excited, making them more likely to browse and spend.
  • Scents: Certain scents, like vanilla or lavender, can prime shoppers to feel relaxed and comfortable, leading to longer browsing times.
  • Colors: Colors like red and yellow can prime shoppers to feel excited and impulsive, potentially leading to increased spending.

These pleasing multisensory experiences create a positive and memorable experience for customers. So that they stay longer and purchase more.

And this doesn’t only happen in shopping malls. It happens everywhere. All the time. For instance:

Seeing flowers makes you happy.

The sound of rain makes you sleepy.

The aroma of coffee makes you more alert.

These are not just my personal experiences. They are proven in studies.

Fascinating, right?

What’s more fascinating is you can use priming in copywriting to make your message more compelling.


Priming in Copywriting: How You Can Use Priming Effect to Write Better Copy

The priming effect makes your copywriting powerful. It lets you subtly influence readers by strategically using emotional words.

All you have to do is identify what you want your audience to feel when reading your copy? This could be anything from feeling inspired or safe or scared or angry.

Once you know this, find words that trigger those emotions. And introduce them early in your copy, even before mentioning your product. This primes the reader subconsciously.

For example:

If you’re writing a landing page for a life-coaching program, use words that make the reader feel motivated and hopeful.

If you’re writing a copy for a website that sells gym clothes, use words that make them feel strong, confident, and good about their workout.

If you’re writing a blog post for a travel agency, you can choose words that make them feel adventurous, excited, and bold.

If you’re writing a direct response email for a financial planning service, you can use words that create a sense of security and comfort.

It’s that simple.


But What are Those Emotional Words?

Here are some emotions and the words that can trigger them:

  • Happiness: Happy, joy, delighted, thrilled, overjoyed, blissful, cheerful, laughter, smiles
  • Excitement: Captivating, thrilling, adventurous, dazzling, intriguing, mesmerizing
  • Security: Safe, secure, protected, confident, trustworthy, reliable, peaceful
  • Fear: Dread, horror, panic, fright, terror, anxiety, banned, sabotage, threat
  • Anger: Furious, annoying, bitter, rage, irritating, grumpy, hate, tantrum
  • Surprise: Mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, terrific, breath-taking, remarkable, astonishing, Mesmerizing, spectacular
  • Disgust: Crap, junk, lousy, nasty, outrageous, repulsive, ridiculous, trash
  • Trust: Absolutely, facts, faith, fool-proof, guaranteed, proven, research-backed, reliable, scientific
  • Sadness: Heartbroken, resentful, tearful, troubled, shame, sobbing
  • Affection:  Love, friendly, crush, empathy, adorable, caring, devoted, loyal, faithful

Remember, while negative emotions can have a place, positive emotions tend to be more persuasive. That’s why copywriters rely more on positive priming in copywriting.


But Be Careful When You’re Priming in Copywriting

So priming in copywriting will make your message more irresistible. Actually, not just in copywriting, you can use it in content creation as well.

But keep your target audience in mind and use words that resonate with them and their specific desires.

You also have to keep your tone authentic and consistent with your brand voice.

And most important, use it subtly. Don’t just pack your copy with emotional words. Or it would sound manipulative, forced, and cliché. Which will most certainly backfire.

Finally, always be ethical and fair. As a copywriter, you have the power to influence people. Put it to some good cause.

That’s it. Make some impact now.

Hey, I’m Saurav, a freelance copywriter!

Saurav Mandal

I write research-based website copy for solopreneurs and D2C brands. This brings more website visitors and converts them into loyal customers.

I’ve been doing it for 2.5 years, so you can bet I know my stuff. If you also want to grow your brand, here’s how I can help you.

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