American Slang Part 1

If you're ever wondered whether you could or should use American slang in sales writing... The answer is yes! You can, and you definitely should do it! Because, if used properly, slang can increase your response! And response mean sales!

I collected some interesting facts about slang, and I'd like to share this information with you.

First of all, let me clarify that I'm talking about American slang. The reason I'm not talking about, say, British or Australian slang is because they are not as widespread as American slang, and are rarely used outside of their home country. American slang, on the other hand, is widespread throughput the world, and is understood and used in all English-speaking countries. Especially, with the influence American marketing and copywriting techniques have. Nonetheless, if your niche market is strictly, e. g. Australians, you can and should use Australian slang, to generate more trust from your prospects (I'll talk about it more below). Besides, the interesting facts that I collected here are true for any slang, not just American.

So what exactly slang is? There are many definitions available, but here's one I like most, it's from Chambers Encyclopedic English Dictionary. According to this dictionary slang is: "words and phrases used only very informally, not usually in writing or polite speech, and often only by members of a particular social group or profession."

One of important things about slang is to distinguish it from jargon. Slang is not the same as jargon, which is a technical vocabulary of a particular profession. As the definition of slang implies, it also can be used by people of a certain profession. But jargon is a technical vocabulary, i. e. technical terms, like the names of certain auto parts, or computer components, etc. And jargon is formal. Jargon includes words that can be used in, e. g. academical writing or polite speech. While slang is very informal, and is generally intended for use in informal conversations.

The key factor that makes slang very effective to use in sales writing, the reason why it increases response is that slang enforces a certain intimacy between its users, between you and your potential customers. Slang suggests that the person utilizing the words or phrases is familiar with the reader's group or subgroup -- it can be considered a distinguishing factor of in-group identity. Remember the saying: “Birds of a feather flock together”? Slang makes you look like if you were just about the same type of person as your prospect reading your copy. Let's say you sell fishing gear. You potential customers are fishermen. Who do you think a fisherman would like to talk to: some sales person describing the benefits of using his products, or another fisherman, just like himself, who shares some good experience? Of course, the latter!

And this, by the way, comes into conjunction with a very important aspect of good sales writing. A good copy should not look like a sales pitch. It should look like an article. An article that appears to be written by the same type of person as the reader.

There is a good hands-on dictionary of slang in Copy-In-A-Box. And, of course, with Copy-In-A-Box you can automatically insert any slang words and phrases from the dictionary. Here are several random examples from this dictionary:

Amigo – friend

Barking up the wrong tree – looking for something in the wrong place

Beemer – BMW car

Five o'clock shadow – unshaven

Gofer – assistant that runs errands


This is part 1 of the article about the use of American slang in sales writing. The part 2 is coming soon...

Home | Terms | Power Words 1 | Power Words 2 | Power Words 3 | Power Words 4 | Power Words 5
Power Words 6 | Slang Pt 1 | Slang Pt 2 | Power Words 9