The Blacklist – Words To Avoid In Your Email Marketing

What words must you avoid on your email copy?

Email marketing is about getting people from their email inbox to your business’ website. There are several methods to do this, but in essence, you have to rely on the written word to convince people to take action.

Therefore, you have to know which are the best words to use in your marketing. There are lots of words that are associated with good performance, but there are many more that are also blacklisted. These words can be unconvincing to customers and can therefore lead to mistrust between the two of you. Or worse, they can get you caught in spam filters and no-one will see your content.

So, what words do you want to avoid? Here is the blacklist of words you shouldn’t use in email marketing campaigns.

Act now – while act now is often considered good for website call-to-actions, this word is often picked up on by spam filters.

RE: – unless the email is actually a reply, don’t use this in your email marketing. Email servers are good at spotting which are true replies. Plus, readers will be annoyed when they realise they haven’t started a conversation with you. You need to build trust with your audience.

Additional income/your own boss/make money/earn – anything that seems like you’re going to offer someone a way to earn money automatically sends out a spam message. Generally, email users don’t like this and spam filters are more likely to relegate your message to the spam folder.

Free – nothing is ever for free. You always have to give something, even if it is information. So, don’t use the term, you’ll only upset your audience.

Hello/Friend/Family – making it seem like you already have a relationship with the audience that is more than B2C or B2B is not going to help. People are wary of who they share their contact information with and these words are often targeted by spam filters.

Winner/win/congratulations – there have been so many fraud schemes that use these terms that email filters now remove messages with these terms in. If you have a competition and want to announce the winners or contact people who have won, use Facebook, Twitter or another social media program. Or get the contact details of the entries and phone them.

Guarantee/promise/trust – While these words are designed to give people confidence in your credentials, they often don’t. People should be able to trust you without you asking them to. Therefore, don’t use these words in your copy.

Another Few Email Marketing Copy Pointers

It isn’t just the words above you shouldn’t use. Here are some of the other tips you should be following to get past spam folders and to get people to read your content.

Don’t Make Spelling Mistakes

People associate spelling mistakes with poor education, poor service and fraud. Therefore, bad spelling mistakes are going to detract from your message. Always get a professional to proofread your content or use a grammar program to help you get it right.

Increase The Number Of Words In Your Subject Lines

Those with just one word tend to get pushed to spam folders. Always have between four and eight words in your subject lines. This will help you get more of your messages read.

Don’t Use All Caps

Only the first letter of any word should be in capitals in a subject line and the first letter in the sentence within the copy of the email should be capitalised (unless it’s a noun). Anything else and it will seem as if you’re shouting at your audience. This is very aggressive and people will immediately disregard your email.

Don’t Use Exclamation Points In Your Subject Line

Another point is to avoid using exclamation points in subject lines. It can look aggressive and unprofessional.


You want to avoid using the wrong words in your email marketing, such as the examples we have given you above. Otherwise, your emails could end up in your subscribers’ spam boxes and you will have wasted your efforts and lost out on potential revenue.

What words do you avoid in your email copy? Have you tried split testing your content to see if these words affect open/click through rates?

Let us know in the comments below.

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How To Write Marketing Emails That Convert

writing email copy that will convert

How do you write email marketing copy that will convert?

Email marketing provides the best return on any digital marketing, but it is only effective if you produce content your audience wants to interact with. Everything from the tone, to the language and specific words used, can make a significant difference to your results.

Isn’t Email Design Important?

While the look of an email is important it will only offer you so much reward. Email subscribers are more interested in the content of the email, where the value of your message is. Each member of your marketing list will have questions when they receive your email, such as:

  • Who is sending this email?
  • What do they want me to do?
  • How will taking action benefit me?

The answers to these questions should form part of your email copy. If your audience can’t find the answers, they won’t take action. When statistics show that click-through rates can be as low as 1.3% to 5.41% – any small action that helps you get interaction is necessary.

How To Write Better Marketing Emails

If you want to be successful in business, being able to convert prospects is important. So learning how to write great marketing emails is a must. Here are some tips to help you:

1. Write Emails For Email Segments

If you haven’t segmented your email list yet, then you need to start today. A segmented list allows you to identify trends among groups of similar individuals on your marketing list, and then send them offers they are likely to be interested in. For example, a business offering software to students could split their email list into segments for different courses, software needs or the university they attend.

Once you’ve segmented your list, you can write your emails targeted to that specific group, and when they read content that is relevant to them, they’ll be more likely to follow up on requested actions.

2. Remove Unnecessary Words

There are certain words, known as ‘stop words’, which can be removed from your writing most of the time. One such example is ‘that’. A stop word slows down the reading and disrupts the flow of a message, so the message becomes less powerful.

When deciding to remove certain words or not, read the sentence out loud, with and without the word. Here is an example:

“There are a lot of words that you can remove from your email copy.”

“There are a lot of words you can remove from your email copy.”

3. Personalisation

At least 70% of business emails sent do not include any personalised information. How can you expect to build trust with an audience without being on first name basis? At the very least you should include the first names of both you and the recipient in the body of the email.

In addition, you can include their business name, actions they’ve taken on your website or orders they’ve recently made. The more personal you get, the more interest you’ll gain.

4. Be Personal

Don’t write in a neutral tone. Instead use the second person perspective in your emails by including “you”, “your”, “our” and “us” in the copy. It creates a more inviting and personal touch to your emails that will make people think there is a person writing the messages and not just an automated system.

5. Speak Plainly

Corporate talk is not going to sell you anything. Plain speaking is going to get you much further with your audience. It also proves that you know what you are talking about, that you understand the subject more than your competitors who only speak industry lingo – which can lead to mistrust.

If you don’t build trust with your audience early, you won’t have a chance to sell.

6. Keep Your Emails Short

People are always pressed for time and if your email is too long, they will not read your email all the way to the call to action. If you have a small email, with a noticeable call to action, more people will click-through.

Therefore, try to keep email messages below 100 words.

Write Your Email Copy

While the design of your email is important, especially in today’s increasingly mobile world – words still count. Writing effective emails requires skill, patience and time. Use the tips above to help you get the most from your email campaigns and start selling more online.

How do you write your emails? What are your click-through rates like?

Let us know in the comments below.

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