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 An Email That Gets Attention

How to get your subscribers to take notice of your emails

Email marketing is one of the best ways to sell online. For the past decade it has been the digital marketing platform that has offered the best return on investment. However, while it offers good returns, its success is only as good as the emails that are sent.

When writing an email marketing campaign you need to have several elements that combine to psychologically compel your audience to take action.

Here are several ways you can get the attention of your audience with tips to make them more successful.

1. Personalisation

Email marketing success is all about personalisation. A few years ago this meant using mail merge tags to insert the name of the receiver into the email’s subject line and content. This is no longer the case, audiences have gotten wise to mail merges and a name is no longer considered personal.

Instead, you need to look at different ways you can personalise emails. This might include any of the following options:

  • Base emails on behaviours on your website or your customers’ previous purchases.

  • Use birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates that are important to the audience.

  • Use other details from your audience to personalise your emails such as address, telephone numbers, etc.

2. Create A Catchy Subject Line

Before anyone can make a purchase based on your emails, you need to get them to read your content. They aren’t going to do that if you don’t send a great email with a catchy subject line that intrigues the audience.

There are many ways you can create a catchy subject line. Here are some ideas for creating great subject lines:

  • Keep the subject line short.

  • Create some urgency in your subject line.

  • Make the audience curious about what is contained in the email.

  • Give audiences an offer they can’t refuse.

3. Use Images

Images can tell a story in much less space and time than words. Emails that contain images will ensure that audiences take action and don’t get confused about the message contained in the email. Images can also serve as a purchase push. If you’re selling clothes, then images of happy people wearing your clothes can often tell the audiences that they’ll look great while wearing them.

Images are hard to get right in emails though. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Keep the image size small so servers don’t block it.

  • Ensure there’s plenty of lighting in your image to highlight the product/service.

  • Try to minimise distractions in vital images.

4. Use Videos

While images are great, videos are even better and should be used where possible. The rate at which audiences are consuming video online is growing exponentially. Nearly 5 billion videos are watched every day on YouTube and with sites like Instagram, Facebook, Netflix and others now offering streamed video, there is a strong video streaming trend happening.

Videos are compelling to the audience because the human brain can connect to the sounds and moving images better than with static images or just words. Here are some quick video tips:

  • Keep videos short.

  • Upload your video on a website like YouTube and use the video streaming service’s technology to embed it in your email.

  • Ensure there is music added to your video to add emotion.

5. Forget Jargon

When using text or speaking in a video, drop the industry jargon. This should be reserved for the office and when speaking to others in the industry. Instead, use plain English in your emails so you don’t confuse the audience with terminology they won’t understand.

It isn’t just jargon you can improve in your email writing. Here are some other writing tips:

  • Give the reader possession by using words like you, your and you’re.

  • Keep email content down to below 250 words.

  • Tell a story that finishes with them clicking on a call to action.


Email marketing is an effective way to sell online. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. You need to create the right emails to generate interest and grab the attention of the audience. Use the tips above to boost your campaigns’ success and generate sales.

How do you generate interest in your emails? Do you have any more tips than the ones above?

Let us know in the comments below.

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30+ Words That Will Send Your Email To The SPAM Bin Every Time

What words will be blocked by a spam filter?

When you send an email campaign you want your audience to read the message, but spam emails are a significant problem. Your audience doesn’t want them, but an amazing 84% of email traffic is considered spam.

Those running mail servers, are constantly looking for ways to identify spam, to filter it out for their users. Yet, while this improves the user experience of mailbox owners, it does mean that for some businesses, their emails are accidentally labelled as spam and filtered out. If this does happen, the chances of your email being read are dramatically reduced.

There are numerous reasons why an email campaign might attract the attention of spam filters. Some of these are hard to control, but you can control the words used in your subject line, preheader text, and within the content of your email.

Some words will highlight a message as potential spam and therefore be filtered out. By avoiding these words, you can improve the delivery rate of your emails and achieve a better ROI.

Here’s a quick list of word groups to avoid and other ways you can get the same message across.

1. Free/Cheap/Affordable/Save/Incredible Deal

Anything with the word ‘free’, ‘affordable’, ‘incredible deal’, ‘save’ or ‘cheap’ is a bad choice. Even if you place gaps between the letters you’ll likely be tagged as spam. To avoid this, you could use words like ‘complimentary’, ‘on the house’ or ‘without charge’.

Of course, it’s best not to really mention this in your email if you can. Instead, direct them to a landing page with an interesting call-to-action that contains these promises.

2. Act Now/Apply Now/Order Now

These are important because they are something you might use as a call-to-action. They both look urgent and tell the audience what they must do. However, no-one can act on something if they don’t see the message. Therefore, avoid these two phrases in your campaigns.

3. Increase/Guarantee/Promise

These are common words used in a lot of spam and are therefore often filtered out. There’s not much you can replace these words with, so instead, use these words on your landing page from the email campaign.

4. Anything With Marketing

Marketing emails seem to be highly targeted. Words in this group include: ‘email marketing’, ‘internet marketing’, ‘multi-level marketing’, ‘online marketing’, ‘search engine listings’ and ‘web traffic’. There are just too many companies who don’t provide a good service in these areas and make fake promises that mail servers tend to be more cautious.

5. Medical Related

There has been a long-standing issue with online medical sales, so anything that looks health or medical related is often counted as spam. Some of the common ones include ‘prescriptions’, ‘stop snoring’, ‘weight loss’, ‘diet’, ‘pills’, etc. There’s a long list of these. So, if you’re in the medical profession, or want to use a medical term in your campaign, be warned it might not work.

6. Financial Words

Another common set of words which are targeted by spam filters are those related to the financial services. This could be banking, investments or any currency. There are lots of these words and if you are thinking about using them, then you are likely going to have a smaller audience due to filters.

Notable words include: ‘income’, ‘billion’, ‘cash’, ‘compare rates’, ‘credit’, ‘refinance’, ‘income’, ‘earn’, etc.


You want your email campaigns to be successful, so don’t use words that spam filters target. We’ve given over 30 words you need to avoid using if you are to skip past the spam filters. What you use instead might need to be inventive, but for the potential rewards, it’s worth the investment of your time.

What words do you use in your spam filters? How do you create meaningful copy to avoid spam filters?

Let us know your tips in the comments below.

Image provided by Pixabay

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5 Key Points For Writing Compelling Marketing Emails

notes-514998_1920Email marketing is one of the most important activities that your business, whether big or small, should be doing this year. It consistently has the highest return of any digital marketing channel and can be a real force to re-engage old prospects and customers to make consistent purchases with your business.

They are also easy to implement and monitor, meaning you can concentrate more on what matters to your business, the production.

Your email marketing campaigns will rely on several elements. However, one of them that will matter above all else is the writing of your email. If you don’t have good email copy, no one will pay attention to the offer you are presenting and your email remains just another message in a junk folder.

So how do you write compelling marketing emails? Here are our top five tips:

1. Actionable Copy

This is important within the copy of the email as well as the subject line. You want to give instructions to your email list to tell them what you want them to do after reading the email. For instance, words like ‘download’, ‘take’, ‘reserve’, ‘buy’, etc. are pretty good actionable words.

There are ways that you can tell the audience what to do without relying on verbs, which can provide you with extra room and seem less pushy. For instance, TicketMaster will send emails like “Don’t Miss Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band”. This doesn’t use a verb, but it indicates what actions you need (i.e. book tickets).

2. Write Content That Can Be Skimmed

Most people don’t really read their emails, just like blog posts. They skim read them looking for the really important pieces of information. You probably only have about five seconds to impress your reader and get them to understand what you want. Therefore, you need to write short and simple emails.

All your key points need to be bolded and bulleted so your audience can immediately see what is important. Next, you need to add a couple of call-to-actions so even if they miss the first, the second or third will attract their attention.

3. Talk About Benefits Rather Than Features

Small business owners and inexperienced sellers are often adept at talking about features and what’s included in a deal but these aren’t very convincing to prospects. Your audience doesn’t care that your product has the most powerful technology in the industry or can process commands in 1/600th of a second. For many that will have no meaning to them.

Instead you need to advertise the benefits to the customer of your product. Talk about how it can save them time, money or improve their life, social standing, etc. This is far more convincing.

4. Provide Proof

Email readers are often cynical of most emails they receive. Many of them will immediately assume that your email is spam or just selling them something, and this isn’t what they want in their inbox, despite email being the consumer’s most preferred marketing channel.

To avoid this cynicism you need to establish credibility and this can be done via proof. Show that you understand the consumer by using their language and buzzwords. To add to this, back up any claims with facts and numbers.

5. Personalise

There is nothing better in marketing than to provide a personal experience. People who see generic messages will often assume that the message has been sent to thousands of people with little relevance to them. However, by personalising the message, your reader will feel special; like they are the one who was chosen for your specific message.

There are many different ways to create personalised messages:

  • Include personalised information (name, business name, website information, etc.) within the subject line and content.
  • Segment your list for readers.
  • Send content at the right time for their location.


Email marketing is a great channel to sell your products and services. You can enhance your emails and get better returns if you write great copy. Consider the tips above to ensure that your emails are more engaging and convert more readers.

What are your writing tips? How do you convert readers into customers?

Let us know in the comments.

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