A guest article by Michael. You too can be part of this great knowledge sharing community. Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.
Since the dawn of email marketing, spam filters have had a myopic focus on protecting innocent victims from scummy marketing ploys. The battle win continue to be fought as long as there are those sending emails and those protecting us from those people. But you can be one of the “Good guys” just by changing the words you use.
The problem with some of the naughty words out there is that they’ve been considered naughty for years, and some haven’t been cleared of their unnecessary charges (see “Free,” as an example). Since these words have been the top and longest running offenders and are still considered a threat to email inboxes worldwide, it’s best to avoid using them all together.
If an email with “opportunity” dotted through it somehow sneaks into your inbox, then it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.
So, why is “opportunity” a particularly scary and naughty word?
First, an “opportunity” isn’t a deal or a promotion. An “opportunity” is something that you, as the subscriber, benefit from after jumping through hoops and not the other way around. Through and through, “opportunity” is a sleazeball word.
“Free” is usually followed by “offer,” “leads,” “investment,” “opportunity” or “money.”
In email subscribers’ minds, “free” comes with some serious baggage and strings.
But, “free” can also be quite valuable to email marketing, if used only once. If you must use “free,” use it in your subject line like “Free Shipping.” Try not to make the “free” whatever the entire focus of your email promotion.
What’s “amazing?” The Seven Wonders of the World? The birth of a child?
Natural phenomena earn the illustrious right to be called “amazing.” Anything else warrants suspicion.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your man made product is, it surely isn’t “amazing.”
“Urgent” sounds like it’s coming out of the mouth of a non-attorney spokesperson who is talking about an “urgent medical announcement.”
“Urgent” implies that you’re taking your life in your hands if you don’t act immediately.
An email, even a marketing email, shouldn’t trigger the fight-or-flight reflex in your subscribers.
Just don’t use it.
5. Name Brand
Much like “urgent,” “name brand” paints a very sleazy picture in the minds of your email subscribers.
Think of a back alley deal for “name brand” prescriptions or rummaging through some sketchy guy’s trunk for “name brand” hand bags.
Here’s a thought: why not just tell us what those “name brand” items are? Who are the actual manufacturers of the products?
“Name brand” implies that you don’t have any “name brands” at all, but crappy knockoffs.
Let’s just clear something up: no reputable online business emails customers directly, asking them to “opt-in” for any service.
Customers do that one their own, after they made the choice to hear from you.
Also, it is more than a best practice but a necessary action that all customers “opt-in” for any service you provide – email, SMS or fax marketing included.
Since marketing in this manner is highly regulated, not providing this option but soliciting it through email is very suspicious and quite scary.
Get creative and don’t resort to using the naughty words to try and push your email promotions. People won’t open them and you will only end up destroying your reputation in the process. If you need to dust off the thesaurus, do it. Now go and play nice with your next newsletter or promotion.