One of the best ways to engage email subscribers is to connect with them emotionally, although this is often easier said than done. I have spoken and written many times about the importance of creating emotional resonance – either positive or negative – between your message and your audience. It's essential because without some sort of feeling connection to you, at least occasionally, subscribers will become bored by the purely practical often repetitive litany of subject lines cropping up in their inboxes (i.e. 20% savings this week!) and easily tune out.
You already know that certain words are automatic spam-filter traps in email marketing, but if you're reading this you probably aren't using any of the worst offenders, such as obscenities or pornographic lingo. Nonetheless, your email marketing messages can benefit from a thorough edit to ensure both the avoidance of anti-spam filters and, even more importantly, the inclusion of the most powerful words in direct response. First though, examine how you and your colleagues speak about email marketing and describe it as a practice to those outside your world. For example, how often have you heard (or even said) an email "blast" was being sent? I don't know about you, but to me "blast" doesn't have a positive connotation. I don't wish to be "blasted" with anything (well, maybe $1,000 bills would be OK), including email "blasted" to my in-box, and I'd venture to guess that your customers and list members feel the same. When we as practitioners of email marketing become more aware of how the words we use to describe our craft are perceived in the outside world, we can see "blast" is a dirty word. Instead, you might say "broadcast," "announcement," "send," or "campaign" after the word email to describe your message deployment. But, please, no more blasting. Furthermore, despite the Email Experience Council's efforts, we still don't have unilateral agreement on how to spell the word "e-mail." The official AP style guide, dictionaries, and journalists continue to insist on the hyphen between "e" and "mail." Most everyone else has already dropped it. Chances are, the word will follow the previous evolutionary pattern of "on-line," "jell-o," and "e-commerce." Those and other factors aside (such as no agreed-upon definition of spam), the words used within your email messages can make or break your campaigns. Adhere to these Letterman Show-style Top Ten Lists—the first for language pitfalls and the second for power words—to ensure successful delivery, avoid complaints, and improve response: Top Ten Language Pitfalls in Email Marketing