You know the feeling; you’ve received an email from a reputable company – one from which you’ve purchased goods before – but something is chronically wrong. They’ve annoyed you and you don’t want to be their customer any more. And you know what? The reason for this sudden about-turn seems a bit daft on your part, because it relates to a few specific words. Yes there are words to avoid when sending emails.
Words are powerful little beasts. They can make you laugh, cry, happy, sad, or angry and will either inspire you to do good or turn you off completely.
If you work in marketing, choosing the right words to use during your campaigns (be they email-based, via social media or blog posts) is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
However, we all make mistakes, which is why we thought it’d be a super-useful idea to put together a list of the words you absolutely shouldn’t use in marketing.
Ok, technically three words, but they’re hyphenated, so we’ll let ourselves off on that one.
Please don’t use this. It’s a dreadful cliche which suggests you’ve built a business that does lots of stuff but probably not particularly well.
Do you every go shopping looking for a ‘one-stop-shop’? No, of course you don’t – so don’t pretend you run one.
New and improved
Right, we give in – some of these are going to be phrases rather than single words, but… well, they’re all words and they’re all terrible, so let’s crack on.
If something is new – be it a product or a service – it should be improved. You wouldn’t claim your new product is ‘new and much worse’, would you? This phrase is also so old that it would need a chairlift to get into the list of words to avoid.
You might want your business to be scalable and subsequently use this particular word in board meetings, and while that’s all fine and dandy, your customers don’t want to read it for one very simple reason.
It’s irritating and far too business-like to be interesting.
Ugh. What does this even mean? From what end to which end? And what happened to the start?
This is another cliche and nothing more than a way to pad out a sentence. Much like a new product should always be ‘improved’, a solution or service shouldn’t ever be incomplete, so why highlight the fact yours comes in one piece?
Best in class; the best you’ll find; we’re the best… Stop it.
How do you know your stuff or the business itself is the best? You don’t… you can’t, but you don’t need to, either.
Your products and services and the business as a whole should be able to stand on their own two feet without claiming to be the best at everything they do.
Let the stuff you sell do the talking.
It’s fair to assume that lots of people on this planet know that ‘ROI’ stands for ‘return on investment’. But that doesn’t make it acceptable to use in marketing communications – because it remains irritating for lots more people.
Rather than state that your customers will see a positive ROI, why don’t you just tell them what it will be in real terms?
GRAB THE MAILINGMANAGER EDITING CHECKLIST
Cutting-edge is annoying enough, but bleeding-edge suggests… well, we’re not sure what it suggests. It’s as though cutting-edge simply doesn’t, erm, cut it.
Please don’t use this. It’s a term often used by tech companies, but it is, literally, meaningless.
At the end of the day
If you need to summarise something, please do so, but don’t use this as a lead-in.
It’s horrible. And, definitely should rank high amongst the words to avoid.
There are, apparently, only seven stories in the world. That means most books have already been written hundreds of times, and most products already exist before the latest incarnation comes along.
Whatever it is you do, sell or support isn’t unique – but that’s not something to be ashamed by.
In business, you differentiate yourself via your approach to a common issue and the way in which you support your customers. Nothing you do is unique; we’ve all been here before.
But that’s OK!
If there’s one word that’s used more than any other in marketing, it’s probably this one.
Experience in business is important, but it is rarely, if ever, a differentiator. Sure, your board of directors might have over one-hundred years’ experience between them, but what does that mean for customers?
What matters more is your products, services and customer support, and if you’re a start-up, you can be just as competent at all that stuff as competitor A who’s been around for five decades. Add experienced to list of words to avoid.
“We can do this” or “we will do this” – which one sounds more positive? Which one would you put your money behind?
The word ‘can’ suggests that while you indeed could do that thing, you’re probably more inclined to not bother or only give it a half-arsed attempt.
Be bold and confident in what you do!
Expert (or expertise)
If you think you’re an expert in something, you’re clearly not trying hard enough. Because you can’t become an expert – it’s impossible.
There’s always more to learn and more inventive ways you can push yourself. You’ll never learn everything in your industry.
But that’s OK, too!
There are no such things as experts in any field – just people who are determined to continue learning and better their skills. If that’s you and your business, you’ll win far more fans. Put expert in the list of words to avoid.
Expect a few swearwords in that little list above? Surprised there aren’t any? Don’t be! If you need to swear and it fits your audience and market without alienating or insulting people, go for it. There aren’t many profanities I would add to a list of words to avoid.
Similarly, if you want to get ultra colloquial with your marketing language – do so. The words above are more often than not used to pad out sentences and make something uninteresting seem interesting. And they never, ever work.
Please keep this list by your side whenever you’re putting together content for your marketing campaign – it’ll have a tangible effect on engagement and ROI.