Three Words to Avoid in Emails

Share Article identifies three innocent words not to use in an email subject line.

MailChimp conducted a study of its customers' email campaigns and found that some of the most harmless words can spell disaster when included in email subject lines. Because of bulging inboxes and an endless torrent of spam, the study found that readers treat new emails as guilty until proven innocent. The study concluded that if an email marketer wants their emails to get read, both by friends and business contacts, there are a few words that a marketer would be well served to avoid.

Based on the results of this study, MailChimp has created a list of the top 3 words to avoid in a subject line based on analysis of over 200 million emails:

Never put the word "help" in the subject title. It may be like a crime in progress where passer-bys keep on walking, or maybe most readers have just reached their respective capacity to "help", but most readers do not respond to this word. The reluctance to open "help" messages may also stem from well-known scams asking for assistance. The most common source for these scams is Nigeria. You can read more about email scams in the New York Times.

% off
While it may be counterintuitive, the stronger the commercial pitch in the subject line, the less likely it's going to be read. Consumers have had to become savvy in navigating their email inbox - as soon as an email smells like a sleazy offer, it's zapped with the delete button.

Always avoid using the word "reminder" in the subject line. If a marketer needs to send out a reminder, MailChimp recommends avoiding the word "reminder" and, instead, communicate in the subject line that there is useful information inside that the reader is going to want. Analogous to "reminder" is repeating the same subject line for a particular event and sending out several emails in advance. The first email may get read, but after that it's splitsville.

The three innocuous words above are joining the rank of other all-too-popular spammy words like: Free, Sex, Cialis, etc. Not only will an email not get read if the subject line or body is peppered with these spam words, odds are it won't even get to the reader. And getting an HTML email to the targeted inbox has become even more of a challenge, thanks to firewalls and spam filters. The net result is an obliterated email that never gets to the intended recipient.

By avoiding the three words mentioned above, email marketers should be more successful in getting their intended audience to open their emails.

About this study

MailChimp analyzed over 200 million emails as part of this study looking at email open rates and subject lines. To read more about this study, as well as MailChimp's secret formula for writing the best email subject line, visit the Resource Center.

About MailChimp

MailChimp provides do-it-yourself email marketing services worldwide to over 10,000 small businesses, design agencies, non-profits, restaurants, and e-Commerce sites. With MailChimp you can create professional, eye-catching HTML emails in minutes. At MailChimp it's "Your Logo, Not Ours". We do not add any marketing messages or logos to your email. Try out MailChimp's free trial to see how the Chimp can work for you.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Neil Bainton
Visit website