5 Words to Cut and 5 to Keep for Quality Email Copy

You’re tapping away on your computer, creating the next email with hopes to sell millions of copies of your company’s software… eventually.

Maybe that’s not how it’s going. More likely you’re staring at a blank screen, hoping that the right words will just appear.

But what if you pick the wrong words and they cause friction? What if you use one word, and another word would have driven a conversion?

This post won’t be able to help you in all situations, but it will at least help you the next time you’re tempted to use one of the following words in your email copy.

Cut These Words


Nothing weakens a strong piece of copy like the word just. “Just follow the linked below for more information,” is a lot weaker than “Follow the link below for more information.”

“Just” is a weak player in a sentence. It makes you sound less sure, your copy less confident. In the context of email, where you maybe get 100-150 words to prove your point, confidence in every word counts.


Using the word “now” in email copy always reminds me of visiting a sleazy car dealership to buy your first set of wheels.

The greasy used car salesman (probably with slicked back hair) and tried to rush you into buying that rust bucket of a car with some excuse about how that car was “very popular.”

That false sense of urgency and pushy sales tactics is something that the modern buyer is turned off by. We’ve all been using the internet too long to believe that if you don’t “click now” your opportunity will be lost.

There are other ways to convey urgency. Just don’t use the word now to try to push the reader of your email.


When I was editing the school paper in college, I was frankly astounded by the number of places that student writers would put “that.”

Completely needlessly too, because when I removed them, their sentences were shorter and clearer, a win-win.

When you are writing email copy, every character counts. Make sure you aren’t wasting characters on “that.”


Besides again being vaguely reminiscent of a shady used car dealership, the word “fast” can be bad to use in email copy because it is so tremendously vague.

When you say that your software is fast, or that your consumers can start using it fast, what does that mean?

Customers, especially those in B2B, want specifics.

Tell them how fast your software loads, be it in seconds or minutes or whatever. Tell them the amount of time it takes for the average user to go from purchase to using the software.

Give them details. This is far more convincing then boasting about how “fast” you are. They have to convince others that your software is faster than a competitor. The only way to do this is with numbers


It’s tempting to want to throw words like “actually” around in your email copy, but they’re not very effective when it comes to converting.

“Actually” falls under the dreaded adverb category, but I would argue that it’s even worse than more adverbs.

The word “actually” seems desperate to prove a point or exert authority, but it doesn’t add anything to the sentence – just extra characters.

As the old advice goes, use adverbs sparingly. But I would use “actually” as little as possible.

We’ve made a fine case against these five words, but which words should you make sure to use in your emails? I would make a case for these five words.


Keep These Words


Using “you” in your emails is a good bet because it fosters inclusion. Instead of talking in cold third person, or just making it about yourself in first person, using “you” makes your reader feel like they are included in your brand’s messaging.

When someone reads the email you sent and it ropes them in using “you” it isn’t a stretch for them that the email might be specifically for them (even when they know you sent it out using a list).


Instead of using words like “click” or “sign up” as a call-to-action on your email, try the warmer “join.” The word “join” is more inviting, like “joining a community.” It seems inclusive and welcoming, as opposed to cold and salesy.


If you are trying to get someone to buy your product or service, focus on what they will get out of it. The word “create” is an inspiring way to do so, as you ask your reader to envision what your offering will let them create.

Have them imagine what your product will let them do, as opposed to what the offering itself does. This focus on results will drive them closer to a buy then simply talking about what the product does.


In the world of B2B, your audience needs to not only be convinced, but also to convince others. Talking about the research that your company has done on your own products, or better yet, the research others have conducted on them will help them to convince stakeholders of your company’s credibility.

Don’t just use the word research in a vague way, though. Back it up. Give them numbers and statistics, whatever you have to back up your company’s offering.


Taking a page from Apple’s book, if you can find a way to use the word “inspire” in your email marketing and have it work, do it.

What can your product or content inspire?

After all, while a lot of B2B is about numbers and statistics, there is always the human element that plays off emotion.

Using inspire can work off emotion and even inspire your audience to want to move forward through the pipeline, find out what projects you’re offering, or even just your content can inspire.

Writing for email isn’t easy. In fact, it might be one of the most difficult forms of writing. So when you’re feeling uninspired or your character count is looking a shade too high, refer back to the list and use it to tailor your email copy into something more effective.

Let us know what you think:

  • What words do you avoid in your email copy?
  • What words do you add to make your copy more effective?
  • Do you disagree with any of the words on our list?



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