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Published February 2016, updated July 2019

Email inboxes are more competitive than ever. In fact, according to data from Radicati, about 205 billion emails are sent/received per day. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3% over the next four years, reaching over 246 billion by the end of 2019.

With that in mind, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a go-to list of marketing words that could help your email campaigns stand out? In this post, we’ll share over 80 effective marketing words based on context and purpose.

Marketing words for highly effective email subject lines

Our research indicates that there are a few words that are more effective than others when looking specifically at email subject lines. We call these “power words”, as they are proven to give a powerful boost to open rates when used at the beginning or the end of a subject line.

power words in email subject lines

It’s important to note that the most successful marketing word on this list was actually the recipient’s first name, so it’s no surprise that personalized email messages can improve open rates by an average of 26%.

What’s interesting about all of this research on effective words for email subject lines is that there are a few key themes that stand out, and that should be noted for your own future email marketing efforts.

Across the board, words like “exclusive”, “limited”, and “alert” were highly effective, as were other words like “free” and “new”. The commonality between these words is that they are benefit-centric, and add certain emotional qualities to an email.

We know that emotional response is a key element in all types of marketing messages—including emails—and therefore, these powerful marketing words increase the likelihood of a conversion. We even wrote a post about how to write better email subject lines using the EMV (emotional marketing value) Index.

We can take what we’ve learned from our email subject line research and apply it to the body of your email marketing campaign so that you not only have an email that gets opened, but is also read-worthy, emotionally charged, and conversion-ready.

Let’s dive into that big list of marketing words you can use in various parts of your email campaigns—not just the subject line.

Marketing words for exclusivity, urgency, and excitement in email

Exclusivity Urgency Excitement
Select Now New
Private Immediately Introducing
Confidential Today Latest
Insider Limited Special
VIP Shortly Alert
Secret Soon Gift
Exclusive Rapid Free
Members Quick Freebie
Elite Flash Best
Invitation Hurry Prize
Secret Alert Win
Reserved Fast Save
Only Instant Ultimate
Choice Urgent Try

Since we know that the average adult has an attention span of about eight seconds, it’s clear that we need to keep our email marketing messages tight, succinct, and concise—and we do that by using powerful, emotion-packed words.

Using marketing words from the list above, you can accomplish three things:

These email marketing keywords aren’t just designed to improve your vocabulary. They’re designed to give you new ways to engage your email list and improve engagement simply through your choice of language.

1. Remind the audience they’re part of a group

Remind your audience that they’re part of a members-only, highly exclusive group of people who get access to the information in your email campaigns. Email keywords that show possession and membership are great here. Think about the effect of using email words like “exclusive partner,” or “for being a valued member of the club.” These phrases have a lot of potential, even beyond normal email marketing buzzwords.

Why it matters: CrazyEgg refers to this as the “velvet rope effect.” Essentially, exclusivity reminds people that they’ve been given the secret handshake that says, “You’re in.” It means you can go beyond the velvet rope and have access to the wonderful content on the other side.

2. Express a sense of urgency

Create a sense of urgency that encourages the reader to act right now (and helps drive an immediate conversion.) Keywords for email marketing can drive conversions in a number of ways, but encouraging interaction based on time sensitivity is a proven tool for success.

Create a sense of urgency that encourages the reader to act right now (and helps drive an immediate conversion.)

Source: Really Good Emails

Why it matters: Urgency, as explained by Michel Fortin, helps create pressure that prevents a reader from procrastinating—but doesn’t force them to act. It simply reminds the reader that they’re dealing with a limited time opportunity.

Marketing words are often chosen based on their emotional appeal. Fear of missing out is one of the few “negative” emotions marketers use. Namely, because a user will likely have a negative feeling (perhaps on the company) if they miss out on a deal they thought they had more time to capitalize on. Better they feel fear and almost miss the deal, than to miss it outright.

1. Build excitement around the message itself

You want your emails to be exciting, above all. When the subscriber sees your address, they should be happy to open your email. Maybe they won’t be jumping out of their seat, but they’ll have that sense of genuine, positive curiosity about what’s coming next. How can you help them feel this response? Simply use keywords for email marketing designed to generate excitement.

Why it matters: Creating excitement means highlighting the benefits of your offering, not the features, according to Copyblogger. With a one-two punch of using the words in this list and by highlighting the unique benefits you can offer, you can give your email marketing messages an air of excitement that gets your readers emotionally prepared to act.

If you have a benefit that is “exclusive” to you, or your services are “leading” the industry, you already have a reason to use these terms. Expand on them, and get creative with your language to build excitement for your content and your brand as a whole.

Marketing words for security, simplicity, and engagement in email

Security Simplicity Engagement
Privacy Easy Increase
Refund Simple Create
Protected Hassle-free Share
Secure Help Discover
Certified Complete Compare
Guaranteed Entire Take
Realistic Total Show
Researched Thorough Tell
Proven Pure Find
Official Natural Make
Money-back Plain Plan
Tested Straightforward Learn
Lifetime Uncomplicated Start
Backed Candid Grow

We also know that aside from short attention spans, the average email reader wants emails that make their lives easier and propose a way for them to act on the offerings presented. Most people approach email subscriptions with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude—so, if you can leverage the words in this list, you’ll be off to a good start at answering that very question.

Using marketing words from the list above, you can accomplish three things:

Your subscribers like feeling safe with the engagement they’re being asked to take part in, as well as competent in their ability to follow along with the click-through requests in a simple manner. Here are some ways you can use email marketing keywords from these categories to accomplish important tasks with your subscribers.

1. Make them feel secure about the action you’re asking them to take

People like a feeling of security. Especially when you’re browsing the web, perhaps entering your sensitive data into a form, you want to know that the other side is trustworthy. Email marketing buzzwords are often tailored toward emotions like excitement, which is good, but it’s also important to use terms that make the reader feel secure.

Why it matters: Christina Gillick, a direct-response copywriter, explains that words that communicate a sense of security are the foundation of trust with your audience. They quiet a reader’s objections and fears about making a purchase or taking an action they’ll later regret. When you speak about security, you’re essentially answering a reader’s concerns before they even have to voice them.

2. Explain how simple it is to act on what you’re promoting

How easy is this? That’s the first question many people ask when they’re pushed toward a type of engagement activity. No one likes having to decipher complicated steps just to follow a call-to-action. The best way to demonstrate the simplicity of the step is through good language.

How easy is this? That’s the first question many people ask when they’re pushed toward a type of engagement activity.

Source: Really Good Emails

Why it matters: If you had two ways to do things, would you choose the easy way, or the hard way with lots of complex steps? Probably the easy way. People like simple—and the lack of simple in their daily lives is a major pain point you can touch on in your email marketing (remember the PAS formula).

1. Encourage them to interact with the material there

If you want engagement, you should encourage users to interact with the material there and/or to spread the word about what they’ve just learned. If people feel secure with the presentation and confident with the simplicity of it, it’s much easier to encourage that profitable interaction, whatever it may be.

Why it matters: Your ultimate goal with email marketing is to drive conversions. You want people to click through to register for your event, to buy your products, or even share the message with their friends and family. Using marketing words that lay out a clear path of action helps spur engagement with your email content and gets readers on the path to conversion.

Wrap up

Using tried and tested words that stir up emotional responses with your readers, you can create email campaigns that don’t just inform—but that also motivate subscribers to act immediately.

Armed with this subject line research and a list of more than 80 highly effective marketing words, we challenge you to start sprinkling these conversion-drivers into all of your future email marketing efforts. The words you use are arguably most important in the call-to-action. Learn how to craft a CTA users will love.

Special thanks to the following sources:

Marketing Profs

Ben Locker & Associates

Mequoda

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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