Along with the good, there’s the bad. When it comes to subject lines, it’s easier to fail by using a poor word choice rather than to win by thinking like your consumer. Take a moment to process that because here’s the bottom line: use of basic and uncreative words will cause your email campaign to fall in the slush bin of generic content. Here’s what to look out for:

In-Your-Face Sales

There’s a fine difference between reminding a customer that a sale is going on versus screeching “Sale now!” The former tends to offer some description such as what is being offered, when and at what value. The rather relies on an expectation that just because there’s a sale, people should come rushing through the doors. That may have worked in a small town half a century ago, but it doesn’t work anymore.

Good, Great, Awesome, Wonderful

These words are boring and they’re completely overused. If we’re going to get technical, they’re also words that support an opinion rather than a fact. Stop using them…today, please. Nothing you’re offering is good, great, awesome or wonderful unless you can also highlight or demonstrate that to your audience.

Monday and Friday are the Black Hole of Sales

Aside from the ever popular “Cyber Monday” and “Black Friday,” emails on these two days tend to not do very well. On Mondays, people are getting organized for the week and recovering from the weekend (which is why press releases are also not sent on a Monday). Likewise, on a Friday, everyone’s mentally checked out and focused on the weekend. Save your campaign efforts for Tuesday, Wednesday and even Thursday.

Fake Personalization

I started getting emails from groups I subscribed to because I felt they might have something valuable for me. Then I noticed these bizarre email subject line that looked like they were having a conversation with me. But here’s the thing: they don’t even know me and they’re over-excited conversational subject lines were a ploy to push something that really only benefited them. Don’t do this. It’s annoying and there isn’t one instance where I ended up engaging any of those email campaigns in anyway.

Getting to know someone is a process. Don’t cheapen it to get one more ‘quick win’ for your email marketing campaign. It’s rude.

Don’t Ask for Money. Appeal to Self-Interest

Email campaigns that ask for money have it especially tough. You’re using words like donate, help or assistance…which are immediately going to turn off your reader because they know you’re panhandling for help. They’re going to think, “Here’s one more person asking me for something.”

You’re using a digital platform to remotely ask someone something as personal as money. It’s not an intimate setting but you can turn the situation to your advantage by treating the first opportunity to donations to be about setting the conversation. And that conversation is the value derived from investing or supporting your cause. You’re going to need to talk about who or what you are and what’s in it for them: what does your donor getting for supporting you? To answer this question, think of how you can make donors look good.

Words that fail can be clumped together in one category: their words that demand your audience’s attention without offering anything in return. In fact, in most cases the words support language that is sale oriented rather than customer oriented. You’re pushing what you want onto your customer rather than thinking about what type of content they want to read.