Connect with your customers – Research provides clues


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I was browsing the other day when I came across this article on Mashable: Want People to Return Your Emails? Avoid These Words [INFOGRAPHIC]

In it there is an interesting infographic that looks at research that Baydin, the makers of email plugin Boomerang, undertook looking at their database of around five million emails.

What I found most interesting are the different words in the columns and what they imply, from an amateur or ‘kitchen-table’ psychology and behavioural perspective as, I believe, it can provide some insights into what we do, how we approach things and how that affects our ability to connect better with people around us and our customers.

Below is a clip of the infographic about the words that they found that seemed to get the most opens and those that don’t.

get a response

Let’s look at the “words to use” more closely and what they might imply:

  • Apply – does that speak to people’s desire to apply for new jobs, advance their career or even, enter and win competitions?
  • Opportunity – are we all on the look out for new opportunities to find new things, do new things, make things easier, better?
  • Demo – is this linked to the one above? Does a demo imply non-obligation and, therefore no risk?
  • Connect – again is this linked to an opportunity to connect or reconnect with someone we know or might want to know and speaks to our social and networking needs in business?
  • Payments – I think this one is obvious and probably generates the response: ‘Ooh! Someone wants to give me some money’
  • Conference – this is an interesting one but does suggest that, in business, we like conferences as places to learn and network. Maybe, it’s also that people like to learn about new ‘gatherings’ and it’s part of their social desire to not be left out and to be part of the ‘in-crowd’.
  • Cancellation – I believe this one is all about change and how it affects me, my business and my people.

Similarly, let’s look at the “words not to use” more closely and what they might imply:

  • Confirm – this is an interesting one and maybe it this email does not get opened because it’s not seen as urgent and it more about the senders piece of mind rather than the receivers
  • Join – this, to me, seems obvious and is about someone wanting us to do somethings that will take up a lot of our precious time
  • Assistance – similar to the one above this seems to imply something that will take up time and, possibly, distract
  • Speaker – is this to do with our feelings about professional speakers and our feelings and experience that the sender will try and ‘sell’ us something?
  • Press – more time, requires effort on our part or is it that we just associate the press with broadcast messages?
  • Social – is this a personal social thing or are we getting bored with yet another new and the next big thing in social networking?
  • Invite – do we see and believe that ‘invite’ is another loosely veiled way of trying to get us involved with something where someone is going to sell something to us? I suspect that may be true but I do think it will depend, like many of these, on who the email comes from and how well we know and trust them.

So, it seems that the things we respond to relate to things like:

  • Can I get a new job or win something?
  • Is someone giving me money?
  • Is there an opportunity to connect with someone or learn about something new at no-risk? and
  • Does this change my plans or how does it affect me?

In short, it’s all about them. If we want to connect with people we need to make sure our messages benefit them and help them, not us, if we are to get noticed and responded to.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


  1. Hi Adrian,

    I really enjoyed the way you deconstructed the words for and against. We are starting our email campaign next month and your thoughts are very helpful.




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