How often do you say the wrong thing and kick yourself later?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone – we all end up with a chronic case of foot-in-mouth from time to time.

However, the words that you use to communicate with your prospective customers could have a serious impact on whether you make a sale.

People might not read everything they see. In fact, 27% of adults in the U.S. didn’t bother to pick up a book in 2014, but everyone likes to scan when they need information. In fact, we’ve evolved to be able to process information at lightning speed. We can tell if we want to buy something just by glancing at a few syllables on a screen.

Unfortunately, just as the right words can encourage someone to convert for your business, the wrong words could send your leads screaming in the opposite direction. Knowing the difference between successful words and “danger” words could help you to prevent the wrong phrases from murdering your marketing strategy.

Danger Word #1: “Submit”

“Submit” looks so innocent when it sits at the bottom of your page in a pretty CTA button. However, there’s danger lurking in that curvy “S”.

Submit is synonymous with the concept of “submission” – and therein lies the problem. Unlike the kinky sexual exploration indicated in everyone’s favorite erotic novel, this form of submission refers to yielding your cash or attention to someone superior.

In other words, if you ask someone to “Submit” something, you’re basically telling them to agree to the fact that you’re better than them – and therefore deserve their money, contact details, or whatever else you’re asking for.

It sounds dramatic, but it’s a proven issue. HubSpot looked at the conversion rates of around 40,000 landing pages and found that when CTA buttons included the word “submit”, the conversion rates associated with them dropped significantly.

If you want to create an instant good impression with your marketing strategy, leave the submission to the bedroom and remember that the best CTAs should be specific and actionable. That means starting with a verb and pointing out what value you’re going to give to your visitors:An example would be: “Click here for your FREE EBook”.

For instance, Lyft asks you to turn miles into money, and encourages you to “become a driver”, indicating a positive forward step in your life.


Danger Word #2: Your

“Your” is both a good and bad word to use in copy at the same time.

The copy that’s written on most websites should be in the second person (you, your) – that’s a good thing. It means you’re speaking directly to your audience rather than talking about yourself or drawing attention to some mythical “he” or “she”.

Most copywriters learn to use “you” instead of “they” when they’re explaining the benefits of a particular service or product. However, it’s important to remember that “your” doesn’t fit everywhere. When you’re focusing on a Call to Action, or your aim is to convert visitors at a specific point in your copy, switch to the first person.

In other words, while “your” isn’t as dangerous as some of the words on this marketing strategy list, the best way to design an incredible call to action is to use “my” instead. For instance:

  • Start my free trial now
  • Build my traffic today
  • Set up my new business!


Above, Meetedgar uses the “my” technique in their call to action, with the text “start my free trial”. This instantly makes you feel like you’re claiming something that’s yours, rather than being asked to purchase or agree to something.

Danger Word #3: Free

You’d think that using the word “free” would automatically increase conversions. Who doesn’t love the opportunity to stock up on some free stuff?

Unfortunately, while free trials, samples, gifts, and whatever else you have to bribe your audience members with can be a great way to generate interest and engagement, there are exceptions to the rule.

The first issue with using “free” in your marketing strategy, is that it can trigger some spam filters when you’re sending emails. In other words – your customer never sees your incredible offer because his or her email client assumes it’s too good to be true and sends it to the spam abyss.

The second problem with using “Free” in your conversion copy, is that too many businesses use that word when they mean something completely different. It’s not a free product if your customer has to buy thirty dollars’ worth of merchandise to get it. Don’t trick or mislead your audience into thinking they’re going to get more value than you’re offering. This leads to mistrust.


Spotify tells you exactly what you’re getting. Yes, you get a free trial, but you also know that you’re only getting it for “free” for thirty days. There are no illusions or attempts to trick you into getting more than you bargained for.

Danger Word #4: Spam

Most of the time, when you’re referring to spam in your marketing strategy, you’re talking about those piles of annoying emails your customers are overwhelmed with every day (not the can of mystery meat). Chances are that your prospects receive literally dozens of emails a day – and only a handful of those are from people and companies that they care about.

Since spam is such a pain in the backside – you’d think that reassuring your leads that your messages aren’t spam would be all you need to do to enhance conversions, right? Wrong.

Using the word “spam” in your content, even if it’s in the sentence: “This definitely isn’t spam”, is proven to make your leads feel more apprehensive about doing business with you. It’s like going up to a TSA agent the next time you take a flight and saying “I’m definitely not holding a bomb in my backpack.”

Your best bet is to simply avoid negative words altogether. Instead, stick to positive messaging to encourage your leads to take the risks that turn them into conversions.

Danger Word #5: Save Time & money

Though “Save time and money” is something you assume every customer wants to do, that doesn’t mean those words have a place in your conversion copy.

While there’s nothing wrong with bringing attention to your value as a business in your marketing strategy, one of the worst things you can do is use vague, lazy selling. In other words, you can’t just tell your prospects that you will save them money and time – you need to tell them why you will do that and how you will accomplish it. Otherwise, it means nothing.

The key to great sales is to find those little ingredients in your business that make you unique and awesome. You want to show your audience that you can do something special for them – not simply give the same vague promises everyone else does. Avoid the generic stuff – be something different.


In the Renegade Diet example above, the author gives you the “how” and “why” by offering the benefits right away (gain muscle and lose fat). In addition, the CTA is clear with the text “get immediate access” and the person who clicks knows exactly what to expect on the other side.

Protect your Conversions

At the end of the day, the best way to create killer CTAs and improve your conversion copy is to test everything you write for your marketing strategy. The more you test, the more you’ll learn about which words your customers respond to best.

Still, the words I’ve outlined above should give you at least some guidance into what to avoid, and what to be cautious about when crafting your sales message.