Language works in complicated, multi-layered ways. It has the surface effect which everyone knows — we use specific words in order to convey specific meanings. Then there’s the underlying part of language, wherein our emotions are conveyed subconsciously depending on which words we choose to say what we mean. We won’t attempt to dive too deeply into psychology here; suffice it to say that we usually have a few options of suitable words to convey our message. When it comes to marketing (including virtual) it’s important to use the words with the most positive implications in order to incite healthy, active engagement from our consumers.
Understand the Limitations of the Medium
The virtual world, despite providing a vast increase in interpersonal connectivity, does so without any sort of face-to-face interaction (at least through emails). This can make it quite tricky to convey your tone with the limited tools in your possession. “Without the benefit of being able to hear people’s vocal inflections or see their faces, it can be challenging to interpret how the person on the other end of an email is feeling,” writes LinkedIn contributor Bernard Marr. “Emoticons and exclamation points can only take you so far (especially in a business email), and in fact, sometimes formal business language can start to sound, well, negative without context.”
Avoid a Negative Sense of Urgency
Although the situation at hand might lead you into feeling pressured on your end, it’s important not to let that leak into your emails. You might have an immediate need for your connection to engage regarding the subject of your email, but it’s important not to create a panic-filled energy during your interaction. Doing so will most likely result in adverse effects, and sending repeated stressed-out emails might mean that you won’t be hearing from your recipient for much longer. Be subtle and calm; things will work themselves out in the end, and they’ll do so all the more smoothly if you use positive language in your emails to get the result you’re after.
Be Mindful of your Email’s Tone
The roots of language run deeper than we care to notice. The tone and energy you convey is based in part on your choice of words, whether in online or offline interactions. In regards to emails, the choice of using consistently negative phrasing will result in your emails sounding nervous, morose, or even angry. “Negativity is never good and always sends out negative vibes. Even if you feel negative about a situation, you can still make an effort to turn your emails into more positive messages — which usually get better responses,” offers Marr. “Words like cannot, damage, do not, error, fail, impossible, little value, loss, mistake, not, problem, refuse, stop, unable to, unfortunately, escalation, urgent, never, inability and unsound all have a strong negative connotation.”
Let your Power Words Work for Themselves [or] Don’t Overwhelm your Readers with Positivity, Either
There are certain power words in copy, such as free, and love. These words, inherently positive in their connotation, pop out favorably in the eyes of readers. While it’s wholly advised that you use these power words freely (and lovingly), you don’t necessarily want to combine two of them together all the time. Avoiding a negative tone is one thing, but you don’t want to venture so far into the realm of positivity that the effect you’re giving off is a saccharine one. Free love is a blatantly, overly positive term, and you’d find much better results if you simply separated the two words into their own sentences. Power words stand strongly by themselves, which is precisely how you should use them.