Did you know that there are certain words in your marketing copy that trigger a psychological negative response in your visitors?

Such response that leaves the visitor very reluctant to take the action you want them to or even continue viewing your website.

The words we are talking about bring up our past and in most cases, a negative response is the outcome.

These words on the surface do not seem that bad but once we explain to you why, you will want to remove all of them from your marketing copy straight away.


Customer repellent words

The three words are: “learn”, “teach” and “lecture”.

Website’s, especially those that provide information which is mostly educational will usually use these word’s quite often.

Lecture isn’t highly used but this is a good thing because we personally feel this is the most damaging of the three.

But why do these words mostly trigger a negative response when they are seemingly positive?


We want you to think of the word “teach” in your memory, where does this word take you?

Back to your school day’s right?

Most people did not enjoy being taught at school and this is a negative memory.

This is usually brought up in the sub-conscious but some will directly think back to their school days. Especially when deciding to buy a product that ‘teaches’ them something.

Inside your customers mind they are secretly telling themselves “I don’t really have to buy from this business” so using “teach” in your marketing copy will provide an excuse for them to reassure this thought. Due to the fact that it brings up a painful part of their history that they did not particularly enjoy.


Do you consider yourself a good learner?

Do you particularly enjoying learning?

The vast majority will say no and will bring up past or current memories of bad experiences that are linked to learning.

For example. You learn in preparation for an exam and although you felt you learnt enough, this was proven wrong by your exam results that were not what you expected.

This would create a negative memory to the word “learn”.

In worst cases it is correlated to self-doubt, these type of people will say to themselves things like: “I can’t learn as well as others so I won’t get out of this what others would”.

When linked with self-doubt it can be very hard to convince the person to buy your product as they have already convinced themselves it not for them.

And this isn’t even because of the product, it’s because they doubt their ability to consume its value.

All because you used the word “learn”.

This also happen’s mostly in the sub-conscious when reading “learn” in your websites copy.


This is the same as teach however its bad experiences can be linked outside of the class room and this can be a very dangerous word to use.

Think back to when you were young and you did something wrong.

You would usually get a “lecture” from authority.

Whether it’s from your parents or another form of authority you would not have enjoyed this “lecture” and thus creating a bad memory.

Again this happens mostly in the sub-conscious when reading “lecture” in your websites copy.

Your copy should..

The goal of writing marketing copy is that when your visitors are finished reading it, they want to take the action you have prompted them too. Or at the very least, continue viewing your website.

A bad copy can send your visitor’s running faster than Bolt and this needs to be addressed word by word.

When writing your marketing copy you should analyse every single word.

And when writing your marketing copy you should bare this in mind:

Every single word should move the reader onto the next until they have reached the end.

Once finished they should be left with 100% positivity and absolutely no feeling of negativity.

For example: instead of saying “we will teach you to learn how to ride a bike” you should write “we will show you how to ride a bike” or “we will share information that helps you to ride a bike”.

Simple differences yet highly effective.

This one should be common knowledge but somehow it doesn’t appear to be: eliminate jargon from your copy.

No one wants to read your copy and have to pause halfway through to Google a word that you use that would not be known by someone new to what you do.

It’s off putting and it leaves visitor’s feeling excluded as though they have to be experts to even use your product.

Now of course some very technical product’s do require some form of jargon but for the vast majority it is completely unnecessary that you use jargon in your copy.

So remove it now.

What you need to do next

  • Replace “learn”, “teach” and “lecture” from your marketing copy with word’s that provide complete positivity.
  • Eliminate jargon from your marketing copy with words everyone will understand


Before you move onto the next article can we ask you for a favour?

We would love you to contact us with your answer too:

How many times can we find the three customer repellent words in your marketing copy right now?

Send us a message


In this article the knowledge we consumed to share this with our readers was provided to us by two very smart people and these were: (see what we did there?)

Michael Fishman

Derek Halpern


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