Writing a compelling email template is already a challenge. Appeasing spam filters doesn’t make it any easier.
As a sender, you can probably relate to this situation: You work for hours, putting perfect sales emails together; you click “Send” and wait for your intended recipients to gaze upon your creation and be amazed by your style and the presentation of your services. However, you end up waiting, and waiting, and waiting…
You send more emails, now with an Open Rate tracker — and it reveals that none of your emails is opened. It’s as if they have never reached your recipients’ mailboxes. You check your DNS records: They’re fine. You do a blacklist scan: Your domain name isn’t featured anywhere. Ultimately, you use some of the available tools to run a deliverability test — and it informs you about spammy content.
“How could this happen?” you ask yourself. “I’m not using any salesy words! I was extra careful with numbers! I avoided words, such as “buy” and “order,” like the plague. Why did it happen?”
The truth is, you may have done a great job omitting the old spam trigger words. But you probably haven’t taken care of the new ones. Yes, the list of words that spam filters consider dangerous is updated all the time. Therefore, it’s not enough to remove 3-year-old spam trigger words from your email template. You must do some extra checks for the latest words and phrases that put spam filters on high alert.
What are spam trigger words?
When emails became widely used for communication and even business conversations, users started suffering from the onslaught of uninvited messages, teeming with loud slogans written in caps, triple exclamation marks, fake “You’re the winner” messages and dubious call-to-action buttons.
This may sound unreal to the people who were born in the safe Internet epoch. However, PTAs advising caution against suspicious emails and warning not to click any suspicious links found in the body text were a common thing twenty years ago. People had to be thoroughly educated regarding the dangers that can be hidden in an unidentified message with bait in the subject line.
For example, the notorious ILOVEYOU virus that compromised the safety of ten million PCs was spread via an email that had an attached A-LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU file. The damage to the world economy inflicted by a virus with such an innocent name is estimated to be around ten billion dollars, making it one of the most destructive computer worms that ever existed.
This is why nowadays, all advanced spam filters pay extra attention to the content of incoming messages. Words, phrases, and even exclamation marks used or written in a certain way are considered to be indicators of spammy content, promoting spam filters to react and remove the incoming message from an inbox. Any word capable of triggering such a response is called a spam trigger word.
Why are there so many spam trigger words?
Going back to the topic we discussed at the beginning of this post, avoiding salesy phrases is not enough to steer clear of spam trigger words. Spam emails are designed by humans. Humans learn from their mistakes and try to find a way. Therefore, spammers often know which words no longer work and try to come up with new ones. To keep up with the updates, spam filters evolve, scanning data submitted by watchful users and adapting to these changes. This is an endless cycle, so the list of spam trigger words keeps growing.
You can find the most up-to-date list below.
How to avoid spam trigger words?
Referring to spam trigger word lists is a good idea, but given how fast new spam trigger words appear, you might need more than just a list to keep your emails clean and friendly to spam filters. Luckily, there is a certain pattern that allows you to avoid potential spam trigger words, not just the most obvious ones.
Once you’ve written your email template, go through each word very carefully. Ask yourself:
“Does my message sound too good to be true?” There is no doubt that you want to outline all the benefits of your sales offer to your prospect. But it’s important to stay realistic about it and be careful with the adjectives you’re using. Words like “amazing,” “beautiful” or “perfect” sound nice but don’t provide any substantial information. Instead, they make you look shady. Nobody believes in free cheese nowadays. People believe in risks and rewards, in data and statistics, so be honest with your prospects and don’t sugarcoat your offers.
“Does it sound like a promise I can’t keep?” Positioning yourself as a vendor who can solve problems is the right decision. However, it doesn’t mean that you can say things like:
- “We will resolve your issues.”
- “We’ll help you get more profit.”
- “You’ll be dominating your industry in less than a week.”
Those are the things a financial pyramid leader would say — and nobody likes those people. Don’t be in a hurry to give promises or guarantees. Outline your roadmap and approximate results, express your readiness to tackle challenges and adapt to them. This is what people want to see in their vendors.
“Does it sound like a scam?” Getting overly creative with your body text may do you a huge disservice. Using informal language, images to draw attention or words like “prize,” “win,” “score” won’t inspire your recipients. They will alert spam filters, though. Thus, convince people of your success with facts and case studies.
Keep in mind that you won’t automatically get banned by spam filters, even if your body text features a word from a spam trigger list. If you have a good sending reputation, a solid sender ID and delivery rate, your email will be allowed to proceed. Quite often, spam triggers go hand-in-hand with low reputation, lack of DNS records and other components of healthy outreach that spammers aren’t typically bothered with.
Spam trigger words are the words that can be used to manipulate your readers, appeal to their vision of their business and their goals, exploit their concerns by using emotional triggers. Even though there are lists of spam trigger words to avoid, you can easily dodge them by keeping your sender reputation clean and developing an individual approach to each prospect.
Find out what’s going on in your potential clients’ industry to understand their professional jargon and stay in touch with their latest trends. If you do proper research, you won’t have problems with sounding corny, cheesy, insincere, unoriginal or spammy.
We hope that this post was helpful to you. In case you want to explore the principles behind cold outreach more closely, stay tuned for more content by becoming our subscriber!