Are you an email marketer worried about ending up in the spam folder? You're not alone!
With over 40% of emails ending up in this dreaded folder, it can feel like you're constantly walking on eggshells.
Just remember — as spam filters become more agressive blocking 10-20% of email from permission-based subscribers, it takes more than just avoiding spam trigger words to land to inboxes.
While avoiding trigger words list is not a foolproof solution, it can certainly minimize the risk of emails being blocked by spam filters or major blacklists. (check Folderly expert guide on how to remove Spamhaus blacklist listing)
In this article, we'll delve into the world of email marketing spam triggers, including the latest list of spam trigger words and techniques to use them effectively without triggering spam filters.
The Article Walkthrough:
❓ 7 Questions to ask to spot email spam words
🚫 Other email marketing spam triggers to avoid
✅ How to use spam words in emails safely (if still necessary)
📙 All-encompassing list of spam words and phrases
7 Questions To Ask To Spot Email Spam Words
Gmail protection service blocks over 100 million phishing emails daily. With this on mind, it becomes apparent why every part of your email, most notably the written part, needs to distinctly convey to spam filters (and your recipients, of course) that you are actually who you claim you are.
With these "ask yourself questions," you can quickly pinpoint problematic remarks, expressions, and singular words that are best avoided altogether.
Here’s what you should pay attention to:
❓ Do any of the words create a sense of urgency or pressure? Uurgency in subject lines increases the open rate by an average of 22%, but things like get started now are also typical red flags for spam filters (if not used smartly).
❓ Do you overpromise or make exaggerated claims? It’s all too easy to bloat your email with email marketing spam words like Double your income or 100% free (deceptive information also violates anti-spam laws).
❓ Do you mention money? In general, saying a recipient will earn extra cash, make $, or gain potential earnings is outright a no-no. Insightful statistics: 13.2% of spam email subject lines had the word “invoice” in them.
❓ Does anything sound unnatural? Certain phrases like dear friend or a simple hello without a name included just sound out of place, while others like check or money order or no hidden fees sound shady and/or unethical.
❓ Do you use words that are slang or jargon? Unless you’re emailing your friend or colleague, jargon and slang should be steered clear of at all times.
❓ Do you use terms and concepts that are not easy to understand? Multi-level marketing and online biz opportunity are prime examples of spam content that will immediately get picked up by spam filters.
❓ Do you say that your email isn’t junk? As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t have to point out to people that your email is legit. So, give a wide berth to this isn’t spam, not spam, and any other words that are so obvious.
Other Email Marketing Spam Triggers To Avoid
In addition to the trigger words list, it's smart to avoid the following spam trigges:
- ALL CAPS. It’s best practice (and common sense) to not use all-caps, as well as subsequent exclamation and question marks in the subject line or sections of your email. WRITING LIKE THIS!!! is a dead giveaway to spam-detecting software (and decreased reply rate by 30%. Plus, it’s just rude.
- Extreme punctuation. Don’t use special characters or symbols to stand out. Rephrase or use synonyms to stay out of trouble and in the desired inboxes. The chances are they are not displaying 100% correctly in all email clients.
- Special characters ($ #). Rephrase or use synonyms to stay out of trouble and in the desired inboxes. The chances are special characters are not displaying 100% correctly in all email clients.
- Include strangely formatted fonts (𝒿𝓊𝓈𝓉 𝓁𝒾𝓀𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓈). Using unusual fonts can make text harder to read and may activate spam detection software. Also, don’t play much with italic font which takes 50% more time for people to read.
- Links and attachments. We are all against that, especially in cold emails. You really want first to get the conversation going and then you can follow up with case studies, with links, with information. You don't want to bombard your clients and trigger spam filters (Spam emails usually contain harmful attachments so spam filters are automatically triggered).
How To Use List of Trigger Words In Emails Safely (If Still Necessary)
There is a way you can use email spam trigger words while avoiding being labeled as a spammer.
The secret lies in the following:
Pay attention to frequency and context
Having a spam word or phrase here and there doesn’t immediately mean a visit to the spam folder. Thanks to AI and machine learning that constantly improve natural language understanding, spam filters have evolved beyond automatic blacklisting. These expanded spam filtering capabilities provide room to operate and sneak in a few attention-catching words.
If you write something like limited offer in a contextual manner that goes in line with the email’s flow, you’ll be fine. Use spam keywords sparingly and responsibly as you'll always be better off writing naturally rather than aiming to grab attention.
Write witty and surprising subject lines
For many, this is easier said than done because many spam and spam-ish words are actionable and create intrigue. Almost half of email recipients will open an email based on the subject line alone. Want to hear something else scary? More than two-thirds of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line.
So, even if you manage not to trigger the spam filter, the subject line can make a difference in whether the email will be opened and received favorably by the recipient or labeled as spam.
Try to add a bit of humor as most people like to be amused, especially if you’re cold emailing (it’s not like they subscribed to you). Dad jokes are a good way to pique interest or restart the conversation. 😉
Also, try to hit on people's curiosity to get that click. Curiosity power words can awaken our natural sense of intrigue and thirst for knowledge. Words like spoiler, elusive, be the first, hush-hush, privy, and hidden are just some that can persuade the reader to discover what’s inside your email.
Personalize your emails
This is the next big thing you simply have to do because 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. What’s more, 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
On top of that, spam filters just love eating mass emails for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Personalization typically drives more engagement and showcases to Gmail, Outlook, and the like that you're a trustworthy sender. As a result, more of your future emails will make it to the inbox, leading to more benefits down the road.
For starters, address the recipient by their first name. Do it in the subject line and the first few lines as it boosts open and click-through rates.
Next, write the entire email as if you’re writing to a friend. In doing so, your language will instinctively feel more realistic and unpretending, thus making your entire personalization effort feel more genuine.
Another thing you can try is to finish off with a personalized P.S. The purpose of it is twofold:
- It’s a neat touch at the end of an email that shows you want to connect on a personal level.
- It’s also a great opportunity to sneak in a CTA with an urgency/FOMO that always shows high open rate.
Have a clean formatted copy
In the eyes of spam filters, how an email looks matters because the text surrounding the spam phrase is important for context. Hence, refrain from strange or social media-like formatting and unrelated punctuation. Also, make sure that your copy is mobile-optimized since 62.13% of people will ignore or delete an email that doesn't work well on mobile.
Pro-tip: take a comprehensive approach
If you make a concerted effort to meet adopt guidelines, you can easily leverage some “classic” spam email words in your subject line and body. While a great starting point, a trigger words list is only a small element that prompts spam filters into action. There are other non-intuitive elements to learn to know how to prevent emails from going to spam.
Email deliverability requires a full-cycle approach (from setting up your domain up to best content practices during cold email outreach).
This is when additional help in the form of an email deliverability platform such as Folderly is more than welcome because it combines AI-powered automation and human approach to maximize email deliverability rates. Thanks to its mix of computer and human input, Folderly has unique capabilities that create a custom solution for any type of deliverability issue.
All-Encompassing List Of Spam Words and Phrases
It’s our hope that this updated spam trigger words 2023 will paint you a clearer picture of the way your email and textual content need to be structured for maximum deliverability.
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