Spam trigger words | 400+ of spam words to avoid in your next email

Drafting your next email can be as stressful as writing content for your blog post. Above this, what if the email you drafted with so much time and efforts, lands up in a SPAM box of your subscriber? This happens even if your subscriber has explicitly chosen to sign up for your newsletter? Ever wondered why? That because of spam trigger words you accidentally used in your email.

Less than 80% commercial email in the US reach the intended recipient’s inbox across the world. If you want to land in the remaining 20% of the scale, you need to understand the damage spam trigger words can create. Having this in mind, you should prepare your content for email newsletters. If you deliver your blog posts directly through email, then you should avoid using these spam trigger words in your blog posts too.

Not a long ago, SPAM filters were not smart enough to trace all the spam trigger words in the email. But not anymore. Back in those days, spam trigger words were basically too many mentions of words like “free”, “money”, “$” or any currency for that matter. But the problem for marketers was, which word in your email became the spam trigger word. Email marketing was so annoying back then. The SPAM filters pushed your content into SPAM box for no reason, and you couldn’t even figure why.

While the SPAM filters are still in process of understanding the email conversations you and I have a chance to brace our marketing strategy. SPAM filters and search engines are almost similar, one finds the results for given word and other one avoids the results with the given spam trigger words. Furthermore, you want to reach the inboxes of your subscribers and not the SPAM box, there are a number of different factors to take care of.

Tip #5: Avoid using too many symbols

The Internet service provider(ISP) have their own filters that do the most of the job. The filters begin their work with scanning for symbols. Furthermore, the filters look for capitalization, punctuation, and symbols in content too.

So to avoid ISP raising a red flag for your content here are the best practices:

#1 Avoid exclamation — Excessive use of exclamation is nothing but a suicide content. Where do the exclamations appear? Yes, at the end of a sentence. If you approach a pro copy-writer, they’ll suggest you to remove all unnecessary exclamations. And we know it, how annoying unnecessary exclamations are.

#2 Avoid all capitalization — YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO AVOID ALL CAPITALIZATION IN YOUR EMAIL BODY, AS YOU FIND THIS ANNOYING, EVEN THE END USERS WOULD. All capitalization do good in CTAs and emphasizing texts. They’re meaningful. All caps are instantly flagged by the filters.

#3 Avoid unnecessary use of any currency symbol — Usage of the symbol is already an invitation for filters to flag your content as spam. Furthermore, using the currency symbol in the email body is not at all cool. Filters won’t spare your content. They’re robots, they’re merciless. Even if it is accidental, they’ll mark it as spam.

As an alternative to currency symbols, you can make use of currency name(USD, GBP, EUR, INR). This would do a lot of favor to you. You can use symbols but only in the right context in the email body.

Tip #2: Have decent and simple formatting

Making the email look appealing is as important as the subject and content of the email itself. Have a decent format for the email and don’t make it look like a third-grade crime film poster. Avoid mistakes as follows:

  • Unnecessary punctuations!?!!?!!
  • Writing in multiple colors
  • Different font sizes in same sentences
  • IMpropeR CAPitaliZATION
  • Unnecessary Bold or Italics in the same sentence

Did you find this annoying right? Avoid giving this experience to your subscribers. Serve a neat and clean email digest to the subscribers so that you both get benefits. They get the value-added information and you as a publisher get their trust.

Tip #3: Avoid short URLs

The easiest way to look like a spammer is to use short links. Spammers do this to hide the actual URL. Which may reveal the actual content that will be on the webpage they want you to redirect. Popular URL shortener like has been blocked by many ISP.

If you have your genuine content shortened by, you’re straight away going to land in the SPAM box. Even though you have not used any spam trigger words. Furthermore, if you are using any of the Email marketing automation tools, you don’t have to shorten the URL. The tool will append any tracking parameter required to measure the engagement of your email. I’d say better not shorten at all, URL is the business card of the post, it tells the viewer what they’ll be seeing on the next screen.

I have shared my insight on the importance of a catchy subject line in tip #3 of transactional email best practices. It can help you save a subscriber from unsubscribing. Furthermore, it is the first thing you and I see whenever an email arrives. To avoid being marked as spam, avoid the following mistakes:

#1 Subject line should be contextual and not a click-bait

This has happened to me. I got an email from an e-shopping site, that was clearly a click-bait. That is, the content inside was nowhere relevant to the subject line. What did I do? I blocked the sender and unsubscribed. The same thing can happen to your emails too if you don’t have a contextual subject line. Be as creative as possible but do not cross the line where the subject line is no more related to the content inside.

You can consider any typical social media post(s) as an example, 7–8 out of 10 are click-baits. I report each and every post I come across which has click-bait title. According to MailChimp, a definitive and contextual subject line gives you 60%-87% or open rates.

#2 Subject line should also match the sign-up form

Did you promise to deliver content every Friday? or send content on health and fitness? Are you sending the emails accordingly? If no, please consider sending as promised. Did you know 68% of users mark an email as spam just by seeing the subject line? If users find your emails unfamiliar, you know what they are going to do. Show your email the way to the SPAM box. Furthermore, Even for once your email ID reaches SPAM folder, don’t expect the filters to spare your future emails.

Here are some Do’s to help you draft your email subject lines:

  1. Give personal touch
  2. Benefits/lists/numbers
  3. Humor is allowed
  4. The [urgency creating] guide to [your topic]
  5. How [irrelevant thing] is similar to [your topic]

Here are some examples for each of these subject lines

  1. Hi John, Here’s a gift for your birthday
  2. 8 reason why you shouldn’t eat after 8 PM
  3. Don’t open this email, you’ll definitely buy it
  4. Last 2 hours before the exclusive offer ends
  5. How creating a catchy subject line is like eating a whole hamburger

You get the point.

Tip #1: Avoid obvious spam trigger words

The most important step is to avoid spam trigger words anywhere in your email. The filters scan your content inside the email to decide whether or not your email will land in the SPAM folder. However, the subject lines are scanned too.

I’ve compiled 400+ spam trigger words which you should NEVER use in any of your emails. Furthermore, you will find certain words/sentences in the table below that are innoxious. Additionally, you might even have noticed it in many of the emails. That is why you must abide by the context and not just the spam trigger words.

Email marketing is one of the best and most effective ways to engage with your subscribers. It is the closest you can get to them. Choose to be the right person with right email getting in front of them. I hope you are having a better understanding of the spam trigger words. Just focus on the context and rest will fall into place.

Over to you. What do you think of spam trigger words? Have you found your email in spam box? Which tip are you going to use first? Let me know in the comment section below.

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Originally published at on April 9, 2018.

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