After spending hours creating an email marketing campaign, the last thing you want to do is get blocked by your recipients’ spam filters. Luckily, by avoiding common email spam trigger words, you can successfully prevent your emails from getting routed to spam folders.

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Let’s take a look at what spam trigger words are, what gets emails sent to spam, and which spam words you should avoid when creating your email campaigns.

Spam filters can be triggered for a variety of reasons, causing your email to skip recipients’ inboxes and land straight in their spam inbox. One of the easiest ways to avoid spam filters is by carefully choosing the words you use in your email’s subject line.

Trigger words are known to cause problems and increase the chances of your email getting caught in a spam trap. By avoiding these words in your email subject lines, you can dramatically increase your chances of getting beyond the filters.

Spam trigger words alone aren’t enough to send your email to spam. For instance, if you are offering a 3-for-1 discount sale, you can still advertise that in your emails and not get sent to spam. It’s important to understand all the factors that come into play when emails get identified as spam.

What causes emails to go to spam?

Email providers look for a number of factors when deciding whether to automatically send your emails to spam. If you’ve made it on an email blacklist, that means you’ve repeatedly sent emails to recipients who haven’t signed up for your email list.

Your emails can get sent to spam if you:

  • Don’t include an unsubscribe button in your email
  • Send poorly-designed emails with broken or glitchy code
  • Address your recipient by “my friend” or “dear” (or not by their name)
  • Buy email lists online and mass-send messages to email addresses that don’t exist (resulting in a high bounce rate)
  • Use all-caps text and extreme punctuation (!!!!! or ?????)
  • Include strangely formatted fonts (𝖑𝖎𝖐𝖊 𝖙𝖍𝖎𝖘)
  • Provide links to fraudulent websites

Email providers only want to deliver emails from high-reputation senders. To be a high-reputation sender, do the following:

  • Include an unsubscribe button
  • Design your emails with clean code using a tool such as Marketing Hub
  • Personalize your emails with the recipient’s first name
  • Only email those who’ve subscribed to your email list (if you don’t have any, you should learn to naturally increase your email list subscribers)
  • Keep your email deliverability high
  • Keep the text free of odd formatting and extraneous punctuation
  • Only link out to reputable websites

If you meet these criteria, you can get away with using “classic” email spam words in your subject line and your email. The text surrounding the spam phrase also matters, as does your history as an email sender. If email providers don’t have a reason to mistrust you, they simply won’t.

Email Spam Words to Avoid

When writing your email subject lines, you want to avoid:

  • Over-sensationalizing
  • Over-promising
  • Using strange formatting to “stand out” in the recipient’s inbox

Next time you sit down to write an email subject line, consult the exhaustive list below. In fact, you might want to bookmark this list so you can refer back to it every time you craft an email subject line.

Commerce

  1. As seen on
  2. Buy
  3. Buy direct
  4. Buying judgments
  5. Clearance
  6. Order
  7. Order status
  8. Orders shipped by shopper

Personal

  1. Dig up dirt on friends
  2. Meet singles
  3. Score with babes
  4. XXX
  5. Near you

Employment

  1. Additional income
  2. Be your own boss
  3. Compete for your business
  4. Double your
  5. Earn $
  6. Earn extra cash
  7. Earn per week
  8. Expect to earn
  9. Extra income
  10. Home based
  11. Home employment
  12. Homebased business
  13. Income from home
  14. Make $
  15. Make money
  16. Money making
  17. Online biz opportunity
  18. Online degree
  19. Opportunity
  20. Potential earnings
  21. University diplomas
  22. While you sleep
  23. Work at home
  24. Work from home

Financial – General

  1. $$$
  2. Affordable
  3. Bargain
  4. Beneficiary
  5. Best price
  6. Big bucks
  7. Cash
  8. Cash bonus
  9. Cashcashcash
  10. Cents on the dollar
  11. Cheap
  12. Check
  13. Claims
  14. Collect
  15. Compare rates
  16. Cost
  17. Credit
  18. Credit bureaus
  19. Discount
  20. Earn
  21. Easy terms
  22. F r e e
  23. Fast cash
  24. For just $XXX
  25. Hidden assets
  26. hidden charges
  27. Income
  28. Incredible deal
  29. Insurance
  30. Investment
  31. Loans
  32. Lowest price
  33. Million dollars
  34. Money
  35. Money back
  36. Mortgage
  37. Mortgage rates
  38. No cost
  39. No fees
  40. One hundred percent free
  41. Only $
  42. Pennies a day
  43. Price
  44. Profits
  45. Pure profit
  46. Quote
  47. Refinance
  48. Save $
  49. Save big money
  50. Save up to
  51. Serious cash
  52. Subject to credit
  53. They keep your money — no refund!
  54. Unsecured credit
  55. Unsecured debt
  56. US dollars
  57. Why pay more?

Financial – Business

  1. Accept credit cards
  2. Cards accepted
  3. Check or money order
  4. Credit card offers
  5. Explode your business
  6. Full refund
  7. Investment decision
  8. No credit check
  9. No hidden Costs
  10. No investment
  11. Requires initial investment
  12. Sent in compliance
  13. Stock alert
  14. Stock disclaimer statement
  15. Stock pick

Financial – Personal

  1. Avoice bankruptcy
  2. Calling creditors
  3. Collect child support
  4. Consolidate debt and credit
  5. Consolidate your debt
  6. Eliminate bad credit
  7. Eliminate debt
  8. Financially independent
  9. Get out of debt
  10. Get paid
  11. Lower interest rate
  12. Lower monthly payment
  13. Lower your mortgage rate
  14. Lowest insurance rates
  15. Pre-approved
  16. Refinance home
  17. Social security number
  18. Your income

General

  1. Acceptance
  2. Accordingly
  3. Avoid
  4. Chance
  5. Dormant
  6. Freedom
  7. Here
  8. Hidden
  9. Home
  10. Leave
  11. Lifetime
  12. Lose
  13. Maintained
  14. Medium
  15. Miracle
  16. Never
  17. Passwords
  18. Problem
  19. Remove
  20. Reverses
  21. Sample
  22. Satisfaction
  23. Solution
  24. Stop
  25. Success
  26. Teen
  27. Wife

Greetings

  1. Dear [email/friend/somebody]
  2. Friend
  3. Hello

Marketing

  1. Ad
  2. Auto email removal
  3. Bulk email
  4. Click
  5. Click below
  6. Click here
  7. Click to remove
  8. Direct email
  9. Direct marketing
  10. Email harvest
  11. Email marketing
  12. Form
  13. Increase sales
  14. Increase traffic
  15. Increase your sales
  16. Internet market
  17. Internet marketing
  18. Marketing
  19. Marketing solutions
  20. Mass email
  21. Member
  22. Month trial offer
  23. More Internet Traffic
  24. Multi level marketing
  25. Notspam
  26. One time mailing
  27. Online marketing
  28. Open
  29. Opt in
  30. Performance
  31. Removal instructions
  32. Sale
  33. Sales
  34. Search engine listings
  35. Search engines
  36. Subscribe
  37. The following form
  38. This isn’t junk
  39. This isn’t spam
  40. Undisclosed recipient
  41. Unsubscribe
  42. Visit our website
  43. We hate spam
  44. Web traffic
  45. Will not believe your eyes

Medical

  1. Cures baldness
  2. Diagnostic
  3. Fast Viagra delivery
  4. Human growth hormone
  5. Life insurance
  6. Lose weight
  7. Lose weight spam
  8. Medicine
  9. No medical exams
  10. Online pharmacy
  11. Removes wrinkles
  12. Reverses aging
  13. Stop snoring
  14. Valium
  15. Viagra
  16. Vicodin
  17. Weight loss
  18. Xanax

Numbers

  1. #1
  2. 100% free
  3. 100% satisfied
  4. 4U
  5. 50% off
  6. Billion
  7. Billion dollars
  8. Join millions
  9. Join millions of Americans
  10. Million
  11. One hundred percent guaranteed
  12. Thousands

Offers

  1. Being a member
  2. Billing address
  3. Call
  4. Cannot be combined with any other offer
  5. Confidentially on all orders
  6. Deal
  7. Financial freedom
  8. Gift certificate
  9. Giving away
  10. Guarantee
  11. Have you been turned down?
  12. If only it were that easy
  13. Important information regarding
  14. In accordance with laws
  15. Long distance phone offer
  16. Mail in order form
  17. Message contains
  18. Name brand
  19. Nigerian
  20. No age restrictions
  21. No catch
  22. No claim forms
  23. No disappointment
  24. No experience
  25. No gimmick
  26. No inventory
  27. No middleman
  28. No obligation
  29. No purchase necessary
  30. No questions asked
  31. No selling
  32. No strings attached
  33. No-obligation
  34. Not intended
  35. Obligation
  36. Off shore
  37. Offer
  38. Per day
  39. Per week
  40. Priority mail
  41. Prize
  42. Prizes
  43. Produced and sent out
  44. Reserves the right
  45. Shopping spree
  46. Stuff on sale
  47. Terms and conditions
  48. The best rates
  49. They’re just giving it away
  50. Trial
  51. Unlimited
  52. Unsolicited
  53. Vacation
  54. Vacation offers
  55. Warranty
  56. We honor all
  57. Weekend getaway
  58. What are you waiting for?
  59. Who really wins?
  60. Win
  61. Winner
  62. Winning
  63. Won
  64. You are a winner!
  65. You have been selected
  66. You’re a Winner!

Calls-to-Action

  1. Cancel at any time
  2. Compare
  3. Copy accurately
  4. Get
  5. Give it away
  6. Print form signature
  7. Print out and fax
  8. See for yourself
  9. Sign up free today

Free

  1. Free
  2. Free access
  3. Free cell phone
  4. Free consultation
  5. Free DVD
  6. Free gift
  7. Free grant money
  8. Free hosting
  9. Free installation
  10. Free Instant
  11. Free investment
  12. Free leads
  13. Free membership
  14. Free money
  15. Free offer
  16. Free preview
  17. Free priority mail
  18. Free quote
  19. Free sample
  20. Free trial
  21. Free website

Descriptions/Adjectives

  1. All natural
  2. All new
  3. Amazing
  4. Certified
  5. Congratulations
  6. Drastically reduced
  7. Fantastic deal
  8. For free
  9. Guaranteed
  10. It’s effective
  11. Outstanding values
  12. Promise you
  13. Real thing
  14. Risk free
  15. Satisfaction guaranteed

Sense of Urgency

  1. Access
  2. Act now!
  3. Apply now
  4. Apply online
  5. Call free
  6. Call now
  7. Can’t live without
  8. Do it today
  9. Don’t delete
  10. Don’t hesitate
  11. For instant access
  12. For Only
  13. For you
  14. Get it now
  15. Get started now
  16. Great offer
  17. Info you requested
  18. Information you requested
  19. Instant
  20. Limited time
  21. New customers only
  22. Now
  23. Now only
  24. Offer expires
  25. Once in lifetime
  26. One time
  27. Only
  28. Order now
  29. Order today
  30. Please read
  31. Special promotion
  32. Supplies are limited
  33. Take action now
  34. Time limited
  35. Urgent
  36. While supplies last

Nouns

  1. Addresses on CD
  2. Beverage
  3. Bonus
  4. Brand new pager
  5. Cable converter
  6. Casino
  7. Celebrity
  8. Copy DVDs
  9. Laser printer
  10. Legal
  11. Luxury car
  12. New domain extensions
  13. Phone
  14. Rolex
  15. Stainless steel

Use Spam Trigger Words Sparingly and Within Context

So long as you use email marketing best practices and use spam trigger words within context, you can bypass spam filters. Spam filters have become much more sophisticated in recent years. Using one or two phrases won’t hurt you, but make sure to only email customers who want to hear from you and to always personalize your emails. Doing so will optimize the results of your campaign and keep you out of spam folders.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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