200+ Words That’ll Land Your Email in the Spam Folder

  • Email spam is the result of misleading subject titles, targeting customers who haven’t opted in, using email spam trigger words and other less-than-ideal practices.
  • Over 200 words and phrases can increase the chances that your email will land in the spam folder.
  • You can still use a couple of email spam trigger words in your emails if you take a few extra steps.
  • This article is for small business owners looking to minimize the frequency with which their marketing emails hit the spam folder.

Email marketing is an especially powerful tool for marketers. New email marketing tactics and strategies allow even the smallest companies to create campaigns that are professional and effective.There are, however, some things that will land your email in the spam folder faster than you can say “delete.” These things include, among other factors, email spam trigger words.

What causes email spam?

Some reasons why emails wind up in the spam folder include improperly misleading subject titles and marketing emails sent to recipients who haven’t opted in. Low-engagement approaches to email marketing and campaigns targeting inactive addresses can also lead to emails landing in the spam filter. So can the numerous possible violations of the CAN-SPAM Act. Of course, email spam trigger words are also a fast path right to the spam folder.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: If your emails are going to spam, the reason might be a combination of your word choices, audience targeting, email list maintenance and other factors.

What are email spam trigger words?

Craig Klein, CEO of SalesNexus, an online CRM and email marketing firm, offers a list of more than 200 words that, when included in your company’s emails, can result in them being classified as spam by your recipient’s spam filter.

“This is not the definitive or an entire list of words that activate spam filters,” said Klein in his post on the email marketer’s website. “It does give you a general idea of what to avoid in your email marketing. Obviously, anything salacious or that has sexual or pornographic words will get you blocked and could get you in trouble with your ISP (internet service provider). In addition, don’t use $, !, * or any symbols, particularly in the subject line. Things like mon$y or nak*d just don’t make it. The folks that create the filters are way too sophisticated for that type of silliness.” [Read related article: Transactional Emails to Help You Close the Deal]

Klein’s list, compiled by the marketing services director of SalesNexus, Steven Greene, includes no-brainers like “online pharmacy” and “money – no refund!” But many of the terms on the list are phrases you might use every day. They include “click to remove,” “click below” and terms like “marketing solutions.”

Editor’s note: Looking for the right email marketing solution for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

The full list of email spam trigger words

The list of email spam triggers includes these 200+ terms.

  1. 4U
  2. Accept credit cards
  3. Act now! Don’t hesitate!
  4. Additional income
  5. Addresses on CD
  6. All natural
  7. Amazing
  8. Apply online
  9. As seen on
  10. Auto email removal
  11. Avoid bankruptcy
  12. Be amazed
  13. Be your own boss
  14. Being a member
  15. Big bucks
  16. Bill 1618
  17. Billing address
  18. Billion dollars
  19. Brand new pager
  20. Bulk email
  21. Buy direct
  22. Buying judgments
  23. Cable converter
  24. Call free
  25. Call now
  26. Calling creditors
  27. Cancel at any time
  28. Can’t live without
  29. Cash bonus
  30. Cashcashcash
  31. Casino
  32. Cellphone cancer scam
  33. Cents on the dollar
  34. Check or money order
  35. Claims not to be selling anything
  36. Claims to be legal
  37. Claims you are a winner
  38. Click below
  39. Click here link
  40. Click to remove
  41. Click to remove mailto
  42. Compare rates
  43. Compete for your business
  44. Confidentially on all orders
  45. Congratulations
  46. Consolidate debt and credit
  47. Copy accurately
  48. Copy DVDs
  49. Credit bureaus
  50. Credit card offers
  51. Cures baldness
  52. Dear email
  53. Dear friend
  54. Dear somebody
  55. Different reply to
  56. Dig up dirt on friends
  57. Direct email
  58. Direct marketing
  59. Discusses search engine listings
  60. Do it today
  61. Don’t delete
  62. Drastically reduced
  63. Earn per week
  64. Easy terms
  65. Eliminate bad credit
  66. Email harvest
  67. Email marketing
  68. Expect to earn
  69. Fantastic deal
  70. Fast Viagra delivery
  71. Financial freedom
  72. Find out anything
  73. For free
  74. For instant access
  75. For just $ [some amount]
  76. Free access
  77. Free cell phone
  78. Free consultation
  79. Free DVD
  80. Free grant money
  81. Free hosting
  82. Free installation
  83. Free investment
  84. Free leads
  85. Free membership
  86. Free money
  87. Free offer
  88. Free preview
  89. Free priority mail
  90. Free quote
  91. Free sample
  92. Free trial
  93. Free website
  94. Full refund
  95. Get it now
  96. Get paid
  97. Get started now
  98. Gift certificate
  99. Great offer
  100. Guarantee
  101. Have you been turned down?
  102. Hidden assets
  103. Home employment
  104. Human growth hormone
  105. If only it were that easy
  106. In accordance with laws
  107. Increase sales
  108. Increase traffic
  109. Insurance
  110. Investment decision
  111. It’s effective
  112. Join millions of Americans
  113. Laser printer
  114. Limited time only
  115. Long distance phone offer
  116. Lose weight spam
  117. Lower interest rates
  118. Lower monthly payment
  119. Lowest price
  120. Luxury car
  121. Mail in order form
  122. Marketing solutions
  123. Mass email
  124. Meet singles
  125. Member stuff
  126. Message contains disclaimer
  127. Money back
  128. Money making
  129. Month trial offer
  130. More internet traffic
  131. Mortgage rates
  132. Multi level marketing
  133. MLM
  134. Name brand
  135. New customers only
  136. New domain extensions
  137. Nigerian
  138. No age restrictions
  139. No catch
  140. No claim forms
  141. No cost
  142. No credit check
  143. No disappointment
  144. No experience
  145. No fees
  146. No gimmick
  147. No inventory
  148. No investment
  149. No medical exams
  150. No middleman
  151. No obligation
  152. No purchase necessary
  153. No questions asked
  154. No selling
  155. No strings attached
  156. Not intended
  157. Off shore
  158. Offer expires
  159. Offers coupon
  160. Offers extra cash
  161. Offers free (often stolen) passwords
  162. Once in lifetime
  163. One hundred percent free
  164. One hundred percent guaranteed
  165. One time mailing
  166. Online biz opportunity       
  167. Online pharmacy
  168. Only $
  169. Opportunity
  170. Opt in
  171. Order now
  172. Order status
  173. Orders shipped by priority mail
  174. Outstanding values
  175. Pennies a day
  176. People just leave money laying around
  177. Please read
  178. Potential earnings
  179. Print form signature
  180. Print out and fax
  181. Produced and sent out
  182. Profits
  183. Promise you …!
  184. Pure profit
  185. Real thing
  186. Refinance home
  187. Removal instructions
  188. Remove in quotes
  189. Remove subject
  190. Removes wrinkles
  191. Reply remove subject
  192. Requires initial investment
  193. Reserves the right
  194. Reverses aging
  195. Risk free
  196. Round the world
  197. S 1618
  198. Safeguard notice
  199. Satisfaction guaranteed
  200. Save $
  201. Save big money
  202. Save up to
  203. Score with babes
  204. Section 301
  205. See for yourself
  206. Sent in compliance
  207. Serious cash
  208. Serious only
  209. Shopping spree
  210. Sign up free today
  211. Social security number
  212. Special promotion
  213. Stainless steel
  214. Stock alert
  215. Stock disclaimer statement
  216. Stock pick
  217. Stop snoring
  218. Strong buy
  219. Stuff on sale
  220. Subject to credit
  221. Supplies are limited
  222. Take action now
  223. Talks about hidden charges
  224. Talks about prizes
  225. Tells you it’s an ad
  226. Terms and conditions
  227. The best rates
  228. The following form
  229. They keep your money – no refund!
  230. They’re just giving it away
  231. This isn’t junk
  232. This isn’t spam
  233. University diplomas
  234. Unlimited
  235. Unsecured credit/debt
  236. Urgent
  237. US dollars
  238. Vacation offers
  239. Viagra and other drugs
  240. Wants credit card
  241. We hate spam
  242. We honor all
  243. Weekend getaway
  244. What are you waiting for?
  245. While supplies last
  246. While you sleep
  247. Who really wins?
  248. Why pay more?
  249. Will not believe your eyes
  250. Winner
  251. Winning
  252. Work at home
  253. You have been selected
  254. Your income

How to approach email marketing when you’re covering the above topics

If you can’t avoid one or two of the above phrases in an email, you can still bypass the spam filter. To do so, take these steps:

  • Provide full context in your emails.
  • Personalize your emails – e.g., address recipients by name.
  • Contact only recipients who have opted in to your emails.

Using best practices in creating an email list, avoiding common email marketing mistakes, using the right customer segmentation, and choosing one of the best ESPs, such as the one described in our iContact review, can help on all these fronts. Follow these best practices, and your days of hitting the spam folder might soon be in the past.

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