7 Email Spam Triggers Digital Marketers Should Avoid at All Costs

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27th May, 2022
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7 Email Spam Triggers Digital Marketers Should Avoid at All Costs

Email marketing is one of the best ways to build a relationship with consumers that can lead to sales. However, your email marketing efforts are worthless if your messages get sent to recipients’ spam folders. If consumers don’t get a chance to see your messages, then you’ve wasted time and money on digital marketing tactics that could have been very effective had you made a few tweaks to your subject line and content.

Here are some of the most common email spam triggers that you should avoid if you want people to actually get your messages. Print this article out and hang it by your computer so you don’t forget to delete all of these spam triggers from every message you send to your list.

Trigger #1: Anything Related to “Free”

Yes, people love to get free stuff, so including a subject line that hypes your free offer seems like it would make a lot of sense for your email marketing campaign, right? Well, it would if “free” didn’t equate to spam for email providers’ spam filters. Whether you’re offering a free gift, free shipping, free quote, free sample, or free anything else, don’t mention that it’s free in your email subject line! Avoid the word “free” no matter what!

Trigger #2: Money and Finance

Let me put it this way. It’s challenging to write email marketing campaigns for finance companies because so many money-related terms are spam filter triggers. You have to get really creative! For your email marketing campaigns, avoid phrases like the ones listed below:

• For just $### (or “Only $###”)
• Money back
• Lowest price
• No cost
• Fast cash
• Affordable (or “cheap”)
• Discount
• Credit card offer
• Full refund
• No hidden costs
• Consolidate debt (and/or “credit”)
• Get paid
• Lower your mortgage rate
• Lower your interest rate
• Pre-approved
• Get out of debt

Trigger #3: Employment Terms

Employment terms have turned into spam triggers as a result of so many get-rich-quick email scams and multi-level marketing schemes. A good rule of thumb is to avoid using phrases in your subject lines that refer to making money. Some examples include:
• Be your own boss
• Earn $###
• Home-based
• Earn extra cash (or “money” or “income”)
• Make money
• Work from home
• Money-making

Trigger #4: Numbers

Any kind of numbers can trigger spam filters. This is true whether numbers are provided in numeric form or word form (i.e., 5 or five). Here are a few examples to avoid:
• 100% free
• 100% satisfied
• 100% guarantee
• 50% off
• #1

Trigger #5: Big Claims

If your offer is too good to be true, few consumers will believe it and even fewer spam filters will let your message get through to recipients’ mailboxes. Here are some common claims that can send your message to the spam folder:
• Amazing
• Satisfaction guaranteed
• Outstanding prices
• Risk free
• Fantastic deal

Trigger #6: Punctuation

Spam filters don’t like excessive punctuation, so use it sparingly. Avoid adding a bunch of exclamation points or other punctuation in the subject line or body of your email messages.

Trigger #7: Fw or Re

Don’t try to fool spam filters by sending your message using a subject line that begins with “Fw:” or “Re:” to make it seem like you’re forwarding a great message or responding to a message sent to you. Spam filters look for these types of messages, and you can bet your message will end up in recipients’ spam folders.


Susan Gunelius

Blog Author

Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative. She also owns an award-winning blog, Women on Business.

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