130 Spam Trigger Words to Help You Stay Out of Spam (2021)

Payman Taei
Payman Taei
11 minute read

130 Spam Trigger Words to Help You Stay Out of Spam (2021)

Payman Taei
Payman Taei
11 minute read

Whether you’re a marketer, a small business owner, or anyone else taking advantage of email marketing, the last thing you want is for your cold email campaigns to not be seen by your recipients.

One of the most common reasons why this happens is because they end up in junk and spam folders instead of the inbox.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to avoid this from happening, in order to get the best out of your email outreach and increase your open and click-through rates.

Let’s get started.

What Are Spam Words?

Spam words are words or phrases that email providers have identified to represent suspicious or malicious activity.

In order to protect the recipients from such actions when they receive an email, spam filters are triggered to identify whether any spam words have been used, as well as which ones.

Should an email be classified as spam, it’ll go straight to the spam folder instead of the inbox.

Why is that bad?

Because your email’s open rates are drastically reduced since there are fewer chances for it to get noticed, but even if it does, it’s not as trustworthy anymore.

Here’s what a spam folder will typically look like:

Spam email examples

That’s exactly why it’s important to pay attention to which words you use when writing an email; whether that’s for personal or business matters.

Author’s Note: Avoiding spam words isn’t only in terms of the email’s content, but also the email subject line.

Let’s now have a look at the most important reasons why your email might be marked as spam.

8 Reasons Why Your Emails Go to Spam

We just said that you should avoid using some words or phrases that might trigger spam filters.

This is the first of many reasons why your email might go to spam.

Let’s have a closer look at this, as well as some of the most common ones.

Reason #1: Your content will trigger spam filters

Email providers have constantly been improving their algorithms over the years to identify whether an email is spam or not.

Spam words play a major role in activating spam filters and excessive use of them should be avoided.

If you’re wondering which words we’re specifically talking about, we’ll go through many of them in detail later on in this guide.

Is that the only way your email might end up in a spam folder?

Definitely not, since there are more reasons that contribute to this.

Let’s go through more of them.

Reason #2: You’ve added attachments

It’s normal to add attachments in your email, but when your recipient isn’t expecting them, this might be marked as suspicious behavior by email providers; there are simply too many scam attempts using them too.

Especially when writing cold emails, we strongly recommend avoiding the use of attachments.

Moving on to the next reason.

Reason #3: You’re sending bulk emails

Another reason why your email might go to spam is that you’re sending too many of them at once.

Mass emails are almost always marked as a spammy action, so obviously this is the last thing you want for your email marketing campaign.

Thankfully, there are a few ways around this, such as sending your emails with a small delay in between them.

Smart, right?

Now, let’s talk about how your emails sent in the past can affect your current outreach efforts.

Reason #4: You’ve got low engagement rates

Assuming your past email campaigns had very low engagement rates, such as open and click-through rates, this could potentially mean that your recipients aren’t interested in what you have to offer, at least in the eyes of email providers.

If you’re wondering how to calculate your email campaign’s open rate, all you have to do is divide the number of emails read by the total number of emails delivered.

For example, let’s assume your mailing list consists of 100 subscribers but only 20 of them actually opened your email. That’s an open rate of:

open rate formula

Author’s Note: In order for an open rate to be considered “good”, keep in mind that it should be around 20%, but it varies based on the industry.

HubSport open rate graph
Image Source: Hubspot

Similarly, to calculate the click-through rate you have to divide the number of recipients who clicked on at least one link in your email by the total number of emails delivered.

Assuming your mailing list consists again of 100 subscribers, but only 5 of them clicked on a link, that’s a click-through rate of:

Click through rate formula

Author’s Note: The average click-through rate is estimated to be around 2.5%, so anything above that is considered “good”.

Generally speaking, low engagement rates tend to lead your emails to the spam folder as a way to potentially protect recipients; make sure your emails are interesting and relevant so you can increase those rates.

Actually, according to a study, 75% of spam invitations detected were of no or low relevance to the recipients.

We can’t say we’re surprised by that.

Overall, we recommend tracking all metrics that can increase your email deliverability.

One of the most important ones is the bounce rate.

Let’s get into it.

Reason #5: You’ve got high bounce rates

To put it simply, this metric shows the percentage of email addresses that didn’t receive your email.

There are many reasons why this might happen, with the most common ones being that the recipient’s email address has been deleted, it contains a typo, or that their inbox is full.

The formula to calculate the bounce rate is simple; divide the number of bounced emails by the total number of emails sent.

If our mailing list consists of 100 email addresses and 2 of them bounced, that’s a bounce rate of:

Bounce rate formula

The reason why this metric is important is that percentages that are too high can mean that you’re guessing email addresses, which for email providers is a sign of suspicious – and potentially spammy – behavior.

Author’s Note: Keep in mind that the average bounce rate for emails is below 2%, so anything above that benchmark will need investigating.

Should one or more of your emails get bounced, this is what a typical message from your email provider will look like:

Address not found message

Alternatively, if you’re using an email marketing platform, in most cases you’ll be able to see your campaign’s metrics including the bounce rate.

This is why, when creating your mailing list, you must make sure that it’s clean so as many of your subscribers as possible receive your emails.

Moving on to the next reason.

Reason #6: You’ve got too many spelling mistakes

Another pattern identified in unsolicited emails that have the intent to scam or mislead someone is the high frequency of spelling and grammatical errors.

This doesn’t automatically mean that a couple of misspellings will lead your email to the spam folder, but it’s common for scammers from non-English speaking countries to use Google translate or other alternatives.

As a result, their emails contain a high amount of errors that email providers are now able to identify in order to protect their users.

Impressive, right?

Now let’s have a look at the seventh reason why your email might go to spam.

Reason #7: Your sender information isn’t clear

What email providers also pay attention to is your sender information; meaning that your email address should clearly show who you are or who your company is.

Should this information be misleading, email providers will rightly mark you as spam in order to protect recipients.

This includes both your domain name, as well as your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information.

Here’s what a good and clear email address would look like:

[email protected]

And the sender’s information would say: “Michael from Respona”.

On the other hand, a misleading address would look something like this:

[email protected]

Which clearly doesn’t contain the right information for email providers to trust the contents.

The better your sender reputation, the less likely it is for your email to go to spam.

If you want to make sure your identity is as legitimate as possible, you can also add some extra information to your email signature; such as your name, the company you work for, your role in it, as well as links to your own or your company’s social media accounts.

Email signature job title

Let’s continue to the last reason.

Reason #8: You’ve used too many images

We recommend avoiding the usage of too many images compared to the amount of text.

While adding images in cold emails isn’t bad, you should keep a balanced image-to-text ratio because email algorithms can’t tell what’s included in images.

The excessive use of them can be considered as an attempt to “trick” the spam filters.

To sum up, here’s the complete list of the eight reasons we believe emails tend to go to spam:

  • Your content will trigger spam filters 
  • Your email contains an attachment
  • You’re sending bulk emails all at once
  • Your email conversion rates are too low
  • Your email bounce rates are too high
  • Your email has too many spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Your sender information isn’t clear enough
  • You’ve added too many images compared to the text

In the following section, we’ve classified the most often used spam words into three main categories, in order for you to be aware of which ones they are.

Let’s have a closer look at them.

Category #1: Symbols

The first category we’re going to talk about is symbols.

Symbols are one of the most common things that trigger spam filters, which is why email marketers avoid using them in their email campaigns; especially in the subject lines.

How often do you receive emails with the excessive use of dollar signs and other symbols in your spam folder?

Chances are; quite often because they tend to make exaggerated claims.

Here’s a list of the symbols – either alone or in phrases – that we recommend you avoid using:

  1. #1
  2. $$$
  3. Make $
  4. Save $
  5. 0%
  6. 0% risk
  7. 100%
  8. 100% free
  9. 100% satisfied
  10. 99.9%
  11. 50% off
  12. 4U

Let’s move on to the next category.

Category #2: Words That Create Urgency

Our next list of spam words is around words that create urgency.

Unnecessary and exaggerated words or phrases that urge you to take action are some of the most common tactics spammers use for their phishing gimmicks, so you should be able to spot them easily.

Once again, many of them create false promises such as “Last chance” or “Once in a lifetime”.

If you spot these or any of the spam words we’ll list below in an email, avoid opening it and make sure to not use any of them in your own cold outreach campaigns.

Here are some examples:

  1. Act now
  2. Apply now
  3. Become a member
  4. Call now
  5. Click below
  6. Click here
  7. Open link
  8. Get
  9. Get it now
  10. Get started now
  11. Do it today
  12. Don’t delete
  13. Exclusive deal
  14. Special promotion
  15. Important information regarding
  16. Information you requested
  17. Instant
  18. Instant access
  19. Limited time
  20. New customers only
  21. Order now
  22. Order today
  23. Great offer
  24. Please read
  25. See for yourself
  26. Sign up free
  27. Take action
  28. Expire
  29. Offer expires
  30. Now only
  31. This won’t last
  32. Urgent
  33. What are you waiting for?
  34. While supplies last
  35. Once in a lifetime
  36. Only for you
  37. Will not believe your eyes
  38. You are a winner
  39. You have been selected
  40. Cancel at any time
  41. Last chance
  42. Last day
  43. Don’t wait
  44. Join millions of people

Moving on to the next category.

Category #3: Words That Create False Promises

This category is about words creating exaggerated claims and making false promises.

It’s very common for spam emails to try and lure people into taking an action, such as clicking on a link that’s potentially malicious.

This can be done by creating false claims and promising things like money, fantastic deals, risk-free opportunities, and much more.

Let’s have a closer look:

  1. No hidden charges
  2. No hidden costs
  3. Lose weight
  4. Best price
  5. Best rates
  6. Cash bonus
  7. Money order
  8. Make money
  9. Big bucks
  10. Pure profits
  11. Cures
  12. Weight loss
  13. Meet singles
  14. No catch
  15. No cost
  16. No credit check
  17. No fees
  18. No gimmick
  19. Refinance
  20. No interest
  21. No investment
  22. No capital
  23. No obligation
  24. No purchase necessary
  25. No questions asked
  26. No strings attached
  27. No experience
  28. Requires initial investment
  29. This isn’t a scam
  30. This isn’t junk
  31. This isn’t spam
  32. Earn extra cash
  33. Earn extra income
  34. Additional income
  35. Expect to earn
  36. Fast cash
  37. Financial freedom
  38. Lowest price
  39. Free access
  40. Free consultation
  41. Free hosting
  42. Free info
  43. Free investment
  44. Free membership
  45. Free money
  46. Free preview
  47. Free quote
  48. Free offer
  49. Free sample
  50. Free trial
  51. Free web traffic
  52. Free search engine listings
  53. Free gift
  54. Free DVD
  55. Full refund
  56. Name brand products
  57. Month trial offer
  58. Get out of debt
  59. Increase sales
  60. Increase traffic
  61. Satisfaction guaranteed
  62. Get paid
  63. Get rich
  64. Unsecured credit
  65. Own boss
  66. Work from home
  67. Home-based business
  68. No credit card
  69. Accept credit cards
  70. Credit card offers
  71. Low mortgage rates
  72. Low interest rates
  73. Easy terms
  74. Priority mail

Those are some of the most common email spam words to avoid using if you want your campaign to stay out of the spam folder.

You might also want to steer away from sensitive terms such as “billing address”, “order form”, “credit bureau”, and “Social Security Number” that email providers have tightly correlated with scamming attempts.

Plus, many terms that are relevant to marketing activities like “marketing solutions”, “multi-level marketing”, “online marketing”, and “direct marketing”, are best avoided since they can act as email spam trigger words, too.

Overall, even though our list of words and phrases can prove to be very helpful when creating a high-quality email, it’s important to remember all the reasons that contribute to the chances of it going to spam.

As long as you keep them in mind, you’ve got nothing to worry about!

Now Over to You

There you have it.

You now know all the basics when it comes to spam words, as well as how to create an email campaign that stays out of spam.

We hope that the next time you start writing an email, this piece of content will be very helpful and our list will act as your guide.

If you’re looking for an email outreach software that’ll help you step-by-step in your cold outreach efforts, don’t hesitate to give Respona a try.

Our hassle-free way of handling and personalizing your email campaigns will help ensure you stay out of spam for good!

Thanks for reading.

Payman Taei
Payman Taei
Payman Taei is the co-founder of Respona, the all-in-one PR and link building tool that combines personalization with productivity. He’s also the founder of Visme, a DIY platform that allows everyone to create and manage presentations, infographics, reports, and other visual content.

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