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Why Your Emails Might Be Headed Straight to SPAM (Plus 400 Spam Words To Avoid)

We’ve all been there. You pour your heart, soul, and maybe a tiny bit of caffeine-fueled midnight oil into crafting an email. You reckon it’s the bee’s knees. A real digital masterpiece that Picasso would be jealous of if he were into email marketing, of course. But then, instead of fanfares, fireworks, and open rates through the roof, you’re met with… silence. Tumbleweed moment.

You’re scratching your head, wondering, “Where did I go wrong?” Well, that award-deserving email might have taken an unscheduled detour to the spam folder, the digital equivalent of Narnia, just less magical and more… well, spammy.

The vast world of email marketing is a slippery slope. It’s a challenge to balance crafting compelling content while evading the relentless grasp of those pesky spam filters. With everyone from hip startups to your distant cousin sending out newsletters and “limited-time offers,” how do you ensure your emails don’t just blend in but actually get the spotlight? In this blog post, I’m going to dive into the trenches to pull your emails out of the shadows and into the limelight where they belong. 

The Email Black Hole: Unmasking the Spam Folder

It’s not just the place where those ‘You’ve won $1,000,000’ emails go to party. Nope, the spam folder, that notorious black hole, can occasionally get a bit greedy and gobble up legitimate emails. Yours included. 

Understanding the Gatekeepers: Spam Filters

The Techy Guardians:

Every email client, whether it’s Gmail, Yahoo, or that old Hotmail account you’re sentimentally hanging onto (it’s okay, we all have one), has built-in spam filters. These digital watchdogs scan incoming emails with the scrutiny of an over-protective parent, looking for anything that might spell trouble.

The Grey Matter Guardian:

Then there’s our brain – the most advanced filter known to humankind. If something looks off, feels dodgy, or just screams “I’m spam!”, our minds will tag it faster than you can say “Delete.”

How Spam Filters Work: The Secret Sauce

Think of spam filters as the email bouncer. They have a list, and if you’re not on the good side of it, you’re not getting in.

The Rulebook:

These filters use a heuristic approach, which is just a fancy way of saying they’ve got a rulebook thicker than grandma’s cookbook. This rulebook lays down the law on what constitutes a ‘spammy’ email.

The Checklist:

From spammy words that sound more like sleazy pick-up lines to suspicious from-email addresses that look like they were mashed on a keyboard, they check it all. Using a ton of links? Red flag. Sending an essay instead of an email? Another red flag. Too many discounts that sound too good to be true? You guessed it, red flag!

Past Crimes:

Like that teacher who never forgets the one time you didn’t do your homework, these filters remember. If your past emails have been flagged or deleted without being read, the filter raises an eyebrow. Too many misdemeanours and you’re in the naughty corner.

The Tech Specs:

Email filters also have a keen eye on the technical side. It’s not just about what’s in the email but also how it’s packaged. Is your HTML code clean? Is your sender IP reputable? If you’re sending an email, make sure its backend is as polished as the content.

Giving Spam Filters the Slip: Tips & Tricks

Alright, now that we’ve played detective, it’s time to get down to business. Ensuring your emails don’t end up in the dreaded spam folder is a bit like ensuring your toast lands butter side up – it’s an art and a science.

Words Matter:

Exclamation points!!! We get it, you’re excited. But spam filters? Not so much. They’re like that grumpy librarian who ‘shushes’ at the slightest noise. Avoid going overboard. Also, some words are just begging to be flagged. Words that promise riches, secrets, or scream desperation can set off alarms.

Link Smart:

If you’re using link shorteners, pause. Sure, they look neat, but guess who loves them? Scammers. Instead, embed links in your text or use clear, direct URLs.

Look Good, But Not Too Good:

Big flashy graphics and over-the-top designs might look snazzy, but they can raise suspicions. Find a balance. An email that’s all-images is like attending a masquerade ball – intriguing but hiding something.

Proofread, Always:

Nothing screams spam like an email riddled with typos. Get a friend, a colleague, or a spellcheck tool to give your content a once-over.

Know the Tech Rules:

Avoid embedding videos or forms in your email. Instead, use enticing CTAs that lead to your website. Keep the technical aspects of your email clean and clear.

Spammy Words That Put You on the Naughty List

Now, before we dive in, a wee disclaimer. Using a word or two from this list might not doom your email instantly. But stack too many of them together? You’re assembling a recipe for disaster. Here’s a compilation of words and phrases that can trigger those digital watchdogs:

  1. 100% free
  2. Act now!
  3. Apply now
  4. Bargain
  5. Best price
  6. Billing
  7. Bonus
  8. Cancellation
  9. Cash
  10. Certified
  11. Cheap
  12. Clearance
  13. Congratulations
  14. Dear [Name/Friend]
  15. Direct mail
  16. Discount
  17. Fantastic
  18. Free access
  19. Free consultation
  20. Free gift
  21. Free hosting
  22. Free info
  23. Free investment
  24. Free membership
  25. Free offer
  26. Free preview
  27. Free quote
  28. Full refund
  29. Gift card
  30. Giveaway
  31. Guarantee
  32. Hidden charges
  33. Human growth hormone
  34. Income
  35. Internet marketing
  36. Join millions
  37. Lifetime
  38. Loans
  39. Lose weight
  40. Lowest price
  41. Million dollars
  42. Miracle
  43. Money back
  44. No fees
  45. No obligation
  46. No purchase necessary
  47. No strings attached
  48. Obligation
  49. Password
  50. Prize
  51. Promise
  52. Pure profit
  53. Quote
  54. Risk-free
  55. Satisfaction guaranteed
  56. Save big
  57. Special promotion
  58. Terms and conditions
  59. This isn’t junk
  60. This isn’t spam
  61. Undisclosed
  62. Unsecured credit
  63. Unsecured debt
  64. Urgent
  65. Weight loss
  66. Winner
  67. Winning
  68. Accept credit cards
  69. All new
  70. As seen on
  71. Become a member
  72. Beneficiary
  73. Cancel at any time
  74. Cards accepted
  75. Compare rates
  76. Confidentiality
  77. Cures
  78. Dear friend
  79. Direct marketing
  80. Get paid
  81. Hidden assets
  82. Human growth hormone
  83. In accordance with laws
  84. Increase sales
  85. Increase traffic
  86. Lower interest rates
  87. No age restrictions
  88. Passwords
  89. Performance
  90. Requires initial investment
  91. Social security number
  92. Solution
  93. Stop snoring
  94. Free trial
  95. Valium
  96. Viagra
  97. Vicodin
  98. Xanax
  99. Hidden
  100. Costs
  101. Deal
  102. Rates
  103. Score
  104. Check or money order
  105. Investment decision
  106. No gimmick
  107. No catch
  108. Once in a lifetime
  109. Pennies a day
  110. Potential earnings
  111. Pre-approved
  112. Price protection
  113. Prize winnings
  114. Promise you
  115. Pure profit
  116. Real thing
  117. Refinance
  118. Requested information
  119. Save up to
  120. See for yourself
  121. Serious cash
  122. Subject to credit
  123. They’re just giving them away
  124. Will not believe your eyes
  125. Winning
  126. You have been selected
  127. Join now
  128. Sign up free today
  129. Additional income
  130. Be your own boss
  131. Big bucks
  132. Billion dollars
  133. Cash bonus
  134. Consolidate debt
  135. Double your cash
  136. Double your wealth
  137. Earn money
  138. Eliminate bad credit
  139. Extra cash
  140. Extra income
  141. Financial freedom
  142. Hidden charges
  143. Home employment
  144. Income from home
  145. Potential earnings
  146. Earn extra cash
  147. Expect to earn
  148. Free hosting
  149. Lower rates
  150. Meet singles
  151. No cost
  152. No credit check
  153. Passwords
  154. Hidden
  155. Undisclosed
  156. Exposes
  157. Failure
  158. Financially independent
  159. Multi-level marketing
  160. Miracle
  161. Incredible deal
  162. Avoid bankruptcy
  163. Income potential
  164. Cash bonus
  165. New customers only
  166. Promise
  167. Subject to credit
  168. All natural
  169. Please read
  170. Don’t delete
  171. Breakthrough
  172. Important information regarding
  173. Information you requested
  174. Instant
  175. Outstanding values
  176. Reverses aging
  177. Round the world
  178. Valued customer
  179. Get out of debt
  180. Print out and fax
  181. Problem
  182. Avoid
  183. Join millions
  184. Password protected
  185. Certified
  186. Fantastic deal
  187. Password check
  188. Dear [Name]
  189. Prize
  190. Confidentiality on sale
  191. Bankruptcy
  192. Failure
  193. Free installation
  194. Free preview
  195. Free trial
  196. Money-back guarantee
  197. Remove wrinkles
  198. Risk free
  199. Weight loss
  200. Hidden costs
  201. Giveaway
  202. Check or money order
  203. No gimmick
  204. No hidden costs
  205. No-obligation
  206. Obligation
  207. Requires initial investment
  208. Cancel any time
  209. One time
  210. 100% satisfied
  211. Increase your sales
  212. Join millions
  213. Potential earnings
  214. No purchase necessary
  215. Take action
  216. Access
  217. Beneficiary
  218. Bonus
  219. Call now
  220. Cash bonus
  221. Cents on the dollar
  222. Certified
  223. Cheap
  224. Congratulations
  225. Drastically reduced
  226. Expect to earn
  227. Fantastic offer
  228. Financial freedom
  229. Free access
  230. Full refund
  231. Incredible deal
  232. Internet marketing
  233. Lose weight fast
  234. Mass email
  235. Meet singles
  236. No catch
  237. No fees
  238. No scam
  239. Not spam
  240. Obligation
  241. Passwords
  242. Reverses aging
  243. Undisclosed
  244. We hate spam
  245. Will not believe your eyes
  246. Winner
  247. Act now
  248. All new
  249. Apply now
  250. Become a member
  251. Congratulations
  252. Dear [Name]
  253. For only
  254. Gift certificate
  255. Giving away
  256. Have you been turned down?
  257. If only it were that easy
  258. Important information regarding
  259. Information you requested
  260. Instant
  261. See for yourself
  262. Terms and conditions
  263. They keep your money — no refund!
  264. This won’t last
  265. Undisclosed
  266. What are you waiting for?
  267. While supplies last
  268. Will not believe your eyes
  269. Cancel at any time
  270. Compare rates
  271. Hidden assets
  272. Internet market
  273. Loans at low rate
  274. Refinance home
  275. Search engine listings
  276. Undervalued
  277. Acceptance
  278. Accordingly
  279. Avoid bankruptcy
  280. Join millions
  281. Lose weight
  282. Lower monthly payment
  283. Lowest price
  284. Subject to credit
  285. They keep your money — no refund!
  286. University diplomas
  287. What’s keeping you?
  288. While you sleep
  289. Who really wins?
  290. Why pay more?
  291. Will not believe your eyes
  292. Winner
  293. Winning
  294. Work at home
  295. You’re a winner!
  296. Reverses aging
  297. Hidden charges
  298. Requires initial investment
  299. Social security number
  300. Your income
  301. Miracle
  302. Risk-free
  303. Save big money
  304. Special promotion
  305. See for yourself
  306. Bargain
  307. Beneficiary
  308. Big bucks
  309. Billion
  310. Bonuses
  311. Cards accepted
  312. Cash bonus
  313. Certified
  314. Cheap
  315. Compare rates
  316. Congratulations
  317. Deal
  318. Direct marketing
  319. Earn extra cash
  320. Eliminate bad credit
  321. Expect to earn
  322. Financial freedom
  323. Full refund
  324. Get out of debt
  325. Giving away
  326. Hidden charges
  327. Human growth hormone
  328. In accordance with laws
  329. Income
  330. Join millions
  331. Lowest price
  332. Money-back
  333. No gimmick
  334. No hidden costs
  335. No-obligation
  336. Passwords
  337. Pennies a day
  338. Promise you
  339. Pure profit
  340. Refinance home
  341. Save up to
  342. They’re just giving them away
  343. Undisclosed
  344. Unsecured credit
  345. Unsecured debt
  346. Valium
  347. Viagra
  348. Vicodin
  349. Weight loss
  350. What are you waiting for?
  351. Win
  352. Winner
  353. Xanax
  354. Cancelling
  355. Celebrate
  356. Cures baldness
  357. Diagnostics
  358. Fast Viagra delivery
  359. Human growth hormone
  360. Internet marketing
  361. Investment decision
  362. Loans
  363. Online pharmacy
  364. Potential earnings
  365. Prize
  366. Reverses aging
  367. Social security number
  368. Undisclosed
  369. Valium
  370. Viagra
  371. Xanax
  372. Hidden assets
  373. Meet singles
  374. Multi-level marketing
  375. Passwords
  376. Requires initial investment
  377. Score with babes
  378. Teen
  379. No catch
  380. No fees
  381. No strings attached
  382. Obligation
  383. Password protected
  384. Requires initial investment
  385. Satisfaction guaranteed
  386. 100% satisfied
  387. Be your own boss
  388. Free gift
  389. Free membership
  390. Free preview
  391. Free quote
  392. Free trial
  393. Free access
  394. Free consultation
  395. Free hosting
  396. Free info
  397. Free investment
  398. Free preview
  399. Incredible deal
  400. Join for free

There you have it, a naughty list of words and phrases to be wary of. When crafting that perfect email, ensure it’s more Shakespeare and less spam. Remember, it’s not just about avoiding these words; it’s about crafting a message that resonates and genuinely connects. 

Tools to Keep You Out of the Spam Folder

Diving deeper into email marketing? Here are some essential tools to have in your kit. They’ll help ensure your messages always find their way to the spotlight, not the spam folder.

Mailmeteor’s Spam Checker: Picture this as your email’s personal fitness coach. Gives it a good stretch, ensures it’s limber, and primes it for the race ahead.

Mail Tester: Your trusty confidante. The mate who quietly tips you off when your tie’s askew. It’ll check out your email, head to toe, and let you know if there’s anything making it look a tad… off.

Folderly’s Spam Words Checker: A vigilant guardian against the sly, the sneaky, the spammy words that might betray your message’s intent.

Send Forensics: Your email’s very own detective. Sniffs out deliverability issues, ensures no spammy culprits escape undetected.

Postmark’s Spamcheck: A thorough examiner, ensuring your email stands tall and proud, free from any hints of spam.

Litmus: More than a spam-checker, Litmus ensures your email looks the part across platforms. Because hey, first impressions matter.

NeverBounce: The sentry that keeps an eye out for bounced emails. It verifies addresses, ensuring your missives reach a genuine inbox.

G-Lock Apps: Think of this as your email’s credit score checker. Keeps tabs on your sender reputation, ensuring it remains impeccable.

SpamAssassin: A classic, trusted by many. This open-source tool reviews emails and gives them a score based on how likely they are to be spam. If you’re after feedback on whether you’re hitting (or missing) the mark, this is your go-to.

ISnotSPAM: A straightforward online checker. You send your email to a specific address, and it provides feedback. It’s like throwing your email into the gladiator’s arena and seeing how it fares!


By now, you’ve probably realized that the whole spam debacle isn’t some big conspiracy against your emails; it’s just tech doing its thing. But, just like with any tech hiccup, there’s a way around it.

Sending emails isn’t just about sharing information; it’s about connecting, building trust, and sometimes, brightening someone’s day. So, the next time you’re about to hit ‘send’, take a moment. Think of your recipient, envision their inbox, and make sure your email is not just fantastic in content, but also has its passport ready for a smooth journey to its destination.

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About Lilach Bullock

Hi, I’m Lilach, a serial entrepreneur! I’ve spent the last 2 decades starting, building, running, and selling businesses in a range of niches. I’ve also used all that knowledge to help hundreds of business owners level up and scale their businesses beyond their beliefs and expectations.

I’ve written content for authority publications like Forbes, Huffington Post, Inc, Twitter, Social Media Examiner and 100’s other publications and my proudest achievement, won a Global Women Champions Award for outstanding contributions and leadership in business.

My biggest passion is sharing knowledge and actionable information with other business owners. I created this website to share my favorite tools, resources, events, tips, and tricks with entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, small business owners, and startups. Digital marketing knowledge should be accessible to all, so browse through and feel free to get in touch if you can’t find what you’re looking for!


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