Spam Trigger Words: How to Avoid the Junk Folder

Spam Trigger Words: How to Avoid the Junk Folder

When most people think about email, they picture it as simply writing, hitting send, and it appears in the recipient’s inbox. There’s a lot more happening behind the scenes, however.

When you send an email, it gets scoured by not just one but multiple spam appliances – one associated with your email provider, and one associated with the recipient’s.

One of the things these spam filters do is to scan your email for words and phrases that are typically used by spammers. These spam trigger words throw up red flags and can hinder your ability to get your campaigns in inboxes.


Spam has been around for as long as email has existed, and spam filters are the primary line of defense against it. The two have been engaged in a sort of arms race for the entire time, as spammers invent new ways to fool the filters.

Once a new technique is identified, the filters get upgraded to catch it, and the spammers have to get creative again. Over time, spam filters have become extremely advanced and clever at catching spam.

The problem is, the definition of spam isn’t set in stone. It varies depending on where you are. The USA, Canada and the EU all have different legislation around spam, for example. So the rules are different everywhere.

Avoiding spam filters isn’t as simple as omitting trigger words – there’s a lot more that goes into it – but it’s an important factor.

Words and Phrases to Avoid

There are many potential trigger words. Depending who you ask, you might find lists of 1000+ words and phrases that you should avoid. That’s a tall order when you’re trying to create a cold email that’s punchy and engaging.

Remembering them all is a stone’s throw from impossible. However, if you’re using Clickback’s email lead generation software, you’re in luck – it has a built in spam checker than audits your content for you, and notifies you of any words, phrases or formatting that could negatively impact your ability to hit inboxes.

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Here’s a sample list of some of the spam trigger words you should avoid:

  • 100% free
  • Accept credit cards
  • Ad
  • Amazing
  • Auto email removal
  • Bargain
  • Being a member
  • Best price
  • Billing address
  • Bulk email
  • Cancel at any time
  • Cannot be combined with any other offer
  • Cards accepted
  • Cheap
  • Cost
  • Direct email
  • Direct marketing
  • Email marketing
  • For you
  • For only
  • Free gift
  • Free leads
  • Free preview
  • Free sample
  • Free trial
  • Full refund
  • Finance
  • Gift certificate
  • Give it away
  • Great offer
  • Increase traffic
  • Internet marketing
  • Join millions
  • Marketing solutions
  • Mass email
  • Money
  • Member
  • Message contains
  • Message contains disclaimer
  • MLM
  • Multi level marketing
  • Multi-level marketing
  • Name brand
  • No catch
  • No disappointment
  • No hidden
  • Not intended
  • Obligation
  • Offer
  • Online marketing
  • Please read
  • Safeguard notice
  • Satisfaction
  • Satisfaction guaranteed
  • Special promotion
  • Supplies are limited
  • Terms and conditions
  • The following form
  • This isn’t junk
  • This isn’t spam

As you can see, even in this small example list, there are plenty of phrases you might easily include in your content. Not all are equally bad – some phrases are more likely to negatively impact your deliverability than others. “This isn’t spam” is a much bigger red flag than “amazing”, wouldn’t you agree?

All in all, it’s important to be as thorough as you can when crafting email copy – especially with cold emails – and it pays to double-check.

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