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200 Spam Words to Avoid in Your Emails

Brought to you by Exclaimer

Almost half of all emails sent are spam but many never reach their intended recipients. That’s good news for people who wish to be free of messages they don’t want – but very bad news for those who inadvertently write legitimate emails that fall foul of spam filter rules.

Spam triggers are words or phrases that look fraudulent, malicious, offensive, or otherwise suspicious. These spam words are picked up by email providers that will reroute the email containing them straight to a recipient’s junk folder.

Spam words should be avoided

Strictly speaking, spam is any mass-distributed email that you haven’t opted-in to receive. Many spam emails are simply just trying to sell you something. Whatever the tactic, they aren’t all harmless wastes of time. Many are designed to scam the recipient into sharing personal information or granting access to a personal platform or space.

While spam filters are far more advanced today than they once were, taking context, email deliverability, and other factors into account, your email will still be sent to the spam folder if you stuff it with known spam keywords.

To make sure that doesn’t happen, we’ve compiled a list of 200 spam trigger words that you should avoid using in your emails, and the context through which they’ll likely be perceived by spam filters.

Don’t use spam words that are outrageous or make exaggerated claims

It’s best to avoid spam words that promise the world, particularly when it comes to finance, as these will land you straight on an exclusion list. Some of the common words in these phrases include ‘free’, ‘cash’, and ‘winner’, names of currencies, and large numbers or multiples.

  1.  #1
  2. 100% more
  3. 100% free
  4. 100% satisfied
  5. Additional income
  6. Be your own boss
  7. Best price
  8. Big bucks
  9. Billion
  10. Cash bonus
  11. Cents on the dollar
  12. Consolidate debt
  13. Double your cash
  14. Double your income
  15. Earn extra cash
  16. Earn money
  17. Eliminate bad credit
  18. Extra cash
  19. Extra income
  20. Expect to earn
  21. Fast cash
  22. Financial freedom
  23. Free access
  24. Free consultation
  25. Free gift
  26. Free hosting
  27. Free info
  28. Free investment
  29. Free membership
  30. Free money
  31. Free preview
  32. Free quote
  33. Free trial
  34. Full refund
  35. Get out of debt
  36. Get paid
  37. Giveaway
  38. Guaranteed
  39. Increase sales
  40. Increase traffic
  41. Incredible deal
  42. Lower rates
  43. Lowest price
  44. Make money
  45. Million dollars
  46. Miracle
  47. Money back
  48. Once in a lifetime
  49. One time
  50. Pennies a day
  51. Potential earnings
  52. Prize
  53. Promise
  54. Pure profit
  55. Risk-free
  56. Satisfaction guaranteed
  57. Save big money
  58. Save up to
  59. Special promotion

Don’t use spam words that are extremely direct or offer manipulative instructions

While arguably every email’s purpose is to push the reader into action, there’s a way of doing it without raising red flags with their email provider. It’s the urgency of injunctions that include words like ‘now’, ‘hurry’, and ‘today’ that set alarm bells ringing. Being aggressive or pushy won’t work with your customer or their spam filter.

  1. Access now
  2. Act now
  3. Act Immediately
  4. Action Required
  5. Apply now
  6. Apply online
  7. Buy
  8. Buy now
  9. Buy direct
  10. Can’t live without
  11. Call
  12. Call now
  13. Click here
  14. Clearance
  15. Deal ending soon
  16. Do it now
  17. Do it today
  18. Don’t delete
  19. Don’t hesitate
  20. Drastically reduced
  21. Exclusive deal
  22. Get it now
  23. Get it today
  24. Get started now
  25. Hurry up
  26. Important information regarding
  27. Instant
  28. Limited time
  29. New customers only
  30. Now only
  31. Offer expires
  32. Once in a lifetime
  33. One time
  34. Order now
  35. Order today
  36. Please read
  37. Special promotion
  38. Take action
  39. Take action now
  40. This won’t last
  41. Urgent
  42. While stocks last
  43. While supplies last

Don’t use spam words that are shady, spammy, or suspicious phrases

Emails using these words are more often than not too good to be true, and spam filters know it. Take care to ensure you don’t innocuously use too many instances of these phrases inside bigger sentences or blocks of text without realizing it. It’s OK to do it occasionally.

The below phrases cover a wealth of topics and contexts, but they have one thing in common: they’re not getting past email providers.

  1. Bulk email
  2. Cancel at any time
  3. Check or money order
  4. Congratulations
  5. Confidentiality
  6. Cures
  7. Dear friend
  8. Direct email
  9. Direct marketing
  10. Hidden charges
  11. Human growth hormone
  12. Internet marketing
  13. Lose weight
  14. Mass email
  15. Meet singles
  16. Multi-level marketing
  17. No catch
  18. No cost
  19. No credit check
  20. No fees
  21. No gimmick
  22. No hidden costs
  23. No hidden fees
  24. No interest
  25. No investment
  26. No obligation
  27. No purchase necessary
  28. No questions asked
  29. No strings attached
  30. Not junk
  31. Not spam
  32. Obligation
  33. Passwords
  34. Requires initial investment
  35. Social security number
  36. This isn’t a scam
  37. This isn’t junk
  38. This isn’t spam
  39. Undisclosed
  40. Unsecured credit
  41. Unsecured debt
  42. Unsolicited
  43. Valium
  44. Viagra
  45. Vicodin
  46. We hate spam
  47. Weight loss
  48. Xanax

Don’t use spam words that are jargon, legalese, or buzzwords

Spammers may think they’re sounding clever by sprinkling their emails with legal jargon and terms (like ‘refinance’, ‘debt’, ‘discount’, and ‘quote’) but spam filters will spot them a mile off.

The below words and phrases, used out of context, should certainly be minimized or avoided altogether.

  1. Accept credit cards
  2. Ad
  3. All new
  4. As seen on
  5. Bargain
  6. Beneficiary
  7. Billing
  8. Bonus
  9. Cards accepted
  10. Cash
  11. Certified
  12. Cheap
  13. Claims
  14. Clearance
  15. Compare rates
  16. Credit card offers
  17. Deal
  18. Debt
  19. Discount
  20. Fantastic
  21. In accordance with laws
  22. Income
  23. Investment
  24. Join millions
  25. Lifetime
  26. Loans
  27. Luxury
  28. Marketing solution
  29. Message contains
  30. Mortgage rates
  31. Name brand
  32. Offer
  33. Online marketing
  34. Opt-in
  35. Pre-approved
  36. Quote
  37. Rates
  38. Refinance
  39. Removal
  40. Reserves the right
  41. Score
  42. Search engine
  43. Sent in compliance
  44. Subject to…
  45. Terms and conditions
  46. Trial
  47. Unlimited
  48. Warranty
  49. Web traffic
  50. Work from home

Don’t use spam words that are sleazy, intimate, or inappropriate

We’ve reached our 200 spam trigger words but there are many more where you’ll need to use your imagination! Needless to say, there are a host of words and phrases on a spectrum from romantic to sexually explicit that spam filters are very sensitive towards.

Avoid these spam words to increase deliverability

As you strive for professionalism in business email communications, it’s important to ensure you never include words or phrases relating to intimate subjects (out of context), that use swear words, or include racist, sexist, and other discriminatory terms. Doing so would not only be wildly inappropriate, but it would also get you a one-way ticket to the dreaded junk folder.

A final note on punctuation

Another textual trigger for spam filters is how you use punctuation. In fact, these are at least as likely to put your email into the doghouse as using spammy words or phrases.

Here are a few pitfalls to avoid in your use of punctuation characters:

  1. All CAPS
  2. Excessive use of exclamation marks
  3. Excessive use of question marks
  4. Excessive use of $ or other currency symbols
  5. Excessive use of any punctuation in the email subject line

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