Spam Trigger Words

Spam affects everyone from e-mails to phone calls and it is plain out annoying to receive these unsolicited messages. But what exactly is spam? Spam is digital junk mail: unsolicited communications sent in bulk over the internet or through any electronic messaging system. It is mostly detected through spam trigger words that vary from manipulative, shady, and even needy words or phrases. These trigger words are keywords or phrases that ultimately sound too good to be true and should be seen as red flags. This article will give you a list of spam trigger words to be careful using or plain out avoid.

What is a Spam List?

A spam list is also known as a blacklist. Blacklists list IP addresses that are believed to distribute spam in large amounts to emails. The emails from these addresses are usually automatically blocked or routed to the recipient’s spam folder. Moreover, this can get tricky because important e-mails can get sent to the spam folder, leading the recipient to miss it.

E-mail marketing is an important way to market to your audience and has shown many benefits. One of them is being able to keep in touch with your customers or followers on a regular basis. Keeping your business’s emails off of spam lists is essential to making sure they get seen by your audience. You can avoid having your business blacklisted by doing the following things:

  1. Avoid using too many graphics
  2. Sending large quantities of mail
  3. Forwarding emails
  4. Including attachments
  5. Don’t use false subject lines

What are Spam Filters?

Spam filters detect unsolicited, unwanted, and virus-infested email (called spam) and stop it from getting into email inboxes. These filters are often a source of frustration for small business owners. Do not worry though, avoiding these filters is possible. The number one way to avoid having your emails sent to the spam folder is by picking the correct words. Avoid using spammy words that represent these 6 types of behavior: manipulative, sleazy, shady, needy, far-fetched, or cheap.

Spammy Words

Always remember if a word ultimately sounds like it is too good to be true then it most likely is. When in doubt, assume that it will be flagged as spam. Here is a list of examples of the types of spam words you should avoid.

Manipulative Words and Phrases

If all of your e-mails are urgent, it will lead the recipient to believe it really isn’t. A little urgency is never bad to use, however, remember to use it lightly. Spam filters will detect the pressure in the words easily. Keep in mind that your product is that of value and readers will come in on their own. Avoid the words or phrases below:

  • Act now
  • Buy direct
  • Click here
  • Don’t delete
  • Get it now

Needy Words and Phrases

Desperation in an email’s subject line will often and you in the trash or spam folder. Subscribers are looking for transparency in the subject line and want to know exactly what they are looking at when they open your email. Offer something valuable in your subject line, not exaggerated claims. Here are some examples of desperate words to avoid:

  • Bargain
  • For instant access
  • Great offer
  • Incredible deal
  • Will not believe your eyes

Sleazy Words and Phrases

Phrases like “Click here” are pushy and will make readers think that something suspicious is going on. You should add value to your subject line in a cool kind way, not in a way that will make readers feel pressured. These words below will lead to hesitance:

  • As seen on
  • Click below
  • Do it today
  • Unlimited
  • What are you waiting for?

Cheap Words and Phrases

Cheap words like “Free info” will make readers not take the email seriously. These types of words take the value away from the information or product you are trying to sell. Make your service or product wanted by the reader. People want products and services that are unique. Words like “cheap” will land you in the spam folder. Avoid the following words that will decrease your business value:

  • Avoid bankruptcy
  • Card accepted
  • Credit card offers
  • Drastically reduced

Far-Fetched Words and Phrases

These types of words are easily detectable as being too good to be true. If you use any of the words listed below, your offer might be too hard to believe for the customer. Using words like “Double your income” will only lead the person to hit that delete button. Here is a list of more of those far-fetched words.

  • Additional income
  • Cash bonus
  • Eliminate bad credit
  • Free investment
  • No catch

Shady Words and Phrases

There will always be scammers in the world, don’t let your e-mails make people think you are one of them. Your readers don’t want to feel like gullible people being taken advantage of. Write your e-mails with the best intentions to gain your subscribers’ trust and to keep them coming back. The following spam trigger words will have your readers doubting the product or service as shady:

  • In accordance with laws
  • Online pharmacy
  • Social security number
  • This isn’t spam
  • Unsecured credit

Other Ways to Avoid Being Identified as Spam

Beyond spam words, there are other things you should take note of to avoid your marketing emails being identified as spam.

IP Addresses and Domains

Emails that come from a blacklisted IP address or that link to blacklisted websites are often identified as spam. Emails receive a sender score to determine how credible and legitimate the emails coming from your IP address are. Sometimes spammers will try to get around this by going through numerous IP addresses. However, email systems are getting better at identifying this. New IP addresses may also be identified as spam because of this.

Email Authentication

There are three different ways email platforms verify that you are the real thing. The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a way to check that a sender’s domain is in fact coming from that domain. The DomainKeys Identified Email (DKIM) is essentially a digital signature that shows that your email is authorized and actually associated with your domain. Finally, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is a policy and reporting layer on top of SPF and DKIM that helps combat spoofing and phishing.

Subscriber Engagement

Spam filters have also advanced their algorithms to take into account how subscribers engage with the emails they receive. Factors that have a positive impact on your email are whether your subscribers are opening, responding to, or forwarding your email. In addition, whether they are actively marking your emails as “This is not spam.” Factors that have a negative impact are whether your subscribers are hitting the spam or junk buttons on your emails. When people delete your emails without even opening or reading them also has a negative impact.

Avoid the Spamming List

Avoiding being put on the spamming list is important for all businesses that use email marketing to know. The list of words above contains just some of the spam words that will automatically raise suspicion. However, there are words that aren’t on the list that could potentially still be categorized as spam trigger words. There is no right formula to completely avoid blacklists. There really is no one size fits all solution to effective email marketing. Including some of the words listed above isn’t bad, but try to come up with alternatives to keep the e-mail from being considered spammy.

Write your e-mails in a way that screams it has value, give just the right amount of information, ask the correct questions, and hook the reader in with the correct words. These tips will come in handy to make the customer come to you. However, if you do not have the time to do this on your own, hiring an agency is a great option. SEO Design Chicago offers many digital marketing services, such as email marketing, that can take your company to the next level!


  • What is spam?
  • What kinds of spam words are there?
  • Why are my emails being identified as spam?
  • What is a spam filter?
  • What is a spam list?

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