If writing a good email copy requires your full creativity of what to write, then adding a subject line requires creativity of what to write and most importantly what to avoid.

You are obviously hounded with questions - is the subject line conveying the purpose of the email, is it engaging enough, and above all, will it trigger spam filters?

If your email has spam triggering words or display the same behaviour as that of a spammer, then it will trigger spam filters and make your emails go to the spam box instead of the inbox.

With sophisticated technologies like AI and Machine Language, email service providers can scan each and every email to determine if it is spam or genuine.  

What are Spam Triggering Words?

Spam trigger words are phrases that trigger the wrong emotions such as sense of fear, urgency, loss, psychological manipulation etc.

Will the usage of a simple English word trigger a spam filter? No.

It all depends on the context.

Genuine usage of the word like ‘free’ is ultimately fine. But, repeating the same and combining it with other words like 'free bank account' or 'free housing' might trigger spam filters and prevent your email from going into the inbox.

You basically don't’ have to be:

Needy: Don’t sound desperate with words like ‘Help’,’Distress’

Manipulative: Don’t create false urgency with words like ‘Urgent’,’Don’t delete’

Sleazy: Never use words like hot babes, adult

Cheap: Stay away from Free, 100% off, Full Discount

Far-fetched: Avoid words like ‘free money’,’lose weight’,’billions’

As an example, these are images from the spam boxes of our team members. Do you see the patterns of spam here?

Spam words to avoid
Spam trigger emails 
Words that trigger spam filters
Do you see the patterns of spam here?

Without further ado, let’s look at the list of words that trigger spam filters and are routinely scanned out by spam filters. To help you much better, we have categorized this exhaustive list into different categories based on the industry they are used in.

Sales & Marketing

While sales and marketing are integral for any business, avoid being aggressive. A customer has opted in for your newsletter to receive an enticing content matching his/her needs. Do not thrust your offer on them, avoid farfetched claims like the ones listed below.

  1. % Satisfied

  2. %

  3. off

  4. Acceptance

  5. Accordingly

  6. Act

  7. Now

  8. Affordable

  9. All

  10. New

  11. As

  12. seen on

  13. Auto email removal

  14. Avoid

  15. Bargain

  16. Be amazed

  17. Bonus

  18. Brand new pager

  19. Bulk email

  20. Buy

  21. Buy direct

  22. Buying judgments

  23. Cable converter

  24. Call

  25. Call free

  26. Call now

  27. Can’t live without

  28. Cancel at any time

  29. Casino

  30. Celebrity

  31. Chance

  32. Claims not to be selling anything

  33. Clearance

  34. Click

  35. Click below

  36. Click here

  37. Click to remove

  38. Compare

  39. Compare

  40. Compare rates

  41. Compete for your business

  42. Copy accurately

  43. Copy DVDs

  44. Deal

  45. Direct email

  46. Direct marketing

  47. Do it today

  48. Don’t delete

  49. Don’t hesitate!

  50. Dormant

  51. Email harvest

  52. Email marketing

  53. Explode your business

  54. F r e e

  55. Fantastic deal

  56. For just $(insert whatever amount)

  57. For Only

  58. Form

  59. Free

  60. Free consultation

  61. Free DVD

  62. Free hosting

  63. Freedom

  64. Get

  65. Get it away

  66. Get it now

  67. Gift certificate

  68. Give it away

  69. Guarantee

  70. Guaranteed

  71. Have you been turned down?

  72. Have you been turned down?

  73. Here

  74. Hidden

  75. Home

  76. Increase sales

  77. Increase traffic

  78. Increase your sales

  79. Incredible deal

  80. Internet market

  81. Internet marketing

  82. It’s effective

  83. Join millions

  84. Join millions of Americans

  85. Laser printer

  86. Leave

  87. Lifetime

  88. limited time

  89. Limited time offer

  90. Long distance phone offer

  91. Lose

  92. Luxury car

  93. Mail in order form

  94. Maintained

  95. Marketing

  96. Marketing solutions

  97. Mass email

  98. Medium

  99. Member

  100. Miracle

  101. Month trial offer

  102. More Internet Traffic

  103. Multi level marketing

  104. Never

  105. New domain extensions

  106. No age restrictions

  107. No cost

  108. No disappointment

  109. No gimmick

  110. No inventory

  111. No middleman

  112. No obligation

  113. No purchase necessary

  114. No questions asked

  115. No selling

  116. No strings attached

  117. No-obligation

  118. Notspam

  119. Now

  120. Now only

  121. One hundred percent free

  122. One hundred percent guaranteed

  123. One time mailing

  124. Online marketing

  125. Open

  126. Opportunity

  127. Opt in

  128. Order

  129. Order now

  130. Order shipped by

  131. Passwords

  132. Performance

  133. Print form signature

  134. Print out and fax

  135. Priority mail

  136. Prize

  137. Prizes

  138. Problem

  139. Produced and sent out

  140. Promise you

  141. Quote

  142. Quotes

  143. Removal instructions

  144. Remove

  145. Reserves the right

  146. Reverses

  147. Rolex

  148. Sale

  149. Sales

  150. Sample

  151. Satisfaction

  152. Save $

  153. Save big money

  154. Search engine listings

  155. Search engines

  156. See for yourself

  157. Serious only

  158. Shopping spree

  159. Sign up free today

  160. Solution

  161. Stainless steel

  162. Stop

  163. Strong buy

  164. Stuff on sale

  165. Subscribe

  166. Success

  167. Teen

  168. The best rates

  169. The following form

  170. They’re just giving it away

  171. This isn’t a scam

  172. This isn't junk

  173. This isn't spam

  174. This won’t last

  175. Undisclosed recipient

  176. Unlimited

  177. Unsolicited

  178. Unsubscribe

  179. Urgent

  180. Vacation

  181. Vacation offers

  182. Visit our website

  183. Warranty

  184. We hate spam

  185. We honor all

  186. Web traffic

  187. Weekend getaway

  188. While supplies last

  189. While you sleep

  190. Who really wins?

  191. Will not believe your eyes

  192. Win

  193. Winner

  194. Winning

  195. Won

  196. You are a winner!

  197. You have been selected

  198. % free

  199. Accept credit cards

  200. Access

  201. Ad

  202. Amazing

  203. Auto email removal

  204. Being a member

  205. Best price

  206. Billing address

  207. Bulk email

  208. Cancel at any time

  209. Cannot be combined with any other offer

  210. Cards accepted

  211. Dear [email/friend/somebody]

  212. Dig up dirt on friends

  213. Direct email

  214. Direct marketing

  215. Email harvest

  216. Email marketing

  217. Free gift

  218. Free leads

  219. Free preview

  220. Free sample

  221. Free trial

  222. Full refund

  223. Get started now

  224. Gift certificate

  225. Give it away

  226. Great offer

  227. If only it were that easy

  228. Important information regarding

  229. Increase traffic

  230. Info you requested

  231. Information you requested

  232. Internet market

  233. Internet marketing

  234. Maintained

  235. Marketing

  236. Marketing solutions

  237. Mass email

  238. Member

  239. Member stuff

  240. Message contains

  241. Message contains disclaimer

  242. MLM

  243. Multi level marketing

  244. Multi-level marketing

  245. Name brand

  246. No catch

  247. No disappointment

  248. No hidden

  249. Not intended

  250. Obligation

  251. Offer

  252. Online marketing

  253. Order status

  254. Please read

  255. Safeguard notice

  256. Satisfaction

  257. Satisfaction guaranteed

  258. Search engine listings

  259. Search engines

  260. Sent in compliance

  261. Solution

  262. Special promotion

  263. Supplies are limited

  264. Talks about hidden charges

  265. Tells you it’s an ad

  266. Terms and conditions

  267. The following form

  268. This isn’t junk

  269. This isn’t spam

  270. Trial

  271. We hate spam

  272. Web traffic

  273. Weekend getaway

  274. As seen on

  275. Bargain

  276. Be amazed

  277. Bonus

  278. Buy direct

  279. Buying judgments

  280. Call

  281. Call free

  282. Can’t live without

  283. Cheap

  284. Claims not to be selling anything

  285. Clearance

  286. Click to remove

  287. Collect

  288. Compare rates

  289. Compete for your business

  290. Deal

  291. Don’t hesitate!

  292. Explode your business

  293. F r e e

  294. Fantastic deal

  295. For just $(insert whatever amount)

  296. For Only

  297. Free DVD

  298. Free hosting

  299. Get it now

  300. Guarantee

  301. Guaranteed

  302. Have you been turned down?

  303. Increase sales

  304. Increase your sales

  305. Incredible deal

  306. It’s effective

  307. Join millions

  308. Join millions of Americans

  309. Lifetime

  310. limited time

  311. Limited time offer

  312. Long distance phone offer

  313. Mail in order form

  314. Money back

  315. New domain extensions

  316. No cost

  317. No gimmick

  318. No inventory

  319. No middleman

  320. No obligation

  321. No questions asked

  322. No selling

  323. No strings attached

  324. No-obligation

  325. Now

  326. Now only

  327. One hundred percent free

  328. One hundred percent guaranteed

  329. Opportunity

  330. Order shipped by

  331. Problem

  332. Promise you

  333. Quote

  334. Quotes

  335. Sale

  336. Sales

  337. Save $

  338. Save big money

  339. See for yourself

  340. Serious only

  341. Sign up free today

  342. Strong buy

  343. Stuff on sale

  344. Success

  345. The best rates

  346. They’re just giving it away

  347. This isn’t a scam

  348. This won’t last

  349. Unlimited

  350. Urgent

  351. Warranty

  352. We honor all

  353. While supplies last

  354. While you sleep

  355. Will not believe your eyes

Financial

  1. “Hidden” assets

  2. $$$

  3. Additional income

  4. Apply Online

  5. Avoid bankruptcy

  6. Be your own boss

  7. Beneficiary

  8. Big bucks

  9. Billion

  10. Billion dollars

  11. Calling creditors

  12. Cash

  13. Cash bonus

  14. Casino

  15. Cents on the dollar

  16. Check

  17. Check or money order

  18. Collect child support

  19. Consolidate debt and credit

  20. Consolidate your debt

  21. Cost

  22. Costs

  23. Credit

  24. Credit bureaus

  25. Credit card offers

  26. Discount

  27. Double your

  28. Double your income

  29. Earn

  30. Earn $

  31. Earn extra cash

  32. Earn per week

  33. Easy terms

  34. Eliminate bad credit

  35. Eliminate debt

  36. Expect to earn

  37. Extra income

  38. Fast cash

  39. Financial freedom

  40. Financially independent

  41. For free

  42. For just $xxx

  43. Free grant money

  44. Free investment

  45. Free money

  46. Get out of debt

  47. Get paid

  48. Hidden assets

  49. Hidden charges

  50. Home based

  51. Home employment

  52. Home Based business

  53. Income

  54. Income from home

  55. Investment

  56. Investment decision

  57. Leave

  58. Loans

  59. Lower interest rate

  60. Lower interest rates

  61. Lower monthly payment

  62. Lower your mortgage rate

  63. Lowest insurance rates

  64. Make $

  65. Make money

  66. Million

  67. Million dollars

  68. Money

  69. Money making

  70. Mortgage

  71. Mortgage rates

  72. Nigerian

  73. No credit check

  74. No fees

  75. No investment

  76. Off shore

  77. One time

  78. Online biz opportunity

  79. Only $

  80. Pennies a day

  81. Potential earnings

  82. Pre-approved

  83. Price

  84. Prices

  85. Print form signature

  86. Profits

  87. Pure Profits

  88. Refinance

  89. Refinance home

  90. Refinanced home

  91. Risk free

  92. Save up to

  93. Serious cash

  94. Social security number

  95. Stock alert

  96. Stock disclaimer statement

  97. Stock pick

  98. Subject to cash

  99. Subject to credit

  100. They keep your money – no refund

  101. Thousands

  102. Unsecured credit

  103. Unsecured credit/debt

  104. Unsecured debt

  105. US dollars

  106. Why pay more?

  107. Winner

  108. Winning

  109. Work at home

  110. Work from home

  111. Your income

Medical

  1. CURES BALDNESS

  2. DIAGNOSTICS

  3. FAST

  4. VIAGRA DELIVERY

  5. Human

  6. growth hormone

  7. Life

  8. Insurance Lose weight

  9. Lose

  10. weight spam

  11. Medicine

  12. No medical exams

  13. Online pharmacy

  14. Removes wrinkles

  15. Reverses aging

  16. Stop

  17. snoring

  18. Valium Viagra

  19. Vicodin

  20. Weight loss

  21. Xanax

Ecommerce

  1. AS SEEN ON
  2. BUY
  3. BUY DIRECT
  4. Buying judgments
  5. Clearance
  6. Confidentially on all orders
  7. Order
  8. Order status
  9. Order today
  10. Orders shipped by
  11. Orders shipped by
  12. Outstanding values
  13. Sample
  14. shopper
  15. Wants credit card
  16. What are you waiting for?
  1. Claims
  2. Claims to be in accordance with some spam law
  3. Claims to be legal

Email filters, therefore, usually have a comprehensive list of words commonly used in spam emails. Using these spammy words can increase the chances of your mail being listed as spam. If spamming is still your marketing mantra, next time you are writing a subject line, find an alternative vocabulary to push your emails.

Fixing your subject lines is just the tip of the iceberg when you are avoiding the spam box. There are many other details you should take care of when trying to improve deliverability. For example....

  • Use correct spelling and grammar. Take time to edit and proofread. You can use services like Grammarly to help you with that.
  • Link only to genuine sites with reputable domains. Avoid shortening your links when you link.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe. If your unsubscribe button is hidden or not present, readers are going to mark your emails spam.
  • Having email authentication systems in place is an essential step in building trust between you and mailbox providers. Messages that pass authentication checks have much more chances to be delivered to the Inbox.

If you want to dive deeper into these useful tips you can start implementing right from your next campaign, checkout our resource bank on all the articles on email deliverability here.

FAQs

1) What is a spam trigger word in email?

A spam trigger word is a keyword or phrases that email providers see as a red flag. Spam trigger words are often found in emails marked as spam by readers.

2) What are the most common financial spam trigger words which are scanned out?

Some most common financial spam trigger words are $$$, affordable, bargain, beneficiary, best price etc. For a complete list, click here.

3) What are some general spam trigger words?

Some of the general spam trigger words are acceptance, accordingly, avoid, chance, dormant etc. You can find a comprehensive list here.

4) What are some marketing spam phrases?

Some commonly used marketing spam phrases are auto email removal, bulk email, click below, click here, click to remove etc. A comprehensive list is available here.

5) What are spam like behaviors?

Some spam like behaviors to watch out against are usage of spam trigger words, unsolicited email sending, image only emails, and deliberate spelling and grammar mistakes.

6) How do I make sure my emails don’t go to spam?

In order to ensure that your emails don’t go to spam, you need to adhere to certain rules such as the ones listed below:

  • Send only to opted-in subscribers
  • Explicitly ask subscribers to whitelist your email address
  • Comply with anti-spam laws
  • Proofread your emails to avoid spelling & grammar errors
  • Avoid spam-trigger keywords
  • Send them to a cleaned up list
  • Include an unsubscribe link
    There are quite a few more such rules for this. You can find an extensive list her