200+ Spam Trigger Words To Avoid In 2021 - Outfunnel (2022)

About one in six emails never make it to the recipient’s inbox because they’re caught by spam filters. One key way you can prevent this from happening to your email campaigns is avoiding spam trigger words in your email subject lines and content.

There are hundreds of words and phrases that trigger spam filters because they’re frequently abused. And some of these words are actually commonly used by businesses like “laser printer” or “email marketing”.

List of 200+ spam trigger words

How can you tell if a word or phrase is spammy? Briskly test if it:

  • is anxiety-inducing;
  • creates a sense of urgency;
  • sounds trashy or cheap;
  • is too good to be true;
  • contains anything illegal or malicious.

Here are 200+ words that trigger spam filters.

SymbolsAB
0%Access nowBargain
0% riskAccess for freeBelieve me
777Act nowBig bucks
99%Act immediatelyBilling
99.9%Action requiredBilling address
100%Additional incomeBillionaire
100% moreAffordable dealBillion dollars
100% satisfiedApply onlineBest offer
$$$At no costBulk email
4UAuto email removalBuy direct
CDE
Call meDealEarn $
Call nowDebtEarn extra income
Calling creditorsDirect emailEarn money
Cancel at any timeDiscountEarn monthly
Cannot be combinedDo it nowEliminate bad credit
Cards acceptedDo it todayEliminate debt
Cash-outDon’t deleteEmail marketing
Cash bonusDon’t hesitateExclusive deal
Click hereDouble your cashExpire
CongratulationsDouble your incomeExtra cash
FGH
Fantastic dealGet it nowHidden charges
Fantastic offerGet out of debtHidden costs
Fast cashGet paidHidden fees
Financial freedomGift certificateHigh score
For instant accessGreat dealHome employment
For just $ (amount)Great offerHome-based business
For onlyGuaranteedHuge discount
Free accessGuaranteed depositHurry up
Free bonusGuaranteed income
Free trialGuaranteed payment
IJK
Important informationJoin millions
Important notificationJunk
In accordance with laws
Increase sales
Increase traffic
Increase your chances
Incredible deal
Info you requested
Instant earnings
Initial investment
LMN
Laser printerMake $Never before
Legal noticeMake moneyNew customers only
Life insuranceMillionaireNew domain extensions
Lifetime accessMillion dollarsNo age restrictions
Lifetime dealMiracleNo credit check
Limited amountMoney backNo deposit required
Limited time offerMonth trial offerNo hidden fees
LoanMonthly paymentNo investment required
Lowest priceNo purchase necessary
Lowest ratesNow only
OPQ
OfferPlease readQuote
Offer expiresPotential earnings
Once in lifetimePre-approved
One hundred percentPrice protection
Online biz opportunityPrint form signature
OnlyProblem
Only $Prize
Order nowPromise you
Order statusPurchase now
Outstanding valuesPure profit
RST
RateSaleTake action now
Real thingSampleTalks about prizes
RefinanceSatisfaction guaranteedThe best rates
RefundSave $This isn’t a scam
RemovalSave moneyThis isn’t junk
Removal instructionsSave big moneyThis isn’t spam
Request nowSave up toThis won’t last
Requires investmentSent in complianceTime limited
Reserves the rightSign up free todayTraffic
Risk-freeSpecial promotionTrial
UVW
Undisclosed recipientVacationWants credit card
UnlimitedVacation offersWarranty
Unsecured creditVIPWarranty expired
Unsecured debtVisit our websiteWe hate spam
UnsolicitedWe honor all
UnsolicitedWeb traffic
UrgentWebsite visitors
US dollarsWhile stocks last
Winner
XYZ
You are a winner!Zero chance
You have been chosenZero percent
You have been selectedZero risk
Your chance
Your income
Your status

How to A/B test your subject lines for spam trigger words

If you’re not 100% sure whether a word or phrase may trigger spam filters, you can always use A/B testing to trial your email campaign subject line on a subsegment of your list first.

Here’s how you can go about it:

  1. Decide on a few (2 or 3) options for subject lines you’d like yo use*;
  2. Choose representative groups of recipients from your database (2 or 3 accordingly);
  3. Send the same email to the groups of recipients, but with different the different subject lines you came up with in step 1;
  4. See and evaluate the open rates for each group: if either is significantly below the standard for your industry or lists, go with the one that performed better. If they’re equally good, you can choose the one you prefer or toss a coin! If both perform poorly, go back to step 1 (or perhaps take a look at more general email deliverability best practices).

*Remember that the point of A/B testing is getting results that you can learn from. Don’t test random subject lines — take time to work out the rationale.

What else can you do prevent your emails from landing in the spam folder?

Avoiding spam trigger words will not guarantee you end up in the recipient’s inbox. So, it’s worth taking a brief look at what qualifies as spam and how you can make sure your emails do not trigger anti-spam tools.

Spam refers to irrelevant emails usually sent to recipients without their consent.

Emails that trigger spam filters typically share a few distinctive characteristics:

  • No targeting or personalization;
  • Irrelevant business proposals;
  • Urgency and scarcity in email subject lines;
  • Links to dubious websites;
  • No unsubscribe link.

And the scale of junk emails that gets sent out daily is astounding — around 14.5 billion (!) messages per day.

(Video) 9 Reasons Why Your Emails Go to Spam

There is no unified criteria for judging what is junk and what is not, as every spam protection service has different algorithms. However, the general criteria can be sorted into four primary categories:

1. Unwanted emails

The most widespread characteristic of spammy emails is that the recipient never signed up for them in the first place.

If you make sure you only email people who expect to hear from you, then you’ll have taken care of the biggest trigger.

2. IP address reputation

If the IP address you use gets many abuse complaints, it’ll be blacklisted by mailing systems.

Be sure to actively monitor your IP’s email deliverability and bounce rates. Seeing the first metric falls while the second raises? It’s high time to pause the campaign and investigate the reason behind it.

3. Code

Fraudsters, especially ones in the Banking & Finance industry, are known for adding malicious pieces of JavaScript in their emails, e.g. rojanDownloader:JS/Nemucod.

As a result, any external code is now viewed as a potential source of threat — so, it’s better to avoid including it in content.

4. Content

When creating email content, follow simple courtesy rules:

  • Include an opt-out option;
  • Make visual or branding elements look pertinent;
  • Test all external links you include and don’t misuse them.

Tips for writing less spammy emails

A key part of making sure your emails get delivered is simply writing great emails. If you do so, you simply do not give your recipients any reason to mark your emails as spam. Otherwise, it’s bad news for your domain reputation and your delivery rates.

So, here are 5 quick tips for writing less spammy emails.

Tip number 1: write with authentic tone

“Dear Sir or Madam,

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My name is Jack Smith, I’m a sales manager of the ABC company.

I’ve looked through your website and think my company has something to offer you…”

Well… This is how phony emails start. A universal formula. You can replace names or titles — with no proper personalization changes.

However, there’s karma for spammers: even if the mail isn’t caught by spam filters, it will have low CTR. Because people are smart and no one will continue reading what they think to be fake.

The only way to be heard is to write authentic emails, ones that are genuine and personalized. And while authenticity is something that will be unique to you, here are a few ideas you can consider for your emaills:

  • Anticipate the needs of your prospects (do your research!)
  • Share facts, figures or social proof for your offering (e.g. how many companies trust you with their business or a short testimonial from someone)
  • Write with respect (don’t be too formal or too friendly, at least not at first)
  • Avoid unnecessary urgency or pressure (this can feel like emotional blackmail)
  • Avoid manipulative language (such as “Do something or…”)

Tip number 2: make it easy to unsubscribe

If you don’t add an unsubscribe link and the recipient doesn’t want your emails, what do you think will happen? They will mark your emails as spam or report you.

So, adding a unsubscribe link helps avoid spam complaints and guard your email deliverability, especially if you plan on sending more than one email campaign (which we certainly hope you do).

Furthermore, you should make it easy to unsubscribe—do not hide the unsubscribe link or make it difficult to click on. That defeats the purpose.

After all, if you make it easy for people to opt-out of future emails, even if people do end up unsubscribing, they’re helping you clean your list. Simply puy, there’s no point emailing people who don’t want to hear from you—it’s a waste of your resources.

Tip number 3: create a memorable, non-spammy call to action

If you’ve gone through our B2B email marketing course, you’ll know that all your emails should have a call to action—and just one call to action.

But how to create a good CTA, one that actually works? While there’s no single formula, you can follow these best practices:

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Don’t simply describe something — encourage actions

On average, we all receive 25-30 emails daily. Unless it contains something substantial, a long read has almost no chance of being read all the way through. Even if it’s well written.

For emails — be concise where possible. Try to shorten phrases and leave the essence that will hook the user.

200+ Spam Trigger Words To Avoid In 2021 - Outfunnel (1)

Avoid words like “Click” for buttons; use “Claim offer” or “See the deals” instead. A good idea is to add a preheader that captures the essence of the email — whether this is a new offer, birthday gift, newsletter, etc.

Test email UI/UX on mobile

Too small buttons or too light font color may look good on a desktop; however, on small smartphone screens, these may look broken.

Finish the sentence, “I want to..”

One of the best tips for CTAs (in emails and elsewhere) is that a natural CTA finishes the following sentence: “I want to…” So, use for example, “Start my free trial” and not “Start your free trial”.

200+ Spam Trigger Words To Avoid In 2021 - Outfunnel (2)

Tip number 4: don’t use ALL CAPS

Too many CAPS letters cause almost physical pain when reading the text. This concerns subject lines too!

200+ Spam Trigger Words To Avoid In 2021 - Outfunnel (3)

Tip number 5: don’t use too many emojis

I hate to break it to you, but the golden era of emojis is behind. Nobody is surprised by them anymore. Even if your subject line with emojis looks good, it will most likely get lost in the recipient’s mailbox among similar emails.

This is how your Promotion tab may look like on any day:

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200+ Spam Trigger Words To Avoid In 2021 - Outfunnel (4)

If you want to use emojis, make sure they match the message and add value rather than noise.

Avoiding spam trigger words is just one part of getting your emails delivered and read. If you’d like to learn more about writing and sending emails that bring results, sign up for our B2B email marketing course.

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Katheriin Liibert

Previously Head of Marketing at Outfunnel. Loves tech, marketing, product management.

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FAQs

What are some spam trigger words? ›

What are Spam Triggering Words?
  • 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.

How do you identify spam words? ›

A spam checker is a tool that detects spammy words, like an anti-spam filter would. By replacing spammy words or phrases, you make sure your emails land in inbox (and not in a SPAM folder).

How do you beat spam filters? ›

15 ways to avoid spam filters when sending emails
  1. Send newsletters from your own domain. ...
  2. Authenticate your domain. ...
  3. Maintain a strong sender reputation. ...
  4. Consider your IP reputation. ...
  5. Optimize your newsletter copy. ...
  6. Avoid spam trigger words. ...
  7. Optimize your image-to-text ratio. ...
  8. Check your link quality.
28 Jun 2022

What do spam filters look for? ›

Spam filters use predefined rules, or algorithms, to go through email messages. They look for emails with features that display the traits of spam-like emails. The algorithm then calculates the probability of that the message could be spam and assigns each part of the message a value.

How do spam filters not get caught? ›

How to avoid spam filters
  1. Only email people who have given you permission. ...
  2. Use a familiar 'From' name. ...
  3. Use segmentation to send targeted, relevant campaigns. ...
  4. Use a real reply-to address in your campaigns. ...
  5. Configure your account to send from your business domain.

Do exclamation points trigger spam filters? ›

Research shows that exclamation points in subject lines lead to lower than average open rates because this type of punctuation is actually a trigger for spam filters,” the ebook says.

What triggers Gmail spam filter? ›

Gmail employs a number of AI-driven filters that determine what gets marked as spam. These filters look at a variety of signals, including characteristics of the IP address, domains/subdomains, whether bulk senders are authenticated, and user input.

What does spam stand for? ›

SPAM

SPAM
Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Spam_(food)
is an acronym: Special Processed American Meat.

What is spam massage? ›

SMS spam (sometimes called cell phone spam) is any junk message delivered to a mobile phone as text messaging through the Short Message Service (SMS).

How do I check my spam messages? ›

How to recognize spam
  1. Miraculous products and promises. The question is: who wouldn't want to lose many pounds in a short time? ...
  2. Appealing and urgent subjects. ...
  3. Suspicious sender. ...
  4. Grammar and spelling errors. ...
  5. Strange URLs. ...
  6. Unexpected attachments. ...
  7. It's not spam.

Do emails without subject go to spam? ›

No Subject = Spammer. For the most part, I do not open emails where the Subject field is blank unless I immediately recognize the sender. This is because most non-subjected emails are spam. Not having a Subject makes you look spammy and generally will have your email end up in my junk folder misidentified as spam.

Do links in emails trigger spam filters? ›

One of the calling cards of spammers is that they are lazy and don't take the time to create clean hyperlinks. Instead, they paste the entire hyperlink—a string containing hundreds of characters—into emails. Spam filters look for these long hyperlinks and count it against you in spam scoring.

How do I send a mass email without being marked as spam? ›

Technical Settings
  1. Correctly format headers. ...
  2. Ensure the email underwent a checkout. ...
  3. Use a special header. ...
  4. Include an Unsubscribe Link. ...
  5. Avoid using spam-like words. ...
  6. Don't use suspicious links and attachments. ...
  7. Check the design. ...
  8. Provide a plain-text version.
11 Dec 2020

Do attachments trigger spam filters? ›

While it is common practice to include attachments in emails to people who are expecting to hear from you, doing so in bulk will trigger spam filters. This is because actual spam emails typically contain harmful attachments. In turn, spam filters are designed to detect and remove emails with attachments.

Which of the following are most common spam triggers? ›

Top 10 Most Common Spam Filter Triggers
  • BODY: HTML and text parts are different (279)
  • BODY: HTML: images with 2400-2800 bytes of words (211)
  • BODY: HTML: images with 2000-2400 bytes of words (194)
  • BODY: HTML: images with 1200-1600 bytes of words (178)
  • BODY: HTML: images with 1600-2000 bytes of words (178)
4 Feb 2009

How do I permanently block spam in Gmail? ›

Block email from unwanted senders
  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Open the message.
  3. In the top right, click More .
  4. Click Block [sender].

What are the three steps you can take to avoid spam? ›

Here are five simple ways to fight spam and to protect yourself online:
  • Never give out or post your email address publicly. ...
  • Think before you click. ...
  • Do not reply to spam messages. ...
  • Download spam filtering tools and anti-virus software. ...
  • Avoid using your personal or business email address.

How many links is too many in an email? ›

Here's your rule of thumb: try to keep links in emails to three or fewer. If you absolutely have to, you could go to five links, but no more than five, ever.

What does spam stand for? ›

SPAM

SPAM
Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Spam_(food)
is an acronym: Special Processed American Meat.

Can you get spam texts? ›

There are many ways spammers get hold of your cell phone number so they can send SMS spam and sales texts: They may use technology to generate numbers automatically — so even if you have a brand-new number, you can still receive both robocalls and robotexts.

What causes email spam? ›

Spam messages often come from illegitimate email addresses, and may contain explicit or illegal content. These emails often use scare tactics, contain typos and misleading information, and are sent in bulk from an anonymous sender.

How do you use spam in a sentence? ›

Her plate held a curious mixture of Spam, jelly, iced buns and lettuce leaves. 6. I was getting so much spam mail that I changed my email address.

What state consumes the most spam? ›

Hawaii consumes more Spam

Spam
Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Spam_(food)
per capita than any other state, with five cans eaten per person per year—about 7 million cans total—according to Nicole L. Behne, a Spam senior product manager. It's time for the rest of America to catch up with Hawaii.

Where is spam most popular? ›

6 facts about Spam

Spam
Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Spam_(food)


The United States consumes the most Spam, followed by Korea. The average Hawaiian eats at least five cans of Spam a year. Average annual Spam consumption on the island of Guam is 16 cans a person. The product's mascot is Spammy the pig.

Who created spam? ›

Hormel Foods Corporation

Why am I getting so much spam all of a sudden 2022? ›

The usual source of a sudden increase in failed login attempts or spam mail received is that the email address was harvested by a hacker who breached a data base on a website where you subscribed to something. That database gets repeatedly sold to other hackers/spammers on the dark web.

Why am I getting so many spam texts all of a sudden 2021? ›

You get spam messages because someone gets access to your email address or phone number. Think about how often you provide your phone number or email address when checking out online, when registering for something, or when signing up for a rewards program in a store.

Why am I getting so many spam calls all of a sudden 2022? ›

Why am I getting spam calls all of a sudden? Usually, it's because your number has been sold in a group list of phone numbers to other scammers. Remember, you can always report spam calls to the Better Business Bureau and also the Federal Trade Commission.

Why am I suddenly getting hundreds of spam emails? ›

Spammers buy email addresses from special providers in bulk to add them to their mailing lists. If you've noted a sudden increase in the number of spam emails landing in your account, there's a high chance that your address was part of a list recently sold to one or more scammers.

Is there a way to permanently stop spam emails? ›

The phone number and website are operated by the major credit bureaus. To opt out permanently: Go to optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) to start the process.

What is another word for spam? ›

Unsolicited, unwanted, impersonal email.

Why is it called spam? ›

Email SPAM, also referred to as junk email or simply SPAM, is unsolicited messages sent in bulk by email, also known as “spamming.” The name comes from a Monty Python sketch, (watch it, below!) where the name of the canned pork product, SPAM, is annoying and unavoidable. Just like SPAM email.

What meat is spam? ›

It may come as a pleasant surprise to learn that SPAM

SPAM
Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Spam_(food)
is not the preservative-packed mystery meat you might think it is. In fact, SPAM only contains six ingredients! And the brand's website lists them all. They are: pork with ham meat added (that counts as one), salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrite.

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