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Avoid these spam trigger words in email, to reach inbox

Spam filters check your emails for words which indicate possible spam content, e.g. “free offer”. Avoid these spam trigger words in email marketing to avoid spam filters.

You marketing email has to cross many hurdles before it can safely land in the inbox. Apart from your sender reputation score, your email text is also an important factor to decide whether or not it will reach inbox.

Table Of Contents
1. What do spam filters look for?
1.1 Spam trigger words
1.2 Sender reputation
1.3 Content
1.4 Formatting
1.5 Sending Behavior
2. Spam trigger words
2.1 How to avoid spam trigger words
3. How to write an email that gets delivered and opened

What do spam filters look for?

Spam filters are tasked with one thing, filter out potentially spam emails. So they need to first identify what’s potentially spammy. They do this by looking for different signals.

Spam trigger words

Spam emails often contain certain keywords that are associated with spam, such as “Viagra” or “free money.” Spam filters may look for these keywords and flag emails that contain them as spam.

Sender reputation

Spam filters will also look for the historical record of your (sender’s) email account to decide whether or now you have a tendency to send spam emails. If an email comes from a sender with a poor sender score / reputation, it is more likely to be flagged as spam.


Apart from your email text, spam filters will also look for other types of content typically associated with spamming, such as links to suspicious links, attachments. Excessive use of capital letters, exclamation points, images and flashy html is also indicative of spam.


Spammers typically use large font sizes, multiple font styles, excessive use of colors and other unusual formatting. Spam filters also look for these formatting signals.

Sending Behavior

Spam filters also look for your cold emailing pattern. If you send thousands of identical emails in a single bulk email blast, most of those will go to spam. If you spread them out over a period of time, they can reach inbox.

Overall, spam filters will look for a combination of these signals identify and filter out spam emails.

You can stagger your emails to avoid spam filters and improve email deliverability, restrict your email sending volumes, maintain high sender reputation, but if your email content is spammy, you will still struggle to reach inbox.

So what qualifies as spammy content?

Spam filters have identified certain trigger words to be indicators of spam emails. If your email text contains many of these keywords, it can trigger an action by the spam filters.

SPAM trigger words

Based on a history of spammy email content, email service providers maintain a blacklist of sorts for spam trigger words. Here is an exhaustive list of such spam trigger keywords for different categories of emails.

That list can be quite handful. So we put all those words in a user friendly spreadsheet, so that you can easily and quickly find out, which words to avoid in your marketing email to avoid the spam filters.

How to avoid spam trigger words

Email marketers often wonder if they need to avoid these words altogether in their emails. Because getting rid of all those words can also make your marketing email quite ineffective.

But you don’t need to worry, as spam filters have also become quite smart over the years. They can analyse the context of your text and they will only punish your email text if the trigger words seem to be used out of context.

I know, it sounds quite vague. What is the right context? And how do you make sure your email has the right context?

Spam filters will check if your emails are genuinely adding any value to the recipients and don’t have a pushy, salesy, sketchy tone.

For example, a heavily used word by spammers is “Free membership”. Does that mean you should never use the word “Free membership”? Not necessarily, it depends on the context.

If your email is only trying to shove a ‘Free membership’ down the throat of your readers, then it is an obvious flag for spam. The context here is a free membership that may not be useful for the recipient, which is evident from low opening rates for other similar emails.

But if you are sending an email to someone informing that their ‘free membership’ has expired, that is a genuine message which must reach the recipient. This will not be blocked in spam. Here, the context is a genuine message which the recipient would like to know about – again evident by the opening rates of similar emails.

Note that the spam filters base most of these inferences on an ocean of email opening data accumulated over the years. That is what makes them smart.

If you are in doubt about the deliverability of your email, you can always check the likelihood of your email landing in inbox with the help of this free tool.

Avoid any of these blacklisted keywords which can trigger spam filters.

How to write an email that gets delivered and opened

First challenge is to land your email in inbox. Here are some things that you should do to improve and maintain the deliverability of your emails –

Once your email has reached the inbox, it is up to the subject line and email text to get a response. Here are some tips to ensure that –

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