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Did you know that there are a lot of regular words that can get your email into trouble with spam filters? Remember George Carlin’s “7 words you can’t say on tv”? Well there are a whole lot more words that you can’t say in email without risking going to the spam folder. In fact one of the things that is most surprising to many email senders is just how many words there are that, when in their email, can trip the spam filters. They are even more surprised when they learn what some of those words are, because they are very common words, words that seem (and often are) innocent, and yet the spam filters will chew on them, and often then spit your email out directly into the spam folder.

words that can get your email in trouble

This is, of course, because those same words appear so often in spam. And the inbox providers and ISPs are constantly monitoring all of the email that is sent to their system, and their spam filters are constantly analyzing the content of all of that email. It may surprise you to learn that as much as 85% of all email is that is received by inbox providers is.. wait for it .. spam! That actually means that the sample size of words and other content for spam is much, much larger than the sample size of legitimate email.

As a result the inbox providers and ISPs have an enormous body of content on which to train their spam filters to recognize words and phrases that commonly appear in spam. And that means that the odds of your email containing some of those words and phrases is good. And that means that you have to do your very best to make sure that your email does not look like spam to those spam filters.

Here’s just a few of those words and phrases:

You are receiving this email because

Click to remove or Click here to unsubscribe, or some varation thereof. (That’s right, you have to include a one-step unsubscribe method for them to unsubscribe, but talking about it can garner you spam points. While we’re on the subject, it really does need to be a one-step method, that is required by Federal law. You can read more about that here.)

All natural


Billing address

Be amazed

Being a member

Call now

Cancel at any time

Don’t delete

Free membership

And these are just a few that we picked at random from the beginning of the alphabet! There are many, many more.

Also, talking in your email about how you comply with email and spam laws can cause your email to accrue spam points. As with the unsubscribe requirement, you have to be compliant, but don’t say that you’re compliant!

Now, of course, the content of your email is just one thing that the spam filters and inbox providers look at, and the better your sending reputation generally, the more you can get away with in your content, but if you are consistently having issues going to the spam folder, your content, and the words in your content, may be part of the problem.

If this information is all new to you, we recommend that you pick up a copy of our Email Deliverability Handbook, which includes a larger list of these words, as well as a lot more information about getting your email to the inbox. You can also get our information for how to avoid the spam folder free here.

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