13 Spam Trigger Words To Avoid Including In Emails

13 Spam Trigger Words To Avoid Including In Emails

What is one spam trigger word that is sure to send an email to spam? 

To help you know which spam words to avoid, we asked marketing managers and email copywriters this question for their best insights. From using the word “Exclusive” to “Congratulations!”, there are several trigger words that should be avoided to prevent your emails from landing in a spam folder. 

Here are thirteen spam trigger words to avoid:

  • Friend
  • Order
  • Exclusive
  • Services
  • Click
  • Alert
  • Bargain
  • Investment
  • Congratulations!
  • Opportunity
  • Free
  • Guarantee
  • 100% Satisfaction


A trigger word that you should look to avoid is using “Friend” to refer to your email recipient instead of their actual name. This is an indication of mass email marketing and low personalization to the sender. If you are using Mailchimp, be sure to include Merge tags (https://mailchimp.com/help/all-the-merge-tags-cheat-sheet/) in your email so that your recipient’s first name appears in the greeting. There are also plenty of other merge tags to personalize your emails, decreasing the likelihood that your email ends up in spam!

Thylan Le, Markitors


“Order” is a spam keyword to avoid. “Order now” should be avoided as well since both are sure to send an email directly to spam. You don’t want your customers to miss your direct marketing. You also don’t want to sound as if you’re making a demand of the customer. If it comes across as too forward or abrasive, it could turn the customer off. It’s best to protect your domain reputation by avoiding the use of “order” altogether.

Shaun Price, MitoQ


Anything labeled ‘exclusive’ in an email has normally been sent out to thousands of ‘exclusive’ customers already, if not more. And spam filters are well aware that this word is often used to lure in customers. This is why the word triggers a red flag and prompts email spam filters to send the email straight to the spam folder. Some common variations of the word you can avoid while drafting your email subject line and content are “Exclusively for you,” “Grab this exclusive offer now,” “This exclusive offer is just for you,” and the likes.

Jase Rodley, Entrepreneur


Often, when an email sender uses the word “services” in their email subject line, it can be a fairly clear indicator that the offer inside will be a sales pitch for – guess what – a particular service. If you receive enough of these emails and begin sending them to Trash, this will eventually alert your Spam filter. This will keep your Inbox clean, and stop as many sales pitches from making their way through as possible.

Ryan Rottman, OSDB Sports


If you really have to ask the recipient to “click” on the email, then you can pretty much guess that it’s not an email that they are expecting. And even if the recipient doesn’t recognize the sender, they may sometimes do exactly what the subject line directs them to do, and “click.” However, this word can be seen as very “spammy,” and the chances of an email like this getting past your security filters are slim.

Lauren Kleinman, The Quality Edit


When a “spammer” is trying to get your attention, they may go completely over the top with their word choices. A word like “alert” can indicate that the email contains a sales pitch that is not welcomed. The subject line may say “Alert: Special Offer” or “Alert: You’re Running Out of Time.”  These types of email subject lines aim to create a sense of urgency so that the recipient will open them right away.

Lindsay McCormick, Bite


The word “bargain” is a trigger word that will send your emails to spam. Words or phrases that make your brand sound too discount-focused (like “cheap” or “save $”) should be avoided. Instead, focus on the specific offer and make sure to use an AB-tested subject line and clean email format. You never want to risk being flagged as a dangerous or irrelevant email.

Ryan Brown, Kenra Professional


There are corrupt people trying to take advantage of innocent ones as long as there are foolish people in the world. But that’s not always the case. The word “Investment” has no negative connotations. Nonetheless, this word is linked to unethical or illegal activity and may be flagged by the spam filter. Spam filters may consider the word “Investment” manipulative & shady. It’s worth noting that a single occurrence of these words might not be enough to set off the spam filter. So, if you insist on using this word, you should do it with caution.

Axel Hernborg, Tripplo


“Congratulations!” in the subject line of an email can be tricky. The first question the recipient asks is: congratulations on what? And he already imagines that congratulations may refer to winning a prize, which does not exist, for a game he never participated in. So, these fake awards and recognitions go straight into spam!

Chiara Sternardi, PhotoAiD


Unless you’re a known email contact of a recipient, one buzzword that is almost certain to get your friendly email pulled into the dreaded spam folder is the word “opportunity.” The word opportunity is typically associated with all kinds of spammy and soliciting emails – the “opportunity to win,” the “opportunity to enter,” the “opportunity to save a shelter dog.” You get the picture. When someone you don’t know is emailing you, 99% of the time they’re trying to scam you or sell you something, and the path to getting a “yes” from you is through the magic word: opportunity. So my advice for all the email marketers out there – though it may be one, don’t call it an opportunity.

John Ross, Test Prep Insight


Our email campaign analytics always come back with significantly low open rates every time we talk about a ‘free’ or  ‘discounted’ offer in the email. It’s even worse if you try to evade spam-triggering tools by spelling ‘free’ with spaces in between each letter.

Francine Kaye Acelar, Formicidae, LLC


Including the word, “guarantee” can send emails to spam. This is a sales term that is used far too often and thus should be used carefully, if at all. If you can, think of synonyms such as “ensure” (if you’re going for a verb) or consider somehow rephrasing a sentence if you were originally trying to use “guarantee” as a noun.

Schuyler Hoversten, Swoopt

100% Satisfaction

No matter how quality-driven the product is, 100% satisfaction is an unrealistic expectation and Google scans this for sure.  Make sure you don’t use this word in your email subject, title, and content. If the email title or subject line features words making unrealistic claims then the email will land directly in the spam folder. In place of this, try using satisfaction as per the standards. Exaggerating things will only do more harm than good. So, be realistic and set realistic expectations for customers.

Jonathan Tian, Mobitrix

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