21 words that’ll send your emails straight to spam

Only people who don’t write marketing emails would ever think it’s an easy job.

It can take two or three hours to write a good one – and most of that time is spent trying to come up with a subject line that’ll get people to open it.


You’ve finally hit send.

You wait to hear the little ping on your phone, because obviously you’re signed up to your own mailing list.

Wait… why haven’t you heard the ping?

Panic sets in

A rock has planted itself firmly in the pit of your stomach as you open up your inbox and rifle through.

Nope. Your email isn’t there.

After all that hard work, your super interesting and hugely important broadcast has ended up in the spam box.

Instead of reaching the thousands of people who’ve signed up to your mailing list, your carefully crafted email now lives in an e-bin.

How did this happen?

I’ll tell you how.

You probably used a trigger word in your subject line.

There are hundreds of words and phrases that’ll send your emails straight to spam if you use any one of them in your subject line.

Some of them are really difficult to avoid, especially if you’re trying to sell something that you know your followers would like to buy.

I’ve collated the top 21 trigger words that I think you use most. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll think twice about using them the next time you’re writing that important email.

If you find this post helpful, don’t forget to hit the share button.

Here they are:

  1. Buy
  2. Price
  3. Discount
  4. Hello
  5. Click here
  6. For free
  7. Now only
  8. Get it now
  9. Click below
  10. Click
  11. Open
  12. Opt in
  13. Form
  14. Visit our website
  15. Subscribe
  16. 50% off
  17. Guaranteed
  18. Call
  19. Offer
  20. Free
  21. Get

At first glance, you might think you’ve never used these words. But think really carefully.

If you’ve ever promoted an event that offers a discount to early birds, for example, you might have used something similar to the subject lines below.

‘Get your early bird offer!’

‘50% off if you buy your ticket today!’

‘10% discount if your buy your tickets now!’

Visit our website to get your early bird discount’

Sentences like these are littered with trigger words. Are you certain you’ve never used them in your email subject lines?


Spam trigger filters were created to help us. They stop us receiving emails we don’t want, so we have easy access to the emails we do want.

But for marketeers, it can be a word-filled nightmare.

Lucky for you, you’ve got lots of resources to help you.

For an exhaustive list of spam trigger words and phrases you need to avoid, have a read of HubSpot’s post: The Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words.

Over to you!

Got any tips on how to avoid ending up in spam folders? Share them in the comments section!


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Eman Ismail is a UK-based copywriter and the founder of InkHouse. She works with businesses and non-profits across the world, writing marketing materials and content that increases their exposure and attracts their ideal audience. When she's not writing or delivering copywriting workshops, you'll find her glued to a podcast in the corner of a cosy cafe.

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