I was working with a customer recently who complained that his email was routinely being sent to recipient spam folders instead of the inbox. I asked him to send me a copy of the email so I could run some tests across various email clients to see if I could identify the problem.

When the email arrived, the first thing I noticed was the Subject Line, which could be used as a textbook example of what a spam subject line might look like.

Subject: Behind In Payments ?? Avoid Bankruptcy!!! Reduce Debt 50%-Debt Free 12-36 Months !!!

Case closed. It might as well read:

Subject: Behind in SPAM ?? Avoid SPAM!!! Reduce SPAM 50%-SPAM Free 12-36 SPAM !!!

Here’s the thing.

The words and punctuation that you use in the subject line (and body) of your email really matter. Antispam filters are designed to look for suspicious or spammy content. That is what they were created for. They guard the inbox of each recipient with a vigilance that would make the Royal Guards seem somewhat lackadaisical.

Marketing Profs published 107 ‘dirty’ words that might get your email snagged in spam filters if they appear in your Subject line. Here are the first seven:

  1. 100% free
  2. 50% off
  3. act now
  4. all words that relate to sex or pornography
  5. all words that related to cures or medication
  6. amazing
  7. anything that looks like you are YELLING

For 100 more, read The Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say in Email Subject Lines (Plus 100 Others You Shouldn’t Use, Either)**

** Registration may be required to read the full article.

Download GroupMail newsletter software today and practice writing some good subject lines.

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