Spam Filters: Why Your Email Copy Matters

by | Mar 23, 2022

If you’ve invested in email marketing for your business, you’re probably aware that many of your emails never reach your client’s inbox. In fact, about 21% of emails sent by legitimate email marketers end up in a spam folder. It’s statistics like these that leave many business owners scratching their heads. After all, if you’re a legitimate business, then why are email providers preventing you from sending messages to your customers? 

spam mail

This can be frustrating for sure, but it’s just evidence of how important your email copy really is — especially in your subject line. There are lots of phrases businesses use in their emails that trigger spam filters — or worse, make their emails appear like scam bait. 

Even if your email does get past spam filters, it may still set off “warning bells” in a recipient’s mind if the subject or tag lines seem suspicious. The copy in these two areas is the first thing customers see, and it can heavily influence their split decision to open your email or throw it out. That’s why you want to ensure you stay away from the following subject-line and content pitfalls that make your emails seem illegitimate. 

#1 — Using ‘Free’ 

You may think that advertising free goodies in the subject line of your email will be a surefire way to get people interested in what you have to say. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Including subject likes with phrases like “100% free,” “sign up for free,” or “free gift” can get your email sent straight to spam. 

#2 — Creating False Urgency 

Female business person reading email on computer screen at work on internet

Whether it’s using excessive punctuation, all capital letters, or urging clients to “act now,” creating a false sense of urgency is one of the fastest ways to derail your email. This is because phishing schemes often utilize urgency to get people to make rash decisions based on fear, like giving over their credit card information to pay off a fabricated debt. You certainly don’t want your email to be perceived that way. 

#3 — Talking About Money 

Offering gift cards, cash prizes, or using the “$” symbol may make it seem like your offer is too good to be true. As the old saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” Your customers know this, so it’s probably best to mention these offers sparingly. 

#4 — Linking To Unreputable Websites 

Even if your email content is acceptable, the URLs in the copy still matter. Linking to dubious websites can make your email seem like a scam and can even get you reported as a phishing scheme. Make sure all of the sites you link to are well-known and reputable. 

#5 — Not Including An ‘Unsubscribe’ Button 

This is actually a matter of adhering to anti-spam laws set forth by the Federal Trade Commission. These regulations require emails to provide an obvious way for the people on your mailing list to opt out of any commercial messages, so be sure to include an unsubscribe button on all your emails. 

#6 — Using Abnormal Fonts 

Not only does this make your emails harder to read, but it also appears fishy to email screening services. You may think your spooky Halloween font will set your email apart, but it will likely just make you and your email seem spooky. 

Creative abstract e-mail, spam and junk mail internet web concept: 3D render illustration of the top view of heap of letters in envelopes falling from screen of modern metal office laptop or silver business notebook computer PC on the office table

#7 — Not Sending Emails From A Reputable Domain 

Nobody is going to open an email from gregisapelican445@fishystuff.com — or at least they shouldn’t. Oftentimes phishing emails come from hacked email accounts that aren’t associated with a specific brand, so sending emails from a personal account can be perceived the same way. Make sure all of your emails come from an email address that makes your identity obvious. 

#8 — Sending Too Many Emails 

Depending on your industry, the ideal frequency for your email campaigns may vary. However, if you notice a drop in subscribers on your mailing list after increasing your campaign frequency, you may want to reevaluate what an appropriate schedule would look like. 

Spam filters are always adapting to protect consumers from unwanted communications, so it’s important to continuously evaluate what you might be doing to negatively impact the deliverability of your email. By carefully crafting copy, monitoring your campaign’s metrics, and using A/B testing, you can shift your emails away from the trash and into your clients’ inboxes.

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