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Marketing Your Business Through Email



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 Work at Home Moms > Marketing Your Business Through Email > Spam Filter Words: Trigger Words That Filter Emails

Marketing Your Business Through Email: Spam Filter Words: Trigger Words That Filter Emails

In the first two lessons, we learned about why we use email marketing (to drive people to your web site) and how to build your email list (offer them something that they want). In this third lesson, we will get into the nuts and bolts of marketing using email, and will discover what works when using email to grow your home business.

Spam uses up bandwidth. It clogs mail boxes. And people don't want to receive it. And ISPs have become aggressive in filtering emails as a result.

As an Internet-based Mom marketing online, it's a given that you don't Spam your customers. You may be bewildered at times, wondering why your emails get filtered out, since you are sending them to a legitimate opt-in list. You may have even ended up on a blacklist through no intentional fault of your own, since you were attempting to follow the rules for responsible email marketing.

The problem could be Spam filters. With the increase in Spam has come increasingly sophisticated guardians against unsolicited emails. These email "watch dogs" are used by most Internet Service Providers (ISP's) as well as private customers. While this software does block out Spam, it can also block legitimate emails as well. Understanding how Spam filters work can help prevent non-delivery problems, or being labeled a 'spammer' unfairly.

Increasingly Sophisticated Filters Mean Less Emails Get Through

Many ISPs have special routers for their email domains that analyze all incoming emails. The router can automatically block emails that come from certain addresses (those on the "blacklist" of known spammers), and they will also filter out emails that contain certain trigger words in the subject line that have been frequently linked to Spam messages.

Even if your email gets past the router on your customer's ISP, it may also have to get past the filter on your customer's email box. With our increasingly sophisticated email programs, people can tell their mailboxes to automatically delete messages that have trigger words in the subject lines, or that come from the "wrong addresses".

How Spam filters work

Normally, email filters examine the words in the email "subject line". This is the header that you see when an email shows up in your email box. A good subject line can encourage people to actually click on and open an email (more on this in lesson seven), but you need to exercise care when creating your subject headings to prevent filtering.

Frequently, more sophisticated anti-spam methods used by ISPs use a "point system" that identifies trigger phrases commonly used by Spam. If an email goes over the "points" it is filtered out, and is never delivered to a customer.

Some of the more commonly used phrases that ISPs and mail clients filter out include:


50% off!
Click Here
Call now!
Earn $
Eliminate Debt
Double your income
You're a Winner!
Reverses Aging
Information you requested
"Stop" or "Stops"
Lose Weight

Multi level Marketing
Million Dollars
Cash Bonus
Promise You
Satisfaction Guaranteed
Serious Cash
Search Engine Listings

There are other problematic phrases that can trigger some Spam filters, or start adding "Spam points" to emails sent out, and should be avoided. These include:


Act Now!
All New
All Natural
Avoid Bankruptcy
As Seen On…
Buy Direct
Consolidate Your Debt
Special Promotion
Easy Terms
Get Paid
Guarantee, Guaranteed
Great offer
Give it away, Giving it away
Join millions
Meet Singles
No cost, No fees

One time
Online pharmacy
Online marketing
Order Now
Please Read
Don't Delete
Save up to
Time limited
Unsecured debt or credit
Visit our web site
While Supplies last
Why pay more?
Work at home
You've been selected

Using quotation marks, dollar signs and exclamation points in subject lines will frequently trigger mail filters, as well as using all capital letters (shouting). You should also never put a toll-free number in the subject line, since that will also cause your email to be filtered out by many Spam filters. And never use a font size larger than 2+, or you could trigger some Spam filters.

Please be aware that the above lists aren't meant to be comprehensive, and only identify some of the more common words and phrases that trigger Spam filters. One way to check? Send an email to yourself and some select friends (such as other Internet-based marketing moms) with Spam filters first, before sending it out to your customers, and see if it makes it through. Or, go out and buy one of the better software programs that will highlight words that could be identified as Spam. If you depend on email marketing to bring traffic to your web site, it is well worth the investment.

Update Your Lists Frequently

Another aspect of email marketing and list management is vital: checking and updating your list frequently. This is best done automatically. For instance, if a subscriber chooses to "unsubscribe", you email list manager should immediately take them off your mail list, to prevent accusations of "Spam". Failing to update your list can cause you to be blacklisted with their ISP. It's essential to include an "unsubscribe" link in each email that you send out, and to honor this request as soon as it occurs.

Also, non-deliverable mails need to be looked at. Is it due to hard-bouncing (wrong email address/domain name?) or is it a soft-bounce (misspelled name?) In some cases, the address is no longer valid, and should be taken off the list. Most automated list managers will delete emails after a certain number of attempts that get bounced back.

Getting off of Blacklists

Even the most legitimate mailings may cause some customers to cry "Spam". They may forget signing up for your newsletter (even though it was a double opt-in subscription), or have selective memory about signing up to receive email promotions in return for downloading that great free software at your web site.

In these cases, it can help to keep careful records of your opt-ins. If you get blacklisted by an ISP (or even yours, if you are accused of spamming!), show them your records: on January 15, 2002, a customer using the email address signed up for my newsletter from the IP address (give IP address). This lets the ISP know that you are responsible, and that someone from that ISP DID sign up to receive emails from you. In most cases, the "blacklisting" will be dropped.

By paying careful attention to subject lines, and avoiding those that trigger email filters, your emails have a better chance of reaching your customers, and not being filtered out. By emailing responsibly, and keeping good records, you can avoid accusations of Spam, and enjoy interacting with your customers via email.

This was lesson two in our series, “Email Marketing Techniques.” Be sure to look for lesson three, in which we discuss “Email Marketing Strategies That Work”. 

Email Marketing Tutorial Contents:

1 Basic Rules of Email Marketing

2 Building Your Email Mailing List

3 Email Marketing Strategies That Work

4 How To Write Irresistible Emails

5 Avoiding SPAM Traps: Trigger Words That Filter Emails

6 The Real Truth About Direct Email and Email Lists

7 Creating Compelling Subject Lines (That Will Ensure Your Emails Get Opened)


These lessons have been brought to you by Sheri Waldrop, the owner of  Pro-Scribe Writing Service, specialists in creating online marketing communications. If you need information and assistance with your online growth, we can help.  You can find out more information by emailing us at



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