Look what the spam filter caught

It’s probably safe to say that you don’t intend for your marketing emails to come across as spam, but many email platforms don’t always see eye-to-digital-eye on that sort of thing. If you want to avoid looking like an imposter and increase lead conversion, we’ve got a few easy changes you can make to your next blast before clicking that send-button-of-no-return.

But first, let’s touch on why this is even a problem in the first place — malware. Cases of phishing, Trojan viruses, and ransomware have grown in recent years, especially in 2020 when we were all working remotely and baking our own bread. Many of the bad actors behind these attacks have used certain language and phrasing in their email trickery on a consistent enough basis that spam filters equate the same (or similar) keywords and language in your outreach as another attempt to take advantage of a business.

Obviously email outreach can’t go away entirely, as it’s still one of the best ways to manage both inbound and outbound marketing. So the lesson to learn here isn’t to stop what you’re doing, it’s to change how you’re doing it. That starts with:


Spam keywords have been around for a while. You’ve probably seen plenty of them yourself, including free, deals, opportunity, urgent, apply online — even marketing solutions! But this naughty list continues to grow and evolve, and some of the newer ones might not look so obvious. You can peruse a more comprehensive list here, courtesy of Hubspot.


Links can either be a helpful tool or an easy way to shoot your message in the foot, depending on two factors: (1) how many you use, and (2) where each of them redirect your readers. As a general rule, the more links an email has, the greater chance a spam filter catches it. You can probably get away with 3-4 at most before it gets to be a problem, but we’d recommend sticking closer with 1-2 — including the website link in your signature. More than that and you’ll start to confuse your readers on where you want them to go.

Put another way, if 3 separate links direct your readers to 3 disparate webpages with no form of call-to-action or prompt to continue their engagement, they won’t know what you want them to do and will be more likely to drop off. But if you use 1-2 links that take those same readers to specific landing pages that end with an offer to start a discussion or buy a product, the more likely they are to convert as actual sales.


Ever hear of CAN-SPAM law? If not, the FTC is happy to drop some knowledge, or you can settle for the abbreviated version: always use a subject line that reflects the content of your email, make sure you have a physical address in the sender’s signature, and give your readers the option to unsubscribe from your outreach. Missing any of these won’t simply be a compliance risk, it’s a decent way to get your message deleted or reported.

Sadly, marketing emails aren’t as simple as they used to be. But that’s why we’re here to help! If you’d like to talk more about developing effective content for your inbound marketing, click on the link below to schedule a free consultation.

more insights