Avoiding the spam folder


It goes without saying that every marketer wants his email campaigns to arrive in the recipient's inbox, rather than the spam folder. However, it is not always easy to construct an email in such a way that you escape every ISP's spam filter. In order to maximize the chance on inbox targeting, you should take into account the following tips.

Mail Setup

A professionally designed email with the correct HTML code throughout will ensure your email looks its best in all browsers and will avoid high spam scores for bad coding.

  • Make sure your email does not have any missing or redundant code.
  • Always include an email title.
  • Pay attention to your spelling.
  • Ensure that your email does not solely consist of images. This is a well-known tool that spammers use to get past content filters. Try to get a good mix of HTML text and images for the best results.
  • Always send a plain text version with your HTML email to ensure that - if the recipient cannot use HTML or is opening it on a PDA or phone - he will still be able to view it.
  • Try to ensure the plain text version matches the HTML version as closely as possible.
  • Never use capitals when you do not have to. It is even worse when whole lines are printed in capitals.
  • Avoid italics, colored and very large fonts.
  • Stay clear of using non-standard colors and colored backgrounds.
  • Avoid forms in the email body, as they do not work in most email clients.
  • Images accompanied by little or no text are not recommended.
  • When you send out emails, try to use a phased approach and defer from very long lists of recipients. Most domains can only handle a limited number of emails per minute.
  • Always ensure the email address is valid.
  • Large or very long messages exceeding a recipient's mailbox limit should be avoided.
  • Stay clear from attachments as most ISP's label them as "dangerous". Many spam emails contain attachments with malicious software or viruses.
  • Pay attention to your subject lines and do not use punctuation in the subject line.

Spam-triggering words

There are a lot of words that should be avoided, as they put spam bots in a frenzy. The list below is only an indication, but gives a good overview:

  • Dear Friend (either personalize properly or use Sir/Madam).
  • Free - Free offer, Free trial, Free application, Free sample, Free access, Free quote, Free anything can cause spam problems especially when used in capitals.
  • No obligation.
  • No risk, low risk, risk free.
  • "Click here" or "click below".
  • Order now.
  • No catch.
  • Money back guarantee.
  • Click to be removed.
  • Have you been turned down.
  • Never mention spam or spam legislation in your emails.
  • Click
  • Trial (our trial product…)
  • Dear ….
  • Not intended for residents of… (this could be in the disclaimer)
  • Bankruptcy (discussing your workout practice)
  • Call now (to register for your seminar)
  • Limited-time offer
  • Full refund
  • Save up to…
  • Guaranteed
  • Cash (as in "the acquiring company agreed to a deal composed of cash and stock…")
  • Millions of pounds (in the verdict or transaction…)
  • Income
  • Urgent matter
  • Potential earnings
  • Breakthrough


Want more best practices for efficient email marketing campaigns? Download our Guidelines "Designing and sending emails".



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