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spam filter

The Spam Filter is a Cold Emailer’s Biggest Enemy – Here’s How to Avoid It

Cold email can still be a great lead generation technique (whatever the doubters say) but today’s marketers have a big enemy that is getting smarter, tougher and trickier all the time: an email provider’s spam filter.

So here’s the secret to getting past every single type of spam filter: You don’t.

It would be pointless to list all the requirements to avoid all the spam folders. Reading a six hundred page book to write one amazing mail is counterproductive, and that book would be out of date as soon as I wrote it anyway.

Instead, here’s a look at overall best practices to make sure that your emails don’t wind up in the spam folder.

Check Your Spelling, Check Your Grammar

Yes, it’s boring and time-consuming but DOUBLE-CHECKING your spelling and grammar before sending any cold email. For starters, lots of people will delete a cold email with spelling mistakes as soon as they see them anyway, but spam filters are even tougher.

The fact that spam filters are very tough on spelling mistakes especially is not because they were created by grammar freaks but because misspellings were a black hat technique used by spammers to bypass spam filters for years, so the filters have evolved to ensure that happens as infrequently as possible.

Remove Those Bouncing Email Addresses

Part of the basic CAN-SPAM regulations that govern all email messages include promptly removing bounced email addresses from your database. Failing to do this will impact your deliverability negatively in the eyes of email providers and ISPs and make it far more likely your emails will end up in the spam folder. So practice list hygiene, and do so often using bulk email verification services.

Avoid Spam Filter Triggering Copy

Email services like Gmail have solid rules in place about the actual text of your emails that triggers the spam filters.

It’s hard to create a comprehensive list because of just how many different email providers there are, but you’ll certainly want to avoid…

ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS (especially in the subject — a study by the Radicati Group shows more than 85% of respondents prefer an all-lowercase subject line to one in all caps.)

Unusual punctuation (such as multiple exclamation points!!!!), especially in the subject line

Specific spammy words and phrases. The list of words and phrases that email providers consider spammy is actually growing all the time. Which makes things tough for a hard-working cold email copywriter for sure. This is far from an exhaustive list, but the following should all be avoided when cold emailing (according to research conducted by several companies including

Forrester Research and Hubspot):

  • 1
  • $$$
  • 100% free
  • 100% Satisfied
  • 4U
  • Accept Credit Cards
  • Act Now!
  • All-natural
  • All-new
  • Amazing
  • Amazing stuff
  • Bargain
  • Earn $
  • Earn extra cash
  • Eliminate debt
  • Free and FREE
  • Fast cash
  • Guaranteed
  • Make $
  • Marketing
  • No gimmicks
  • No Hidden Costs
  • No investment
  • No-obligation
  • Promise you
  • Satisfaction guaranteed
  • Save $
  • Win
  • Winner
  • Work at home

It’s hard to overstate the importance of learning – and implementing – basic email best practices. If you get too many spam reports, email providers start automatically filtering ALL messages sent by you. Even a message to your Mum, and how sad is that?

Want to learn more about cold email list hygiene and cold email best practices. This is a great place to start.