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Subject Line Mistakes That Are Sending Your Emails to the Junkbox


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Did you know that certain popular buzzwords can actually hurt your deliverability? Spam filters, such as SpamAssassin, are commonly used computer programs that are used to filter email spam by integrating the program with the user’s mail server. The filters apply certain criteria to determine whether an email is spam, and they use a point system to add up the suspicious attributes of the email. The more points that your email accrues, the more likely it is to be considered spam. Included in this criteria are certain words and phrases that are commonly used in the subject lines of spam, and so you will want to avoid these words in subject lines of your own email marketing campaigns. Here are just a few offenders:

Act Now
Your Family
Your Own
Buy or Buying (when used as the first word in the subject line)
Also, avoid putting words in all caps, and blank subject lines.

This is, unfortunately, not a comprehensive list. There are lists out there with as many as 100 words to avoid. It’s not a bad idea to periodically search current key words to avoid, to get an idea of which words are trending with spammers.

Interestingly, recent research led by professor Sunil Wattal from Temple University Fox School of Business showed that email recipients do not appreciate personalized email advertisements. In fact, the research, which used data from real-world transactions from a firm, showed that 95 percent of customers had negative responses to an email ad that greeted them by name. Negative responses typically manifested in the recipient unsubscribing from the email. Professor Wattal reported that consumers are wary of emails with personal greetings due to the prevalence of concern with cybersecurity, such as phishing, identity theft and credit card fraud.

Interesting findings, for sure!

This information provided by ISIPP SuretyMail Email Certification. The only email reputation and deliverability service with a money-back guarantee!

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This article originally written on November 9, 2012, and is as relevant now as when it was first written.