Phrases To Avoid In Your Email Marketing Campaign

Aditya Kathotia 0 Comments
It’s bewildering to know that an average internet user is usually bombarded with dozens if not hundreds of marketing emails every day. That’s why I adore the 90s..a golden era without inboxes, emails, and unfiltered spam from some random brand, with 60% off on products that I randomly ordered at 2 am. But well this blog isn’t about me, it’s about email deliverability and you; a possible entrepreneur or email marketing manager trying to communicate with your customers to share essential updates, and add value to their lives, who somehow ended up in the dreaded spam folder. So here’s the thing, if your subscriber engagement has nosedived and your open rates are super low, chances are that your email hygiene isn’t exactly in the right place.

Now what’s interesting to note is that with time we’ve developed a tendency to automatically tune out emails that come across as spam. Every email marketer’s worst nightmare would probably be the spam folder, and the sheer scale of junk emails that get sent out daily is an astonishing 14.5 billion messages per day. According to surveys about one in six emails never make it to the recipient’s inbox because they’re caught by spam filters. One key way you can prevent this from happening to your email marketing campaigns is by avoiding spam trigger words and phrases in your email subject lines and content.


If you want to ensure your email marketing content doesn’t sound like spam, then it’s important to bear in mind three major points: content, structure, and voice. A rambling email replete with industry buzzwords will look like spam to your recipients. Your content needs to address the recipient’s needs and that is exactly why this would not be the ideal medium to only toot your own horn.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

So can you tell if a word or phrase gives the spammy vibe? Here’s a quick way to question your content and test it.

  • Is it anxiety-inducing?
  • Does it create a sense of urgency?
  • Is it stuffed with technical jargon?
  • Does it sound far-fetched and too good to be true?
  • Does the tone sound manipulative and malicious?
There’s a saying that goes “ if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” That’s why there are certain words and phrases you shouldn’t, and mustn’t use within your email, especially if you want to pique people’s interest while avoiding spam blockers. Spam filters have become more advanced over time and can now analyze the context in which you use these keywords. Of course, when you need to write to prospects about inbound marketing, it becomes quite a challenge not to refrain from using words or expressions like “traffic”, “marketing solutions” or “ sales”, and that’s why it becomes imperative to use them tactfully.


1. “In my opinion”

There is a reason your prospects have agreed to become your email subscribers and by constantly using “in my opinion”, you’re showing that your content is not carefully documented, and therefore it won’t be considered credible. It gives your readers/prospects license to dismiss what you’re about to say. Instead of using  “in my opinion”, you should cite the references that prove your statements.

2. “Increase sales now”

If you’re wondering why this phrase gets blocked, here’s the simple answer: it is used way too many times, by way too many people, in too many niches. Therefore, more often than not it gets categorized as “spam” if this happens rest assured your email campaign’s performance will suffer consequences. Therefore, instead of using “increase sales” or “increase sales now” in your headline, try adding it subtly throughout your email copy without overusing it.

3. “To be honest”

This one is a no-brainer, your readers in any case expect you to be honest, so why would you remind them that you’re being honest with them? This phrase is unnecessary and should be avoided. Quite often, we use this phrase without realizing it. In real-time, face-to-face conversations might work in your favor, for capturing someone’s attention. In emails, however, it won’t help you build a good impression.

4. “Urgent” or “Buy Now”

Encouraging your customers to buy something right now is one call to action that can make or break your email campaign. People see an urgent message and see it as akin to typing in CAPITALS or bold, which might come across as shouting and seem somewhat negative. If you choose to use “Urgent”, “Buy now”, “Deal is off tomorrow”, or anything that intends to create a sense of scarcity and fear of missing out (FOMO) and you’ll risk being categorized as an intrusive marketer who’s there “for the money”.


Your potential and existing subscribers are without a  doubt looking for immediate value when they see your subject line. They want to know exactly what they’ll get when they click on your email so if you’re truly offering something of value, the dire need to sound desperate or make exaggerated claims is simply futile.  There is no single textbook technique or framework that can guide efficient marketing execution but emails that trigger spam filters typically share a few distinctive characteristics.

  • Lacks personalization
  • Includes irrelevant business proposals
  • Induces urgency and scarcity
  • Contains links to dubious websites
  • Does not have an unsubscribe link.

Image Credit: Freepik

Force-feeding your users with promotional material is no longer a game you want to be participating in. Why you may ask, because by doing so, you risk unsubscriptions, or even worse, getting reported for spam by your users. Your strategy should focus on pulling users towards your communication rather than forcefully pushing out communication. It becomes imperative to provide engaging and rich content on their terms that break through the clutter. To achieve this, getting the email formula right is hands down necessary.


The importance of the wording you utilize throughout your email marketing is high, this is crucial because an email is in essence a bridge of communication between your brand and your users. When you send an email, you’ll have to be extremely cautious about adding relevant information. Also, you should pay paramount attention to how your message could influence the perception or behavior of your subscribers. Hence certain words and phrases should never be utilized to further your email marketing strategy.

Some words have the potential to turn a loyal subscriber into a stranger, while some words can diminish your brand’s reputation. That being said you can’t always control what people think about you and your brand. What you can however ensure is that you’re staying updated with the most common “rejected” phrases while maintaining your emails marketing hygiene by keeping it relevant, and professional. As  Chris Marriott eloquently puts it “ A bad email reputation is like a hangover, hard to get rid of and it makes everything else hurt” so choose your words and phrases wisely!
Article by:
Aditya Kathotia

Aditya Kathotia is the CEO of Nico Digital and the founder of Digital Polo. A polyglot of the digital marketing business, he has powered 500+ brands through transformative digital marketing strategies. As a niche-specific marketing whiz, he has enabled clients worldwide to grow their revenue exponentially with strategic precision. His work has been featured on Entrepreneur, Hubspot,, Clutch, and many more. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.