How to Trigger a Spam Filter; or, 7 ways to reduce the chances of your email being read

  1. Avoid getting too emotional. Don’t use a question mark and an exclamation mark in the same line. Avoid subject lines that read, “Where are you?!” or “Did you get my document? Let me know!”
  2. Avoid percentage exaggeration. Citing anything greater than 100% is likely to trigger a spam filter. “Our new launch has had a 110% increase over last year.” Good news but your recipient may never find out.
  3. Avoid the word “urgent” as in “Urgent reply needed!” Nothing triggers a spam filter like the word “urgent” resulting in less-urgent emails being seen before yours.
  1. Avoid excessive use of photos and gifs. While they are popular, an email that has more images than text is likely to be flagged as spam.
  2. Avoid being too formal in your salutation. Beginning an email with “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” is likely to get your email into the junk or spam folder. “Dear” is okay but avoid the formality of “Sir” or “Madam” or “Recipient”. Ironically, opening with the more informal “Dear Friend” can also get you into the spam category.
  3. Avoid marking your email as “High Priority”. Mail programs like Outlook allow you to choose a priority setting for your email. Many people use this thinking it will get more attention. Spammers use this technique so often that spam filters now look for it and weed out those emails. You’ve been warned.
  4. Avoid the word “cash” and never “free cash”. I’m not sure how this affected Johnny Cash but I’ve been told that folks with the surname “Cash” have had a greater incidence of their emails going into spam and junk folders. A lot of spam filters don’t like the word “cash” (or “free” for that matter) so best to avoid if possible.

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I’m a certified End-of-Life Planning Facilitator who is also a storyteller, StoryCoach, writer, & radio host. Oh yeah, I play ukulele.

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Michael Williams, Ph.D.

Michael Williams, Ph.D.

I’m a certified End-of-Life Planning Facilitator who is also a storyteller, StoryCoach, writer, & radio host. Oh yeah, I play ukulele.

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