There is a general belief that there are some specific words or phrases that can get your message delivered straight to the spam folder. The idea behind it is that those words are most commonly used by spammers, so content filters react on them immediately without even checking the rest of the message.
Now, from my experience, I can tell that this is true – however, the number of keywords and phrases like that is a lot smaller than you may think.
There are only a couple of words I can quote that will damage your deliverability alone, and those are all related to either “medical” advertisements (your typical male enhancement pills), or “dating” profiles (the cute bots that want to meet you so bad).
The words I’m addressing specifically here are the names of the drugs (e.g. Viagra) or the sexual related curse words that those “dating” sites like to use so much.
Those are the only phrases that, I will agree, can get you right into spam regardless of your previous reputation.
With that out of the way lets talk about the most typical marketing words that people often try to fit in the same basket, like: free, buy now, great offer, limited time, etc.
Word after word
I saw that a lot of our clients were convinced they need to find a cleaver way around using words. Following that train of thought, they would mess up the whole message making it look even more suspicious, therefore triggering content filters regardless.
The truth is you do not have to do that. Those kind of words are simply used in the marketing world and ISPs understand that, so you do not have to worry that you will get punished for using them.
This of course is if you use them smart.
Adding the word “Free” to each and every sentence will have a negative effect, then again this kind of aggressive stance will not resonate well with most of your customers either.
Moderation is the key here, in both: effective marketing and passing the content filters, and this is something you should always remember when creating a message.
Words and tricks
Let me also say a few words about the tricks that are used to bypass those key word filters by the people that actually believe that they should not use those words, like ever.
The most common tricks are focused either on separating the letter by spaces or by punctuations signs. One more very popular trick is to use signs that look similar to the substituted letter.
The thing that these people do not know is that content filters are much more sensitive to those kind of actions than to the use of keywords themselves.
The idea here is that if you try to mask or hide the content you are sending – this must be something bad (similar to the all image messages).
So, this kind of behavior results in a higher chance of being caught and having your messages directed to the spam folder, than if you were to simply use the words you were trying to hide.
Summing it all up
I’m going to sum up the content part of my series by sharing with you one of my personal observations. Usually if there is a deliverability issue content is the last thing that is causing it.
Don’t get me wrong, really bad content will derail your deliverability, but it’s not in just one simple mistake, there needs to be deliberate action for this to have such a big effect.
It’s still good to tweak a little here and there, but if you are sending a standard quality content and experience some kind of deliverability issues, you really should focus on other aspects and only concentrate on content if you are sure that all the rest is working perfectly.
The only exception from this is if you are a pharmacy or other kind of medical brand, here you really need to pay real close attention to what you are sending.
Want to learn more? This post goes over the key reasons why emails go to spam and how to prevent them from doing so. This one, on the other hand, looks at how you can improve your email deliverability and get more from your campaigns.
Next week I’ll start talking about your responsibilities as a sender and all the things you can do to make sure that your reputation will be high, so till then! 😉