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What words should I avoid in my email subject line to ensure I get to the inbox?

This is possibly one of the most frequently answered (if not asked) questions in email marketing. Most of the articles/blogs/sites/white papers that cover this issue advise you to avoid specific words or phrases that can trigger Spam filters, or start adding “Spam points” to emails sent out.

In summary the advice to legitimate marketers given by all of these pieces is don’t use words and symbols like free, unsubscribe, order now, offer, ” ,$ £,!, ? (one even advises against using any punctuation marks in SL’s at all), capital letters or – and this made us splutter – don’t use a font size larger than 2!

But is this still true today?

Like the definition of soft bounces – which we have argued are in definite need of an overhaul we think that both spammers and ISP’s have moved on and that it is time to revisit this issue.

We believe that if you follow best practice in IP address authentication and reputation management, data collection (opt-in) and list management as well as HTML coding you can within reason use any commercially effective words within the subject line or body copy that you choose.

So we ran a test!

We deployed two versions of Email-Worx with identical content but different, very “spammy” subject lines.

And the result?

The inbox monitoring reports built into the ESP we use for Email-Worx deemed that over 50% of the emails went “missing” (never made the seed list) but the standard reports provided by the same ESP showed our open and click rates were slightly better than usual at 35% and 30% (20% unique) respectively.

How could that be and which report was right?

We were intrigued and started to dig. Find out more…

Last updated: May 05, 2015  Alchemy Worx