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Is a spam checker a waste of your time?

spam checker

Today’s spam checker story will help you avoid looking like a cheap spammer during holiday sends. So more of your emails are opened and read. But I’m gonna have to crush a myth in the process.

Lucky for you this myth-busting will save you time and free you to write emails naturally. The result being messages that resonate with your beloved subscribers. So, have you ever read through a list of spammy words you’re not supposed to use in email marketing?

Spammy Words

If you have not read these lists, don’t. If you already have, here comes the myth-crushing. These lists are pretty worthless. Well-intentioned, but so was paving that highway to hell. 

These lists are put out by some reputable folks. HubSpot, Mailmeteor, and the like. They want to keep your emails from being filtered by your mailbox provider.

But if you try to avoid all so-called spammy words, you won’t be able to write any emails. I’m not kidding. HubSpot’s list has 394 words to avoid! I don’t even know 394 words, especially on Mondays.

Here are 5 example words:

  1. Order
  2. Affordable
  3. Check
  4. Lifetime
  5. Chance

Ridiculous. What if your widget has a lifetime guarantee? 

And what if you really want readers to check your product video out?

What if you only got one shot, one chance to blow and your email was that moment?🎤

More Allegedly Spammy Words

Now, the spam word examples on Mailmeteor’s list:

  1. All-natural
  2. Click
  3. Avoid
  4. Clearance
  5. Free

Folks, all these words are unavoidable. Yes, I’ve heard of a thesaurus. But if you want a reader to click on a link, good luck asking them to tick, clack, or beat the link.

Mailmeteor even has a spam checker to test your entire email before sending. So I did… lots of my own emails and from brands that I read.

Results coming up…

Spam Checker – I Checked the Checker

Yep, I knew what would happen with these spam tests but I went the extra mile for my beloved readers. I plugged in my emails and emails from brands I love → to see what the ole spam tester had to say.

You can see the gallery of screenshot results in one second. Here’s what I tested first. Emails from The Hustle, Brain Pickings (Marginalian now), even an official LinkedIn email. All scored “POOR.”

*Note, all these emails landed safely in my inbox – not the promotions tab.

See details on the scoring gallery below:

My Own Emails

After I checked past emails from companies and people I like and know are NOT spammers, I checked emails I’ve written over the past months. I write quite a bit because my two dogs prefer name-brand treats.

Same result from the spam test thingy. Even the ones I wrote for a postcard company with the motto of “The Art of Kindness.” Spammy? I think not.

Look, I’m not trashing Mailmeteor. I’m sure their team is awesome. Probably have pet dolphins and plant lots of trees.

It’s just that their list of spam words (HubSpot’s too) is too constraining. And maddening if you try to stick to the “book” on spammy words to avoid. The smart move is to write emails that resonate with readers.

  • You do that by paying attention to what they want – why did they sign up to your list initially? 
  • Also, watch how they react to each email you send.

Intent matters more than spam checkers.

Intent Behind Your Words

Instead of worrying about every list of words that should not be in your email campaigns, focus on intent. Of course, I do not suggest a subject line like “Act now if 7 figures cash money is your fantasy!!!”.

That probably will cause AI filters to slam you into a spam folder. 

But if you are in the financial industry, your emails will have to use “banned” words like:

  • Finance
  • Money
  • Your income

Unless you want to write the most unnatural and unclear emails in history. There’s no getting around using certain words that fit your business or brand. 

Plus, your readers are smart…

Write as if Your Subscribers are Smart (because they are)

If you send emails subscribers want, they’ll open them. Consistently.

On the flip side, do you know how your subscribers treat spammers?

#1 They ignore one email. Then the next. And then never open the entire series from someone they don’t recognize.

#2 They hit the unsubscribe link if they can find one.

#3 Or they mark these emails as spam. Maybe the very first message. Or it may take three emails to make them mad enough. 

Readers are smart. They see a strange name in their inbox with a suspect subject line, their spam senses tick up. These emails have little chance of being opened. Even less chance of being read. And clicks ain’t happening.

Filters learn from that human behavior.

If you’re using email marketing best practices (ex. Welcome Email Series), then your readers know you will be in their inbox. You’re welcome and they will open your messages. Keep the content solid so they don’t stop.

More Likely Reasons Emails are Marked Spam

Now that I’ve convinced you to write natural emails and not be fearful of words, do watch for these things.

Real reasons a spam filter may snatch your email before subscribers see it:

  1. Fake email addresses on your list
  2. Spam traps among your addresses
  3. Subscribers notorious for spam complaining (probably rabid Yelpers)
  4. Addresses that are “catch-alls”
  5. Misspelled emails

Those things will add up over time. Don’t let that happen. Monitor your list and keep it clean and organized. Tools like ZeroBounce can help keep riff raff off your list (possibly Yelpers).

Don’t forget checking your links though.🔗

Spammer By Association

Even though you’re a decent Earthling and reputable emailer, what about those links? The ones in your email campaigns. The ones you are not checking.☹☹☹

Sure, well-known sites like HubSpot, MarketingProfs, and MySpace are likely safe. But you should check all links in your email to be sure. Because inbox filters can sniff out a dirty link like a Labrador on turkey jerky.

Here are a couple tools to check links. It’s fast and easy, I know you’re busy with family dinner coming up Thursday:

  1. Norton’s sniffer
  2. Google’s checker

*If you are having trouble with inboxing, try these easy workflows via Inbox Mailers to ensure better open rates that lead to better inboxing.

Spam Checker Wrap Up

Thanks for sticking with me this busy holiday week. Now, the summary on spam words → you are not locked down by certain words. Real spammers did not ruin it for the rest of us.

It’s fine to look at lists to give you an idea what words not to lean into.

And it’s ok to use a checker if you like. But as you saw with my testing of brilliant emails (mine) and good ones (The Hustle), if you write more than two sentences, your email will score “POOR.” 

*I even tested the most innocent two lines ever and you can see the result at the end of this post, below the survey. Here’s a spam tester that you may like better also.

Write emails your specific audience needs and wants. Make your messages clear and natural. And make sure you’re excited to do so and let it show, else, how are you gonna excite your subscribers? 

The Knowledge Base 

Knowledge without motivation lacks power so see this inspiring turkey getaway.

The king of blocklists and the truth about the smaller players.

14 ways to build your email list from scratch (one entails readers paying to be on a list).

Your emails are epic but the linked sales page is lackluster – what to do?

Using contests for opt-ins? Don’t forget the losers?

Self  Help 

Going anti-self help is the most gratifying thing I do all week.

Gratitude is good self help btw – say thanks to another self aka another person.

Now for 3 shoutouts to Inbox Hacking Subscribers’ great stuff.

  1. (safety training)

Oh, to help job hunters, Mailmeteor is hiring, go fix their spam tester.🤐 

Facts & Stats  

B2C – Nov. & Dec. unsubscribes are 270% higher than any other 60-day period

“Small Business Saturday” in subject lines within 5 days of Nov. 26th boosts open rates by 28%

B2B – Nov. & Dec. unsubscribes are 225% higher than any other 60-day period

*Pre Inbox Mailers Quote Circa 2001… “You can’t hope to ruin Thanksgiving dinner with poor timing. I suggest starting a fight right before people take that first bite.” ~ Donna “Drama” Echols & Uncle Leon (any Uncle Leon).

Marketing Musings

Almost stuck a brilliant Seth Godin tidbit in here.

But feared his brilliance would make me feel bad about myself again.

Instead, here’s an interesting marketing tactic. Only for the brave though.

Why not resend emails that did not get opened? 

Insight from the Email GURU Conference. Something to think about.

Today’s Hack

Take your last 5 emails that you wrote and the last 3 you read (and liked). Now plug them into either of the two email checkers I told you about. Or choose another spam tester.

Then see how those emails score. 

No matter what the score, remember, you can test anything you want in your email marketing. That goes for spam word lists, subject line suggestions, and content advice. Have a great slacktastic week and I’ll see ya Thursday.

📝Please click on the quick survey below. No pencil required.

*The simple innocent email I tried that still tested spammy: