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9 Content Mistakes That Could Get Your Emails Marked as Spam

June 19, 2024
7 min.

In the lemlist family community, people often wonder if their email content affects whether they land in their audience’s inbox or spam folder👇

And for most questions, the answer is yes 😅

If your emails are too salesy and don’t give your audience any value  –  they’ll look like spam. You won’t get any replies and could even get spam complaints instead. Some elements in your emails can also trigger filters and land your emails in spam.

In this article, you’ll find 9 common email content mistakes to avoid so you can protect your sender reputation, land emails in your audience’s inbox & get more replies!

9 content mistakes to avoid when sending emails

1. Overusing capital letters and special characters

Too many capital letters or special characters (!!, &, ???, etc.) make your emails look unusual and spammy. This can trigger email filters, increase spam complaints and land your emails in the spam folder where your audience won’t see them.

Instead, here are 3 things you can do to make your emails impactful:

use bullet points to break up content and make it easier to read

add images or videos to catch your audience’s attention

write short paragraphs to make your emails scannable

Here’s what the difference between a spammy and relevant email could look like 👇

2. Using spam trigger words

Spam trigger words are commonly found in phishing or fraud emails associated with scams or illegal activities. Email filters are programmed to flag emails with such words as spam. So if your emails have spam trigger words, they are likelier to land in spam where your audience won’t see them.

To prevent this, avoid overly aggressive, pushy, or manipulative words. Focus on using a friendly and conversational tone with your audience.

You can do that using this list of the top 20 spam trigger words to avoid 👇

PS: Check out the 10 Tips to Stop Emails From Going to Spam guide to avoid other elements that trigger spam filters.

3. Not including an unsubscribe link

An unsubscribe link allows your audience to opt out of receiving your emails. You can remove their addresses from your email list and avoid getting spam complaints. This is important no matter the type of emails you send: cold emails, newsletters, or transactional emails.

Here are 3 ways to use the unsubscribe button to strengthen your audience relationship:

  • take feedback from people who unsubscribe to improve your email content and targeting
  • offer your audience some options to receive fewer emails, less often
  • share other resources or newsletters on your unsubscribe page

4. Sending irrelevant or generic emails

Personalizing your emails shouldn’t be limited to your audience’s first name or industry. The goal is to write emails that are valuable & relevant to your audience. Your emails should show your audience that the email is written just for them!

Here are some common personalization mistakes to avoid & how you can fix them 👇

5. Using clickbait in your subject lines

If the promise you make in your subject line doesn’t match the content of your email, you’ll lose credibility and your audience’s trust. This increases your chances of getting spam complaints and ruins your sender reputation. In the long run, such tactics could lower your deliverability and land emails in spam.

So, don’t be vague or use clickbait in your subject lines 👇

PS: Here are 5 subject line strategies & 100+ templates you can use to write effective subject lines

6. Having an unhealthy image-to-text ratio

Personalized images are a great way to stand out in your audience’s inbox. But using too many images and too little text in your email will look like spam. As a rule, one relevant and personalized image in each email is ideal.

Here’s what an ideal image-to-text ratio could look like:

Find out more about how to use images in your emails in this guide.

7. Using complex HTML in your emails

Complex HTML can have broken code that triggers email providers and prevent your emails from getting delivered. This increases your bounce rate, which could ruin your deliverability in the long run. To avoid this, use simple variables to personalize your emails.

8. Using link shorteners or attachments

Link shorteners are common in spam and phishing emails. And attachments are known to carry viruses. So, avoid using these elements to prevent getting flagged as spam by email filters.

Instead, hyperlink your text or insert the entire link in your emails. This protects your deliverability when you share files with your audience.

9. Adding fancy signatures

Fancy signatures often have complex HTML or images that can increase your risk of triggering spam filters. They also don’t add any value to your audience. So, it’s best to keep your email signature simple & straightforward!


10. Not writing relevant icebreakers

Your icebreaker or intro line helps you make a good first impression. It should build a connection with your audience, increasing your chances of getting a reply. But if it’s generic or irrelevant, your icebreaker can make your audience feel like you're wasting their time. This increases spam complaints and ruins your sender reputation.

If you’ve been struggling with finding the right icebreakers for your audience, lemlist’s AI feature can create full sequences for you in seconds 👇

PS: You can request to get exclusive access here!

Use our free Cold Email Audit tool to check your email’s content

It will analyze your email and let you know what content mistakes you made. ⬇️

Writing emails that avoid spam & get replies

With the right content, your emails will land in your audience’s inbox and get replies. This helps you build stronger relationships with your audience & create new growth opportunities.

Here are 3 resources you can use to write emails that avoid the spam folder:


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