Why Your Email Copy is Trash – Or At Least Gmail Thinks So

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You’re probably scratching your head wondering why your emails keep getting sent to spam. The IT team has handled all the authentication and you’ve followed best practices. So what gives?

The Copywriting Culprit

The main thing you might not realise – spam filters deeply analyse the actual words, punctuation, and formatting you use to determine if an email looks spammy or not. It’s not just about the authentication technicalities anymore.

That’s right, excessive capitalisation, urgent language, excessive punctuation(!!!!), hypey phrases, and sneaky sales tactics in your copy can seriously hurt inbox placement. Gmail and other providers have become incredibly sophisticated at sniffing out overhyped, disorganised messaging.

But it’s not just that spammy copy will get you junked. Well-written emails with a natural, conversational tone and proper grammar/formatting are also far more visually appealing and easier to read. They come across as more trustworthy compared to disorganised, hyped-up promotions.

While disreputable copywriting like that used by scammers and shady marketers will unfairly trigger spam filters, polished messaging simply looks better and is more likely to resonate with readers. After all, no one likes being on the receiving end of barrel-screamed promotions.

Bad Copy Examples

Promotional email

FINAL CALL!!! You DON’T Want To Miss Out On This One-Time INCREDIBLE Offer!! | EVERYTHING MUST GO | PRICES SLASHED | Buy NOW Before It’s GONE FOREVER!!!! 😱😱😱

Yikes…just reading that sounds like you’re being yelled at by an overzealous used car salesman, doesn’t it? No wonder spam filters cringe.

Cold email outreach

NEED TO HIRE AN EXPERT NOW!!! I’M AT MY WIT’S END AND ABOUT TO PULL MY HAIR OUT. THIS IS AN URGENT, ONE-TIME OPPORTUNITY THAT CAN’T BE MISSED!!

Good Copy Examples

Promotional email

Summer Sale Extended – Extra 20% Off Sitewide.

Kick off the new season with our summer style essentials at an even bigger discount.
Use code JUNE20 at checkout to save an extra 20% on your entire purchase for a limited time.

Cold email outreach email

Hi [Name], I noticed [Company] has been [relevant pain point/objective].
As an [expertise area] consultant, I’ve helped other [companies/roles] overcome similar challenges by [brief value prop].

Would you be open a quick call to discuss some possible solutions next week?
I’d be happy to offer some initial advice either way.
Let me know if this is something you’d like to explore further.

This more natural style simply states the details without trying to beat you over the head with it. It’s refreshingly clear and trustworthy compared to the first set of examples.

Crafting Clear, Trustworthy Emails

At the end of the day, spam filters are designed to prioritise emails that provide a clear, trustworthy experience over those trying to trick readers with shady tactics. Follow best practices by writing conversational, polished copy that resonates rather than insults intelligence. With a more natural approach, you’ll improve deliverability and ensure your emails get seen.

Check Before-You-Press-Send

Here’s a handy checklist to go through before hitting send on your emails to avoid tripping spam filters:

Email Copy Checklist

  • Check for excessive capitalisation.
    Look out for sentences or phrases in ALL CAPS or excessive capitalisation beyond proper nouns/start of sentences.
  • Limit exclamation points and other punctuation!!!!
    Too many !!!!, ????, etc. looks spammy and hyped up. Use normal punctuation.
  • Remove hypey, urgency phrases.
    “Buy now before it’s gone!”, “Limited time offer!”, “This deal ends tonight!!” etc. are red flags.
  • Avoid shady sales tactics.
    Things like unrelated embedded ads, affiliate links, pushy repetitive calls-to-action etc. should be removed.
  • Make context clear.
    Ensure the email clearly states who you are, your company/purpose, and the context of your relationship.
  • Write in a natural, conversational tone.
    As if speaking to a friend. Avoid disorganised writing that sounds like a used car salesperson.
  • Use proper grammar and clear formatting.
    Simple clear sentences, consistent fonts/styling – nothing distracting or unprofessional looking.
  • Provide value upfront.
    For prospecting emails, offer some free initial advice/insight before any sales pitch.
  • Check spelling and proofread.
    Silly mistakes are not only flagged by spam filters but they can also make you look less credible.

Go through this checklist before sending to any list. Prioritising a trustworthy experience through your copy will improve deliverability and ultimately improve your results.

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