Can you use the word FREE in your emails?

by ncloud
31 replies
I know you're not suppose to use the word FREE in the subject line of your emails because it might send your email to their spam folders. But, what about using the word free in the emails themselves? Is that safe?

Does the entire email get scanned for spam trigger words, or just the subject line?
#emails #free #word
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  • Profile picture of the author HarisHalkic
    Same thing. Using it too often in the email copy might send your email to the spam folder. Unfortunately, no one can say what is certain and safe. Email provider don't want everybody (every spammer) to know about their scoring.

    Using the word FREE once or twice in the email body probably won't get you into trouble. It also depends on your other content.
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  • Profile picture of the author echelon
    At the end of the day your stats may be the best source of the answer. Are you making more or getting more clicks when you use the word "free"? However, I would not advise to do it repeatedly or risk your account or domain reputation.
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    In general, you should be able to use it. You should however always test your messages before sending them to check it's inbox placement.

    Last week I tested a message and it landed in Gmail promotions. It was caused by the word Tax. That's all it was, just the one single instance of the word Tax. Which I used many times leading up to it happening with no problems.

    You just never know for sure. Test your inbox placement before sending!

    It's also a good idea to have seeds in your list, so you can test throughout a mailing.
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  • Profile picture of the author ncloud
    I don't understand - how do you test your inbox placement? How would your autoresponder know whether your emails end up in a person's inbox or spam folder?
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    • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
      Originally Posted by ncloud View Post

      I don't understand - how do you test your inbox placement? How would your autoresponder know whether your emails end up in a person's inbox or spam folder?
      You need to set up seed accounts ... Your own accounts that you set up with email providers.

      You can then send messages to them and see if they go to the inbox or spam folder.

      For most users aol, gmail, yahoo, hotmail/outlook and parent domains using the same MX server can make up as much as 85% or so of a list. So at the very least, you can start with them. Then just acquire any others that you can get.
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  • Profile picture of the author epregelg
    Hi ncloud,

    There are a whole list of words and phrases you should avoid in the Subject Line of an email campaign, like free, #1, 100% free, 50% off, Act Now!, Guaranteed, How To, Free offer, Get it now, and so on and so on. You can find in internet extensive lists of words and phrases to avoid in the subject line.

    But all of that is not an exact science. That means that sometimes you will see emails with words to avoid in the subject line getting savely to the inbox. And other times they end in the Spam folder.

    So in general, take the habit of writing original subject lines and not look spammy. And take the habit of passing your own control before sending the email, go through the subject line again and ask yourself: "is it spammy?" If your answer is yes, then you know what you have to do: go and change the subject line.

    If the answer is "no", chances are high your doing good.

    So, always double check and have confidence in your common sense.

    Finally, you always want to check sending a test email to yourself and checking if it lands in the inbox or in the spam folder.

    If you get it in the inbox. Push the "send" button and don't worry! Your email will savely do it to the inbox of your list!

    Hope that helps,

    Good luck,

    Erik
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  • Profile picture of the author ashwinsd
    It is a good idea to ask your subscriber to whitelist your mail id.
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  • Profile picture of the author romanepo
    You can use pay off... or Zero Pay ....or Without payment...lots of synonyms you can use.but if your mail server configured properly you can use every general sentences and your mail will go inbox without any trouble.
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  • Profile picture of the author Risktaker89
    Have you subscribed to other internet marketer's emailing list? I am sure you do and if you receive their emails, you will noticed that there will be marketer's emails reaching our inbox with the word free in their body.

    I think it's more of what you write and how you build your relationship with your list is what matters. Focus should be on that and your subscribers will be searching your emails to read even if it's at the promotion tab

    At least that's what I observe from my own patterns when it comes to certain marketers' emails
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  • Profile picture of the author affmarketer101
    Nope, it can affect on how other email server looks at your email. You have a
    "Free" word in subject line means you get a "minus" point. But you have to articulate it with other aspects like: domain you are sending email from; IP address; number of emails sent; bouce rate.
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  • You sure can.

    Just avoid terms like "Gambling", "Penis enlargement", 'Get rich' and so on..

    While working for Sender.net, I noticed that including the word free doesn't destroy your deliverability.
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  • Profile picture of the author Notright
    When I see the word "Free" in my inbox I instantly hit the spam button. Even if you did get away with using that word why?

    The word 'free' is an automatic trigger word (for us Americans anyway) that someone's trying to sell us something.

    Its okay to use free in your body like if you're giving away an e-book or something in other words if its actually free but otherwise I always avoid use of that word as much as possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author ncloud
    You need to set up seed accounts ... Your own accounts that you set up with email providers. You can then send messages to them and see if they go to the inbox or spam folder.
    I have actually tried this. I signed up to like 4 popular email programs and signed all of them up to my list. In one of them it was sending most of my emails to the spam folder, but in the other 3 most of them hit the inbox. There doesn't seem to be anything I can do about the ones hitting the spam folder other than telling my subscribers to whitelist me.

    It is a good idea to ask your subscriber to whitelist your mail id.
    I wonder how many people know how to whitelist someone. I don't. I just make a habit of checking my spam folder every day. It might be a good idea to tell them how to whitelist you too. Although the process is probably different in every email program.
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  • Profile picture of the author Judey
    I've been using the word FREE both in my subject line and emails. And it's working pretty well. So yes, you can use the word FREE in your emails.
    If you notice your email messages always hit the spam folder it's more likely to come from the "From emails address".

    So try & change the "From emails address" if your messages are still hitting the spam folder
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  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    Originally Posted by ncloud View Post

    I know you're not suppose to use the word FREE in the subject line of your emails because it might send your email to their spam folders. But, what about using the word free in the emails themselves? Is that safe?

    Does the entire email get scanned for spam trigger words, or just the subject line?

    Of course you can use the word FREE in the text of your email, and the subject. Do people actually think that spam filters work simply by triggering when a single word (or even two) is in an email or its subject. Thats silly, imagine the number of false positives there would be. They are MUCH more complex and accurate than that.
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  • Profile picture of the author NathanZad
    Just write like a human being, like someone sending a personal email to your friend or co-worker. If the word ends up in it, then it's supposed to be there.

    Most of the time email marketing is about tone and context, not specific words. Just write naturally and you should be fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author garry baker
    Yes you can use the word free all throughout your emails and it will not go to the spam folder...


    Unless it is spam...


    Identification of spam has a lot more to do then a word, but how the word is used and the overall message that your email contains...


    Of course it all starts with your IP address, your domain, the auto responder reputation, how they format their email headers (RFC 821) and etc. before you even type your Subject and Message...


    If you do not get pass the first few layers then the words are not going to matter...


    After you get passed that, the words matter but if you are writing a real email like you would talk to a real person you should be good to go...


    But you should test it, setup a few email accounts add them to your AR and send them and see where they land...
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  • Profile picture of the author Lin He
    Not really. I can see lots of prominent brands that use the word "Free" in their email copies. Take a look https://emailcopy.freeshopifytools.com/inbox
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnVianny
    The problem is not if you use the word free or not use the word free or financial freedom or whatsoever

    The problem is in the WHOLE process of your email marketing: how it's goin your opt in rate? have you checked your deliverability

    If you want to check your deliverability go to glocksapps (google it) it's free for i think the first 10 tests

    Then you have good evalutation of your emails , if they go to inbox or not.

    After that do a split test BUT consider that email marketing is not about having some words or not but in talking to the right audience and saying the right message in front of the people
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  • Profile picture of the author sana11
    Hi ncloud! Of course there are phrases that we should take a second thought whether to use or not.... You always can use variations. If you build a solid and strong relationship with your subscribers by sending them valuable content, then I suppose you do not even need that "whitelist my email...." line. Try to sound as much natural as humanly possible, I always go by my guts in both subject lines and email bodies and use myself as a guinea pig in terms of would I click the email or not based on the subject line, or following reading the body of the email - would I take action or not....
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Avoid using it in title or body. Doing so attracts tire kickers who have no money to buy but LOVE freebies LOL.

    I have not used the word in my copy for years, raised rates and prices 10 fold and make more money now than I did in the past. All about posture. I do not want freebie seekers. Just serious folks ready to spend so we both receive cool stuff; my readers valued products, and me, scrilla.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gladys92
    Wondering the same thing. Thanks for this thread
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  • Profile picture of the author ronnierokk
    Yes, your entire emails get scanned for spam triggers.

    If you want to use FREE you can write it like this FR-EE.

    But the best thing to do is to get your list to whitelist your emails address so that no matter what you write it will always go to their inbox.


    Originally Posted by ncloud View Post

    I know you're not suppose to use the word FREE in the subject line of your emails because it might send your email to their spam folders. But, what about using the word free in the emails themselves? Is that safe?

    Does the entire email get scanned for spam trigger words, or just the subject line?
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  • Profile picture of the author Ian5
    You can use it, but not often. Just use it when it can be necessary. Sometime it can be your only way to attract your partner attention.
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  • Profile picture of the author herrysolution
    No you can't
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  • Profile picture of the author Houndlander
    No, I don't think using the word "free" is a good idea. Any salesy word (free, discount,...) tends to trigger the spam & promotion filter.
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  • Profile picture of the author albertovino
    Hi, ncloud! What I usually do is to use that word in the header image instead of the text, the e-mail provider won't read that
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  • Profile picture of the author macanohosting
    You can but maybe some providers will understand it as a spam.
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  • Profile picture of the author Christler Pascual
    If you want to use FREE in every email you send whether it be on subject or email body ask your subs for help or to put your emails directly to their inbox. You can to this by just simply send them an email asking them to do this 3 simple steps if they are using Gmail:

    1. Find your email you sent to them.
    2. Drag it to inbox folder.
    3. Gmail will ask them if they want the changes permanent and then they hit "YES"

    It's done. They always see your emails in your inbox 100%

    Yahoo has a short cut to do that. They will ask the subs if they want your emails to the inbox and they just simply click it and it's done.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarketingAce
    Yes, you definitely need to create your own email accounts for gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc.. You should have about 4-5 email addresses that you own under these FREE ESP's and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, TEST your newsletters by sending to your private email accounts that you've set up. You can even send to your friends or family members as well to ask them if your message went to their spam box or promotions tab. If you test your newsletters by sending them to your own email accounts or friends n family, just make sure that they are ALWAYS hitting the inbox prior to believing that you've just created a great email follow up newsletter for your subscribers. Again, if you aren't hitting the inbox, then you need to make additional tweaks and adjustments before you settle on believing it is a "good-to-go!" type of newsletter message.
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