Avoiding spam filters:

A lot of email providers have spam filters that look for certain traits within the subject text and email. In order to reduce the risk that your email will automatically be sent to the spam folder, avoid the following words and symbols:

  • Urgent
  • Money back guarantee
  • Money
  • Breakthough
  • Click here
  • !!!!
  • [Using CAPS]
  • [Coloured fonts]
  • [1 large image inserted into the body of the email]
  • Cheap
  • Free
  • Offer
  • Opportunity
  • Save
  • Shop
  • Subscribe
  • Win / winner / winning / won
  • Guarantee
  • Investment
  • Discount

Email Subject:

  • Keep it short (35 characters or less)
  • No CAPS
  • No explanation points
  • No dollar signs
  • Avoid spam trigger words


  • Keep it short
  • Make sure the whole email is the same font style and size
  • People don’t generally read past the first line, so make sure there is a link to the survey either in the first sentence, or on the second line of the email
  • If you have prize/incentive, put this in bold. Avoid using the word ‘win’ or ‘prize’. (As a thank you for your time, you will be given the chance to enter a draw for [prize])
  • Don’t use fancy formatting (background colours, images etc) – not only will this be caught by spam filters, but those who have set their email to receive text only won’t see it.
  • Minimise the number of links in the text
  • Keep email size to under 30mb
  • Include the following content:
    • Why they are being invited to participate
    • Survey URL
    • How long the survey will take (make sure this is accurate, overestimating is good)
    • How you will use the findings / how the survey will benefit them
    • If anonymous, say so and link to your privacy policy
    • How the findings will be analysed (group form)
    • End date for completion
    • Incentive / prize
    • Your sign-off / footer

Other considerations:

  • Make sure the list you are using it is OK to use these contacts (not contravening privacy law)
  • If you are sending to lots of people at the same time, not using mail merge, make sure you use bcc (so recipients can’t see other recipient email addresses).
  • Did you know that you can mail merge to email using Word?

Example email:


[Your organisation] is seeking your feedback on xx


Hi [Name],

[Your organisation] is currently running a survey to find out your views on xx. To go to the survey, please click on the link below.


If this link isn’t working, please copy the URL and paste it into your browser address bar (at the top of the window, NOT Google search).

As a thank you for your time, you will be given the chance to enter a draw for [prize].

The survey should take around X minutes to complete.

You have been selected to participate in this research because you xx. Findings will be used to help us xx.

Your responses to this survey are completely anonymous and will be grouped with other participants for analysis. For further information please see our [Link]privacy policy[/link].

Please complete this survey by [date].


[Your name]