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12 Cold Email Template Clichés To Avoid

12 Cold Email Template Clichés To Avoid

Sending cold emails can be an effective way to reach new prospects and customers. However, using tired, overused language and templates in your cold outreach will likely result in lacklustre open and response rates.

To cut through the noise and make your cold emails stand out, it's essential to avoid typical clichés and be creative with your messaging. In this article, I'll highlight some of the biggest cold email template clichés to avoid if you want to boost engagement.

1 – Hook, Line and Sinker: Ditch the Overused Email Openers

Vertical Email Design Guide
Source: Customer Thermometer

We've all seen them before: email openers like “Did I catch you at a bad time?” or “Hope you're having a great day!” may seem harmless, but they're significant clichés that prospects skim right over.

Here are some overused cold email openers you're better off avoiding:

  • “Hi [First Name], do you have a moment to chat?”
  • “I hope I'm not bothering you, but…”
  • “I just wanted to reach out and introduce myself…”
  • “I came across your profile on [LinkedIn/Twitter/Website] and wanted to connect.”
  • “I saw your work at [Company] and wanted to reach out.”
  • “I noticed you tweeted about [Topic] and wanted your thoughts on something.”

Rather than using a stale opener, personalise your outreach and get right into your value proposition. For example:

“Hi [First Name],
As the VP of Marketing at [Company], you're likely looking for ways to improve campaign performance.
I wanted to share a case study on how we helped Company X increase conversion rates by 15% in just three months…”

The goal is to grab their attention and show that you did your research rather than opening with a meaningless platitude.

2 – The Vague Value Proposition

Another common email template trap is including a generic value proposition like:

Our solutions provide industry-leading features that drive business growth through enhanced efficiency and productivity.

This vague positioning statement gives the reader no real reason to care. It's marketing speak that was probably copied directly from your website.

Get specific with the value you provide for that particular prospect's role or industry:

“Our scheduling software is designed specifically for marketing teams like yours. It streamlines campaign coordination and content approvals, reducing the back-and-forth emails that drag down productivity. Clients typically see 25% faster campaign launch times after implementing our solution.”

This value proposition is crisp, relevant, and measurable. It shows you understand the prospect's needs and provides a compelling reason to engage further.

3 – The Generic Call-to-Action

Microinteractions Call To Action

At the end of cold email templates, you'll often see a generic call-to-action (CTA) like:

“I'd welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs and see if we're a good fit to work together.”

This wishy-washy CTA doesn't provide the reader with a clear next step. There's no urgency or specific request made.

Strengthen your email's CTA by including a definite following action:

“I'd love to schedule a quick 20-minute intro call to demonstrate our scheduling solution and how it can transform your marketing team's workflows. Are you free this Tuesday at 2 pm EST or Wednesday at 10 am EST?”

Now, you've given the prospect an easy way to engage with a time-bound meeting request. This drives definitive action compared to a weak CTA.

4 – Enough With the Buzzwords: Speak Normally

It's easy to fall into the trap of stuffing your cold email full of industry buzzwords like “synergy,” “traction,” “value prop,” and “ROI.” But honestly, it just sounds canned and disingenuous.

Stick to simple, conversational language that your prospects can relate to. Here are some examples of buzzwords to avoid:

  • We're the premier vertically integrated SaaS platform for leveraging big data analytics to disrupt the space.
  • Our machine learning algorithms provide actionable insights to enhance stakeholder value.”

Instead, say something like:

“We make data simple. Our software gives you the key numbers you need to grow your business without the complex analytics.

Communicate your offerings clearly without relying on excessive jargon. The clearer your messaging, the more likely prospects will understand and engage.

5 – The Impersonal Outreach

Email Outreach Social Media Influencers

Many sales reps get lazy with personalisation in their cold outreach. They blast out the same generic template to prospects without customising it for the recipient.

This impersonal approach is guaranteed to fail:

“Hi [First Name],

I wanted to reach out because I see some ways our solutions could help drive business growth for your company.

With no context or personal details, this email will get deleted. Do your homework to tailor your message:

“Hi Amanda,

I noticed on your Twitter that Summit Software recently acquired DGT Solutions to expand into the UK market. Having helped over 200 US software firms leap the pond, I wanted to reach out. Our Global Expansion Platform streamlines international payroll, HR, accounting, and compliance so you can run UK ops without all the administrative headaches.”

This personalised message demonstrates that you researched the prospect's recent activities. It shows how your offering directly relates to an initiative they have underway. This will pique their interest to learn more.

6 – Enough With the Superlatives: Don't Overhype

Avoid making broad claims about being the “best,” “most innovative,” “leading,” or “number one” without concrete evidence. These exaggerated claims are empty hype.

For example, don't say:

  • “Our new product is the most revolutionary advancement in years. It will completely change the game.”
  • “Our analytics are the most powerful in the industry. Nobody else even comes close.”

Rather than using untethered superlatives, cite specific data, awards, case studies or testimonials that support your claims. For instance:

Our new product now integrates with the top 5 CRM systems, making us the first platform to offer this breadth of capabilities. As featured in the recent Forbes article, ‘How Platform X Became an Industry Leader Overnight.'”

Hyperbole without substance will be seen as fluff. Give clear proof points to add credibility.

7 – The Copy-Pasted Content

Along with impersonal outreach, many sales reps take shortcuts by copying and pasting the same content into every cold email. This blanket approach screams spam:

“We help companies achieve transformative business results through our category-leading solutions and best-in-class customer service.”

Prospects can spot generic, recycled content a mile away. If your message looks like it was bulk blasted without regard for the reader, expect minimal engagement.

Craft unique content tailored to that particular prospect:

“As a long-time player in the translation services space, I imagine dealing with all the regional dialects across the Asia Pacific poses serious quality control issues. Our AI-powered translation platform combines adaptive localisation with precision quality evaluation to ensure your content resonates across all APAC markets with minimal errors.”

This tailored content demonstrates that you understand the prospect's unique needs and challenges. It positions your solution as the ideal fit for their specific situation.

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8 – Tired Tropes: Put a Fresh Spin on Common Themes

Tropes Email Marketing Cliche

Specific themes like “time is money” and “work smarter, not harder” have become so overused in outreach emails that they barely register as more than tired clichés.

Some familiar tropes to rethink or avoid:

  • “I wanted to reach out because we could find some synergy working together.”
  • “Time is money, and our platform will save you both.”
  • “Work smarter, not harder. Let us handle the heavy lifting.”
  • “We're passionate about being your go-to partner for [Service].”
  • “We're committed to delivering white-glove, 360-degree solutions.”

Rather than leaning on played-out themes, explain your core value in a fresh, tangible way. For example:

“Hi Ken,

Your team spends over 20 hours per week compiling weekly reports. Our automation platform reduces that time to just 2 hours.

That means you save 18+ hours and thousands per year on wasted manual work. We integrate directly with your CRM and financial systems to streamline reporting.

Specificity is key. Demonstrate your unique value; don't rely on generic themes.

9 – Don't Trigger Spam Filters: Avoid Problematic Tactics

Specific email tactics like using all CAPS, adding unnecessary punctuation!!!, or cramming in keywords often backfire by getting flagged as spam.

Here are a few things to avoid:

  • ALL CAPS SUBJECT LINES COME ACROSS AS YELLING
  • Adding !!! to create false urgency
  • Overusing industry keywords like “Blockchain, AI, VR, Disrupt.”
  • Repeating first names excessively: “John, we know this will help John transform John's business…”

The best practice is to write emails like any professional communication – with proper grammar, formatting, and personalisation.

Focus on sharing value rather than trying to game the system, as overly salesy or spammy emails will likely end up in the trash folder.

10 – Ask Not What They Can Do: Offer Value

One of the worst clichés is asking for something before providing any value – like requesting a meeting without explaining why it's worth their time.

Avoid intros like:

  • “Can we set up a quick call to discuss potential partnerships?”
  • “I'd love to take you to lunch and hear your ideas. Are you free next Tuesday?”
  • “Let's hop on a call. When are you available?”

These come across as self-serving asks before you've given them anything. Instead, lead by offering value:

“Hi Sarah,

I noticed that your fast-growing company is seeking to expand its social media presence. We've helped similar startups build their follower base from 1,000 to over 100,000 followers within their first year.

I'd happily send a case study and sample social media calendar to give you some ideas. Let me know if you want me to share some best practices…”

The goal of your first outreach should be to provide value, not ask for a favour. Once you share something useful, you can request a meeting or call.

11 – The Hard Sales Pitch

Some sales reps mistakenly think an aggressive pitch will get results. But hardcore selling usually backfires in cold outreach.

You might see overly salesy emails like:

“Our analytics platform is #1 in the industry for a reason – because we drive explosive revenue and sales growth. Our clients achieve industry-leading ROI without exception. Let us show you how we can 10X your business this year.”

This type of over-the-top sales pitch will turn off readers. They'll assume you're feeding them marketing hype rather than adding value.

Soften your sales approach to come across as helpful vs salesy:

“As a fellow marketing professional, I know how tough it is to consolidate all your analytics and demonstrate definitive ROI. Based on results from 500+ marketing clients, our analytics platform can help you easily track, measure, and showcase your programs' impact on revenue and pipeline. I'd love to show you a quick demo and get your thoughts on how we can help quantify your efforts.”

This positions you as an advisor who wants to solve their problems, not just pitch them. The conversational tone establishes trust and rapport.

12 – The Hopeless Follow-Up

Following up is critical to cold email success. But many follow-up messages are poorly executed:

“Hi [First Name], Checking back to see if you had a chance to review my email below about [topic].”

This lazy follow-up provides no new information or incentive to respond. You're begging recipients to re-read your first email, which they likely ignored.

Make your follow-ups count by adding value:

“Hi Amanda, I'm guessing you've been heads down with the DGT Solutions acquisition, so my last email got buried. No worries! Since digital transformation is a big part of the DGT deal, I pulled together a quick slide deck on the impact our platform has had on helping firms digitise legacy systems and workflows. It includes an overview plus some ROI case studies you might find helpful. Let me know if you'd like me to send it over!”

This brings new information to the table when following up. You acknowledge why they may have missed your initial outreach and offer tailored resources based on their current needs. Follow-ups provide another touchpoint to start a dialogue – so make each count.

Avoid These Pitfalls and Stand Out

As you craft your cold email templates, be vigilant about avoiding these typical copy-paste clichés. Take the extra time to personalise your outreach with compelling content tailored to each prospect's role and needs.

Set your emails apart by being helpful vs salesy, conversational rather than formal, and specific instead of vague. Keep your writing crisp and direct without pretentious jargon. Make it easy for prospects to engage with clear CTAs and valuable follow-ups.

With the right approach, your cold emails can break through the clutter and spark meaningful new customer conversations. The extra effort required to avoid those template pitfalls will pay off.

Now let's recap some essential tips:

  • Refrain from using stiff, overly formal introductions. Establish a personal connection right away instead.
  • Avoid vague value propositions. Specify how you solve challenges faced by that particular prospect.
  • Strengthen your CTAs with definitive next steps and urgency.
  • Cut the corporate jargon. Use simple, benefit-driven language.
  • Personalise everything extensively based on the prospect's needs and context.
  • Adopt a conversational, helpful tone – not an aggressive sales pitch.
  • Add value and new information in your follow-ups – don't just beg them to re-read your first email.

Conclusion: Personalise and Get Creative

The best way to avoid cold email clichés is to personalise your messaging and highlight the specific value you can offer.

Rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach, research the prospect's pain points and frame your outreach around how you can uniquely help. Get creative with your messaging and offers to spark genuine interest.

Set yourself apart with value-driven, non-sales outreach focused on assisting the prospect. With the right approach, your emails will cut through the noise instead of blending into the fray of ineffective cold outreach clichés.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some typical cold email clichés I should avoid?

Some major clichés to avoid include stale openings like “Hope you're having a great day!”, buzzwords like “disrupt” and “synergy”, overused themes like “time is money”, hyperbolic claims with no proof, excessive CAPS, and asking for favours before providing value.

How can I make my cold emails stand out?

Personalise your messaging, highlight specific ways you can help prospects, and get creative with offers rather than using a cookie-cutter template. Research their pain points and frame your email around addressing them.

What is an excellent cold email opener?

A good opener grabs attention and quickly gets into your value proposition. Rather than a platitude, personalise it with their name, company, and a specific pain point you can address. Get right into how you can help.

Should I ask for a meeting in my first cold email?

Generally, no – avoid asking for favours before providing value. Offer helpful information, resources, or case studies in your initial outreach. Once you demonstrate value, follow up in a separate email to request a meeting.

How can I avoid coming across as salesy or spammy?

Steer clear of ALL CAPS, over-the-top claims, excessive repetition/keywords, and urgent tone using punctuation like !!!. Focus your emails on value, not sales. Write conversationally using simple language they can relate to.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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