The five phrases you should never use in your emails

Good emails speak to individuals, not consumer groups. The reader wants the writing to appeal to her unique wants, needs, and pain points. Cliches do just the opposite. Using a canned email template, or overly familiar phrases that add no value, only expose the sender’s laziness. By failing to craft a thoughtful and relevant email from scratch, you greatly reduce your chances of making a strong connection with your prospective customers. From the reader’s perspective, cliches feel hollow. They send red flags that the sender is lazy, thoughtless, or even fake. And even if the rest of the email is otherwise solid, one cliche can kill all appeal. As you sit down to write your next sales email, be sure to avoid these 5 copywriting cliches:

“Re: [Subject]”

This common subject line in cold emails is meant to trick the reader into thinking they’re opening an existing email chain. But the ruse becomes clear from the first or second sentence. Rather than encouraging the reader to continue, this bait and switch tactic usually leads directly to the trash folder. Because this cheap tactic is commonly abused by spammers, mail servers have learned how to spot “fake RE’s,” and will automatically send almost all of them to the spam folder. (Check your spam right now to see how many “RE’s” are in there!) Instead of trying to fool readers into opening an email, come up with a subject line that inspires genuine curiosity.

“I Hope This Finds You Well”

This phrase, or some variation of it, opens a lot of mediocre cold emails. But in its effort to build rapport with the reader, it simply highlights the fact that it’s a generic message sent by a stranger. Rather than trying to cloak your intentions in hollow pleasantries, it’s much better to simply assume familiarity. Use your copy to grab people’s attention and demonstrate the appeal of your product/service, rather than using it to make new friends.

“I Don’t Want to Waste Your Time”

Anyone who sends cold emails is always challenged to assure readers that the message in front of them is worth their attention. But by using this phrase, you are simply contradicting yourself. This is extraneous language that tells the reader nothing about your product/service or its value. Basically, reading it is a waste of time. Instead of stating your intent, get right to the point.

“Are You the Decision Maker?”

Cold emails are always something of a gamble. But phrases like this simply underscore the uncertain and scattershot approach you’re taking to selling. If the reader was, in fact, the decision-maker, they would not need to be reminded of it. And if they were not, they certainly don’t need you to point out how irrelevant and poorly targeted your message is. Always assume that your message has reached the right recipient, and if you’re unsure of this you need to do a better job with your outbound efforts.

“Can I Send You More Information?”

Great sales emails always end with a strong call to action. This phrase is more like a whispered request. The timid nature of the language does little to motivate the reader to jump into the sales funnel. Pick a CTA that shows confidence and identifies value for your reader. They should feel like there is a real incentive for responding. The best way to spot cliches in your own writing is to be honest during the editing process. If you know that you’ve simply inserted words, rather than actually writing copy, you’ve likely drifted into cliche territory. Remove the familiar, and you’re left with copy that has real potential to surprise and excite. Are there other phrases you hate to see in your cold emails? Please share them with me, and I’ll try to include them in a future post.

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