Cold Email Template Clichés Are Hurting Your Campaign

email cliche

Cold email template bundles are a staple of freebies. You may have even downloaded a few and you wouldn’t be the first. They are usually free or cheap, and save marketers a lot of time.

Template bundles are offered by everyone from major companies to small personal marketing blogs. But just as the market for these templates is becoming oversaturated, it’s time to realize that you are not the first, the 100th, or event he 1000th person using these templates. And what does this mean for your campaign? It’s becoming just like every other one.

Subject line

You have to jump through multiple metaphorical hoops to get into your lead’s inbox. Once you have created your perfect target persona, collected your leads, verified them, and maybe even decided on an email drip campaign, you can begin work on your main and follow-up messages.

The first thing a person sees in their inbox is the subject line. Within seconds they already know if the message is worth reading, so aim to intrigue enough to make them open it.

Seeing a subject line you’ve seen used and re-used in dozens of other email campaigns is anything but intriguing. Always use original ideas that directly relate to the offer in the message.

According to a research by MailChimp, cliches like free, reminder, last chance, and sign up cause open rates to crash drastically, simply because they have been so overused in the past.

email title

If you need to convey these ideas, but don’t want your campaign to suffer, the research suggests using an alternative:

  • Use freebie instead of free;
  • use announcements and invitations as a way to persuade to sign up;
  • thank your prospect instead of giving them a last chance.

Avoid spam trigger words like best offer, cancel, compare, extra, free (and all of its variations), now, save, your chance etc. Keep the subject line related to the email body and don’t add any extra info.

Don’t be afraid to make your subject line eye-catching either – try using jokes, emojis, or puns, like in this example of an email from Yummly.

cold email title

And last, but not least, always (and we mean always) personalize.


The amount of clichés that have sprouted from a simple Let me introduce myself is enough to dedicate a separate article to. But we won’t do that, we are just asking you to think of the numerous similar intros you yourself have to go through every day.

The most common cliché is giving in to our narcissistic urge to fascinate and going on a paragraph-long rant about our business. Check out a template from Woodpecker, demonstrating this:

email subject

Keep your introduction short enough to read within 2-3 seconds, and avoid talking about yourself too much. Focus on your recipient and their needs. And please, stop using “I hope this email finds you well”.

Email body

Email marketers see value in cold email templates because, as we’ve mentioned, they are cost-effective and time-saving. Which means most marketers won’t even try to customize the templates for their business, apart from the in-built personalization attributes.

Which means most of these cold emails will use the same structure and tone. It also means you will drag the mistakes in the templates right into your campaign.

A common mistake that often finds its way into template bundles is excessive use of 1st person pronouns. Overusing I, we, and us will hurt your CTR. Take a look at this template from HubSpot:

follow up email template

Your lead does not care about you yet, and focusing on yourself and your needs will not help you convert them.

Many marketers also enjoy the simplicity of templates, forgetting that the email body should give the recipient a feeling like your solution is exactly what they’ve been looking for. And a template can not tell about your product better than you do.

If you can afford a professional copywriter – why not order a batch of company-only email templates, tailored specifically for your needs? This way you can avoid the broad-based cliché phrases the recipients so often have to get through in your competitors’ emails.

If you can not afford a bespoke email template and would rather still use a free downloaded template, take an hour of your time to do the following:

  • Tweak your cold email template to fit your TA, product and business type;
  • improve the style of the letter and choose the elements of personalization that work best for you;
  • personalize as much as you can, depending on the size of your campaign.


A cold email has to fit your product, not vice versa: your message has to present your product in the best light, not too salesy, not too boring, and definitely not filled with clichés like “revolutionary approach” or “I noticed that…”.

Researching for this article we have collected cold email templates offered by multiple marketing blogs and platforms, and as much as we dislike the concept of templates, the advice offered on these platforms always have the right idea in mind: personalize, make the message your own, pique the recipient’s interest, always keep the recipient’s needs in mind.

To avoid cold email clichés, pay attention to both the structure and the content of your emails:

  • Start using alternative words and word combinations instead of clichés and spam words;
  • introduce yourself, but make it quick (don’t forget, only 2-3 seconds read time);
  • talk about the recipient’s needs, not what you want;
  • create your own custom templates for your department and personalize them as much as possible.

In 2023 the only way to stand out is to genuinely care about your audience. And while many of the templates offered online don’t follow their creators’ advice, if you do choose to use them – always adjust them to fit your company, ideas, TA and product better.

Templates are here to stay, make sure your business is too.

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