What NOT To Say in An Outreach Email

Written by Josh Hirsch Posted on April 5, 2022 In
Email icon in front of blue background indicating email outreach

Sending outreach emails can be tricky. Here are five phrases to avoid, plus five others you should think about including.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Everybody is bombarded by emails daily, most of which get trashed immediately.
  • There are phrases to avoid if you want to have your emails read, including:
    • Inane questions
    • Insincere sentiments
    • Self-centered statements
    • Guilt trips
    • Self-deprecating messaging
  • To give emails the best chance at being read, they should include:
    • Personalized messages
    • A sign that you’ve done your homework
    • Unique solutions
    • Deeper questions
    • A willingness to help

Most people now get somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 emails every day. If you’re like most people, you probably delete quite a few of those after barely glancing at them – even if they’re promoting something relevant to you or offering helpful information. 

Why is this? The truth is that it’s the first sentence that is often to blame, and it can be easy to point at the many trashed emails you’ve gotten as examples of what not to do when it comes to outreach. However, it is very possible that the ones you’ve sent out fall into this category as well. 

If you’re not getting the intended responses, or if your emails go unread, you may be making the same mistakes as other companies. Here’s what to know about phrasing to avoid, plus what to include to give your messaging the best chance of reaching its audience.

5 phrases to stay away from

If you don’t want your emails to immediately end up in the trash folder, consider avoiding these phrases at all costs:

Did you know…?”

The whole point of an outreach email is to give the recipient useful information that will elicit some sort of action. It’s thus an immediate turnoff when the first information presented is something you might expect to hear in an infomercial. Whatever tidbit you want to offer, figure out a different way to write it. Even just dropping the “Did you know” would be a big help. 

Hope you’re doing well”

It may be nice when somebody gets this message from a friend or family member, but it can be a little weird when it comes from a casual acquaintance or a complete stranger. It also seems disingenuous. This person doesn’t know you, so it immediately becomes clear that it’s just a meaningless opening line they’re using to segue into why they’re actually sending the email. Forget this hollow sentiment and just deliver your message.

I’ve been thinking…”

This is another line you might expect from somebody you know, but one that seems overly personal from someone you don’t. Plus, as the recipient,you probably don’t really care what the sender is thinking. It’s also not a great idea to start an interaction by talking about yourself; instead, focus on the recipient and the message you are trying to convey.

Not sure you saw my last email…”

First of all, this is a little passive aggressive, as this person almost certainly did see your previous email and decided not to take any action. It’s also kind of manipulative. Are you trying to make them feel bad for not responding? Either way, you’re almost certainly not going to encourage them to want to pursue anything with your business. 

Sorry […]”

Sorry to bother you. Sorry to waste your time. Sorry for another follow up. If you use that “s” word in any form, you’re coming off as extremely unconfident and insecure right away. So, what does this say about your company? You’re also immediately conveying the fact that you have something to be sorry for, which implies that your message – and what you’re trying to sell – isn’t important or valuable.

5 phrases that can get people reading

Just as some words and phrases turn people off from wanting to read further, others encourage them to dig in. To get people to read your emails, use these enticing lines:

Hi [name]”

These days, there is absolutely no excuse for sending an impersonal email. Anything generic that was clearly sent out to everybody on an email list will be evident right away. At the very least, you should customize a message with someone’s first name so it seems to be specifically for them.

I saw what you did there”

Not this exactly, but you’ll want to include something that shows you’ve done your homework.  Phrases like “I saw that comment you posted” or “I read what you wrote about…” tell someone right away that you’re aware of them and the issues they’re concerned about. 

What’s your biggest priority?”

Asking about what’s important right now (or perhaps which goals they’re hoping to reach this year or in a certain time frame) is a great way to get people thinking about what they want to accomplish personally or professionally. And, of course, you’ll be ready to discuss how your company can make that happen.

Have you thought about…?”

You’re presumably contacting this person about some pain point you want to help them deal with. Asking an intriguing question about this problem with maybe an out-of-the-box solution can spark someone’s interest – and perhaps also a conversation. 

How can I help?”

While you want to win a new customer, your ultimate goal should be to solve this person’s aforementioned pain point. You should do this not by touting a product or service, but by asking them – genuinely – what you can do to help them. 

If your current email outreach program isn’t working, take a good look at the messages you’re using – or not using. The good news is that MetaGrowth Ventures can help you audit your current messaging and help you get it right so it has the highest impact possible. We can also help you hire, train, and monitor a top-notch sales team to ensure you’re hitting all your goals. 

Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help you today.

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