Cold Email

5 Cold Emailing Faux Pas to Avoid at All Costs

Maximize your cold emailing success by avoiding these five common mistakes: generic messages, spammy subject lines, focusing on yourself, lengthy emails, and neglecting follow-up. Instead, personalize, research your recipient, be concise, and follow up strategically for impactful connections.

Dec 14, 2023

5 Cold Emailing Faux Pas to Avoid at All Costs

Stepping into someone's inbox uninvited can be like walking on thin ice—it's all about making the right moves. 

You've probably heard a lot about what you should do when sending cold emails, but what about the pitfalls? Avoiding common mistakes is just as crucial for making a lasting impression. 

From ignoring personalization to writing novels nobody has the time to read, we're here to ensure your messages are met with interest, not the dreaded delete button.

In this article, we'll dive into the top five things you shouldn't do when crafting that all-important cold email. 

Sending Generic Emails

When reaching out through cold emails, one of the 5 things not to do when cold emailing is to send generic messages that lack a personal touch. 

1. Lack of Personalization

You've probably heard it before, but personalized emails are key to standing out in a crowded inbox. When you skip personalization, you’re essentially telling your recipient they weren't worth the effort—not the best first impression. 

Personalization shows that you’ve taken the time to understand who they are and what they might need or want from you.

  • Include their name

  • Reference recent work or accomplishments

  • Mention mutual connections

By tailoring your emails, you significantly increase the chances of getting a response.

2. Failure to Research the Recipient

Researching your recipient is non-negotiable. When you don't do your homework, your generic pitch will likely miss the mark. 

Instead, use what you find through research to craft a message that resonates.

  • Visit their company’s website

  • Check out professional profiles

  • Analyze recent news about their business

Your email should reflect that you understand their business pain points and have a solution to offer that aligns with their goals. 

Differentiate your message by showing genuine interest in their specific challenges and achievements.

Using a Spammy Subject Line

When delving into the world of cold emailing, your subject line is your first impression. It's what stands between your email being opened or banished to the junk folder. 

One of the five things not to do when cold emailing is to use a spammy subject line. This can wreak havoc on your campaign's success rate. 

Let's examine a couple of critical mistakes you'll want to avoid:

1. Overusing Exclamation Marks

You might think that including exclamation marks will convey enthusiasm and capture attention. 

However, overdoing it can trigger spam filters and suggest inauthenticity, which turns off potential leads. Think about it – reputable companies rarely, if ever, litter their subject lines with exclamation points. 

Instead, they opt for a more professional tone. You're aiming for confidence and credibility in your cold emails, not excessive exuberance.

Keeping your subject line calm and composed allows it to resonate more genuinely with the recipient. It demonstrates that you're serious about your message and creates a sense of respectability around yourself and your proposition. 

Plus, when you avoid exclamation marks, you significantly reduce the risk of your email ending up in the spam folder.

2. Using Click-bait Subject Lines

Your subject line should accurately reflect the content of your email. The moment you resort to using click-bait tactics, you're walking on thin ice. 

Believe it – recipients can sniff out insincerity from a mile away, and nothing screams insincerity like a subject line that promises the world but delivers an atlas. 

Not only does this tarnish your reputation, but it also has a lasting impact on your email deliverability and open rates.

Essentially, when crafting your subject line, aim for clarity and relevance. Make sure it aligns with the body of your email. 

This demonstrates that you value the recipient's time and are not just another sender trying to bait them into an unworthy click. Remember, building trust starts with the very first line they see – make it count.

Focusing on Yourself Instead of the Recipient

When crafting cold emails, it's crucial to make the recipient the star of the show. A common mistake is to turn the spotlight on yourself, sidelining the interests and needs of the person you're reaching out to. 

1. Highlighting Your Achievements Too Much

Sure, you've got accomplishments you're proud of, and you should be. But when you're cold emailing, it's vital to strike a balance. Overemphasizing your achievements can come across as boastful, or worse, irrelevant. 

Remember, the recipient doesn't know you and likely doesn't care about your successes unless they bring direct value to them.

Consider these points:

  • Mention achievements only if they relate directly to solving a problem or addressing a need of the recipient.

  • Use your track record to provide assurance of your capability, not as the main attraction.

  • Strike a conversational tone that relays your qualifications without overshadowing the recipient’s needs.

2. Ignoring the Recipient's Needs

Your email should focus on what you can do for the recipient, not the other way around. Ignoring the recipient's needs, challenges, and interests is a critical misstep in cold emailing.

Here's what you should do:

  • Research the recipient and their company to understand their current challenges.

  • Tailor your message to address these challenges or present opportunities that resonate with them.

  • Always ask yourself if the content of your email provides value from the perspective of the recipient.

Remember, the goal of your cold email isn't just to make an impression—it's to engage the recipient in a manner that prompts a dialogue and eventually, a productive relationship. 

By keeping the focus on them and how your service or product intersects with their world, you can cut through the clutter and make a connection that matters.

Sending Lengthy Emails

When crafting cold emails, one of the 5 things not to do when cold emailing is to send messages that are too long. 

Understanding the value of the recipient's time is crucial. Your goal is to convey your message as efficiently as possible, ensuring it's read and not discarded due to overwhelming content.

1. Including Unnecessary Information

Your email should be a laser-focused pitch, not a comprehensive biography. Avoid including superfluous details that dilute the impact of your main message. 

Remember, every sentence should serve a purpose:

  • Highlight key benefits or opportunities.

  • Provide essential context about your product or service.

  • Prompt an action or response from the recipient.

Any information that doesn't accomplish these objectives is likely unnecessary and may cause your reader to lose interest quickly.

2. Rambling Without Getting to the Point

In today's fast-paced world, attention spans are short. Don't risk losing your reader's interest with rambling prose. 

Get straight to the point. This doesn't mean your email can't be personable or engaging, but it does mean that brevity is your ally. 

A succinct, direct approach demonstrates respect for the recipient's time and can be more persuasive than a lengthy, wandering email.

Remember, the purpose of a cold email is to open a conversation, not to close a deal. Offer enough to pique interest and invite further discussion. 

By keeping your cold email concise and relevant, you'll stand a much better chance of getting a response and potentially forming a valuable business connection.

Neglecting Follow-up Emails

When you're mastering the 5 things not to do when cold emailing, failing to address follow-up emails is a critical misstep. 

Understanding the balance between persistence and annoyance is key to engaging potential clients or partners effectively.

1. Not Sending Any Follow-up Emails

Don't undermine your outreach efforts by neglecting follow-up emails. Often, initial cold emails can slip through the cracks or get buried in busy inboxes. Following up is not just courteous; it's strategic. 

Here's why not following up can hurt your chances of success:

  • Increased Visibility: A gentle reminder can bring your email back to the top of their inbox.

  • Interest Demonstration: By following up, you show you're genuinely interested in a response.

  • Opportunity to Clarify: It's a chance to add any details you may have omitted initially or to answer potential questions.

Aim for a follow-up email 48-72 hours after your initial message. This timing demonstrates professionalism without appearing desperate or pushy.

2. Sending Too Many Follow-up Emails

While not sending any follow-up emails can be detrimental, bombarding your recipient with too many messages is equally damaging. 

Over-following-up can have various negative consequences:

  • Reputation Damage: Sending too many follow-ups can tarnish your professional image and make you seem spammy.

  • Annoy Your Prospect: You risk irritating the very person you’re trying to impress, leading to a blocked address or ignored correspondence.

  • Diminished Impact: Each subsequent email can lessen the impact and urgency of your message.

Keep follow-ups to a two-email maximum after your original cold email. Craft each follow-up with a clear purpose and new information to justify the additional contact.


Mastering the art of cold emailing is crucial for your success in today's competitive landscape. 

Remember, steering clear of common mistakes can make the difference between a new opportunity and a missed connection. Keep your emails concise, personalized, and professional. 

Strike the right balance with your follow-ups to demonstrate persistence without becoming a nuisance. By applying these strategies, you'll enhance your chances of getting the response you're aiming for. 

So go ahead, craft your message with care, and watch as doors begin to open.

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