When sending emails, many professionals begin with the phrase, “I hope this finds you well.” While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this statement, it’s also incredibly commonplace. Because its used so often, the sentence feels impersonal. And chances are, the person receiving your email won’t feel compelled to continue reading your note.

Fortunately, there are many creative yet professional ways you can begin your emails with clients and prospects. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share some ideas from Regina Borsellino, an editor at The Muse.

Introduce yourself. This is especially important when contacting someone who may not know you or recognize your name. By opening with your name and what you do, you can take away the guesswork. Borsellino recommends keeping it brief by including just one sentence or less and introducing yourself as it’s relevant to the recipient. For example, “I’m Laura, the new sales rep at Company ABC. We met at XYZ.”

Get specific with your well wishes. “I hope this email finds you well” is generic. Instead, make your beginning line more personal or at least relevant. For example, if you know your client’s child is applying to colleges, you could say, “How’s everything going on the college front? I hope Brian is making great progress on his applications!”

Say something nice. Everyone likes to be recognized for something they’ve done well, Borsellino says, so if you like something a colleague or client has done, tell them.

Make small talk. Borsellino says this strategy is best when you’re emailing someone you already have a rapport with, or at least a known shared interest. For example, if you know the other person cares about a particular TV show or team, you could open with something like, “Did you catch the game last night? That last play was crazy, right?” or “Can we talk about what happened on The Bachelor? Wow!”

Set the priority level for your email. When you let the other person know if you need a response immediately or if you’d like to hear back in a few days, you help makes things easier on them. Borsellino adds that you should always think your message through carefully before you tell your boss, a client or an executive at your company that something needs to be their first priority.

Get started. Sometimes, it’s best to just dive right in. Borsellino points out research that shows that emails between 50 and 125 words are most likely to get a response. If you want to save time for both you and your reader and decrease the likelihood that they get overwhelmed by the length of your email, skip the pleasantries, she says.

If you find yourself stuck using the same old cliché intro in your emails, try one of the phrases above. When you get specific and creative, you’re much more likely to get the reply you want (and deserve).

Source: Regina Borsellino is a NYC-based editor at The Muse covering job search and career advice, particularly resume best practices, interviewing, remote work, and personal and professional development.