Biz Tips: How To Not Write Cold Emails For Marketing Outreach

Biz Tips: How To Not Write Cold Emails For Marketing Outreach


How To Not Write Cold Emails For Marketing Outreach

Cold emails are all about starting a relationship. And nobody starts a relationship with somebody who doesn’t treat them with respect. Source: Shelby Deeter on Unsplash

Yesterday, I got a curious email.

It was from somebody I didn’t know and the subject line was a generic compliment.

So I opened it up and there’s a long-winded email about how they found my book and how they loved it.

And, would I be interested in using the contents of my book to create a short course and sell it on their website?

Now, the email itself was fine from a copywriting standpoint.

They used my first name, it had a conversational tone, they gave me some benefits (how many people went through their courses and all that).

But, there was one huge, enormous, gigantic problem with the email…

It Was A Copy-And-Paste Template

It was a template that they just copy-and-pasted my name and book name into.

You know, I get it. Some people just want to play the numbers game and give it absolutely no extra effort.

They think if blasting their email template out to 5,000 people and just changing one sentence can net them 1 reply, that is a good ROI.

And it might be (I don’t know their business).

But it just felt so phoney and wrong. They didn’t respect the time and effort I put into writing my book by mentioning one single detail that would have made their email stood out.

Wouldn’t it be worth it to spend five extra minutes on every email and trying to add a personal touch?

And if it isn’t, why are you even bothering to email me?

People Can See Right Through It

What’s infuriating is that these people think they can get away with it.

Spoiler: Everybody knows when you send them a template email. It’s so painfully obvious to everyone but the person sending it.

Here’s a made-up example of what I’m talking about:

Hi Claude,
Just wanted to reach out and tell you that I absolutely love your stuff. Your writing is great and so is your hair.
What I especially love is all the interesting stuff you have to say about marketing. It’s absolutely groundbreaking and cutting-edge.
I was wondering whether I could use some of your content to add as a bonus to my own product that I’m launching soon.
The Template Tool.

Do you see what I’m talking about?

I mean, everything that guy said applies to every marketer in existence (although not all of them have hair as amazing as mine).

Here’s what you should do instead:


Here’s an example of what a better cold email could look like:

Hi Claude,
I found your book on Amazon and wanted to tell you that I absolutely love it. You’re totally right when you say that too many people in advertising forget that they’re there to sell.
But, what I found most helpful was the simple framework you gave for writing a compelling story. I would often waste a lot of time before getting to the point, and “starting with the pain” made it an absolute no-brainer to get started.
I’m a copywriter myself and wanted to ask if you were available for an interview on storytelling. I’d like to add that interview to a product I’m launching soon. You’d get a percentage of the sales, of course
Anyways, just let me know if this is something you’d be interested in. If not, no big deal, I just thought I’d ask.
The Personalisation Person.
P.S. Can you also tell me the secret of your flawless hair?

First of all, I don’t know why my hair is so perfect, but thank you very much.

Second, do you see the huge difference just adding these two details has made?

And the thing is, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to add that in.

You can use the Amazon Preview function to read the first few chapters of my book for free.

Then, you can use the information you got from there to add a sprinkle of personalisation.


There’s Nothing Wrong With Templates — Here’s How To Use Them

Templates are absolutely fine. In fact, they’re great.

What’s bad is when people don’t know how and when to apply them for maximum results.

It’s kind of like telling every person you meet, “Nice shoes.”

It will work until you start talking to people on the beach, where nobody wears shoes.

So, here’s how to use a template.

The Best Thing To Do Is Outline

Outlines are much better than copy-and-paste templates.

First of all, it makes every email sound unique.

To go back to the conversation analogy, there’s a certain protocol to every conversation.

You exchange a greeting, you ask how it’s going, then you talk about whatever.

We do it because it works and because we’re used to it. What we don’t do is repeat it like a robot — for example, you wouldn’t say “Hello. How are you?” again after somebody came back from a trip to the toilet. You already saw them, so it’s out of place.

What also changes is the details. Depending on my mood and who I’m talking to, I might say, “What’s up?” or “How are you?” or even go crazy with a “How’s it hanging?”

By referring to an outline, you don’t have to write from scratch. Yet, you still harness these perks and make it sound unique to your current mood.


I talked about it above, so no need to go in-depth on this again.

Start out with something that you noticed about the person, something smart they said that you learned from them…

Everybody loves a little bit of flattery, and you can only get that going if you personalise.

If You Do Copy-And-Paste, Leave One Part Out And Write It From Scratch

This might be the best of both worlds, because you don’t have to write everything from the ground up but get the benefit of personalisation.

I don’t do this because I like writing, but it might be an idea for you.

In fact, if you take a look at the second email I made up earlier, you could do just that.

Everything after “I’m a copywriter myself…” can be re-used without a problem. It’s just the first part you’d have to change.

Keep It Short

Absolutely essential.

If you want something from somebody, chances are there’s somebody else who wants a similar thing from them.

What does that mean? Thousands of emails cluttering their inbox, all clamouring for attention.

If you hit me with a wall of text, I’m gonna hit that delete button faster than Lucky Luke can shoot his shadow.

Quick tip: Adding a line break after every sentence makes it very un-daunting to read.

(Just take a look at this article.)

Why? Just imagine the opposite, one big paragraph with no line breaks. Nobody wants to read that.

You should still keep it short and to the essentials. Go to the Hemingway App and check the “Reading Time” after clicking on “Show More.” As a general rule, it should be under two minutes for the initial contact (you can also just time yourself).

You can get away with more longer emails you’ve gotten your foot in the door.

Give Them Something Of Value

Perhaps the most important thing is to offer the person you’re writing to something they want.

That depends on the person you’re writing to — maybe it’s money, but it could be anything.

Ask For ONE Thing And Make It As Easy As Possible For Them

Every copywriter knows that a sales letter or other marketing tool should lead to one action.

Not two. Not seven. Not even one-and-a-half.

One thing.

So get crystal-clear on what that is. Do you want them to call you? Email you back? Come up to your office?

The more specific the better.

Don’t say, “Meet me around noon-ish at the factory.”

Say. “Come to my office at 12.15pm.”

(Unless they know exactly which spot you mean when you say, “The factory.”)

And, you should make it as easy as possible to get that desired outcome.

So, if you want them to reply, don’t force them to go to another website and use your form or whatever.

Just let them hit the reply button and give you all the information.

Follow Up

Every copywriter knows that there’s a lot of money in following up.

That’s why so many marketers add an “Abandoned Cart” email sequence nowadays.

Something got in their way on the last crucial step that makes you money, and giving them a little nudge doesn’t cost that much, so why not do it?

Same with cold emails. If you haven’t gotten a reply back after a couple of days, just write them a new email.

Don’t make it too long or whine about how they didn’t answer (it’s amazing that I have to say this, but people can get really entitled about hearing back from you).

Just hit “Reply” on the first email you send and write something like this:

Hi Claude,
quick follow-up email to bump this to the top of your inbox. I know you’re busy and if you’re not interested, no big deal, just thought I’d try again.
Follow-Up Fanatic.

If you didn’t get an answer, try again for a second time. Then, if you still didn’t get an answer, it’s probably best to cut your losses.

In the end, cold emailing is still a numbers game, adding a personal touch will just up your chances.

Something you can do is use Bananatag, which is a free Chrome extension you can add to Google.

With Bananatag, you can track up to five emails per day (on the free account) to see whether the recipient opened them or clicked on any links you included.

Kind of like most email marketing software.

You can get it here (I’m not affiliated with them) and sign up for a free account.

Now, you can see whether somebody opened your email and if they haven’t, write them more often.

I haven’t used it too much, so I don’t know how accurate it is. For example, many phones don’t give your email marketing software an “Open” signal, which can make your open rate unreliable.

Still, it’s a good tool to have in your arsenal.

(I reached out to somebody over five times before I got an answer, but you shouldn’t pester people too much.)

So there you have it.

Don’t pump out generic emails and expect a response. Even two minutes of personalisation can explode your response rate.

For more copywriting and marketing wisdom, you can join my daily email list.

You will get one tip straight to your inbox, every day.

Plus, you’ll get my book, “Copy That Sells.” It costs $12, but it’s yours free if you sign up today.

It shows you the exact mindset you need to write sales letters that sell, along with a step-by-step method to do it.

(The same principles apply to cold emailing, by the way, you just have to change a few things here and there.)

Just hop on over to to sign up.

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