Cold Email vs. Spam: The Salt Test

Make sure your cold emails don’t have any lingering briny aftertaste.

Do you get a lot of cold emails and spam emails offering services? I sure do!

Do you send cold emails offering services to others? I have!

(I haven’t been lately, but I probably will be in the future. Hello everyone. I’m barely available in March-April 2019, but hit me up for copywriting and editing services after that.)

Unfortunately, when they hit my inbox, sometimes it’s hard to know the difference.

If you send cold emails, how do you make sure your message is seen as legitimate?

To be honest, I’ve gotten cold emails that were so vague that I had to spend ten minutes googling the writer to make sure they were real people. 

Let’s use this recent email I got to illustrate better ways to make your case to someone you’ve never met.

(BTW, I’m not here to make fun of anyone’s grammatical or semantic errors — no one’s perfect, and not everyone grew up speaking English. That being said, it comes across as more professional if your emails are free of mistakes and unnecessary jargon.)


Not addressing me by name? That’s spammy. Even bots can figure out my name from my website. It’s not a good sign if you leave it off.

I am David        Marketing Executive (iPhone & Android Apps)

This could very well go in your signature. And why the bold? It’s like using jazz hands as you introduce yourself, which could be fun in real life but only in very limited circumstances.

I don’t need to know your title right away, either. Why is it pertinent that you’re a marketer? It kind of makes me want to run away, to be honest. And I do marketing.

This is a place to tell me why you’re emailing me or why I should care, and I haven’t gotten that yet.

We are a Mobile Application Development company specializing in development of iPhone and Android applications. We have more than 1 years of experience in developing custom mobile applications. Each application is reviewed and designed especially for each customer to fit the specific requirements and objectives.

Well, David, Marketing Executive of unnamed company, I’d hope that each application gets reviewed and designed.

I still have absolutely no idea why a copywriter would need a mobile app, but maybe we’ll find out.

(If you have just a year of experience, you can just leave that off. When you’re just starting out, focus on quality, not quantity.)

We help your business combine two modern business directions: wireless devices with web-based applications. High quality and customer-oriented approach are guaranteed.

I’m pretty sure that wireless devices and web-based applications are pretty well combined as is? I’m not sure what an app would do for my business, because you don’t have any idea, either.

Am I the customer in this customer-oriented approach, or is my customer?

Why iPhone Apps?

  •         Instant gratification

  •         Ease of use as it can be accessed anywhere

  •         Attracting new customers

  •         Increasing Revenue

This sounds good if you don’t take any time to think about it. Hmm, yes, all good things! Half of them are for the customer, and half of the benefits are for me, which is a little confusing. 

I like the pink, though I wouldn’t recommend it to others.

For business, finding the right iPhone apps developer could be a key factor to adapting their product to the marketplace and for the right audience.

Hold up. What’s my product? I sell a service. It’s adapted to the marketplace just fine, thanks.

Give us an opportunity to serve you. I assure you would like our solution and services

Direct or bossy? Depends on one’s mood.

It looks like you’re saying my problem is that I need to attract more clients and generate more revenue — which, hey, fair enough, most people are looking for that — but what’s the proposed solution? “Apps are good” is not enough of a hook to get me interested.



Marketing Executive (iPhone & Android Apps)

Country: India

David, I already know your name and title. It’s fine with me if your company is based in India, but there’s no need to say so in your introductory email.

What would be good: the heck what your company is. Any additional information, like a website. What I’m supposed to do next, other than give you my business. 

Okay, yes, that was clearly a spam email. But what can we learn from it?

Who you are is not as important as what you do.

I’m Kelley, and I want potential clients to get to know me. What they need to know first, though, is that I’m a copywriter who creates clarity and impact. I help you get through to your perfect client.


Direct the email to a particular person if you can. Better, personalize the pitch. Show that you understand their needs before jumping into how you can serve them.

Create trust.

What’s your website? LinkedIn? Portfolio? Any way to follow up other than a sketchy email address? (I know *you* are not sketchy. Just saying.)

Provide a strong call to action.

“Give us an opportunity to serve you” ain’t it. Depending on your goal, you’ll ask someone to schedule a free call, answer a question, buy your stuff, come to your event, etc.

Questions? Cold email me!

Also let me know if you want more posts like this, because they’re fun for me.

Like this blog post? Holy crap — you would LOVE the monthly email newsletter for winners, doers, and business owners who love signing great clients. Get started today.

Digital Summit PDX 2017: Small Business Takeaways

I went to Digital Summit Portland this week, and it was pretty cool, everyone.

It’s all about digital marketing for people who are involved with all aspects of it, from content creation, to strategy, to back end… stuff. Whatever those people do with code.

Content marketing hub plan

Small business writing is marketing.

“Kelley, you’re a writer. What the heck were you doing at a marketing conference?”

Great question! All content and copy is marketing. If you’re going to hire a writer, you’d better make sure that a) you have a strong marketing plan, or b) your writer has marketing skills to help you support your goals. That’s why I take every opportunity to keep up-to-date on online marketing, as well as to hone those writing chops.

A lot of the presentations and programs at Digital Summit Portland were geared toward businesses that work on a larger scale than my clients. The email strategy for say, Home Depot, will be different than strategy for your home-based photography business. Still, there were some pretty cool things to think about and take away for anyone who’s making content or marketing online.

Be real.

Most of your consumers can see a pitch coming from a mile away. They want their brands to be authentic. To stand for something. To add real value to their lives. And if they get that from you? You might get a repeat customer who loves and supports your brand.

Don’t be afraid to use your own voice.

Make an action plan, but keep it agile.

You need a content strategy plan. Even if it’s sketched out on a napkin and pinned onto a bulletin board — you won’t get results without knowing what the heck you’re supposed to be doing and, more importantly, WHY you’re doing it.

Later, if something’s not getting the results you wanted, take another look. Tweak it if you still think it’s worthwhile, and scrap it if it’s not.

Figure out who your customer is.

Have you ever made customer personas? It’s a fairly common marketing practice. Say you have a brick-and-mortar boutique. A very basic persona might be “Jenny.” Jenny is a 37-year-old woman who lives in South Beaverton and has two girls ages 2 and 5. She’s married, owns her home, and works full-time in real estate.

The new, hot thing? Mapping Customer Journeys. What steps does Jenny take before she becomes your customer? What else is she searching for on the internet? What’s the first time she hears about your business? Does she come into your store than once before she buys, or is she more impulsive? Does she look online first? How can you keep her as a customer after she walks out the door? When will she buy again?

Whew, that’s a lot, and it can get even more complex. But thinking this way helps you nurture your leads throughout the process of buying, and in helping them become loyal customers who will buy again.

Fun fact: Customers are less likely to buy from a company who took their email and never contacted them. Get those newsletters out, people. (Yes, I’d be happy to help you. Send me an email.)

Slay all the time.

There was a presentation that was based on Beyonce songs, so OBVIOUSLY I ATTENDED THAT ONE.

Beyonce water from Lemonade video

Lessons learned from Beyonce? So many.

Slay all the time. Get crazy in love with your customers. Be the best.

Make it easy for your customers to love you. Make it easy to interact, and easy to get questions answered.

No 30,000 unread emails or full voicemail boxes.

No “do-not-reply” email addresses.

Meet your customers where they want to interact with you.

Make extra special customer experiences. Stand out and be unique, but make sure your customers can know what to expect when they interact with you. Empower your employees to go above and beyond. Train them and ask them what customers are saying.

Try Being Funny.

People like humor! It adds a bit of color to your clients’ lives, and helps you compete for attention against internet celebrity dogs. Dogs are really cute. Try adding a little humor into your copy and seeing how your customers respond. Most people get 7-24% increase in conversions with just a little joke.

(There’s obviously more to this, so please be cautious. You may wish to hire a professional for applying humor, as it can backfire.)

Need help?

Let’s can work together on a content strategy that targets your ideal client. Email me, or book a consultation. Start getting more customers today.

And slay.

Beyonce with fireworks