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.

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A Clear and Easy Call to Action

The world is full of yelling to try to get your attention.

Buy now!
Sign up today!
Call us!

What’s your call to action?

Call to action: Make it clear and easy to do. On every page.

Sure, you could wait for your customer to do what you want them to do. But wouldn’t it be a little faster and more effective to—you know—ask them?

What do you want your prospects to DO when they end up on your website?

Make sure you have a clear call to action on every page of your website.

What is a call to action, anyway?

You have to ask your prospect to take the next step.

It doesn’t have to be BUY NOW on every page. Far from it. But, every interaction should be a positive experience that could potentially lead to a sale down the road, right?

A call to action might be:

  • Call now
  • Sign up for my email newsletter
  • Donate
  • Leave a comment
  • Learn more
  • Book
  • Buy!

Customer Journey

You’ll need to figure out your customer journey before you can really dial in the call to action.

“Oh no Kelley, that sounds like marketing gibberish to me. Do I have to pay someone $5000 to figure out what my customers do?”

Nah, far from it. Unless you want to, or if you’re a huge corporation with super complex processes like T-Mobile. (If you are, what the heck are you doing here? I like the idea of a T-Mobile exec sitting in their office reading my blog before a meeting on the 17th floor.)

Anyway, you should have an idea of who your customer is, and what they do before the step where they give you money.

  • How long have they known about you?
  • Do they tend to do a lot of research before they buy?
  • Do they subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on social media?

What should my call to action be?

It depends, of course.

  1. What kind of service or product are you selling?
  2. What page are they on?

Let’s start with home pages, because they’re the ones that often get short shrift when it comes to a call of action.

What? For a B2B (business to business) service company with a higher ticket price, your call to action on the home page will often be “learn more,” with links to a more information, like a portfolio or pricing.

Why? Because your buyer is a mid-level professional who needs to research several options. They may need to justify or explain their choice to others. They need more information about your work before they proceed with contacting you.

What? For a small online retail business, you might put your product on the home page, and let the sales be your call to action.

Why? Because getting your customers to your sales page is the hard part, and that’s already done. They’re already interested. You can put beautiful photos of your product to entice even more, and a link to your online store. Your front page can even be your online store. Make it easy!

Furthermore… For a restaurant it might be “reserve your table.” For brick-and-mortar retail, you might want to tell your new internet friends to sign up for your email newsletter for 10% off their first purchase. And on and on.

What would you like leads to do after they land on your home page?

So it can be different on different pages?

It probably should be!

After all, if someone is on your sales page, you want them to buy something.

If you’ve gotten someone to your landing page for your email newsletter signup, you sure as heck want to convert that.

If someone is on your contact page, you want them to contact you, right? Or do you want them to go straight to booking an appointment? Or read your FAQ before sending you one more lousy email?

For me, I’ll put an email newsletter signup on this blog post, because that seems to me like the best time to ask you. You’re here, you got all the way to the end of the blog post, and you’re still not tired of me, so why not take that time to beg for your email address? KINDA KIDDING! (BTW, I send a helpful email once a month, so go ahead and sign up for it. There are always cute animal photos, and I don’t give your address to anyone else, so you really can’t lose.)

Design helps


I’m not an expert when it comes to design, okay? I mean… look around.

But from what I’ve read, design makes a huge difference when it comes to your call to action.

If you’re starting off DIY, with no budget for web design, I hear you. Your first step is making your call to action very clear.

Make it easy to find. And make it easy for me, as a reader, to understand what I’m supposed to do.

Watch out for clickable buttons that don’t look like buttons, and links that don’t look like links.

Ask a friend to look at your page and tell you what they’re supposed to do at the end. It’s super important to get feedback from someone who hasn’t been staring at your website for six weeks.

On a separate note, don’t get so wrapped up in beautiful design that the call to action gets totally lost.

Any questions about your call to action? Drop a line at, or let’s hash it out in the comments!

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