how to write cold emails

Cold Email Mistakes: 7 Reasons Your Emails End Up in Trash!

by Alessandro Perta

Today, I just received yet another bad cold email.

And like most cold emails, it was as bland and boring as it was unhelpful.

Check for yourself:

how to write cold emails example

Now, don’t get me wrong:

Cold emails are still a great way to generate leads in 2019…

… just not this way.

So here is how to write great cold emails.

how to write cold emails

The 7 fatal mistakes of traditional cold emailing

I don’t want to bash this particular email – I’m just gonna take it as an example.

99% of bad cold emails we all receive make the exact same mistakes.

That’s why it’s “relevant”.

So here are the 7 reasons why most cold emails suck.

(Read on to see how I wrote a good cold email at the end of this article.)

1. Fake congratulations

how to write cold emails fake congratulations

Dear sender, why do you…

WAIT. Let’s give the sender a name… let’s call him Mike.

Mike, why do you congratulate me?

  • Did you learn something?
  • Does the video make 20 mins feel like 5?
  • Was the editing out of this world?

This kind of bland, unspecific congratulations tell me only one thing: Mike didn’t bother to watch a single video of my YouTube channel.

And by the way, “content” is a very generic word implying there is a lot of stuff on my channel… when there is really just ONE video (at the time of writing this article).

All of a sudden, “bravo for the great content” feels completely unauthentic and shallow.


  • Make a specific comment about WHY you liked a piece of content (and, for example, how you struggled with the same problem at the beginning).
  • If you didn’t watch/read anything, don’t pretend you did and don’t bother congratulate your recipient. People are not stupid.

2. Lack of personalization

how to write cold emails no personalization

Uhh… hi, I guess?

Personalized emails convert better that non personalized ones.

But don’t take my word for it:

So all Mike had to do was to say “Hi [first name]”.

Not only do I say my name in the first 30 seconds of the only video available on my YouTube channel…

… but Mike sent his email to [email protected]!

how to write cold emails no personalization 2


My name was there right under his eyes!

Now to be fair, just saying “Hi” is not so bad. And it’s a LOT better than the dreaded “To whom it may concern”.

But still:


  • When you know the first name of your recipient, use it

3. Problem/solution mismatch

how to write cold emails problem solution mismatch

To grow a YouTube channel, you have 2 main options:

  • create content for the search engine
  • create content for the algorithm

If you want to become YouTube famous (aka get a lot of views and subscribers quickly), your best bet is to trigger the algorithm.

Getting organic traffic to your videos is great for many reasons. But there is no way in hell that organic traffic beats suggested videos traffic on YouTube.

So “becoming famous” and “boosting rankings” are almost complete opposite ways of creating videos for YouTube.

Even if this problem is a YouTube thing only, the underlying problem is the same:

The problem/solution combo is not consistent.


  • Make your problem/solution combo work together. If your solution doesn’t directly solve the problem, you lose (credibility).

4. Wrong message for the target

Back to the “we’ll make your YouTube channel famous” subject.

My channel has a related website – it has the same name as my channel and it’s linked from my video and channel page.

If Mike would have taken 30 seconds to check it out, he would have known that my goal is not fame… it’s authority and revenue.

If you try to hook your recipient with a wrong problem (here, become famous), they will never trust your solution… or your company altogether.


  • Repeat after me: “know your target audience like it’s your job” – because it is. Then walk 1000 miles in their shoes, feel their pain, and create an irresistible offer to remove their pain. No pain, no business. No pain removed, no business either. Simple.

5. Rhetorical questions

how to write cold emails rethorical questions

Well Mike, I have a question for you: WHO DOESN’T????

Seriously, what’s the point of this question?

Do you know any person or business on YouTube who doesn’t want to grow their channel?



  • Don’t waste people’s time. Cut the fluff, don’t write for the pleasure and use that email real estate to give useful advice. If you can’t, just make your email shorter.
  • Don’t ask dumb questions – rather, connect with your recipient by outlining a specific problem they’re facing. They’ll know you know what you’re talking about.

6. Lazy USP

how to write cold emails lazy usp

Uuuhhh… okay.

I have 2 questions for you Mike:

  • what makes you qualified to make such a claim?
  • how do you do your thing?

This is not even a lazy Unique Selling Proposition.

It’s just an empty promise that every digital marketing agency makes.

(By the way, if your services aim to grow YouTube channels, I HOPE you can grow a 458 subs channel! But by how much and within which timeframe?)


  • Back your claims with social proof, testimonials, facts or case studies
  • Give an actual piece of advice for your recipient to reach his next logical milestone

7. Poor CTA with no incentive

how to write cold emails poor cta

Mike, your email makes me think… well, nothing actually.

Here is why – you showed me that:

  • you didn’t bother to check what I do
  • you don’t understand my goals and pains
  • I can’t trust you because of your lack of social proof/case study
  • I don’t get any DIRECT benefit by answering your email

So why should I?

And yes, I have SO MANY questions!

But it’s your job to not trigger questions, but rather share advice on how to grow today, without me getting back to you.


  • Create a mouth-watering email, filled with tips (read on to see such an email), then
  • Give a compelling reason to reply to you

Here is a perfect cold email that recipients read and reply to

Let’s put all these takeaways to work.

The email

Subject: Alessandro, here are 4 ways to grow your YouTube channel today

Hey Alessandro,

I have 4 ways to help you grow your YouTube channel to 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time before the end of 2019.

Here they are:

  1. You seem to know very well about WordPress and digital marketing. Facebook groups are crushing it right now to get the much needed early traffic to your videos. Join the [insert relevant Facebook group] group and share your videos there, you’ll gain dozens of views and subs in a matter of hours.
  2. Adding just a small design element to your YouTube thumbnails could increase your CTR by 300%. Here is a free mini course I made explaining exactly how to do it (it takes literally 30 seconds). [link]
  3. TubeBuddy is a YouTube extension that helps you find the tags that bring the most views for your target keyword. When we added the tags suggested by TubeBuddy, we saw a 215% boost in our organic views in just 14 days. You should check it out.

I have a fourth way to share with you, but it’s just too good to give it away in an email. (By the way, did this email reach you?)

This fourth way is how I reached 10K subs in 8 months with no experience and no link building.

If you’re reading this, hit me on Skype and I’ll tell you what the fourth way is. (When we started doing it, we reached the monetization threshold in 7 days!)

Call me on Skype this week – my Skype address is [email]

Talk soon! – Mike

PS: don’t forget to call me to know how you can reach the monetization threshold fast!

Why this cold email works

Alessandro, here are 4 ways to grow your YouTube channel today

The subject matches the target consumer and makes a promise fulfilled by the email.

Hey Alessandro,

Personalized first line.

I have 4 ways to help you grow your YouTube channel

Immediate benefit.

grow your YouTube channel to 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time

The sender understands my current problem.

This is the threshold to start monetizing a YouTube channel – every YouTube channel is trying to reach that first milestone!

before the end of 2019

Clear timeframe to reach the goal.

1. You seem to know…

2. Adding just a small design element…

3. TubeBuddy is a YouTube extension…

3 bullet points with actual INFORMATION!

This is how I reached 10K subs in 8 months on my channel with no experience and no link building

Micro case study proving your techniques work (with link to proof).

I have a fourth way to share with you, but it’s just too good to give it away in an email… hit me on Skype and I’ll tell you what it is.

Clear CTA and incentive.

Talk soon! – Mike

Written in an informal yet professional way. The sender’s name makes the email that much more personal and trustworthy.

Oh, and by the way, notice that there is:

  • No fake congratulations and
  • No stupid questions!

Over to you

Share a particularly bad cold email you got lately in the comments below, I now enjoy reading those 🙂