how to write a cold email for sales

How to Write a Cold Email for Sales (and Generate Leads)

by Alessandro Perta

Cold sales emails are still a great way to generate leads this year… but most of them end up unanswered and in trash.

So here is how to write cold emails for sales.

The 7 fatal mistakes of cold emailing for sales

Let’s dissect this typical cold sales email I received.

how to write cold emails example

Note: I don’t want to bash this particular email – this is just an example.

In fact, 99% of cold sales emails we receive make the exact same mistakes.

So here are the 7 reasons why your typical cold sales emails won’t work.

(If you’re in a hurry, jump to how I wrote the perfect cold email for sales at the end of this article.)

1. Fake congratulations

how to write cold emails fake congratulations

Why does the sender congratulate me?

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

This kind of bland, unspecific congratulations tells me only one thing: they 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 was just ONE video.

All of a sudden, “bravo for the great content” feels completely inauthentic 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 than non-personalized ones.

But don’t take my word for it:

So all the sender 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 they sent their email to [email protected]!

how to write cold emails no personalization 2


My name was there right under their 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 the traffic from suggested videos on YouTube.

So “becoming famous” and “boosting rankings” are almost completely 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 the sender would have taken 30 seconds to check it out, they 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, 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?

I thought so too.


  • 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 the sender:

  • 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

This email makes me think… well, nothing actually.

Here is why – the sender showed me that:

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

Not to mention, 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 how to write the perfect cold email for sales

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 prospect’s pains and makes a promise fulfilled by the email.

(And it does so TODAY, who doesn’t like that?)

Hey Alessandro,

Personalized first line with the prospect’s first name.

It takes 60 seconds of research to find this information, so please take that time – it will be worth it.

I have 4 ways to help you grow your YouTube channel

Immediate benefit for the prospect.

Cut to the chase and explain exactly what your email is about.

And yes: your email is about giving for free, not selling (as counter-intuitive it might be).

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

Perfect hook: after researching, I know this their main problem right now.

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.

Nobody wants to work without a clear finish line.

1. You seem to know…

2. Adding just a small design element…

3. TubeBuddy is a YouTube extension…

3 bullet points with actual INFORMATION!

Teach, don’t sell. Easy.

(You’ll sell later, maybe – now is just not the time)

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 a link to the proof, if relevant).

Social proof or factual results are a must to give you credibility in your field.

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.

In the end, you want to talk to your prospect and talk about your product (maybe).

If they don’t reply, no problem.

If they do, they’re in a much better position to get more advice and learn about your product or service.

Talk soon! – Mike

Written in an informal yet professional way.

Signing your email with your name makes it that much more personal and trustworthy.

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

  • No fake congratulations and
  • No stupid questions!