Is cold email spam

Why this cold calling email is spam and how you can do it better

Lately I've been getting more and more cold call emails that are almost identically structured. And always sell the same thing: Youtube coaching.

Unfortunately, the senders do a few things wrong, which is why I can't press the delete button fast enough.

Which is totally stupid because ...

Cold calling can bring you good customers.

Even if I prefer to focus on content marketing, I won my first customers as a freelancer with Kaltaquise emails.

Cold calling is faster than content marketing and after my termination I quickly needed the first jobs as a freelancer so that money came in.

So I researched advertising and event agencies in Berlin and sent 36 personalized acquisition emails. This resulted in 4 clients and thousands of euros in revenue.

Researching and writing the individual emails took me several days.

This is what distinguishes a good acquisition email from a spam email: the effort and time that go into it.

Let's look at an example. I assume the senders have good intentions. I want to show the example here because I think it can be done better.

What you generally need to know: Actually, you are not allowed to send cold calling emails! According to the GDPR, you need consent to send advertising emails. If you send emails without your consent, you can be warned. That is why it is all the more important that your email sounds as personal as possible. The risk remains anyway.

Why this type of cold-calling email looks spammy

A complete stranger is writing to me.

I have no idea who this is, where we know each other from and why I should read this email at all.

I should invest 3 minutes.

A 3-minute video is recommended to me with an attractive promise: How to win more customer inquiries on YouTube. More customers sounds great, that's what we all want.

My time is precious Why should I watch a 3-minute video of a total stranger?

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The problem:

I do not know the sender and with “Dear Ms. Holze” only authorities and spammers greet me. Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer to be used. The salutation screams: We don't know each other.

I am trained not to click links in spam emails. Since I'm not sure whether this email is spam or not, I don't really want to click the link.

The video picks up fear.

For analysis purposes, I watched the first minute and a half of the video.

It starts like this: “Your channel is barely gaining reach and growing very slowly. This is a problem because you hardly generate any customer inquiries and lose customers to your competitors. "

It is called to me “my problem” and then the fear is built up of losing something - namely losing my customers to my competitors.

What's wrong here:

The senders didn't bother to research me. Then they would know that I have my reach elsewhere, that the growth of my YouTube channel is not my focus and that I really have no problem with customer acquisition :-).

Then two tips follow. The first tip is to make the video thumbnails brighter. I didn't have the patience for the second tip.

I'm supposed to start a conversation - even though we don't know each other.

Immediately in the email and also under the video, I am invited to a conversation.

It's way too early. I don't make appointments with strangers.

The problem with this and many other cold call emails:

The email skips several stations on the way of the customer journey.

It goes straight from We don't know each other. Come into the sales pitch (because the free conversation is nothing else).

It's like being asked on your first coffee-drinking date if you want to get married and have kids.

In order for this type of email to work, it creates fear and FOMO (fear of missing out), two very powerful triggers. (The email above is another soft “nice” example.)

If the number of emails sent is enough, enough people will bite.

Because nothing motivates you as much as the fear of losing something.

I would ask myself:

What first impression do I want to make?

Push column marketing works. But you can't build a good image with it.

If I think long-term, this type of marketing is devastating. Who wants to stay in touch with a freak who falls into the house when they first come in contact?


This type of email probably even works, as fear moves many recipients to act.

Here is the most important question you need to answer for yourself:

Do I want to win my customers over in such a way that I scare them? How should they end up with me and end up leaving?

The email and the texts sound like a scheme (I get emails like this all the time - all based on the same master copy).

Copy-paste. Made quickly. They are not tailored to me and my situation. And that's why it looks like spam. (Which is a shame because they at least take the time to watch the video.)

In summary, why this email leaves me with a bitter taste. A total stranger comes into my inbox and tells me “my problem” and scares me.

The person does not provide any evidence or reveal himself to be trustworthy.

The 4 elements of a non-spammy acquisition email

The biggest challenge with cold calling emails is that we write to people who have never heard of us. Cold contacts in technical terms.

That is why it is so important to build trust as soon as possible.

1 Establish a connection

In the first sentence, say why I should read on.

Where have we met?

This part of the acquisition email requires work, which is why most senders prefer to rely on fear and FOMO.

  • Are we in the same Facebook group
  • do we have a mutual acquaintance
  • Did one of my contents go down well with the sender and he shares my opinion (honey in your mouth, if you are serious, is always good)?

By making a connection, you are no longer a stranger. This increases the chances that I will read your email. Therefore it has to be in the first sentence.

Here is a really good example: Matthias replied to my newsletter and offered me his help.

So he showed me that he already knows me and was very specific in his email.

Sometimes personal connection is difficult. The agencies I wanted to work for as a freelancer didn't have a newsletter or content.

Here is the next best way:

Show that you dealt with your recipient.

The YouTube consultants could have started their email like this:


Hey sandra,

we saw that you write a really good blog and produce podcast.

We think that you can get a lot more out of your content on Youtube.

We are YouTube consultants and show experts like you how they can build massive reach on YouTube and attract potential customers.

We took a look at your Youtube account. Here in the video we give you 3 tips on how you ...


2 Who are you (sender) and how can you help me?

Briefly say who you are. Then tell me why you are sending me the email. What can you do for me

Very important: Your offer MUST be relevant.

Spam emails work because they are sent in huge numbers. They are not relevant for 99.5% of the recipients.

A good acquisition email is personalized and arouses curiosity because it contains a relevant offer.

Here you can see my email. I knew exactly for which activities freelancers were wanted and adapted my offer accordingly.

3 Show me evidence.

Satisfied customers are the best proof of what you can do.

If you're restarting and don't have any customers yet, find some "test items" and work for them for free in exchange for a reference. Customer voices are sooooo important that free work is always worthwhile.

In my freelance emails, I have adapted the references to each customer so that activities and industry experience always match what the customer is looking for.

Proof of your work:

  • Quote customers - directly in the email
  • Name highlights of your career
  • link to your portfolio (e.g. below in the email signature)
  • Link to the YouTube channel / blog / podcast

The crazy thing about the YouTube email (and everyone else according to this scheme):

There is no link to Youtube!


If someone wants to teach me about Youtube, then I want to watch the Youtube channel. I want proof that the person has a clue.

Even if the YouTube consultants didn't have any customers yet ... a large, or at least rapidly growing, YouTube channel would be proof enough.

4 A clear next step

What should I do after reading the email?

Put this in clear words. No one would have, could, should, I would be happy.

Possible next steps:

  • reply to the email
  • make a phone appointment
  • watch a video in the blog or on youtube

The next step has to be easy for the recipient.

Very important: I need to know who you are and whether you can be trusted before I invest my time in a conversation.

I couldn't find out anything about the sender in the YouTube email, but I was supposed to book an appointment via Calendly. I only make appointments with people I know.

Conclusion: Send fewer, more personalized cold call emails.

Cold calling is great to get you started. If you do it right.

Invest the time to write personalized acquisition emails in which you make a relevant offer.

This gives you a higher conversion rate than massively sent (spam) emails. And even the recipients who have no need will keep you in good memory.

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