How To Be An Epic Failure When Sending Cold Emails

cold emails

One of my pet peeves has always been when people send me clearly obvious “Copy and paste” email templates.

I received an email today and just had to share it. I’m being immediately pitched on how effective their product is, there is absolutely no “value” in the email whatsoever.

If this guy literally took 5 seconds to attempt to buy something on my skull clothing shop he would have realized every single product on my site is fulfilled by Amazon as an affiliate and I have absolutely no need for abandoned cart recovery.

Here was the email:

Hi –

I love what you’ve done with I was checking out your site today and you’ve clearly done work to optimize your shopping cart and checkout process.

I’m curious if you’re doing anything to recover abandoned carts?

We’ve been able to help our customers increase sales, simply by sending automated emails to visitors that abandoned their cart.  Our store owners typically recover 10% to 15% of these lost sales . For example – last month, ProPlayerSupply recovered $3,346.03 (a 6% increase in sales).  I’d love to show you how they did it.

Are you the right person to speak with about this?  If so, let me know a day/time that works for you.  If not, can you forward this on to the appropriate person?



Classic! He simply filled in the blanks with my website URL. I wouldn’t be surprised if this company sends hundreds of these emails every week to eCommerce shops.

Let’s see where he failed with this email.

  • He didn’t address me by my first name, lack of personalization. The about us page on my shop clearly mentions myself and Brendalyn.
  • He didn’t spend any time to actually go through the checkout process on my site. If he did he would have been instantly sent to Amazon
  • Beyond asking me about what I’ve “already done” he instantly starts talking about what they have done, their results etc. There is no value here in my opinion.. Ok cool you improved this shops recovery rate but you have already deterred me from looking at your platform since you couldn’t take the 2 seconds to actually try the checkout process on my site.

So I’m not impressed, I could spot the email was a template right from the start.

Here is how I responded:

Hi Jonas,

Clearly you didn’t look at my checkout process, all of my products are fulfilled as an Amazon affiliate so abandoned cart recovery is worthless to me.

An example of a good helpful email I received:

Hi John! I was admiring your Voices of Marketing site and noticed that you had the Genesis theme’s favicon showing. You can take your logo and easily turn it into a favicon here: and follow the instructions provided to enhance your branding.

I went over to LinkedIn to tell you thais tip and found that you haven’t optimized your profile. For many reasons, you should put LinkedIn to work for you. Start by adding your URLs to the Contact Info section

If you have questions about LinkedIn, just ask and I’ll do my best to help.

To Your Health!

Tony (Brother Tony O)

So this guy Tony sent me this email completely out of the blue offering 100% value. He gave me a tip on converting my logo into a Favicon for my website AND he offered to help me out with LinkedIn (Yeah I haven’t done shit with LinkedIn). This guy clearly took some time to check me out and provide some useful tips to me.

Here is how I send cold emails, slightly pre-formatted.

how to write cold emails59618828

This was for prospecting email I made for an insurance company I was offering search engine services for. My goal is the same as the guy above in a sense, we are both trying to generate a “Sale” and create interest based around selling a service or a solution.

The difference with my approach is I took the time to analyze my prospects website and learn about who they are. I didn’t just blindly send off this email here, a lot of time and work went into this mostly due to my “video” approach.

Hello Devin,

I spoke with your receptionist and she provided your contact email.

My name is John Shea and I live locally in Methuen, MA. I work specifically with Insurance agencies to help increase their online internet presence.

I made a custom video for your company showing you some valuable tips you can use to improve your visibility on Google and some of my thoughts on your current website.

Feel free to check it out and give me a call back at xxx-xxx-xxxx if you would like to discuss further. Thank you

See the video here:

*Here I included an image from a YouTube video I custom made from scratch analyzing this companies website, the most valuable part of this email. The image links to the private YouTube video which is really eye-catching for busy people who get a lot of emails. They see a huge image of their own website right in my email, it’s easy to realize it’s not some SEO guy spamming them.

What I’m doing that’s different

  • I’ve called the business to find out who the person in charge is
  • I’ve added their name to the start of the email, not just “Hi” or “Hello”
  • I very briefly mention who I am and what I’m going to do to help them
  • I included a custom 5-10 minute video analyzing their websites. This is the huge VALUE I’m offering with this email, I make the video all about them and their business. I don’t just say “Hey, I can get you to the first page of Google! I just did it with xyz company and you will get awesome results too!”

Of course the video approach is VERY time consuming but it does convert, I’ve landed multiple web site design and SEO clients using that method to stand out.

Point is you really want to stand out by offering value and making your email all about them. You also should take time to really take a few minutes to learn about who it is you are emailing. Another good article you can check out on this topic is emailing influential people.

Think about how you can help someone out before sending those emails and you will surely have more success when contacting people out of the blue.

John Shea

I'm John, I'm just an honest entrepreneur here to speak the truth about internet marketing.