Most of my work mornings start with a cuppa. Once the kettle’s boiled, I use the brewing time to check my email. (It’s how I get my tea the perfect strength.) Running my eye over the unread messages, I give a little sigh. It’s dedicated to the poor folks who wasted their time cold emailing me about their SEO, design, web hosting or content writing services, hoping I’d be their next client.

Poor chickens. They don’t have a hope in hell.

Cold emailing spam - no thanks

I’m not averse to being cold emailed. But I do have a problem with daft prats who put no effort into it.

Why their cold emails are crappy

If I wrote a list containing every single reason their emails are crappy, we’d be here for a long old time. So, here’s the TL;DR version:

  • They barely introduce themselves
  • It’s all “I” this and “me” that and I don’t really care about them because I don’t know them
  • There’s no evidence proving they can do what they say they can, so I don’t trust them
  • And they’ve clearly not looked at who I am or what my business does.

The fact the emails are badly written is the final straw. And I try not to judge too harshly when it comes to the quality of writing. I’m well-aware not everyone’s a writer. But they are bad to the point that sometimes I’m surprised my eyes don’t start bleeding or roll completely out of my head in a desperate bid to avoid reading this shitwaffle

Add that up and it makes me worry about ease of communication if we did work together.

Sigh. Let’s be honest. It’s spam. And, like you and all our fellow business owners, I hate cold emailing spam. But I bet I hate it more than you. And here’s why.

I hate cold emails, but I have to send them

As a small business owner, you get several of these naff emails every couple of days. It’s frustrating. Not just for you, but for me too because when I email you asking to work with you, you already don’t like me.

“Urgh. Not another email about my business website. Money-grabbing so-and-so. She probably doesn’t even know what I do,” you think.

Curse those spammy spammers.

Curse those spammy spammers!

It annoys me to my core because I like approaching companies that I think I could do a great job for. So I kick the conversation off with an email. But those daft prat spammers have already got to you. The moment they bought that list and sent you some crappy generic message that 500 other poor souls got too, they’ve potentially ruined everything between us.

Cold emails ruin everything

And so that’s why I hate them more than you, because look. Here I am having to try and convince you that I’m not like them.

I hate it when people do that to me, so I’m not about to do that to you.

And I make sure I don’t fall into that daft prat cold emailing category by doing five checks before hitting ‘compose email’.  

Curious to know what they are? Then go right ahead and delve into my process…

My cold email 5 checks

Business owners who get a cold email from me are lucky. I don’t cold email very often. The reason: running through my five checks means dedicating quite a bit of time to each email.  

Here’s my system.

1. Reading your website

Or blog articles. Or emails. Whichever service I email you about, know that I will have read what’s already there — back to front and inside out.

2. What can I bring to the party?

There are lots of businesses I’d love to write for, but I’m realistic. Not everyone wants or needs my help. Some small businesses have their content marketing and copywriting sorted. I’m not keen on wasting anyone’s time which is why I carefully consider what’s the extra somethin’-somethin’ that I can bring to your business.

If I have a good answer, you’ll hear from me. If I can’t come up with anything, then I’ll move on. You shouldn’t hire me if I can’t bring any value to your business. And I would never ask you to. 

3. Pick the right service

When I cold email you, I’ll have considered the first two points and then tried to work out which of my services will give you the most bang for your buck. For us small business folk, money doesn’t grow on trees, right? This is why I’ve got various set and bespoke service offerings so commissioning the right service is as easy as possible.

4. Met your social side

I am nosy as fuc very inquisitive, so I look at everything your business puts out to get to know it. Beyond the website, I’ll scroll through your social media channels to understand your current tone and audience and might even sign up to your email list. My aim is to look at the whole package before getting in touch.

5. Done a quick Google

This is another great way to see what your business is about and make sure I understand you. For example, after doing a quick bit of Google research about past clients I’ve learned about fantastic charity events they’ve been involved in, event sponsorship or talks they’ve given, and press coverage they’ve secured.

Your business is way more than just a website, a few articles or emails. Which is why I do my research properly. In the same way, clients looking for a copywriter will thoroughly research the company they want to hire. The same logic’s applied when looking for a builder, doctor or hairdresser — you look them up and dig around before committing to their service.

Checks done. It’s time to email

Having run through my checks, I’ll take a look at my notes and consider whether there’s something in this. Or not.

If it’s a goer: you’ll get an email from me.

If I’ve got doubts…well, you wouldn’t be reading this article.

Sure, running through my five cold email checks takes a little time. But why would I talk to businesses that I’m not a good fit for? It wastes your time and mine.

So there you have it. None of these five things are rocket science. It’s just about not being an annoying human.

Received one of my emails? 

Right now you might want nothing more than a little more detail about how I can help.

All you need to do is reply to the email I sent you. I’d love to chat more.

Found this on my blog and want to work with me?

If you’ve found me rather than me finding you, that’s cool. Welcome to the party. We could still work together, but I’ll need to run through my five checks.

Two ways you can get that started: either contact me or, take a gander at my services, pick the one you want and complete the short survey attached to it.