#01 – Is Cold Email Spam?


#01 – Is Cold Email Spam?

June 21, 2017

In the first episode, Jeremy from and Jack from Emails That Sell answer a few simple questions on cold email.

This short Q&A session will help you understand when cold email is considered spam, when it can be helpful, and how to overcome the fear of cold emailing.




–  What is cold email and how it differs from other email?

–  Two definitions of spam and who determines what spam is

–  How spam is commonly defined and why much of cold email falls in this category?

– Legal definition of spam and why you need to know it

– How to actually decide when cold email IS spam and when it is not?

– What if you believe you’re sending helpful emails but still get reported for spam?

– Three great examples for when cold email can be helpful

– How to best approach cold emailing, depending on the country you’re in

– Quantity vs. quality and whether frequency qualifies your email as spam

– How to overcome the fear of spamming and value what you have to offer?



– [Jeremy] Hey what’s up everyone? This is Jeremy, founder of QuickMail dot io.

– [Jack] And this is Jack from EmailsThatSell.

– [Jeremy] And today for the first episode we are going to look at a very simple question … Is cold email spam? Let’s check it out. So Jack, tell me. Let’s start with the definition. What is cold email?

– [Jack] A cold email is simple. It’s just reaching out to somebody that you don’t know through email, of course.

– [Jeremy] Okay, ah so let’s go and look at spam. So what is spam?

– [Jack] Spam’s, spam’s a little different. So, cold email can be spam but doesn’t have to be. So, spam yeah, that sounded confusing. But here, so there’s two definitions of spam.

– [Jeremy] Okay.

– [Jack] There’s like a general one that you know, you and I probably already know and everyone listening. And then there’s a legal definition. Which one do you want to hear?

– [Jeremy] Yeah, let’s start with the general accepted one then.

– [Jack] Okay. So, generally speaking spam’s an unwanted email. It’s a junk. It’s garbage in your inbox. It’s the emails that just make you sorta smack your forehead and report spam, ya know, hit the report spam button and just sorta get mad at Google for not filtering that one out.

– [Jeremy] That’s the one I kick everyday, ya know

– [Jack] Yeah. Oh, exactly.

– [Jeremy] Oh yeah, so what’s the second definition?

– [Jack] The second definition is the legal one. It’s a little bit more complicated. But it depends which country you’re in and which country you’ll be contacting through cold email. But here in the U.S. the CANN SPAM Act defines what a spam email is and we won’t dive into it now but it’s essentially just a framework. Ya know, if you don’t follow their rules, it’s spam.

– [Jeremy] Okay. So, oh yeah, so I got a good idea of how you consider a, what you consider being spam and what you consider being cold email. So can you answer the question, “is cold email spam?” then.

– [Jack] Right, so it can be and a lot of the cold emails that are in your inbox or spam folder right now they’re probably spam. And same goes for most people listening is, ya know most cold emails probably are. But a good cold email doesn’t have to be as long as it does two things. One it helps out the reader and it’s relevant to them. And two it follows that country’s spam laws. If you do those two things then you won’t have to worry about sending a spam email.

– [Jeremy] Okay, but let’s say I’m … Okay so I got that so let’s say now I’m sending emails and they are helpful and I follow the CANN SPAM but the prospects still hit that, you know, report spam button. So is that spam?

– [Jack] You bet it is. Yeah, it is a 100 percent spam. At the end of the day you don’t get to determine what’s spam or what’s a helpful email. You do the best you can possibly do to send awesome cold emails but it’s up to the recipient to mark you as spam. It’s up to the, ya know, mail service providers to figure out if your IP has been bouncing a ton of times. It’s really not up to you. You just have to make sure you’ve done everything that’s under your control to give yourself the best chance to be a sort of a treat for that recipient’s inbox.

– [Jeremy] Got it. So, okay, so yeah I got it. So cold email does not always equate to spam then. But can you, for the a, for listener can you actually give some example where a cold email can be really helpful?

– [Jack] Sure. Okay, so in general, imagine if we’re not talking about email for right now. Just imagine if you see me, Jeremy, on the side of the road with a flat tire. And um … Did I walk up to me out of the blue Yeah, so if you just walked up and offered a, you know, to help out. That’s, that would be a very relevant very helpful something that I would appreciate. Cold email’s a little bit like that in that you want to find people who you can help out and start a conversation around their needs. So let’s check out some examples. Alright, let’s say I’m going to Chicago and I want to network with a few other startup founders. I can send a cold email that invites other founders to join me for coffee while I’m in their city. If they’re interested in networking like I am then boom, that’s a helpful email. Let’s take another one. Let’s say you’re an Adwords consultant and you come across a terrible ad on Google. You know that they’re bidding for a really expensive keyword. You know that their ad copy is terrible. They’re linking to a bad landing page, whatever. If, ya know, a short conversation or maybe even an email could, could save that company a ton of money on their ad spend then there’s a good chance that they would like to hear from you. So reaching out and maybe offering to share a few ideas on a short call would be a welcome email for that, for that company, whoever is paying for that ad.

– [Jeremy] Does that work everywhere? That’s, that a, that approach?

– [Jack] It does. But just keep in mind that the, there’s laws around email. Around marketing in every country. So if you’re a U.S. business contacting other U.S. businesses then just take a look at the CANN SPAM Act. If you’re in other countries then you’ll just have to do a little bit of homework and find out their specific rules around sending cold email.

– [Jeremy] Okay.

– [Jack] And that’s all available, yeah, with a Google search. You know they, they’re very public about them.

– [Jeremy] Okay. What a, what about content frequency? Does that actually impact the definition of spam?

– [Jack] Okay, so you’re saying if you send 10 emails a week or 10,000 a week …

– [Jeremy] Yep.

– [Jack] Would that maybe flag emails as spam.

– [Jeremy] Or you know one every, ya know, one every day or stuff like that. Does it actually change or increase my chances of being spam for example.

– Okay.

– [Jack] Good question. So quantity and frequency isn’t going to determine whether or not you’re sending spam. Although it may impact it. It’s a quality over quantity game. And what I mean by that is it’s much easier to send a helpful email to ten people than it is to send a helpful email to 10,000 people. The more people you end up reaching out to, the less likely it is that your message will still be relevant to them. Which, at the end of the day probably means that they’re more likely to hit that report spam button on you, making you a spammer. Now, for frequency or the number of emails that you end up sending each prospect, same thing goes. I will say it’s harder to send ten emails that are wanted, relevant, helpful then it is to send a couple. So just keep that in mind and you should be good.

– [Jeremy] Alright so it looks like I want to try cold email now. But I still have the nagging feeling that what I’m sending is spam. So what can I do to overcome this?

– [Jack] Okay, if you have a nagging feeling that you’re about to send a spam message then it probably is a spam message. So, take a couple steps back. So, I mean, there’s a reason why you’re gonna be hesitant to to press send. So it’s up to you to sort of do your homework so that you know how to write an email that the person who gets it will appreciate. So if you’re feeling a little bit wary before you hit send do a little bit more research on who it is that you’re contacting and why you reached out in the first place. The call to action you’re asking that person to take and reworking those things should help you feel better about pressing send. At the end of the day it should really be, this message is about to make that person’s day and if you don’t feel that way you’re probably taking the wrong approach.

– [Jeremy] Alright. Awesome, sounds good.


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