7 Mistakes To Avoid When Writing a Cold Email

Computer_Email Marketing_Cold Email

Let’s face it. Cold emailing feels icky and time consuming. Nobody enjoys it. And it always starts the same.

“Dear Sir/Miss,”


And my personal favorite, “Good day”

All of these end up in the same place.

The trash.

Sometimes, if I feel generous with my time, I’ll respond to generic annoying pitches hoping people will realize they need to shape up in the way they pitch.

You know when you receive an email pitch about “we’d like to write a blog topic on how their product can help with weight loss” or request to pay for backlinks to their new weight loss product.

Unless I’ve missed something, there’s not anything I talk about here on my site that comes close to that topic here on my VO site.

My last response looked something like this:


What you have proposed has nothing to do with this site. Please do research before you pitched to save everyone time, and kindly remove me from your mailing list!

Don’t think this topic doesn’t apply to you.

Think again.

It most likely does. 

Here’s the truth: you’re probably lousy at sending emails

Anyone who has an online presence has no doubt at some point or another vent about the spam emails they get in their inboxes.

What are the general complaints?

Pie Chart, Graph

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Cold Email

This is obvious but as you can see from the chart above, over 4000 people responded to this survey and half responded with poor spelling and grammar.

By taking a couple of minutes and re-read your emails before clicking send, could help you look more professional, credible, and less spammy.

Hello, Good day, Dear Sir, hello (inserting website name and not your name or company name).

Generic greetings shows insincerity, and a lack of initiative to look around your website. 

At the very least,  get the company name right, or better yet find a name who has a relevant title you can use to address.

Not being clear on why they’re writing, long-winded email, and/or referencing something generic, that may or may not be even on your website!

Does this look familiar?


I am contacting you about my VO services. I provide fast turnaround and can record excellent quality audio for your project. I am a native English speaker and have a home recording studio. I look forward to hearing back from you. Best!

(~Yawn) From a mile away, you can spot it as a generic, copy and paste job

I know what you’re thinking. I have a full-time job and this helps save time!

Yes, I get it but it’ll also not get you very good results… because your email is just like everyone else’s. It doesn’t make you stand out.

We’ll cover more on this later.

Have you ever sent a mass email and forgot to bcc all the companies? And everyone can see you’ve sent them a bulk email.

Or, accidentally used the same template and forwarded the email, forgetting to remove Fwd: on the subject line.

Big rookie mistake.

I get it. You want to save time but it’s also a major turn off. It makes you look unprofessional and, no doubt the email you sent will end up in trash.

It is unattractive when people assume you need their services without even showing interest in getting to know you and, taking the time to consider what are your needs.

Take the time to get acquainted with who you want to collaborate with. 

Start with just one simple question you want to know, i.e.:

  • Do they have an internal voiceover roster? 
  • Are they accepting submissions right now? 
  • What do they look for in a voiceover artist? 
  • How do they source voiceover artists for their projects?

Depending on the answer, you’d navigate your next steps accordingly.

You may find from the get go, the person, company has different values, criterias, or services that doesn’t align with yours.

This is great news!

It saves you time in the long run, so you can focus on finding ones to build rapport with that would benefit from what you can do to help them, if and when they need your services. 

With the amount of cybersecurity issues these days, the last thing I’ll be doing is opening any attachments or links from someone I don’t even know. 

Again piggy backing on the above points.

Send something only when asked or if it’s part of a submission criteria.

So have you committed any of these mistakes?  

I certainly have, especially when I first started my voiceover career and, was sending outreach emails to agents and to potential clients.

I cringe thinking about it.


Because, I’ve been both the sender and receiver. Being able to put myself on the other end, I’d 100% would ignore the emails I sent too.

My emails sucked, I wasn’t getting much response. Less than 1%. 

Clearly something wasn’t working. So I pulled myself together and worked on my emails.

I began to actively practice, test and improve my emails, and things started changing.

The 80/20 Rule

If you are familiar with the 80/20 rule, you’ll know that 80% of your results come from 20% of your action.

In Voiceover, consistent marketing / business development / and training is key to growing your voiceover business.  

Similarly, within your marketing efforts, it’s important to pay close attention to the people who respond to your emails and, are engaged on your social media. These are the people who are interested in what you are doing.

So focus your attention on the small percentage of people who have an interest, this is the fastest way to get traction in generating leads.

This goes for your email outreach too.

Don’t be like most people. Don’t cut and paste an exceptionally generic email and send it to everyone that has an email address.

Sure, with bit of luck, you may get one bite (even though your email was awful). Someone does respond in that moment because they are in need of a voiceover artist and, you actually have a great demo and has the voice they are looking for, so you get the gig.

But what if, you can increase the odds of the response rate of your cold emails?

What is a good response rate?

As of writing this post right now, a good response rate in 2021 is 15-25%. 

To have your email stand out from the crowd, you just need to put in a little bit more effort and time.

You see most people don’t change their behaviour.

They default to doing what they know. Instead of trying to focus their time on improving their email pitches, they send MORE emails using the same generic templates in hopes to illicit more responses.

Instead, Send Fewer Emails.

Take the time to foster relationships with a select group of people who have shown interest in what you are doing.

Make them into warmer leads, the goal is simply:

to introduce yourself and see if someone responds back.

For example, if I’m sending an email to an eLearning company I’m interested in, I don’t attach my demo right away and say I’m a voiceover artist. I’m here for hire! 

I send an email sincerely complimenting them on something I came across they did or said, or something I found of common ground, and ask if they have an internal voiceover roster. If they respond, I build on that exchange.

If it’s your lucky day, you may encounter someone who right away says, “yes send me your demo and we’ll keep you on the roster.” Or, it may take more email exchanges to get to that point.

Either way, there’s no rush because you know how I feel about having other streams of income coming in.

The important thing is to remember cold email and pitching can be rewarding.

That’s why in my next post we’ll look at What are the Essentials to Make a Good Cold Email  and the difference between cold emailing and cold pitching.

Photo by: Stephen Phillips

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