Dear, Mrs. President ––

This guide won’t change your life.

But, it’ll teach you how to get in touch with the kinds of people that just might.

Take a moment and consider how unbelievable it is that we can get in touch with anyone, literally anyone, for free.





Fortune 100 CEOs…

As long as they have an email address, us mere mortals are one well-written note away from some of the most powerful and impressive people alive today.

If that doesn’t turn taught your trousers, I don’t know what will….

Goddamn you, Pareto.

A couple years back, when the world was in the heat of Quarantine and everyone was holed up in their homes, I got quite bored and decided to create a course of sorts titled, Freelancing your way to $100,000.

My thinking was fairly straightforward: the future of work was unclear, a lot of folks didn’t know whether or not they would have a job tomorrow and I saw freelancing as a viable way for my readers to either make a full-time income or supplement their full-time income.

Like my flagship course (or guide, rather), How to write words that sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year, I priced Freelancing your way to $100,000 at $97 a pop and made the promise that if the reader did everything I outlined in the guide, they could make, at a bare minimum, $1,000 per month in freelance dough.

To date, the guide has sold 579 copies and it has helped both new and veteran freelancers make money doing shit that they love to do: writing, designing, programming, dog-walking, consulting, etc.

In any course or guide or book, however, if you look close enough, you can see Pareto’s Law hard at work. If you aren’t privy to this particular law nor the gent who thought it up, Mr. Vilfredo Pareto (that’s one hell of a name) was an Italian Engineer that discovered the rule of the “vital few”.

It goes something like this: for any particular scenario, roughly 80% of the outputs come from 20% of the inputs.

To use an example (and in English): 80% of the money your favorite restaurant makes comes from 20% of its customers (folks like you who are regulars).

This same idea applied to Freelancing your way to $100,000… after releasing the guide, I realized that 80% of its value came from the 20% of the guide that was centered around landing clients through cold email.

In this guide, How to use cold email to get anything you want, I’ve focused my attention entirely on this 20% in hopes to deliver you an actionable, valuable manual to help you… well… get anything you want: clients for your freelance business, funding for your B2B SaaS company, guests for your podcast, sponsors for your newsletter, etc.

Okay, let’s begin...

– fin –

Your Hit List.

David Ogilvy, arguably the greatest mind to ever work in advertising, founded Ogilvy & Mather in 1948.

When he started his agency, he didn’t have a single client to his name. So, he made a list of his “dream brands”... General Foods, Lever Brothers, Bristol Myers, Campbell Soup Company, Shell, etc.

Fast Forward nearly three decades to the day David Ogilvy finally retired from his agency to live out his twilight years in his castle (yes, the sonofabitch had a castle) and he had landed every single name he had written on his list, as well as a few other brands you might recognize... American Express, Sears Roebuck, IBM and Merrill Lynch.

Even to this day, I’m not sure if there has been an advertising agency that has matched the caliber of brands that Ogilvy & Mather (now just simply Ogilvy) has worked with.

So, before you start firing off cold emails, willy nilly, you’re taking a page out of David Ogilvy’s book and devising your Hit List... your list of 100 individuals or brands you’d love to play ball with.

Your Hit List will obviously vary considerably depending on what it is you’re wanting to accomplish.

If yoiu're looking to book guests for your podcast, your Hit List is going to be made up entirely of individuals you’d love to interview.

If you’re looking to land enterprise-level clients to buy your B2B software, your Hit List is going to be made up entirely of organizations you’d love to work with.

If you’re looking to get sponsors for your newsletter, your Hit List is going to be made up entirely of brands whose products you love.

As you curate this list, be thoughtful, be ambitious and take your time, because you will be dedicating a significant amount of time to landing the names on that Hit List.

– fin –

Take care of your shovels.  

My grandfather, well into his sixties, had the physique of a retired power-lifter. He had broad, hulking shoulders that sat beneath a bald head that shone with the kind of shine that only comes as a side-effect of having spent more of one’s life without hair than with.

And, along the side of this bald head, you could see sharp defined, over-developed muscles that snaked around his temples, that would work and work, like two pistons-in-miniature, as he chewed away at his nicotine gum to keep from reaching for his cigarettes.

Years of laboring caked the bellies of his hands with armored calluses that could sand down the spine of a stegosaur.

And, his entire being was supported by a pair of calves that clung to his lower legs like tumors, spilling out and over his socks, keeping him upright.

You didn't see the "retired" bit until he turned around and revealed a great big stomach, as hard as a playground kickball.

One afternoon, my grandmother tasked my grandfather with planting a Japanese Maple in her front yard, and because I was Velcroed to him for much of my childhood, I was a part of this planting.

In the shed we went, where he yanked from the wall a shovel. But, not just any shovel, a ninety-year-old WPA (works-in-progress) shovel as sharp as an ax-head, as sturdy as a fire hydrant and so shiny and so polished you could see the ghost of yourself when you looked upon its concave face.

It was in such brilliant condition, you would have sworn he had pulled it from a time machine.

Spade in hand, he walked the yard and I followed, as he decided on a worthy spot. He then plunged the shovelhead into the Earth and I stared, wide-eyed and mesmerized, as it sunk, effortlessly, as if the dirt had turned to tallow.

Ten minutes later, the hole had been dug, the tree had been planted and I was running off to the shed with the shovel, to hang it back up. I didn't get but a couple steps inside when my grandfather barked like a bird dog...

"Well hold on now, bring that shovel back here."

I turned. I handed it to him. He motioned me to follow him to a spicket where he overturned a 5-gallon bucket and began spraying down the shovel, top to bottom, the dirt on its face turning the water brown and horse-tailing off and into the yard.

Once he was done “warshing” it, he generously coated the head of the shovel in oil, walked it into the shed and dropped it into another 5-gallon bucket sitting right side up, filled with more oil and sand, where it would hold the shovel in a warm bath until it was called upon again for duty.

At the end of all of this, we walked inside, his callused hands ruffling the hair on my head...

“When you take care of your shovels, tomorrow's hole is easier to dig.”

This section is about taking care of (and sharpening) the shovel that is your writing.

I know you didn’t necessarily journey here to become a better writer.

(If you were interested in that, you would have purchased my writing course: How to write words that sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.)

But, it’s important that we cover it, because the difference in writing well versus writing poorly can be the difference in you getting a 50% response rate in your cold email endeavors versus a 3% response rate.

In 386 words, here’s how you write a hard-hitting cold email.

You keep every email you send short and sweet; and when you think you’ve written something short and sweet, you make it even shorter and sweeter.

Three sentences is good. Two sentences is great. One sentence is gravy.

If you’re too goddamn busy to text your mom back and keep up with your dms, snapchats, tweets and God knows what else, what makes you think the busy marketing director, best-selling author or Fortune 500 CEO has time to respond to you?

They don’t.

In fact, they won’t. So, again, keep it short, sweet and to the point.

Don’t open with “greetings”. You’re not sending a holiday card. Don’t open with “dear”. You’re not writing your beloved. Don’t open with “yo”. You’re not seventeen. “Hi”... “Hello”... “What’s up” or just simply their name accompanied by a comma will do just fine.

And goodness, please don’t write that you hope the email you’re sending finds them well (unless it comes with a complimentary hand job). Both the recipient and you know you don’t truly give a damn about how their day is going. So, save the formalities.

Finally, when you tell them what it is you want from them, be wildly specific in describing it. If you were sexually involved with a woman in bed, you would not tell her that you want to have “sexual relations with her”, you’d get a little more specific and say that you want to “lick her ––”.

Don’t ask: “Would you like to set up a time to talk?”

Ask: “Are you available this Thursday at 2 p.m. CDT to talk?”

Don’t ask: “Have you thought about doing something different with your site?”

Ask: “Have you thought about doing a design similar to Simulate’s for your site?”

If you’re a touch long-winded and have more to say, do as all the humans did back when hand-written letters were all the rage: add a fucking postscript.

Finally, spend ample time writing a subject line that will stand out in a sea of subject lines that hit their inbox constantly. “New Business Enquiry” is a god-awful subject line. “Your site sucks” is better but perhaps a bit abrasive. “You're great but your site is meh” is onto something.

Chances are they won’t respond. So, write them again and again and again.

In 127 words, here’s how you write a hard-hitting email…

(^^^ because I like putting my money where my mouth is)

You’re too goddamn busy to text your mom back. Why do you think a best-selling author has any more time on her hands? She doesn’t. So, keep every email short and sweet. Three sentences is good. One sentence is gravy. Don’t use “dear” or “greetings”. Their name and a comma will do just fine. Tell them what you want. Be specific. Don’t ask: “Would you like to set up a time to talk?” Ask: “Are you available this Thursday at 2 p.m. CDT to talk?” If you’re long-winded, write a postscript. Finally, write a zinger of a subject line. “New Business Enquiry” is a god-awful subject line. “You're great but your site is meh” is onto something. Chances are they won’t respond. So, write them again.

– fin –

Let’s talk about your arsenal.

Back before I was making a living writing, I made a living tearing out carpet from old apartment buildings. My job was to go in before the actual carpenters, cut and tear and rip, creating a blank canvas for the real craftsmen to work their magic.

I worked this shit job for the better part of a year and became intimately involved with the following tools: a thick pair of leather gloves, a boxcutter (with dozens of backup blades), a roll of duct tape so thick it could function as a spare tire in a dire situation and a pair of earbuds where I listened to so many business podcasts that I practically got a free MBA. These were my tools of the trade.

When you're cold-emailing, you will also have a set of tools that you will become intimately involved with. Some of them I can give you (or point you to), others you will discover as you develop your own unique cold email process. is an email finder and verifier tool that allows you to plug in the domain of literally any website on the face of the planet and find the email addresses of the individuals that work there. It’s free for the first 25 emails. If you’re serious about getting shit done with cold email, I’d recommend upgrading to an unlimited plan as soon as possible. It’s worth every penny.


Uplead, like up above, is another email finder and email verifier tool. It differs in that it’s better looking than the former, and it “claims” that every email address it has at its disposal is 95% accurate. So, less whiffs, I suppose.


Mailtrack does exactly as its name implies. It tells you, in real-time, when someone opens your email and how many times they’ve opened your email. It’s a great tool when cold-emailing because it keeps you in the know: Let’s say Benny, the head of design over at Airbnb, just opened up the email you sent last week about doing some graphic design for him... you’re on his mind... quick… email him again.


There’s nothing worse than hitting send on a perfectly worded cold email and discovering later on after the fact that you made a glaring typo. Grammarly is a free plug-in that catches your fat-fingered mistakes before your could-be-client does. Install it now.


You will want to create an account on LinkedIn. This doesn’t have to be pretty (at least not initially). It just allows you to research the names and the positions of the individuals at the companies you’re reaching out to (more on this shortly).


Cold-emailing can be awkward. It helps to have something to break the ice. Giphy is one of the largest curations of GIFs in the world and it allows you to very easily search and filter based on whatever it is you’re hoping to get across. Let’s say you’re cold-emailing someone over at Bass Pro Shops, you might find a funny GIF of an asshat falling into the water whilst fishing. And, speaking of fishing...

Fishing holesAngelListCreatively and The Muse.

You’ve got to know where to fish. These sites (^^^) are spectacular if you’re looking to land clients for your freelance business.

(If you’re looking for podcast guests to book on your podcast or if you’re looking to be a guest on other people’s podcasts, is great, too.)

Your fishing hole will be heavily determined by what it is you’re trying to catch. If you’re looking for brands to sponsor something that you’re running, it’s going to require a great deal of digging. Let’s say it’s a newsletter you’re hoping to get sponsored… sign up to hundreds of newsletters and see who is sponsoring those. Then, reach out to those particular brands about sponsoring yours, too.  

Secondary follow-up tool.

It helps to have a secondary place to follow up with folks. Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are all great places. If I were you, I’d choose whichever social media you enjoy most (and have the largest amount of engagement on)... really pretty it up to look good since the folks you’ll be reaching out to will surely glance at it.

– fin –

Happy hunting.

Once upon a time, I was obsessed with the game of basketball the same way I’m now obsessed with writing.

I couldn’t get enough of the sport, dedicating a good chunk of my life tossing an orange ball through a hoop.

My father, an excellent basketball player in a past life and today one hell of a salesman, pulled me aside one day after watching me practice various drills in the driveway; weaving in between cones and trash cans and shooting over makeshift defenders made out of broomsticks.

He said something along the lines of…

“Practice can only take you so far. If you really want to get good, you need to start playing in actual games…”

He was right.

I really began to cut my teeth and make strides in the game of basketball when I started playing in pick-up games where there was more on the line than just a missed shot; where winning and losing became something real, something tangible, something I could taste.  

This guide is going to make you a competent cold emailer.

But, what’s going to turn you into the Don Fucking Draper of cold email is not practice (like reading this guide), but you getting out there and firing off cold emails to real people and brands and experiencing both rejection and success. In other words, the best way for you to learn cold email is to go out and do it.

So, with that being said, if at any point in this guide, you are overcome with the urge to try and reach out to someone via cold email in hopes to get their attention, this is me not just encouraging you to do so but demanding that you do so.

If and when the spirit takes you, here’s the exact process you will follow…

Let’s pretend the very first name on your “Hit List"” is a trendy upstart cereal brand called Magic Spoon.

You want to reach out to them for one reason or another.

Maybe, you run a newsletter and you want them to sponsor it. Maybe, you have some fancy-schmancy software you want them to use. Maybe, you host a podcast and you want to interview their CEO. Maybe, you’re a freelance graphic designer wanting to pitch them a new logo.

Whatever your intentions, here is your process in finding and emailing the right person at Magic Spoon. Or, whichever company is currently making you weak in the knees.

Step One...

Make yourself an account over at or Uplead. I am most familiar with the former so I will be using this software for this particular example. But, either will work just fine.

(Again, both of these softwares are essentially massive email Rolodexes at your fingertips that hold emails to some of the most impressive individuals on the planet…)

Step Two…

Copy and paste “” into the box that reads “”.

Then, hit “Find Email Addresses”.

Depending on the size of the company, your search will be met with dozens to hundreds of email addresses.

Pay extra close attention to the formatting of the email address.

Are they populating as…”…?

Or… “”…?


(More on this shortly.)

Step Three...

Quickly head over to LinkedIn.

(Where you’ve hopefully already made an account...)

Type “Magic Spoon” into the LinkedIn search bar.

Again, there will be anywhere from dozens to hundreds of names and faces that pop-up.

Scroll through these names and faces and look for individuals who boast impressive roles that you think can make decisions on what you’re reaching out to the company about…

Let’s say you’re a graphic designer looking to pitch a new logo... Dhiya Choudary, Magic Spoon’s creative director, would be a great individual to contact.

Let’s say you want to invite one of the founders onto your podcast… write one of Magic Spoon’s co-founders, Gabi Lewis or Gregory Sewitz.

Let’s say you want to land Magic Spoon as a sponsor for your newsletter or podcast, scroll through the names until you find someone with the role... “Head of Partnerships” or “Chief Marketing Officer” or “Sponsorship Manager”.

(And, please remember, you don’t want to reach out to someone entry-level at the company because then you have to rely on them passing your information off to a higher-up… you want to go right to the horse’s mouth and kiss the sonofabitch smack dab on the muzzle.)

Step Four…

Now, it’s as simple as matching the name of the person you’re wanting to email on LinkedIn with the email addresses generated from doesn’t always spit out every email for every individual at the company. So, this is where paying extra close attention to the email formatting I mentioned above comes in handy (handier than a Pepto-Bismol at an Indian Restaurant).

The email address formatting for Magic Spoon appears to be “[firstname][lastname]”.

So, if I’m looking to reachout to one of the co-founders, say Gabi Lewis up above… his email address would be “”.

To verify this email address, use’s email verifier tool which can be found here. It’s legit!

Step Five…

Now, you email Gabi a thoughtful note that can grab his attention. Use your intuition. Or, read the rest of the guide and find out what has worked for me and others a hell of a lot smarter than me.

– fin –

Let the games begin.

When I was building Honey Copy early on via cold email, I made the mistake of going for quantity over quality.

I would email eighty, ninety, a hundred brands a day with the same exact cookie-cutter message that I would just copy and paste.

While this spammy approach to emailing got me a few paying customers, it took an assload of work on my end and was honestly, just downright unethical.

After enough fuck yous, I quickly discovered that a more personable approach would be far more effective. Today, when I cold email a brand about doing business, I write an email specifically tailored to them and them alone.

Please keep in mind that “personable” doesn’t mean you ought to be easily dissuaded, discouraged or deterred.

When the email recipient doesn’t answer –– which they will do more times than not –– follow-up with them (or others on their team) again and again, until you either get their ass on the phone or are met with a hard no.

In the sections that follow, you will read where both myself and others have successfully (and not so successfully) attempted to cold email various folks using the methods I’ve outlined above.

You will read the exact cold emails that we sent and the individuals we sent them to. While you should certainly feel free to steal the cold emails for yourself, please refrain from sending them to the highlighted recipients.

– fin –

Episode #1: How I landed a pitch call with the CEO of the hottest plant-based chicken nugget company on the planet.

Simulate is a strange, beautiful brand that is making plant-based chicken nuggets that actually taste like chicken nuggets. I’ve been obsessed with them for a couple of years now (I actually wrote articles about them here and here).

Anyway, I recently tracked down the email address of their Co-founder and COO, Sam Terris, and sent him the following note…

Subject Line…

You all are fake AF.


What's up Sam,

I'm a huge fan of Simulate.

I wrote about you all here back when you were Nuggs and then again here when you changed your name to Simulate.

(I will also be featuring you in a book I'm launching in early 2022 but that's a story for another day...)

Anyway, have you all thought about working with a copywriter?

*raises hand slowly*



P.S. My apologies for the subject line but, let's face it, you are...

Response: We’re jumping on a call.

Something I said must have resonated with Sam, because he forwarded my email to the CEO of Simulate, Ben Pasternak.

Ben reached out to me the very next day after the email was sent, asking if I wanted to do a 30-minute intro call.

Field Notes: Show you’ve done the work.

Cold email is a crapshoot in that you never know exactly what’s going to work. But, here’s what I *think* I did right in the email up above.

I wrote a subject line that was borderline abrasive but impossible to ignore. It was also clever, being that Simulate sells “plant-based” chicken nuggets.

Additionally, within the first couple of sentences, I made it apparent to Sam that I wasn’t another asshole contractor looking for work but that I was a legitimate fan of Simulate.

I did this by linking to the two articles I had written about Simulate over the past year or so. And, I asked a question that required a “yes” or “no” answer...

If you’re struggling to get your foot in the door somewhere, write an article about the company you’re reaching out to and then send them a link to the article.

– fin –

Episode #2: How Zak Kuhn landed none other than The Seth Godin on his Country Music Podcast.

Zak Kuhn is the hustler behind The Nashville Briefing. It’s a newsletter that covers all things country music here in the fucking epicenter of country music: Nashville, Tennesee.

When Zak isn’t slinging ink, he’s interviewing country artists over on his podcast, The Zak Kuhn Show.

One guest that feels a bit off-brand at first glance is Seth Godin. However, if you are a Godin fan, you know he’s an audiophile and used to run a record label in a past life.  

Here’s the email Kuhn sent Godin to get him to say yes to coming on his podcast…

Subject Line:

Podcast request


Hey Seth,

Hope you are holding down the fort up and down E**** Ave.

I loved your recent blog post on NFTs and your perspective on them. It's been crazy to see the mania playing out in the music industry first hand.

As you may know, I recently launched a podcast that just signed with The American Songwriter Podcast Network. Guests have included leaders in music and business like Steven Galanis of Cameo, Ben Vaughn of Warner/Chappell, Matt Pinfield, and Steve Schnur. I am wondering if you would consider being a guest on the show?

I can't tell you how many times I see a book of yours in a friends office on Music Row. I know my community would love to hear your insight on building a fanbase, the future of the music industry, and how you tried to start a record label of your own.

Thanks so much for considering - Zak ”

Response: Godin said yes to being a guest.

The short answer is that Seth Godin said yes. The long answer is a brilliant 50-minute long conversation you can listen to here.

Field Notes: Sing them *honest* praises.

To be completely transparent, Kuhn had a slight advantage in reaching out to Godin because he grew up in the same neighborhood as him (why couldn’t we all have been so lucky?).

You’ll see that he used this to his advantage by making a reference to the street in the opening line of the email.

Kuhn also did a fabulous job of buttering Godin up before making his ask. But – and this is a great big but –– you’ll notice the praise he gave was honest, thoughtful and specific.

Godin has a bull-shit detector like no other and receives plenty of requests from podcasters claiming they “love his work”.

Kuhn gets specific by referencing a recent blog post that Godin wrote and by sharing with him how much his work is adored in the country music industry on Nashville’s Music Row.

– fin –

Episode #3: How Laura Belgray (before she was Laura Belgray) landed a dinner with celebrity journalist Farnoosh Torabi.

While the idea of Laura Belgray having to send a cold email is kind of a joke now, there was a time, believe it or not, where Laura Belgray wasn’t Laura Belgray.

Six years ago, she didn’t have the kind of recognition factor that she enjoys now as one of the best-known names in the wild wild west of online business, marketing and writing.

Right after the very first season of Copy Cure that Belgray had launched with Marie Forleo, she sent a cold email (as a fan) to the reigning queen of personal finance… Farnoosh Torabi.

Here’s what Belgray wrote to Torabi…

Subject Line:

Love your podcast so much


Hey Farnoosh,

I listen to a lot of podcasts. (Especially in the summer, when I like to walk all the way down to the tip of Hudson River Park and back. Two hours to cover. )

That's all to say, you are the best interviewer of all of them. You're so damn good. You keep the energy up even if the guest's flags. You listen and respond smartly, rather than having nothing to say and suggesting "let's pivot." You're bright and upbeat without ever being simpy.

I'm a fan.

Thank you for all the work you put in, I so appreciate it!

For context, I have a company, Talking Shrimp, and co-created a copywriting course called The Copy Cure with my friend Marie Forleo. It's true that she used to iron her money as a kid. Now she makes tons of it and just keeps it neat in her wallet. All facing one way. (Mine is scrunched up between credit cards in a coin purse, gotta mend my ways.)


Laura Belgray

Response: Dinner, a friendship and a podcast invite.

She wrote back. Belgray and her grabbed dinner. They became friends. And, Torabi asked her to come on her podcast. Years later, Torabi ironically saved Belgray a cold email, by making an introduction to who would become her agent.

Field Notes: Sometimes, you don’t need a call to action.

Belgray isn’t one for cold emails –– not that she looks down upon them –– she just prefers to build her business through introductions, connections and trust.

So, it was interesting to see how Belgray approached the cold email she sent to Torabi. She didn’t ask for anything. She was just her funny, charming self and this shone through.

– fin –

Episode #4: How my brother landed a lucrative 20-hour/week marketing consulting job at a wildly ambitious coding startup.

My brother, Conner Schafer, is a marketing mad scientist of sorts that has worked with a number of upstarts in industries ranging from food & beverage to dental to marketing automation.

Recently, a company by the name of Replit caught his eye so he decided to email the founder enquiring about a job. The only problem was that the job was one the company wasn’t hiring for.

Conner sent their CEO the following note, along with a short 60-second video of him introducing himself…

Subject Line:

I want to join Replit's team and help grow Teams for Education.


Hey Amjad,

Hope your day is going well! I know you're not currently hiring for growth, but I think I could help grow and market Replit's Teams for Education. To show that I can add value, I built out a growth plan.

The plan covers things like cold email tricks, making personal videos scalable, and using actors from The Office for Facebook ads. I hope you find it useful and let me know if you have any questions. Also, I've included an intro video below that should provide a bit more context. It's on the doc as well.

Response: 20-hour paid consulting gig.

Amjad, Riplit’s CEO, was so impressed with Conner that while he wasn’t hiring for any marketing positions, he decided to bring on Conner part-time as a marketing consultant.

Field Notes: Multi-media can be a sure-fire win.

If you want to add a personal touch to your emails, go the extra mile and record a short video of you introducing yourself.

It can be, well, financially advantageous.

– fin –

Episode #5: How I’ve failed miserably (thus far) reaching out to Magic Spoon.

Magic Spoon is one of the more ambitious brands I’ve tried reaching out to.

That’s proving to be true in just how difficult it has been to get someone at the company to write me back.

They’re arguably the hottest e-commerce brand in the game today, selling delicious sugar-free, keto-friendly cereal that’s just downright delicious.

Before reaching out, I picked up a bunch of boxes of their cereal (so I could put my money where my mouth is) then I fired off an email to one of their co-founders, Gabi Lewis…

Subject Line:

I’m creeping out my neighbors.



People won’t stop talking about Magic Spoon so I decided to buy eight boxes to see what all the fuss is about.

I’ll be in touch soon.



P.S. I run a copywriting shop called Honey Copy, and I was almost going to pitch you on some website copy but I thought it wrong to not try the sacred stuff first.

I waited a few days, I didn’t hear shit back.

So, I sent Gabi another email (responding directly to the first email I had sent him), updating him that I had received the cereal…

Subject Line:

(No subject line because I responded to the first email.)



The goods arrived yesterday.

Blueberry... gone. Cookies & Cream... sayonara. Maple Waffle... put a fork spoon in it.

This stuff is brilliant, Gabi. Seriously.

I want in –– can we jump on a call next week and talk copy?

I'm available next Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. CDT or 2:30 p.m. CDT.

Pick a time, any time.

A few more days went by and I still didn’t hear jack shit from Gabi. So, I sent him another email, this time separate from the thread above...

Subject Line:

I bought you some cookies.


What's up Gabi,

I wrote all the copy for Last Crumb and I'd really like to write the copy for Magic Spoon, too.

I could tell you that I'm the bee's knees.

But, I'd rather just show you.

Do you care if I send you a box of them?

It'd be on the house, obviously.



Once again, no luck.

Time for a pep talk.

I was watching this fishing show the other day where a world-famous alligator gar fisherman was divulging his secrets.

He and the host of the show were fishing along a river somewhere in Texas.

They were hugging the bank of the river with their boat and every hundred yards or so he’d cast a line and then set a fishing pole between a two-pronged iron fork he had planted in the soft muck, four or five feet from the water.

The two-pronged iron fork came attached with a tripwire of sorts that would alert his walkie-talkie anytime there was a bite at the other end of it.

The world-famous alligator gar fisherman told the host that this was how he consistently pulled 75+ lb monsters out of the water… he’d cast multiple lines.

When fishing, two lines are better than one and three lines are better than two. That being said, when I really want to get in touch with someone at a company, I never reach out to just one individual but many.

So, I’m going to go ahead and cast another line. The second email I’m going to send is to Magic Spoon's other co-founder, Gregory Sewitz.

If you remember from a few sections back, we discovered that Magic Spoon formats their emails as… “[firstname][lastname]”.

So, I assumed that Gregory’s email address was

It’s not.

After some tinkering, I realized Gregory goes by “Greg” and his email is actually Naturally, I’m going to address him as Greg in my email.

Here’s what I sent him…

Subject Line:

Tony The Tiger is shitting himself.



I keep hearing people ranting and raving about Magic Spoon, the cereal renegade causing Tony The Tiger to shit himself –– so I bought something like eight boxes of the stuff.



P.S. I was about to pitch you on revamping some of your copy, but I thought it was in bad taste not to give it a taste first. So, pitch pending."

While I took a similar approach in the email I sent to Greg that I sent to his co-founder, Gabi, you can tell that the wording is quite different.

You’d be surprised how often founders and team members within companies forward emails to one another.

The last thing you ever want to do is send the same email to two different folks and then have those folks forward them to one another. It leaves them feeling icky.

I did this once early on in my career and one of the founders wrote me and said…

“Great email. But, I wish you wouldn’t have sent the same thing to everyone on my team…”

As you can imagine, I didn’t get the client.

Anyway, after a couple of days, I got a response to the above email.

It, unfortunately, wasn’t from Greg. But, from what appears to be his assistant, a woman named Anne.

Here’s what Anne said to me…

"Hi Cole,

So glad you are loving the cereal. And thanks for taking the time to let us know your thoughts!

If there is ever anything we can do to help, just let us know.

Have a magical day!


It’s pretty obvious that Anne didn’t even read my email.

And, there is a chance that Anne isn’t even fucking real, that she’s just some AI.

I hate AI.

Because of this, I’m not going to respond to Anne and just call my second email a dead end.

After coming up short with both Gabi and Greg, I’m casting a third line and talking to someone at the company who is still very much a decision-maker but maybe isn’t as busy as a founder.

The individual I have in mind is Ben Donald, Magic Spoon’s Head of Talent.

After researching Ben, I’ve discovered that he’s a certified badass. He graduated from Harvard and spent three years at Google as a Chief of Staff.

I imagine that handles (or at least has a say in) a lot of the hiring at Magic Spoon. So, I’m going to take a slightly different angle and reach out to him about some positions he has on the site.

Here’s what I’m sending Ben…

"Subject Line:

I found your pen.



It seems you all are growing like crazy over at Magic Spoon and are hiring for a number of marketing roles –– why not a copywriter?



P.S. I just ordered several boxes –– cinnamon, maple waffle, cookies & cream, blueberry, cocoa and fruity –– which flavor should I dig into first?"

I’m not sure if this metaphor will stick. But, I look at cold emailing like a stubborn weasel trying to get into a roost.

Chances are the sonofabitch won’t get in on the first attempt or the second or even the third.

He has to make a go at the roost in not just several attempts but several very different attempts.

He might sneak his way in through a crack. He might dig underneath. He might attempt to charm the guard. He might come bearing gifts. Whose to say.

All we know is that if the weasel tries at the roost enough times and does so intelligently, he will eventually find a way in.

The same can be said for cold-emailing. You’ve got to make several attempts and they all must be slightly different from the one before.

In the cold email I sent to Ben Donald, I took the “looking for a job” approach.

After rifling through LinkedIn, I’m not finding any copywriters that work at Magic Spoon, which might mean that they either work directly with an agency for this need.

If this is the case, there might be an opportunity to weasel my way in by feinting interest in a full-time position.

Ben never responded to my email.

So, I wrote him again a few days later, responding directly to the thread...

"Subject Line:

(No subject line because I responded to the first email.)


Ben! A truckload of Magic Spoon arrived on my doorstep yesterday.

I  wish I could tell you that I didn't dig into a single box (patiently awaiting your response on which flavor I should start with).

But, we both know I'd be full of shit.

This magical stuff is unicorn feed, man. Truly, truly delicious.

I love it so much I'd like to write copy for you all –– how do we make that happen?"

Response: Nada.

It’s been a week and neither Ben nor Gabi have responded to me.

Field Notes: Keep trying.

While I plan to keep trying, I think this example is useful in sharing because sometimes, you’re going to make your best effort to “weasel” your way into someone’s inbox and you’re going to keep coming up empty-handed again and again.

This is just the name of the game.

Keep trying.

Or, just go find another roost.

– fin –

Case Study #1 –– Cashing in big on the hustle of cold email.

If you’ve never heard of Sam Parr, he’s the co-founder and CEO of a media company called The Hustle.

While most folks nowadays know The Hustle for their daily business newsletter (which is badass by the way), when they were just getting started they made a good chunk of change by running an in-person event called HustleCon in the bay area.

(HustleCon is like South by Southwest but for startups, kind of…)

HustleCon was known for having wildly impressive speakers, which Sam Parr was able to book without paying them so much as a dime.


Almost entirely through cold email.  

He shared how he pulled this off, and in great detail, over on Neville Medhora’s blog, Copywriting Course.

But, the article was a bit long-winded for my liking. So, I took the liberty of putting together a “TL;DR…” so you could get the hardest-hitting information from the piece in a bite or two.

Here’s the TL;DR...

To begin, Parr followed a similar “email hunting” process to the one I outlined above in the “Happy Hunting” section; and once he found the email he was looking for, he’d send a carefully crafted email to the individual.

If they didn’t respond, he’d keep emailing them again and again and again.

He was fairly aggressive, aiming for 7-10 emails over a 5 day period.

Parr also did everything he could to differentiate his emails.

He was never opposed to using homemade GIFs (if you don’t have the time nor the skill, just pull some from

If he knew someone that knew the individual he was reaching out to, he always asked for a personal introduction.

He’d buy gifts and write hand-written notes to follow-up.

And, when it came time to close and get the speakers on the phone, he made it wildly convenient for the recipient, recommending 3 time slots.

– fin –

Case Study #2 –– Cleopatra, Cleopatra.

Nora Sermez is an Assyrian-Canadian artist, designer and entrepreneur crafting some of the planet’s most imaginative and whimsical jewelry from her very own studio in Scottsdale, Arizona.

She’s been both a client and a friend of mine for over two years now and I just adore her and the breathtaking art she’s creating.

A little while back, Nora reached out to me about writing a sales email for a piece of jewelry she had created called The Lucky Elixir Ring, a dainty (but bewitching) 14k gold ring accented with a gorgeous viridescent emerald.

The two of us got on the phone, talked briefly about this tiny wonder of a ring and she then set me loose to write…

I remembered reading somewhere that Cleopatra had an affection for jewels, particularly emeralds. So, I did a bit of digging, reading up on the full extent of this obsession and then crafted the following email…

*Past Cole is typing now*

Subject Line:

Cleopatra was more than just a pretty face.


While Cleopatra was widely considered to be as striking as Aphrodite, the ancient Egyptian queen was more than just a pretty face. In fact, I’d argue she was one of the most fascinating women to ever grace the planet with her presence.

Cleopatra was wildly intelligent. She could speak twelve languages and was deeply educated in mathematics, philosophy, oratory and astronomy.

She was a direct descendant of one of Alexander the Great’s generals and once led several dozen Egyptian warships in a battle against the Romans.

She was a fashion icon, setting trends across both the Egyptian and Roman empires.

She was bewitching, wrapping Julius Caesar (and later the legendary Roman General Mark Anthony) around her pinky finger like one of our Lucky Elixir 14K Yellow Gold Rings.

And, if Cleopatra were alive and ruling today, I probably wouldn’t have a single emerald left in stock. It turns out, she adored them, festooning herself, her palace and her guests in these green bewitching untamed gems that embodied her beauty, wildness and impossible allure.

In celebration of both the woman that was Cleopatra and her infatuation with emeralds, I want to give you 25% off one of our Lucky Elixir Emerald Rings. Just use discount code “cleopatra” at checkout to claim your 25% off.



The above sale email has since gone on to sell 711 Lucky Elixir Rings, which equates to well over a hundred thousand dollars in revenue for Nora Sermez and her studio.

We broke production.

The sales email worked well. Too well.

Nora later told me she had to do some tinkering with her production to meet the alarming demand –– demand which is still high ––  even now if you go to purchase the Lucky Elixir Ring, you will find that it’s only available for pre-order.

While this isn’t a “true” cold email example (because it was sent to an already established list), it does show how powerful the written word can be.

– fin –

Case Study #3 –– How Tim Ferriss approaches cold email.

When Tim Ferriss began writing The 4-Hour Workweek, he had no prior experience in publishing, so he cold-emailed random authors asking for advice.

Here is the exact cold email template that Tim Ferriss uses when reaching out to these busy professionals….

Dear [fill in the blank],

I know you’re really busy and that you get a lot of emails, so this will only take sixty seconds to read.

[Explain who you are in one to two sentences, establishing credibility…]

[Ask your question and be specific…]

I totally understand if you’re too busy to respond, but even a one- or two-line reply would make my day.

All the best,


Ferris also warns against never emailing someone to “jump on the phone”, “get coffee” or “pick your brain” and to instead put your question right in the email.

He says to avoid language like “This is perfect for you” or “You’ll love this because I know this-and-this about you” or “thanks in advance” because it comes across as annoying and entitled.

And, finally, he urges folks not to email too often.

– fin –

This is the end, for now.

Before I let you go, one last thing…

As you continue on your cold email journey, please send me your victories. I want to read the cold emails that have worked for you!

I will frequently be adding cold email case studies to this guide and it’s my hope that it becomes a living, breathing swipe file of sorts for individuals wanting to take over the world, one email at a time.