May 15


Why I Don’t Answer 98% of the Cold Emails I Receive


how to write emails that get answered

I might have made up that statistic but there’s no denying the fact that I hit delete, spam or simply choose to ignore the vast majority of emails that I receive. Why is that?

Could it be because:

  • I think I’m too important to read your mail?
  • I don’t have time?
  • I don’t want to make time?
  • I’m lazy?
  • I couldn’t be bothered?
  • I’m not interested?

Frankly, it’s none of the above.

Have you ever emailed someone important and never received an answer back? I’ll admit I have. I’ve emailed plenty of people never to hear from them again. But i’ve also learned how to get people to respond to me – and fast!

So why is it that most people won’t answer emails from an unknown person?

The answer is actually easier than any of the reasons listed above. The reason most people ignore your emails is because your mails are too vague. They never really understand just what it is you need from them.

So the real reason I haven’t answered your email is because there was really nothing to answer. You touted your horn, told me in lengthy paragraphs about your achievements and then ended your email hoping I’d help you out with some vague idea of how to earn online and market your business.

Big fat #FAIL.

Most public email I receive can be categorized into the following:

  • vague pleas from people wanting to set up an online business
  • more vague pleas from people looking to get more customers/traffic and do better marketing
  • requests for me to speak/present at your event
  • specific questions related to my area of expertise – marketing and working online

Guess which type from the above gets answered the most?

If you guessed the last one, you’d be correct.

The easiest and fastest emails to reply to immediately are ones where the emailer does not waste my time or his telling me about his million and one qualifications, gets right down to why he’s contacting me and what information he needs from me. The more specific the request is, the faster I can respond to it.

Let me repeat that:

The more specific the request is, the faster I can respond to it.

And not just faster but more accurately too. Win-win for everybody! I like helping out people but I don’t like it when I feel my time is being wasted or when someone can simply Google the answer for themselves.

This principle of being as specific as possible generally holds true for all communication – whether it be via email or some other medium.

So the next time you’re about to email someone for a request of help, consider wording your email to help them take immediate action.

Here are some examples to help you get started:


Vague request

Specific request

please help me earn more online Which top 3 sites would you recommend for getting started with online writing jobs?
how can I get more traffic to my website? Can you tell me some specific social media strategies I can use to get 50 views on my post everyday?
can you tell me how to use elance? I’ve signed up and made my web designer profile on elance but am confused about pricing my services – should I price low initially or charge what I feel I’m worth?
how can I market my services with a zero budget? What are some ways I can get more Twitter followers for free?


Of course you can only be specific in your requests if you are very clear about your goals.

So please get some clarity on your goals and know exactly what you need to ask before you hit send on a poorly composed vague email. Chances are that you wont get a second chance. I typically delete or mark such vague requests as spam and then my mail server filters all messages from the sender as spam from that point onwards. So your first impression is truly your last impression.

Make sure you are as specific as possible – don’t waste your time or the time of the person you’re emailing.




communication, email, how to write an email, specfic call to action

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  • You are absolutely correct @Salma “The more specific the request is, the faster I can respond to it.” and always keep the main message above the fold.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

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