9 Cold Email Templates to Generate a Response

Cold Email Templates

A cold email is the starting point of many sales interactions. It’s the way a company introduces itself and its offering to a potential customer, makes a first impression and hopefully starts an interaction.

But cold emails can be difficult to master because they come from reps who have no prior relationship with the person they’re reaching out to.

Worldwide, the number of business-related emails sent per day is forecast to exceed 347 billion by the end of 2023, so the cold emails you send have to stand out too.

To crack the cold emailing code you have to find a winning formula. And, as part of this formula, you have to consider how to make you company stand out, what compelling content should be included and how to include a strong message about your product or solution.

No matter what your cold email is trying to achieve, the best way to save time piecing that winning formula together is with cold email templates. 

In this piece, we’re going to look at what makes a great email, with nine cold email templates you can use to supercharge your cold email campaigns. 

  1. The winning formula of a cold email (that gets opened)
  2. How to write the perfect cold email
  3. Nine cold email templates to generate a response
  4. Cold email experts reveal how to get noticed
  5. The dos and don’ts of cold emailing
  6. Improve sales team performance by following a process
  7. Wrapping up

The winning formula of a cold email (that will get opened)

A good cold email includes two factors: it’s well researched and it’s got a well-defined strategy.

Whether you want to build a relationship, offer a discount, or go straight for a sale, cold emails should always aim to move a prospect down your sales funnel. In order to achieve this, reps must conduct thorough research to personalize their communication. 

The email should reinforce not only that you’re informed about the prospect, their company and their pain points, but also that you can identify exactly how your product will help them.

Without these things included, it’ll be hard to convince a stranger over email that they should invest time in reading what you’ve sent them.

To find out what makes a cold email great, Contently’s Shane Snow tested out various email templates on 1,000 C- and VP-level executives from Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 companies. The goal was to see if there was a correlation between the email structure (subject line, word length, email request, etc.) and its open/response rate. 

Here’s what Snow concluded: 

  • The tactics we use to optimize sales emails are less important than personalized research and sender/sendee fit.
  • It doesn’t matter how busy your prospect is, the same principles apply for winning the trust of every type of person you email: be personal and do your homework.
  • The cold email subject line matters less than we may think, the important part is piquing personal interest that elicits curiosity.

These findings center around an interesting point: you can warm up a cold email through personalization. By making it clear that you’ve done your homework, cold emails can quickly turn into the first meaningful interaction you have with a prospect.

How to write the perfect cold email

The main goal of a cold email is to get your prospect to open and read it. 

Each sentence should have a purpose and draw the reader in. Without making the email too lengthy, your cold email should include three crucial elements: 

  1. An opening line. Something that will catch the reader’s attention like “Quick question?”
  2. A value proposal. Clearly explain what the email is about and what’s in it for them.
  3. A call-to-action. Do you want them to reply to the email? Book a call? Make it clear.

It’s essential these elements push the status quo. Any cold email should share these four characteristics:

  • Personalized: You need to show that you understand and can relate to what interests them by referencing it in a conversant way.
  • Validation: Remember, the person reading your email has never met you. Show them who you are and why you should matter to your email recipient. 
  • Touch on the reader’s pain points: Your reader is busy. Why should they spend their time reading and responding to your email? If you show them you can fix a problem they're having, it gives you a better chance of making a connection. 
  • Short, easy, and actionable: Nobody has time to read 1,000-word emails, especially if they’re receiving 100+ a day. Make your email short and easy to respond or take action on. 
  • Show your appreciation: If someone bothers to open and get to the bottom of your cold email, sign off with “thanks”. You could even include a link to some recent, relevant content as a postscript to reward people who go to the end.

Including all of the above ingredients might seem like a lengthy process, but sales reps now have tools to help. With the emergence of email marketing software, the level of personalization and nurturing required to build relationships with prospects can be automated using templates. 

With a CRM tool like Pipedrive, sales reps can automatically send emails to prospects when they enter their sales funnel. Using pre-made templates, the emails will already be personalized using merge fields, so prospect details like their company name and industry will fill in the gaps. 

Automating cold emails gives you the best of both worlds: reaching out to prospects with an email that ticks all the boxes, without having to write every line from scratch.

Nine cold email templates to generate a response

While pushing generic templates to prospects may have worked twenty years ago, today’s customers want to know you understand their problems. That’s why you need more than one cold email template. In fact, you need a library of them.

1. The introduction email

Let’s start with a cold email that’s primary purpose is to introduce you and your company to a new prospect.  

The email should begin with both you and your prospect’s basic information (your names and companies), showcase a touch of your research and then inquire if they’re interested in learning more.

Hi [name],

My name is [your name] with [your company name].

I came across [company name] on G2, and I was super impressed by your customer reviews.

We help companies like yours in [industry] free up time increase revenue by [%]. I wanted to learn what [industry] tools you’re currently using and discuss how you could make some changes to get the same revenue results for your business.

Are you available for a brief call next week?

Thanks,

[Your name]

Remember that an introduction template is a starting point for your discussion and you don’t want to overwhelm with too much information early on. Instead, show them something of value. In the above template, it’s the revenue percentage that your product or service can bring to the table. Show the prospect that, above all, you just want to help them achieve their goals.

How to get a response:

  • Make your offer jump out: The email isn’t about your business; it’s about theirs. Offer a single insight on what you can help them with, like revenue or productivity. Ask yourself, “how is your company going to help them?” 
  • Do the research: Adding the prospect’s company name and industry are must-haves to any introductory email. Go a step further and include where you came across the company to add a personal touch. In this example, it was the company’s reviews on G2.  

Leadfeeder Sales Manager Dipak Vadera says writing how you talk and avoiding buzzwords and sales cliches can make all the difference with cold emails like this. He also says that writing 2-3 sentence paragraphs is important because it allows the reader to ‘scan’ the content quickly, especially on mobile.

Lastly, don’t add a ton of links and attachments to the email. 

“This could trigger your email being inadvertently marked as spam,” he warns.

2. The personalized email

The aim of a personalized email template is to let the reader know that you follow their industry trends, have studied their company and know exactly why your product can help them.

Emails don’t need to be hyper-personalized, but they do need to give enough information to show the reader that they aren’t receiving a generic blast. A personalized cold email template should do a lot of the heavy lifting of breaking the ice with a prospect, by adding:

  • The names of products and people at the company
  • Discussing what the prospect’s company does and what their goals are
  • Flagging any problems, concerns or risks they’re battling (i.e. changes in their industry)
  • Including any specific details you’ve kept on file like a recent LinkedIn comment or blog post

Here’s what you could end up with:

Hi [name]

I just came across your [their blog post/comment/status] on [platform] and thought the points you made were very insightful and I agree with a lot of your views.

It also made me want to reach out so I could talk to you about how [their company] could benefit from our software that totally takes care of the issue you raised about [issue].

I’m free on Tuesday afternoon if that suits for a quick 10 minute chat

Thanks a lot,

[Your name]

This level of personalization goes beyond adding a company name and works for two reasons:

  • It’s in-depth: The information you’ve outlined proves you’ve gone beyond a quick Google search. Even if the person isn’t ready to chat about your product at the time you send it, the least you can hope for is a reply. Then you can tag the lead to follow up with in the future. 
  • It’s not generic: The problem with templates is that it’s hard to make them look like they aren’t automated. With personalization, some prospects will believe that the email is only being sent to them. 

When Woodpecker studied 20 million cold emails over two years, their number one takeaway was the impact of personalization. 

“Advanced personalized emails, that is those which included custom snippets beyond the most basic ones, such as {{first_name}} or {{company_name}}, account for 17% reply rate,” the study found.  

“On the flip side, the emails without advanced personalization resulted in a 7% reply rate.”

3. The before-after-bridge email

The before-after-bridge email is a way to tell a story by weaving your product into the narrative. 

The clue is in the title:

  • Before: Here’s where your company stands now (i.e. highlighting the problem)
  • After: If the problem was solved, this is what it would look like
  • Bridge: How to get there (i.e. your product/solution)

The key to setting up this email correctly is describing a problem that the prospect is facing and presenting the path beyond it. The reason why this approach is successful boils down to basic human behaviors. According to behavioral psychologists, the human mind is spurred to action based on two feelings: pleasure and pain. This cold email template targets both, and triggers a response. 

This example ticks all the boxes:

Hi [name],

I noticed that your [blog/site] isn’t optimized for mobile. This might be causing you to lose many potential customers.

What if I told you there was a [tool/service/plugin] which could optimize the experience of your website on mobile devices?

That’s exactly what [your product] helps you do.

Would you be interested in learning more?

Thanks,

[Your name]

Rather than just talking about the product, the email flips the problem back onto the prospect. The result is the prospect feels empowered by your outreach and solution rather than agitated by an overly salesy pitch.

4. The useful content email

Not all cold emails have to be about selling. 

One of the best ways to build a relationship, especially when you’re cold emailing, is by adding value to your prospect’s inbox. Your aim should be to provide value every time a prospect opens one of your emails. Instead of pitching your product, send them a valuable resource instead. 

Keep it short, and to the point: 

Hi [name],

I read your latest article over on [website], and you piqued my interest in [topic]. Particularly on your points about [sub-topic].

During my search, I came across this article on [subject title] that may be helpful to you and your team and further add to your piece about [topic]:

[article URL] Hope you find it useful. Keep up the awesome work!

[Your name]

Content emails work largely because you’re not asking the prospect for anything. You’re not trying to book a meeting or see if they’re interested in your product. The only aim here is to provide the prospect with a piece of content that will be useful to them and their team.  

However, it’s essential to not just push your own content onto them. Share the most useful, actionable and valuable content you can find on the topic matter.

5. The mutual-connection email

Plugging a mutual connection into a cold email is an ideal way to defrost it.

If the prospect recognizes that they have a mutual connection with you, it builds an instant level of trust.

That doesn’t mean you should talk about yourself. As with all cold emails, you must put the focus on your prospect and their pain-points. Use your commonalities to open the email, then quickly move on to why you’re emailing:

Hi [name],

As a fellow [your college name] alumni, I thought I’d reach out!

I noticed on LinkedIn you’re hiring for a sales manager. At [your company], we help salespeople generate more prospects through social selling, and I’d love to ask you a couple of questions about your experiences at [company].

Would you be open to a quick call next Tuesday or Thursday afternoon? Let me know a time that’s good for you.

Thanks.

[Your name]

Highlighting a mutual connection is one of the best ways to leverage social proof, so if you have connections mention them.

Salespeople generally send cold emails to prospects they’re yet to have contact with. The main alternative is making a cold call, but usually a cold call and a cold email have different uses, so the question of cold call vs. email is normally decided for you.

However, sometimes you’ll be asked to send an email instead while on a cold call. Here’s a video explaining how to deal with this objection.

6. The social media email

A prospect’s social media channels can be a goldmine. 

They offer insight into their thoughts, company and interests. It makes sense to use them as a research tool for your cold email outreach. They can also help your email stand out in a crowded inbox. If everybody is emailing your prospect about an offer or a discount but you’re mentioning one of their Twitter posts about blogging it can pique their curiosity. 

Here’s an example template of how this could play out: 

Hi [name],

I caught your recent tweet on how to drive revenue using SEO-based blog content, and it got me thinking.

[Ask a question about their position/argument on the topic]

While we're on the subject, other companies like [a client of yours] and [another client of yours] have started to use [your company/product] to [drive revenue/sales/traffic].

It would be great to see if we could talk about this more and see how this could help [their company]. How are you for time on [insert day]?

I am looking forward to more Twitter content!

Thanks,

[Your name]

Pro-tip: Don’t pick the most recent post on their social media feed (that could be perceived as lazy). Instead, take a few minutes to see if there is a recurring theme or product mention within their posts. If so, choose one that discusses this overarching point or product.

If you can intrigue them with their own subject matter, it will only increase the chances of them replying to you.

7. The competitor email

Going after prospects who use your competitor’s products is a proven age-old tactic, so you should have a cold email template to cover this as well. 

The thing about pitching your competition’s customers is you must walk a fine line. You don’t want to accidentally throw your competitors under the bus and risk your reputation. Instead, your aim needs to be getting the prospect to draw their own conclusion that your product is a better fit.

LeadIQ recommends highlighting your company’s strengths in the email as they relate to the prospect. 

“If you are writing a cold email, tell a story of a customer who was going through a similar experience with a competitor.”

Here’s how to position your product against a competitor’s:

Hi [name],

I noticed you’re using [your competitor] to take care of [solution/activity]. How are you finding their [capabilities]?

We help salespeople like you to [do thing that competitor product or solution can’t do].

Many of our customers have switched from [your competitor] to handle this critical task.

If you’re looking for this particular solution, I’d love to show you how we do it at [your company]. Would this be of interest?

Thanks,

[Your name]

This cold email is unique because you already know the prospect has a need for your product. After all, they’re using one of your competitors. This means you don’t have to put in the groundwork proving how useful it will be to their business.

Instead, you can use the email as an opportunity to show them your product’s USP and highlight your customer’s achievements since they made the switch to your company. 

8. The results email

This cold email shows your prospect, in real numbers, how well your product and service works. The data points might highlight the revenue you’ve added to a customer’s business or their increased customer count, for example.

This email is all about driving the message home that your product gets the job done:

Hi [name],

I was checking out [industry] software on G2 and, after reading some of your reviews, thought you’d find this of interest.

We help companies like [customer names] generate more customers by using proven website optimization techniques.

For example, we’ve helped [client] achieve [result] in [time frame]. I’d love to share how we did it.

Would you be interested in learning more?

Thanks,

[Your name]

The template works because it mixes content with results. It acts as a small case study, showing how companies similar to your prospects have achieved an outcome using your solution.

9. The demo email

Use this email template to explain concisely what your product/service is, outline exactly what you have to offer and show how it can help your prospect. If you have a short demo video, sharing it is often a great way to do this.

Hi [name],

I have worked with organizations like [customer names] who have had the same problem with [common challenge].

With [describe product/service] they were able to solve it and [show a relevant statistic demonstrating an increase in production]. Here is an example of a project I produced for [customer name]: [insert link].

Would you be interested in something similar?

I made a demo for you to show you what it could look like in less than two minutes: [link].

[Embed video]

Is this something you would be interested in?

Thanks,

[Your name]

Cold email experts reveal how to get noticed

It’s hard to write cold emails. To contact a complete stranger, make them understand you and want to talk to you. They’re also fraught with traps. If you don’t make a good first impression, those opportunities and targets will slip away.

Hitting delete is often the most common response, yet cold emails are a crucial weapon in a salesperson’s arsenal. Done well, cold emails are a scalable way to make first contact with new business prospects and can allow you the opportunity to succinctly sell your product or service, straight to your target’s inbox.

So how do you write the ideal cold email? We asked some industry experts for their cold email tips.

Barry Moroney

CEO at Leadable.

“When it comes to Enterprise sales, I believe that personalization and relevance should be at the core of all cold email strategies. As the larger contract values associated with Enterprise justify the time and effort spent researching and writing unique copy for each prospect, applying a ‘quality over quantity’ approach is critical to success with cold email.”

Ahmed GabAllah

Business Development Executive at Athena Capital.

  1. Never buy a list. “Don’t get me wrong, I purchased lists many times and achieved some results, but I am not proud of that. If you think a list of the contact info for 500 Investors for $50 from someone who reached you via LinkedIn is the answer, then think again.”
  2. Scrub your list. “Scrubbing is easy and cheap using tools like Bulk Email Checker or Voila Norbert.”
  3. Use personalization. “It is enough to separate you from the majority of the lazy sales reps. Use merge tags and go beyond the “first name” and “company name”. Use “location”, “info pulled from social accounts” and the “last news and activities for your contacts or their companies”.”
  4. Follow up. “I don’t mean with meaningless “touching base emails”, every follow-up email is an opportunity to warm your lead or to establish a good relationship.”
  5. Go omnichannel. “The smart cold emailing camp is the Omni-Channel one. In parallel use email, social media and InMail to grab attention and to deliver more value.”
  6. Don’t be boring. “While everyone sends lengthy wordy emails, send smart 6 lines max message and follow up with a valuable message like a “Case study”, an “Infographic”, or even a “Personalized Video”.. if you are smart enough be funny.. follow up with “GIFs” or even “Memes” just make sure you don’t offend anyone.”
  7. Capitalize on the P.S. “This is my favorite. If done right it is a game-changer. It doesn’t matter what is within your email, the P.S. section is your opportunity to shine, use a charm offensive, or be impulsive... with magic copywriting you can be on top of their mind.”

Dipak Vadera

Sales Manager at Leadfeeder.

“Do not neglect the importance of the subject line.

“Most unsolicited emails (cold emails) will end up being deleted. If you want to stand out from the other hundreds in prospect’s Inbox, you need to start with the subject line.

“If your subject line is [bad], your e-mail might as well delete itself. Even if you have a personalized ‘hook’, a low-commitment call to action and a value proposition that solves the prospect’s problem.

“If your e-mail doesn’t get opened in the first place, having all the above is totally useless. Subject lines are therefore the gateway to your cold email’s success.”

Richard Roma

Sales Manager at ONBORD.

  • Research. Ensure you understand who you are messaging and don’t just spam
  • Relevance. Keep the message relevant to the person and organization being approached
  • Refine. Both in the sense of keeping to the point and being polished.

James Davies

Sales Manager at Stylo.

“My approach is to keep the email short and sweet and focus on using powerful imagery to sell itself. I work in a very creative market and for the client to see the final result does all the talking.” 

Sarah Brazier

Sales Development Representative at Gong.

“For cold outreach, I try to keep my first email short, sweet, and to the point, i.e. three sentences long. 

“The first sentence ties whatever events are happening in the business directly to something I’ve learned about them (usually lifted from their LinkedIn profile).

“The second describes how folks in their role who are experiencing a business event leverage our solution to remedy the accompanying business pain related to that event.

“The third sentence is my ask, which, if it’s for time to talk, is about a conversation around how they can not only solve their business pain but achieve a goal related to their business event and specific role.

“The whole email should maintain continuity from the first sentence to last, and be read on a phone screen.”

Gaurav Patel

Founder at Pipe Bagger

“In my opinion, email marketing must be designed in a sequence of at least 8-10 emails. And the content should be educative, provocative and personalized.

“The emails must be short, to the point and the reader must get clarity that it was written just for them and is not a copy-paste job—basically they must get a clue that the sender has done some homework.

“If a human is triggering human emotions and making sense then I’m sure the campaign will yield good results.

Joshua Herbert

Partner Sales Manager at Xactly Corp.

“My advice: make sure the email is concise, compelling and relevant (to the industry, company and persona), and then quality, relentless hard work will lead to the quantity and that volume required to guarantee success.” 

Kyle Racki

CEO at Proposify.

“Avoid being broad.

“We’re now programmed to ignore emails that are obviously generic, mass emails. One way to stand out in someone’s inbox is to make the subject line and the opening line customized to them as a person.

“The subject line should be thought of kind of like a headline: don’t give away the punchline, but create intrigue enough for them to open the email.

“The opening line of the email should be heavily customized to the prospect. Statements like below work really well and show that you are a real person:

  • I saw you…
  • Read your post about…
  • Noticed you had talked to [shared connection] a few months ago…
  • I heard you...
  • [Specific name] told me X about you…

“Only then can you get into the meat of the pitch. Keep it light, less is more. Ask about their problem, let them know it’s what you solve. They aren’t going to read a book on features.

“Finally the CTA. Don’t ask for a meeting or offer a proposal yet. The goal of a cold email isn’t to close a deal, it’s to find out if the prospect is right for you.

“If the prospect is interested and desperately wants your solution, they will ask for a call.

“Instead, make a very light ask: ‘Any chance you’d be up for helping me make an introduction to [specific name]?’

“The key here is to know who you want the intro to. A vague ‘Can you intro me to your VP Sales’ or, worse, ‘Who in your company should I talk to?’ won’t have the same effect.

“If they indeed are the right person they’ll let you know. If not, it’s as simple as an email intro for them.

“Finally, closing with an open-ended question like: ‘What are your thoughts?’ is all that’s needed to start a dialogue. If they want to talk, they’ll reply.”

Dale Dupree

Founder of Sales Rebellion.

“Emailing is still going to be extremely effective in the year 2020 for sales and marketing professionals. It is also going to continue to be one of the noisiest mediums being used!

“To create effective emails, reps are going to have to embrace what might currently feel uncomfortable. And, most importantly, no more clickbait, generic outreach copy, safe subject lines, or jam-packed newsletters that continue to go straight to the trash bin.

“Create undeniable curiosity, drive relevance, bring a level of familiarity with your outreach that the prospect feels compelled to respond to and start changing the game. Use GIFs, memes, emojis, and talk to people like a normal human being that they would encounter in real life—because emails are beginning to feel fake and straight out of another universe.

“One that was abandoned by people ages ago because of how boring and weird the sales world eventually got. Stop taking us back there!”

The dos and don’ts of cold emailing

Avoid the most common pitfalls by sticking to the dos and don’ts.

Do

  • Start with the subject line: The aim is to grab the reader’s attention and ensure they open the email. Do that, and you’re on your way. Be exceedingly clear and concise – it’s worth taking time to perfect the best cold email subject lines.
  • Be succinct and direct: Introduce yourself clearly upfront or “be short and relevant,” says the chief commercial officer at a leading investment broker. People are busy: read your email out loud, if it’s longer than a minute, it’s too long. Try writing like you talk – introduce yourself, be nice, connect. 
  • Get personal: Connect with an engaging hook or “make it look like someone I know has suggested you,” according to an executive at a digital sports platform. “Do your research. Make it relevant. Keep it short. Offer me something of value that you know I’m interested in” another panelist said. You can also mention a competitor if you feel like it would help. 
  • Be credible: “The EUREKA moment for a prospect is when they immediately see how the seller can make their life easier, manage workflow, see the wood for the trees, and improve their commercial gravitas,” says a board director of an internationally famous brand. 
  • Call to action: This is the equivalent of the home stretch and, arguably, the most important part of your pitch. You won’t get one if you don’t ask, so if you want a 15-minute meeting or a call, be sure to include this at the end of the email. 

Don’t

  • Blind email: “I just mark them as read, without opening them,” says one marketing director. Nothing screams ‘copy and paste’ more than using Sir or Madam. Avoid this at all costs. If you don’t know who you should be speaking to, research your prospects online or call up the company’s reception and ask. 
  • Waffle: Keep things short and sweet. People have short attention spans. Busy people have practically none. Long-winded emails are likely to be trashed pronto – make sure you get to that all-important call to action as efficiently as possible.  
  • Be pushy: Coming on too strong from the outset is a common pitfall. Obviously, you have an agenda, but don’t make it appear obviously so. Being pushy can be a turn-off, as one senior executive puts it: “I can recall writing back to one recommending they give up, as they only succeeded in annoying me with their sheer arrogance.”
  • Just list: A common mistake is reeling off your experience and the features of a product or service. That’s great, but to aid cut-through explain how it can solve the prospect’s problems. Even worse is no explanation of your wares at all, says one brand director: “It’s even cruder than the pre-LinkedIn days when a cold caller would announce their company name, and then ask who you were and could we meet.”

Improve sales team performance by following a process

Establishing a clear cold emailing testing process is also key to improving sales team performance, management and optimization. So too is having intuitive software to manage workflow when sending cold emails and utilizing open and click tracking. 

Opt for a more scientific approach than simply “trying subject lines until something works better and sharing with everyone.” Instead: 

  1. Have someone, maybe the marketing team, create versions of emails and include the subject line, body, and call to action
  2. Provide context as to why sales needs to adopt these emails; they’re there to help them get more deals. Their commitment is essential to get data and improve performance
  3. Ensure everyone has a tracking tool: one that tracks if an email gets opened, what links were clicked, and traces the call to action
  4. Depending on the size of your team, set a clear statistical goal and test until you reach that statistical significance
  5. Analyze if the results are better, worse or the same as before
  6. Try again with the next option, be exhaustive and intentional
  7. Getting buy-in from the sales team will allow you to see what is effective, compared to what you think is effective because you have many more data points

Wrapping up

Successful cold emailing is an investigative task that requires reps to add personalization and depth to cold outreach. 

Every prospect that enters your sales funnel is unique, so you should pitch them with the cold email template that has the best chance of converting them into a customer. 

Once you get the formula right, your cold email templates will become your secret weapon when connecting with prospects and turning conversations into sales.

Pipedrive’s Advanced and Professional plans include a range of cold email templates which will increase the number of emails you send while maintaining that personal touch. Sign up here for a free trial.

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