Top 10 Cold Email Templates: Based On 3,320,657 Emails Sent

Cold emailing works. I swear.

I get to help customers at Prospect.io set up and launch cold email campaigns. Lots of campaigns. In fact, 3,320,657 emails have been sent from our platform since we launched it, by customers ranging from Cloudera to AdRoll to 87seconds.

This a lot of data from which we’re able to extract patterns; see what works... and what doesn’t.

When we realized that our own customers had trouble writing great emails and mostly yielded poor results, we figured it was time to work on some recipes for them.

Most of the templates you’ll see below are based on the exact cold email templates our sales team uses to reach out to prospects and eventually convert them. The rest are emails we've received that we found were pretty solid or stuff we grabbed from people we know to be authorities.

I compiled them into a list that will hopefully fit every situation you might find yourself in when it comes to getting in touch with potential customers.

Shall we get to it?

A few general rules

Even though they’re all meant to be used in different circumstances, the templates below do obey the 6 Commandments of cold-emailing.

  • Nail that subject line - That’s the difference between an opened and an unopened email. According to Convince and Convert, 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone.
  • Keep it short - They don’t know you, and they’re probably busy. Be smart, don’t waste their time with a foot-long page of information, you’ll have all the time to discuss that further down the road.
  • Make it personalized - Don’t just make it “personal” with merge tags, show you actually did some research. Mention their industry, competitors from the same niche, events they have attended, etc.
  • Bring social proof - If you can flash a few relevant names and data, knock yourself out. Bonus point if you’re already in touch with businesses or people they personally know.
  • Customize your from field - According -again- to Convince and Convert 43% of email recipients click the Spam button based on the email “from” name or email address. Would you rather open an email from Google or Larry at Google?
  • Avoid SPAM filters - According to a research by Cisco Systems, no less than 86% of the world’s email traffic is spam, which is why the war against spam is tougher than ever. Which is also why you’d do best not to use any spam trigger words, not attach files, or use URL shorteners!

The templates

Based on our experience and data, these 10 templates seem to be the ones working best in their respective circumstances. Use them wisely!

1. Classic approach - right contact

Subject: Right contact at

Hi ,

I’m writing in hopes of finding the right person to talk to about [SPECIFIC ISSUE]?

Is this something you guys at are challenged with?

My name is and I work at . We are already working with hundreds of organizations like [INSERT HAPPY CUSTOMERS LIST] to improve [SPECIFIC ISSUE] by [INSERT WHAT YOUR COMPANY DOES].

Are you the person I should be talking to about this? If yes, when would you be available for a quick call? If not, who should I be talking to?

Cheers,

[Signature]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You don’t know who specifically to reach out to within the company
  • It’s a large enough company that the CEO might be bothered to take care of this

Why it’s good:

  • The subject line summarizes the email perfectly
  • You address the prospect’s issue head on
  • You provide proof
  • You provide a clear call to action that makes it easy for the recipient to reply

If you’re starting out and/or you don’t have the means or the tools to identify who does what at the company you’re trying to close, this is a good starting point to start scaling campaigns.

These are the results of one of our oldest campaigns using this template.

Cold Email Stats

 

This campaign helped us recruit our first 175 customers.

2. Startup approach

Subject: , need help with [SPECIFIC ISSUE]?

Hi ,

Are you guys at challenged with [SPECIFIC ISSUE]?

My name is and I work at . We are already working with organizations within your industry such as [INSERT HAPPY CUSTOMERS LIST] to improve [SPECIFIC ISSUE] by [INSERT WHAT YOUR COMPANY DOES].

I know the [CEO/founder] life can be hectic but would you be up for a quick call later this week to see if this could be valuable for you?

Cheers,

[Signature]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You’re addressing a startup CEO/founder who you know has the authority on this kind of matters

Why it’s good:

  • The subject line is offering help, not selling
  • You address the prospect’s issue head on
  • You provide proof
  • You provide a clear call to action that makes it easy for the recipient to reply

The main difference between this template and the previous one is the informal tone, which makes sense when you address a startup owner.

3. Referral approach

Subect: [REFERRING PERSON] said it was okay to write!

Hi ,

I’m writing to you on behalf of [REFERRING PERSON]. I met [HIM/HER] at [OCCASION FOR MEETING] and [HE/SHE] thought that this could be a great opportunity for both of us.

My name is and I work at . We are currently working with organizations within your industry such as [INSERT HAPPY CUSTOMERS LIST] to improve [SPECIFIC ISSUE] by [INSERT WHAT YOUR COMPANY DOES].

Is this something you’re also challenged with at ?

If it is, when would you be up for a quick call to see if I can be of help?

Cheers,

[Signature]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You’re addressing someone you’ve been referred to by a mutual acquaintance

Why it’s good:

  • You’re using the full power of your mutual acquaintance to have them open the email
  • By providing a short bit of history, you’re making it more relatable
  • You provide proof
  • You address their issue and mention their company (even though later in the message)
  • You provide a clear call to action, offering help that makes it easy for the recipient to reply

The power of a referral email is praised by Hubspot... as well as by referral guru Bill Cates! If you want to dig deeper into how to become a referral beast, you should check out his blog.

4. Event approach

Early on in our business, we used to spend time at trade shows promoting our software. A few days after one of these events, this gem hit us:

Subject: Hey , how was [INSERT EVENT NAME]!

I noticed that you too were at [INSERT EVENT NAME]! Did you get a chance to check out [SPECIFIC PART OF THE EVENT]?

I wish we had met there because I think that you guys at are going to make a difference in the [INSERT THEIR INDUSTRY] industry.

My name is and my job at is to help businesses like [INSERT HAPPY CUSTOMERS LIST] get [BENEFIT OF YOUR PRODUCT] by [INSERT WHAT YOU DO].

Would you be up for a call to discuss the way you handle these things at ?

Cheers,

[Signature]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You’re taking advantage of an event where you know your prospect was to personalize your email
  • If a lot of professionals from the same niche were at the event, this is a great opportunity to contact a large group of people in a personalized fashion

Why it’s good:

  • Your knowledge of the presence at the event will make them curious about opening the email
  • By mentioning something specific, you’re making it more relatable and credible
  • You provide proof
  • You casually ask for a call

Even though we didn’t end up buying, it definitely got us on the phone!

5. Busy recipient

Subject: , got a minute?

Hi ,

I know you're busy taking on the [INSERT THEIR INDUSTRY] industry at , so I’ll make it short.

Are you challenged with [SPECIFIC ISSUE]? If you are, then I might be of help.

My name is and my job at is to help businesses like [INSERT HAPPY CUSTOMERS LIST] do [INSERT WHAT YOU DO].

Would you be available for a 15 minutes call sometime this week?

Cheers,

[Signature]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You know your prospect is someone very busy
  • You want to show that you acknowledge that

Why it’s good:

  • You acknowledge your prospect’s situation
  • You address their need immediately
  • You provide proof
  • You ask for a quick call
  • You actually keep it short

This kind of campaigns yields a nice open rate. This is how things turned out for us lately:

Cold Email Stats

 

The campaign is still ongoing and more prospects will have been added to it by the time you read this but so far 10 new customers have signed on.

6. Follow-up after trial

Subject: , what did you think of your trial?

Hey ,

Your trial just ended, I hope you enjoyed it!

Is [PRODUCT NAME] a good fit for your needs? What made you go 'Wow!'? What made you go 'Ugh!'?

I'd like to know all about it :)

Cheers,

[Signature]

PS: If you would just like to pick up where you left off, please follow this link to our paid plan!

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • Your prospect just tried your product for a determined amount of time
  • You want to get them to opt for a paid plan

Why it’s good:

  • You’re not just informing them about the end of their trial
  • You’re asking for feedback, which at least puts you ahead of the rest, even if you don’t sell. Plus, they only need to hit the reply button
  • You’re not pushing them too hard towards the paid plan but you provide a clear call to action in the PS

Tobin Lehman at New North insists that the sales of a SaaS depends on a great follow-up. This article by Neil Patel at Kissmetrics highlights the fact that you should push prospects down the funnel by encouraging them to take action, any action. Asking them to provide feedback or simply having them reply to an email could tip the scales in your favor. Just make it easy for your prospect to do whatever you want them to do.

7. Follow-up after show of interest

Too many salespeople keep “just checking in”, “touching base”, “dropping by”...

It makes you come across as shy and unfocused. If your job is to make the sales easy for the prospect, you should be asking where the situation’s at and how they’d like to move further.

Subject: Hey , what next?

Hi ,

I'm following up on our conversation about [INSERT YOUR PRODUCT NAME].

We at are really excited about working with you! What do you suggest as the next step, if any?

Cheers,

[Signature]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You already had a productive contact with your prospect
  • They have shown interest in one way or another

Why it’s good:

  • You’re not “just checking in”, which is the biggest mistake salespeople do when following up
  • You’re giving the prospect ownership of the process, which is more likely to make them move forward

These are the numbers our sales guys gets from follow-up campaigns using this approach after demoing our product to prospects:

Cold Email Stats

 

These look like exceptional numbers but since those are prospects who showed interest after finding us instead of us finding them, it starts to make sense. Also, they got a demo of the product, which got them familiarized with it and with our sales team. Bottomline, we’ve been getting 53% of prospects who replied to sign-up after getting this email (and after having been shown around the product).

8. Helpful approach

Subject: , need help with [SPECIFIC ISSUE]?

Hi ,

Are you struggling with [SPECIFIC ISSUE] at ?

If you are, just let me know, I might have a few ideas that could help.

Cheers,

[Signature]

PS: Check out this content I’ve put together that directly addresses this issue!

Cold Email Stats

 

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • Your prospect is self-employed and probably working alone

Why it’s good:

  • You’re not outright selling
  • You’re offering help as well as free content to someone who probably doesn’t have a team with expertise in that domain

We usually target companies with an actual sales team since they tend to use our product better and for a longer duration, but we still managed to close 3 sales out of this small test campaign.

9. Content approach

Subject: Your blog post about [SPECIFIC SUBJECT]

Dear ,

I read your blog article about [SPECIFIC SUBJECT] and I really like your approach on the subject, especially when it comes to [SPECIFIC POINT].

My name is and I work at where we help other businesses within the [INSERT THEIR INDUSTRY] industry such as [INSERT HAPPY CUSTOMERS LIST] do [INSERT WHAT YOU DO]..

If that's something you're also challenged with, I may have a few ideas that can help. When would you be available for a quick call?

Cheers,

[Signature]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • Your prospect produces original content relevant to their industry or yours

Why it’s good:

  • You show that you’ve done your homework
  • You’re not selling anything -yet
  • You provide proof they can relate to

I used this approach in my latest campaign. It got all prospects to open my email. Half of them clicked the link and 37.5% actually bothered to reply! 4 guest posts opportunities came out of it.

Cold Email Stats

 

10. Follow-up after cancellation

Subject: , what would have changed your mind?

Hi ,

I just saw that you decided not to move forward with us. I understand if this isn’t a good fit and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

You probably have a lot on your plate but if you can find a minute to tell me about two or three things that could’ve changed your mind, I’ll really appreciate it.

We’re always trying to improve and would really appreciate the feedback.

Cheers,

[Signature]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • Your customer canceled their account/subscription

Why it’s good:

This one comes from Michael Pici, director of sales at Hubspot. He shared it because it worked on him. As a seasoned salesman, he managed to identify what made that email so good:

  • It plays upon his desire to help; it’s hard to reject that kind of request when someone is trying to get better at what they do.
  • It’s easy, the answer can be formulated in less than five minutes, which is crucial.
  • It felt genuine
  • Most importantly: it make him think about the product why he actually walked away from it. And when he typed them out, his reasons didn’t seem that compelling anymore.

He ended up buying.

It doesn’t mean that it’ll always work but if you at least get feedback from it, it’ll still be better than 99% of breakup emails out there.

Before we wrap this up...

While these templates are great first touch examples, you have to follow up. This is another subject entirely but my point is… most sales aren’t closed on the first cold email. Often times emails can be overlooked; the prospect may be busy or not in the right mood...

We sometimes get answers after the 4th or 5th email. One of our customers even has a standard 9-step campaign. It rarely ever goes beyond the 3rd or 4th email but they have it planned just in case.

Think of the long run!

Did you find this useful? If yes, then please share it!

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