Updated on June 13 2019

Cold emailing works. I swear. And so do cold email templates. Actually, picking the right cold email template can make or break your outreach efforts! A cold email is easier set up than a cold call but it needs to be spot on.

That’s what we do here at Prospect.io; we help customers set up and launch cold email campaigns. Lots of campaigns. In fact, 10,615,314 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 cold email templates.

Most of the templates you’ll see below are based on the exact emails our sales team uses to reach out to prospects and eventually convert them. The rest is emails we ourselves 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?

Related: 7 Proven Subject Lines That Generated $720k in ARR

A few general rules

Even though they’re all meant to be used in different circumstances, the cold email 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 cold email templates

Here’s how to best use a cold email template:

Step 1: Assess the situation and pick the appropriate template

Step 2: Search for relevant information about your prospect

Step 3: Customize the template

Step 4: Plan 2 to 4 follow-ups

1. Right contact

Ever tried selling to a big company? Finding the right person to talk to can be a daunting task. Plus, if you don’t use an email finder, you may not really have any other choice than writing to a generic address or fill a contact form.

But it’s okay, we’ve got the right cold email template to help you out:

Hey there,

Who’s the right person at {{prospect_company_name}} to talk to about [SPECIFIC SUBJECT]?

We at {{user_company_name}} have been doing [INSERT WHAT YOU’RE DOING]  for [INSERT COMPANY AGE] for a bunch of companies like [INSERT HAPPY CUSTOMERS LIST]. It made sense for me to reach out to chat with whoever’s in charge at {{prospect_company_name}}!

Thanks!

[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 may not be bothered to take care of this

Why this cold email template is 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.

2. Classic approach

If you know who to reach out to, this is the golden standard. It’s effective and it applies all the rules you can find in our ultimate cold email course.

This is your go-to sales email template.

Hey {{prospect_firstname}},

[INSERT ATTENTION-GRABBING SENTENCE (about them, their company, their city, a recent funding round…)]

Are you at {{prospect_company_name}} satisfied with [INSERT WHAT YOU CAN HELP THEM ACHIEVE]?

We at {{user_company_name}} have been doing [INSERT WHAT YOU’RE DOING] for [INSERT TIME PERIOD] for a bunch of companies like [INSERT RELEVANT HAPPY CUSTOMERS] so it made sense to me to reach out to you to figure out if this could bring value to your company.

When would you be available for a quick chat?

[SIGNATURE]

In what circumstances should you use it?

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

Why this cold email template is good:

  • 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 cold email template and the previous one is the informal tone, which makes sense when you address a startup owner.

3. Identified challenge

There’s nothing like free targeted value to get a prospect on the phone. This cold email template is inspired by a cold outreach message I received from Matt at Sumo, which led me to eventually becoming a customer. I expand on this email in this article.

It worked particularly well because Matt knew I wasn’t using any conversion optimization tools (he probably used Builtwithand because he knew I had visited Sumo’s website earlier (he probably used Leadfeeder)

Hey {{prospect_first_name}},

I’ve been combing through companies in the [INSERT THEIR INDUSTRY] and I spent some time on your [WEBSITE/STORE/…].  

I love what you’re doing but I can show you 2 or 3 things that could improve [INSERT RELEVANT METRIC] by [PERCENTAGE] in just 15 minutes 🙂

We at {{user_company_name}} have been doing [INSERT WHAT YOU’RE DOING] for [TIME PERIOD] for a bunch of companies like [INSERT LIST OF HAPPY CUSTOMERS] so it made sense to me to reach out and help bring value to {{prospect_company_name}}!

When would you be available for a quick chat?

[SIGNATURE]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You’ve been researching your prospect and you’ve identified a specific area where you can help them

Why this cold email template is good:

  • You catch their attention early
  • You address a challenge they’re probably facing
  • You provide proof
  • You provide a clear call to action, offering help that makes it easy for the recipient to reply

4. Localized approach

Local/brick and mortar businesses have local needs. If you can identify those, not only can you make your offer super relevant, you can also show interest in your prospect’s area and make them feel valued.

Hey {{prospect_firstname}},

I was just in [INSERT PROSPECT LOCATION] last week and I noticed that most businesses in the [INSERT THEIR INDUSTRY] weren’t offering [INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE].

This is too bad because the demand for [INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE] has been increasing by [INSERT PERCENTAGE] over the past [INSERT NUMBER OF YEARS].

We at {{user_company_name}} have been doing [INSERT WHAT YOU’RE DOING] for [INSERT TIME PERIOD] for a bunch of companies like [INSERT RELEVANT HAPPY CUSTOMERS] so it made sense to me to reach out to you to figure out if this could bring value to {{prospect_company_name}}’s customers!

When would you be available for a a quick chat?

[SIGNATURE]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You’re approaching local businesses, whether they’re located in a certain area or they’re catering to a certain area

Why this cold email template is good:

  • Whether you’ve actually been there or not, you show you know the local specificities or your prospect’s location
  • You’re providing a good reason for them to pay attention to what you’re offering
  • You provide proof
  • You casually ask for a call

5. Partnership Offer

Strategic partnerships are a great way for small/medium businesses to reach larger numbers of potential customers in a scalable way. Now how do you reach out to someone who’s as busy as you are and get them on the phone to discuss working together? Here’s a cool cold email template to help you do that:

Hey {{prospect_firstname}},

You have a great [INSERT THEIR COMPANY TYPE: online platform, store…] that [INSERT WHAT IT DOES]; we have a great [INSERT YOUR COMPANY TYPE] that [INSERT WHAT IT DOES].

I think it makes sense for our companies to join forces in some way.

Would you like to talk about it?

Cheers,

[SIGNATURE]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You want to start a partnership with a company whose product/service complements yours

Why this cold email template is good:

  • It’s short
  • You highlight the value of both businesses
  • You leave possibilities open
  • You’re assertive

6.Guest posting

Some companies like Buffer managed to rise and stay on top of their market through content marketing. During their first months, they spent insane amounts of time guest posting to first of all create value but also generate awareness about their brand and improve SEO.

Hey {{prospect_firstname}},

I just read your article about [INSERT SUBJECT], I really like the part about [INSERT TOPIC]!
Do you accept guest posts? If you do, here are a few unique ideas that I think your readers will love:

– [INSERT SUBJECT 1]
– [INSERT SUBJECT 2]
– [INSERT SUBJECT 3]

I’ll format it into a nice Google Doc so you can just drop it in WordPress, so there’s very little work to do on your end 🙂

Are you interested?

Cheers,

[SIGNATURE]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You’re looking to write an article for someone else’s blog

Why this cold email template is good:

  • You’re making it personal by talking about their content
  • You’re getting straight to the point
  • You’re offering several options that are all relevant to the prospect’s audience
  • You’re making it easy for them to respond

7. Link Building

A good way to drive traffic and massively improve SEO that doesn’t require generating tons of fresh content is by placing links in other people’s content. Check out Gabka Koščová’s approach to link building outreach!

Hey {{prospect_firstname}},

Just read your article about [INSERT SUBJECT] from [INSERT DATE]; I really like your take on [INSERT TOPIC]!

I noticed you were talking about how to do [INSERT WHAT YOU DO]. It would be awesome if you could mention and link to {{user_company_name}} since that’s exactly what we’ve been helping companies like [INSERT HAPY CUSTOMERS] do for the past [INSERT COMPANY AGE].

Updating articles as well as outbound links are great for SEO and we’ll be sharing the content with our audience through our newsletter as well as through social media.

What do you think?

Cheers,

[SIGNATURE]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You want to get a link to your website featured on someone else’s website/blog

Why this cold email template is good:

  • You’re making it personal by talking about their content
  • You’re making a direct connection between their content and your link
  • You’re highlighting what’s in it for them, how they’re going to benefit from linking to you

8. Event approach

Trade shows and networking events are always a good opportunity to meet new clients/partners. Once you know who’s going to be there, you should definitely reach out to make those magical conversations happen.

Hey {{prospect_firstname}},

I saw that you were attending [INSERT EVENT NAME]! 

What’s the best way for me to catch you for a quick chat about [INSERT SPECIFIC SUBJECT]? I have a few ideas that I’m sure can be beneficial to {{prospect_company_name}} 🙂

Let me know!

[SIGNATURE]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • You want to meet someone at an upcoming event/trade show

Why this cold email template is good:

  • You’re establishing that both of you will be attending the event
  • You’re offering help/value and not trying to sell anything; just setting up a casual chat

9. New job approach

The start of a new job is the best time to catch someone as a B2B salesperson. Why? Because they probably haven’t chosen the tools/services they’re going to use yet, so there’s your opportunity. Why do you think LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows you to single out people who just started at a certain position?

Hey {{prospect_firstname}},

Congrats on your new job as {{prospect_jobtitle | default: ”}} at {{prospect_company_name}}!

I bet you have a lot on your plate right now but that’s why I’m reaching out. I have a few ideas that could help you with your new responsibilities so you don’t waste any time 🙂

When would you be available for a quick chat?

Cheers,

[SIGNATURE]

In what circumstances should you use it?

  • Your prospect just started a new position

Why this cold email template is good

  • You’re making personal by congratulating them on their new job
  • You’re offering to help them start their new position in the best conditions possible
  • You’re making it easy to respond

10. Break-up email

Ookay this is not an opening email; but it’s such a great break-up email that I decided to include it in the list. When all else fails, this your go-to:

Hey {{prospect_firstname}},

I take it you’re not interested so I’ll stop flooding your inbox 🙂

You probably have a lot on your plate but if you could find a minute to tell me about two or three things that could have convinced you to give this a shot, 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 prospect didn’t respond to your previous emails

Why this cold email template is 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.

It’s not just about the cold email template…

While these cold email 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. Also, keep an open mind about an omnichannel approach; maybe you should follow-up on that cold email with a cold call?

Think of the long run!

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