4 Cold Sales Email Templates That Drive Leads (And Why They Worked)

16 November 2017 by

We talked dozens of founders, sales reps, and consultants, and asked them to share their best cold sales email templates with us.

Among all of the responses we received, we found 4 that stood out to us and had a common theme: They were personalized in some way.

That is, instead of the generic “Let me introduce our company” lines, these had unique takes on personalization. As a result, 2 of the 4 got 80%+ response rates!

But not all 4 were exceptions like that, the other two were more traditional cold sales emails had more typical (but still great) response rates of 6% (outstanding) and 1% (solid for a larger scale cold outbound campaign).

We’ve talked about strategies around personalizing cold emails before. So now in this post, we’re bringing you a deep dive case study into 4 personalized cold email templates you can use.

All four have been used by actual founders or salespeople to sell their services. We’ve included actual quotes from the email’s authors and stats where we had them.

Finally, all of the templates below can be generalized. That is, we’ve included the actual template that the authors used, but after each we analyzed what worked and why so you can take the underlying strategy behind the email and apply it to your own business.

Note: If you want to see if the companies you’re cold emailing are visiting your website, check out Leadfeeder.

Three patterns in the sales email templates

Three themes stood out to us in the four email templates below.

1: All of the emails are personalized

Each email is personalized in some way. That was a key pattern we noticed, and what this list is based on. The authors of the emails unequivocally say this personalization has given them outsized results. And it makes sense. In an inbox of cold emails, an email that is or appears to be slightly less cold wins.

2: Length doesn’t matter

Check out the length difference between the first and second examples below. One is long and the other is extremely short. It doesn’t seem to matter. Obviously, none of them are rambling novels, avoiding that is common sense. But there doesn’t seem to be a trend of only super short email templates.

3: They have a clear value proposition

The product or service offered in the email is extremely intuitive and simple for the recipient to understand. The offers are also clearly tied to the recipient’s business or niche. Here is a summary:

  1. An offer to grow Instagram accounts sent only to Instagram account holders.

  2. An offer to improve user onboarding sent only to founders of B2C SaaS companies

  3. An offer to help tell your story only if you have a story to tell

  4. An offer for quick lawn care, sent only to real estate agents with homes to show

We think the combination of these 3 factors makes these cold email templates outstanding and worth using for any founder or sales rep looking to get higher responses from cold outreach.

1: Personalized Cold Sales Email Template (Using Instagram as an Example)

The Full Email:

cold-sales-email-template-1.jpg

Hello @{FirstName},

I was looking for great content on Instagram and I found your profile and I loved it. I really like your pictures, especially {this one}! I believe your Instagram account should be seen by way more people than {number}.

I am Mark from Liftagram and we organically grow Instagram accounts.

We help brands, bloggers, models, photographers and many other professionals every month. With Liftagram, they’ve gained 94% more followers and 237% more likes than usual.

If you want to grow your followers organically, please visit liftagr.am and you’ll have a 3-day free trial, so you can try our service and see if you are satisfied or not.

ps. We have also a referral program: If you invite a friend, you’ll get 50$ OFF.

Why this cold email works:

As a template this email seems like it’s no big deal. It even seems generic, but the author of it, Alessandro Bogliari, notes that the first paragraph was the hook and it was made to be incredibly personal. As Alessandro puts it, “We made this email really personal, scraping information such as: Instagram username, number of followers and a random picture published on the user account.”

You can use this sort of personalization to reach out to other groups of prospects besides Instagrammers, including other creatives such as YouTubers or bloggers, or even CEOs and managers of larger companies by simply mentioning a specific tweet they sent, article they wrote, or conference talk they gave.

Finally this email, like many others in this list, mentioned a specific value proposition and case study in it: “94% more followers and 237% more likes”. Those are hard numbers the Instagrammer can immediately understand.

As a result Liftagr.am got a 7% on average response rate, which is outstanding for true cold sales emails sent in large numbers consistently. Of course, the above email template needs time spent upfront on the research, btu that time is paid back with a response rate around 7% instead of half a percent or lower.


Example cold email template for you to test:

Subject: Your Instagram account…

Hello @{FirstName},

I was looking for great content on {Instagram, YouTube, or other channels} and I found your profile and I loved it. I really like your {pictures, videos, content}, especially {this one. Link to it}! I believe your {Instagram account} should be seen by way more people than {number}.

I am {Introduce yourself} and we {succinct what you or your company does}.

{Value proposition in one sentence: We help brands, bloggers, models, photographers and many other professionals every month}. {Case study or result in one sentence: With Liftagram, they’ve gained 94% more followers and 237% more likes than usual.}

{Call to action: If you want to grow your followers organically, please visit liftagr.am and you’ll have a 3-day free trial, so you can try our service and see if you are satisfied or not.}

2: Extremely Short Twitter Based Sales Email Template that Gets Responses

cold-sales-email-template-2.png

Hey, NAME. Thanks for sharing that [insert pertinent details] with me on Twitter.

So excited for the [feature/next phase for this product]. How can I support you all with your customer onboarding efforts?

Why this email template works:

We love this template because it flips the idea of sending a cold email on its head.

This template was authored by Val Geisler to reach out to B2C SaaS founders who would be a good fit for her customer onboarding product. Val says she “uses this template at least twice a week and I get a reply 8/10 times”!

An 80% response rate sounds impossible, but the reason response rate is so high is that the email itself is not that “cold”. Instead of having the sales or outreach email be the first touch, she first built a relationship off of email, so she can separate herself from the “dozens of completely cold email outreaches daily” that these founders receive.

As the author explains, “The most important thing here is that I’m not doing completely cold outreach. You can see from the email that I’ve been in touch on Twitter, talking to them, sharing their content or product updates, and letting them know I care.”

“Once that’s done and the foundational relationship is built,” she still doesn’t just email them out of the blue. Instead she, “Gets on their email list. This template is used as a reply to an email they send to their list. Add another point there for caring - they see that I’m on their list.”

Note: That’s why there’s no subject line here, she replies to their welcome email.

That’s how she gets such a high response rate: multiple points of contact, an exchange on Twitter (which has a built culture of interacting with strangers), then getting on their email list, then replying to an email they send from their email list.

This strategy is something many founders and entrepreneurs looking to build their customer list and client base themselves should seriously consider using instead of imitating the tactics of an SDR at a bigger firm that sends hundreds of completely cold, generic emails a day and plays the numbers game.


Example cold email template for you to test:

Hey, NAME. Thanks for sharing that [insert pertinent details] with me on [Twitter, or another channel].

So excited for the [feature/next phase for this product]. How can I support you all with [what your company does].

3. Group-Based Semi-Cold Introduction and Sales Email Template

cold-sales-email-template-3.png

Subject: Quick Intro

Hi {first}, I too am a {group name} member and wanted to reach out.

I run TAR Productions, a video production company connecting you with customers. Are you doing any storytelling or videos right now? We’ve seen some real results when companies share their story as it helps potential customers connect, engage, and ultimately take action.

If you’re interested I’d love to chat about how we can help.

Why this cold email template works:

This has similarities to the Twitter email above but is less involved – the author, Tim Ryan of the video production company TAR productions – simply mentions that he and the recipient are part of the same group.

Similar to the other examples on this list, this instantly changes the dynamic from “cold” to “warm”. Tim also reports getting roughly 80% response rate with this template.

One other characteristic (and similarity to other emails on this list) to point out in this email is that the “pitch” is very soft and natural. He explains what his company does and instead of pitching, he just asks if they are doing anything related. This “natural” soft question stays true to the friendly opening of “Hey, we’re in the same group”.

If instead he opened as though they were friends and then hard sold him like a trained sales rep (“Do you have 15 minutes tomorrow?”) it would be a huge turn off.

Instead Tim stays natural and friendly through the whole email and he told us that beyond the 80% response rate, “the responses were incredible- people loved connecting with other group members.”

For folks in close knit online groups (Tim used this with members of a paid membership group so there was massive credibility), this could work really well.

Finally, Tim mentioned that he also tried subject lines of “Intro” and “Are you doing any storytelling right now” and didn’t get the same results as with the subject line: “Quick Intro”


Example cold email template for you to test:

Subject: Quick Intro

Hi {first},

I too am a {group name} member and wanted to reach out.

I run [Company name], a [succinct what you do phrase]. Are you [ask if they are planning something related to what you do]? We’ve seen some real results [case study that shows results that the prospect would want]

If you’re interested I’d love to chat about how we can help.

4. Extremely Niche Sales Email Template

cold-sales-email-template-4.png

Subject: 2 + properties with lawn care needs?

Hey [Name], Have you ever shown a house and the lawn looked terrible?

Next time you need to get a last minute lawn grooming for one of your properties around San Antonio, check out GreenPal and order competitively priced lawn care in minutes.

*Get bids in minutes

*Review quotes

*Book and Pay from smartphone

It’s also insanely easy to manage your lawn mowing vendors for multiple rental properties and/or your Airbnb’s all from your dashboard.

Why this cold sales email works:

This is the most pure cold sales email in this list. There’s no common group, prior Twitter conversation, or lengthy Instagram research. There’s no prior contact at all – it’s 100% cold. As a result, the response rate is more typical of outbound cold email campaigns: 1%. But those that have sent large numbers of cold emails knows a 1% response rate is often a stellar number.

Despite being more of a traditional “sales pitch”, this email still includes not one but two levels of personalization:

  1. Industry: It’s only sent to real estate agents

  2. Location: It’s only sent to real estate agents in San Antonio

Thus it’s a great example of how you can still including personalization without having to do lengthy manual research on each recipient.

The author of this email is Gene Caballero who owns YourGreenPal.com, a lawn and gardening services platform (users can find service providers). In the email, Gene does that was advocated by Heather Morgan, the sales email consultant and founder of SalesFolk mentioned in a previous article we wrote about email personalization:

*Instead of sending one generic templates to all prospects, he focuses one template on one specific group of prospects. *

In this case real estate agents who want perfectly manicured front yards to show houses. This was no accident, when we talked to Gene about his advice on outbound emails, he said to “be sure to only target a very small influential group of individuals (for us it was realtors)”.

Why?

Because the email focuses on one group, in one location, he can get extremely specific on pain points: “last minute grooming for one of your properties”.

As Gene says, this email is “very niche but very powerful”. We agree, and we think almost any company can learn from it: break up your list into subsets that share the same pain points and personalize your email to those pain points as much as possible.


Example cold email template for you to test:

Subject: [short question about the object or result of value]?

Hey [Name], have you {lead with a question}

Next time you need {present your specific service, note Gene above also mentions their city for extra personalization}, check out {company and value prop}

  • value 1

  • value 2

  • value 3

  • {More value: It’s also insanely easy to manage your lawn mowing vendors for multiple rental properties and/or your Airbnb’s all from your dashboard.}

Note: If you want to see if the companies you’re cold emailing are visiting your website, check out Leadfeeder. You can see the companies that visited in the last 30 days in just a few minutes.

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