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15 Cold Email Templates To Generate More Leads

It’s no secret that templates can make you more efficient at sending cold email campaigns. However, regardless of what you’re using those templates to achieve, less is almost always more.

Sending fewer, more personalized emails generally gets better results – both in the short-term (i.e. in the reply rate) and the long-term (i.e. in your ability to build relationships with prospects). Templates should be used as a starting point to help speed up the process of sending cold call emails, but there’s a balance to be struck between sending an entirely templated campaign (never a good idea) and 100% personalized emails (gets results, but is really inefficient and time-prohibitive).

Below are 15 cold call email templates designed specifically to help you grow your email list and generate more leads via cold email campaigns.

However, for best results, templates should never be pulled from a site and sent as-is – they should always be adapted to fit the tone and style of the sender. This is part of the personalization process, but it also helps ensure that you’re not making the embarrassing mistake of sending the same email as a competitor (even when you’re only competing with them for inbox space).

A cold email template is a skeleton that you need to flesh out. Take the time, and you’ll have created a powerful tool that lets you squeeze every bit of potential out of what is already a massively effective channel: 72% of consumers prefer email for marketing communication, the worldwide average open rate is 24.82%, and 85% of adults in the United States check their email at least once per day. Meanwhile, 89% of marketers list email as their main channel for lead generation.

Cold Call Email Best Practices

Not all email is created equal. There are good examples and bad examples. Just throwing some words together and sending them out do not guarantee success. You need to stack the deck in your favor by remembering a few key best practices discovered via millions of emails sent.

Subject Lines

This is your digital calling card. If it’s weak, generic, or spammy, your recipients will at best delete without opening. At worst? They may report it as spam, and then your sender reputation takes a hit and it becomes exponentially harder to get your message to the right people.

Just how important is the subject line? In a word: extremely.

The only way to find the perfect subject line for your message and audience is to test, track, and tweak. In addition to that, remember:

  1. Keep it short. Too long, and recipients may not see the entire thing in the preview pane. That can be a death sentence. How short? There is no magic number, but somewhere between 30-45 characters is a good rule of thumb. Brian Dean of Backlinko recommends less than 20.
  2. Personalize. Are you more likely to open a generic or personalized email from a stranger? First name, location, company name, or a reference to a previous encounter are just a few ways you can quickly and easily make it about them.
  3. Urgency and exclusivity. A limited-time offer, flash sale, countdown, or “just for you” subject line is bound to perform well because we’re all so worried about missing out. Just make sure you’re genuine – if it’s not really limited-time or exclusive, don’t say it is – because you’ll lose their trust otherwise.
  4. Specificity and usefulness. Does your subject line convey a specific and useful benefit to the recipient? Does it tell them exactly why they should open and read? It should.
  5. Be authentic. Making outrageous claims that you can’t deliver on may get you an open, but it won’t win you a sale. Only promise and promote what you can reasonably expect to deliver.
  6. The “25 Headlines Challenge.”Upworthy knows a thing or two about click-worthy headlines. At one point, their writers were required to generate 25 headlines for each story, helping them to find the diamonds in the rough. Do the same with your emails. Write down 25 subject lines for each, then choose what you believe to be the strongest two and A/B test them to find the best one.

Body Copy

Subject lines may be 80 cents out of your email marketing dollar, but the body copy of the email itself is obviously still important too.

  1. Your opening line. The subject line may earn you an open, but it’s the opening sentence that convinces recipients to keep reading. It should be an extension of your subject line, piquing curiosity and compelling readers to continue. The bottom line? It’s not about you.
    1. Make your opening line about your recipients. Don’t waste your opening line with “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work at such-and-such company.” No one cares.
    2. Clear beats clever every time. What’s in it for them? What pain point can you address? Be specific.
  2. The main body. Your subject line gets you in. Your opening line grabs attention. Your main body needs to deliver on whatever you’ve promised or claimed so far.
    1. Be authentic and real. The best emails are casual and conversational. Write like a human being, for other human beings.
    2. Personalize where you can with demographics, recent announcements, events, or accomplishments, or industry news. There’s a lot of data available, but don’t be a creepy stalker.
    3. Cut to the chase. They don’t know you. Your subject and opening lines have bought you a bit of their time. Don’t waste it. Boomerang recommends a sweet spot of 50-125 words in total, written to third-grade reading level.
  3. One compelling but low-friction ask. One email, one call-to-action. No more, no less. There should be one and only one thing you want your recipient to do with every message you send: watch a short video, schedule a free demo, share a link or resource, arrange a time to chat, and so on. Your CTA should be very low investment and easy to accomplish. Anticipate and remove the obstacles that may prevent someone from saying ‘yes.’ Too many choices or options can lead to selecting none.

The benefit. Your main body copy needs to answer one pivotal question: what’s in it for them? Spell it out. What problem do you solve? Who else have you already helped? Whenever possible, quantify the benefit with concrete numbers: saved an average of $500, reduced acquisition costs by 29%, increased output by 55%, and so on. We respond to concrete stats more than abstract concepts.

15 Cold Email Templates to Test

Start with a template to give you a framework. Then build and expand upon it.

1. Tie your email to a recent event
2. AIDA
3. Be as direct as you can
4. Sujan’s 3-Sentence Format
5 and 6. Ask for an introduction
7. Before-After-Bridge (BAB)
8. Mention a Competitor’s Product
9. Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS)
10. When you’re unsure whether you’re emailing the right person
11. Praise-Picture-Push (PPP)
12 and 13. When you know someone’s been on your website
14. Share a Valuable Resource
15. Rock the Boat

1. Tie your email to a recent event

Subject: Congrats!

Hi [name],

Just saw the news about [trigger event]. Congrats!

Usually when this happens, [insert value prop] becomes a priority. So, I thought you might be interested in finding out how we helped [similar company] [insert benefit].

I know things at [company name] must be crazy now, but If you’d like to learn more, let’s set up a quick call.

How does [specific day and time] look on your calendar? Alternatively, here’s a link to my calendar or feel free to send me yours.

Template from: Replyify

This approach is a winner because it shows you’re not sending out a mass email campaign to every company that might have a small chance of being interested in your product. Instead, you’ve noticed something that they’ve specifically achieved, and have matched that to your product.

2. AIDA

This is a classic copywriting formula that can easily be applied to cold email outreach. AIDA stands for attention-interest-desire-action, and it outlines the steps to include in your main body: grab their attention, outline why it should interest them, build desire, show them how to take action and get the benefit you’ve outlined.

Subject: Time Saving Software

Hi [name],

What would you do with an extra 10 hours each week?

I ask because clients like yourself have seen savings like these – if not more – after adding our software to their tech stacks.

Just ask experts like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, and Malcolm Gladwell, who we’re happy to count as satisfied customers.

I’d love to set up a time to walk you through a personalized demo. Would you have some free time next week to connect?

3. Be as direct as you can

Subject: 10x [prospect’s company’s] traction in 10 minutes

Hello [name],

I have an idea that I can explain in 10 minutes that can get [company] its next 100 best customers.

I recently used this idea to help our client [SaaS company/competitor] almost triple their monthly run rate.

[Name], let’s schedule a quick 10-minute call so I can share the idea with you. When works best for you?

Template from: Heather R Morgan, writing for HubSpot

This template reportedly generated a 57% open rate and a 21% response rate, likely because:

  • The subject line highlights an attractive proposition, but leaves enough to the imagination to make the recipient want to open the email and learn more.
  • It very quickly describes what the sender can offer the prospect (100 new customers) and what they need from them (10 minutes of their time).
  • It uses social proof as evidence of how this proposition has worked for others.

4. Sujan’s 3-Sentence Format

As the name implies, this template takes a more-is-less approach, and it delivers excellent results. You don’t literally have to cut your message down to only three sentences – your intro, description, your ask – but you should try and keep it as close to that number as possible.

Hi [name],

My name is [your name], and I’ll keep this quick.

I’m the founder of a software tool that saves busy executives like you as many as 10 hours each and every week.

Could I have ten minutes of your time next week for a personalized demo that’ll make clear why entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, and Malcolm Gladwell love our product?

5. & 6. Ask for an introduction

Hi [name],

I was looking to get introduced to [person you’re trying to connect with] from [that person’s company], and saw you were connected to them. I’m not sure how well you’re connected to them, but if the relationship is strong, I’d really appreciate an introduction to chat about ways they can work with [your company].

Please let me know if you feel comfortable doing this and I’ll forward a proper request for the introduction that you can forward to them.

Template from: Scott Britton at Life Long Learner

I don’t see this approach used often. In theory that might be a bad sign, but in this case I don’t think it is. We all know that getting a positive response from a prospect is easier if a mutual contact introduces you. This template turns this approach on its head by asking a stranger to initiate the introduction. It won’t work on everyone, but it’s not a huge ask – approach this one in the right way and you might be surprised at the results.

Here’s another template (from the same source) that does a good job of leveraging this approach.

Hey [Name],

Was hoping that you might be able to introduce me to Johnny Dealmaker at Project X?

I wanted to connect with him because our email list targets a similar demographic with limited overlap. Seeing as our products are non-competitive, I wanted to touch base to see if he was up for brainstorming ways to leverage our existing user bases to grow both of our lists.

We did this with Company R in the past, and both parties received a 15% lift in new subscribers.

Any help is much appreciated.

7. Before-After-Bridge (BAB)

This structure comes courtesy of the good folks over at Buffer. The gist of it is to quickly get recipients imagining their lives after using your product or service. Simple, but effective. The idea is to paint a picture of life before your solution, life after it, and how to get from one to the other.

Hi [name],

If you’re like most executives, you know how frustrating it can feel to have your time wasted.

Our software changes that, freeing up as many as 10 hours each week for clients like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, and Malcolm Gladwell.

If you’d be willing to give me just ten minutes of your time, I’ll show you how you can achieve the same with our innovative platform. What’s the best time to connect next week for a personalized demo?

8. Mention a competitor’s product

Hi [Name],

Just ran across your website and noticed you were using [Your competitor’s product]. How are you liking it? I run a [service] called [your company].

It’s just like [your competitor’s product], only [key differentiator]. If you’re up for it, I would love to jump on a quick call with you and get your opinion on how we could make [prospect’s company] better (and see if it would make sense for us to work together).

Would [date and time] be a good time for you? (If not, I’m flexible, just let me know)

Template from: Bryan Harris of VideoFruit

This approach targets prospects who are using a product similar to your own, which means you can safely assume they may be interested in using your product instead. All you need to do is highlight your product’s USP to show why it’s a better choice for the prospect than the product they’re currently using.

9. Problem-Agitate-Solve (PAS)

Obstacles and challenges are frustrating, irritating, annoying, and often costly. This template leverages that be throwing a spotlight on your prospect’s pain points. It highlights the problem facing the recipient, agitates and emphasizes the pain, and then offers a solution to eliminate or reduce.

Hi [name]

When’s the last time you finished everything on your daily to-do list?

If you’re like most busy executives, you’re constantly struggling to stay on top of everything – let alone be the effective leader you need to be.

Our software helps motivated entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, and Malcolm Gladwell save as much as ten hours per week that can be directed back at your top priorities.

I’d love to give you a personalized demo. When are you free next week?

10. When you’re unsure whether you’re emailing the right person

Send something like this…

Hi [name],

I’m [your name] and I lead the business development efforts at [your company]. We have recently launched a new solution that [one sentence pitch – what your solution does].

Based on your online profile [mention profile link], it appears that you might be the right person, or at least point me to the right person to talk about [problem solved by your product]

I’d like to speak to someone from [company name] who is responsible for [key decision required to buy or use your product].

If it’s you, would you be open to a 10-minute call on [time and date] to discuss how [solution name] can help your business? If it’s not you, can you kindly point me to the appropriate person?

Thank you for the help!

Template from: Sreeram Sreenivasan at Ubiq

I’m guessing that, like me, you receive tons of emails that ask you to point the sender in the right direction. I’ll also bet that you almost never respond.

That’s because these sorts of emails rarely give you a reason to help the sender out. The example above bucks this trend. It demonstrates that you’ve at least done a bit of research into who you’re contacting, and have matched your product to their business model – you’re just not 100% sure whether the person you’re reaching out to is the best person to deal with.

11. Praise-Picture-Push (PPP)

A little sincere flattery never hurts, especially if you can use it to reinforce how much recipients could be accomplishing with your solution. Enter PPP. Start with a genuine compliment about a recent achievement or accomplishment, paint a rosy picture of all they could achieve on a regular basis with your product, and then encourage and compel them to take action.

Hi [name],

Congrats! I just saw that you were chosen as a speaker for the 2019 Inbound Marketing conference next month.

As you’re preparing for your presentation, it’s natural to fall behind on other tasks. If you’re struggling to keep up, I’d love to show you how our software can help you reclaim ten hours or more per week.

Can I have ten minutes of your time next week to give you a personalized demo?

12. & 13. When you know someone’s been on your website

Hi [ Name],

You recently visited [website] and [took this action].

If you’re interested in [content topic] then I can recommend the following additional resources:

  • [relevant resource 1]
  • [relevant resource 2]

Our company also offers [product/service] which could help you [achieve this specific result or statistic].

Are you free for a call tomorrow at [give 2 possible times] to discuss this further?

Template from: Contact Monkey

This one isn’t targeted towards an entirely cold lead, since the prospect’s completed an action on your site resulting in you capturing their email address. However, since there isn’t any indication that they’re actually interested in talking to or buying from you, it’s close enough to a cold lead.

It’s also something you should be leveraging when the opportunity arises. Don’t add prospects who arrive through your website to a mass email list – send them a personalized email that acknowledges the actions they’ve taken on your site, as in the template above.

Not sure about that template? Here’s a similar alternative from the same source:

Hi [Name],

Thanks for [taking this action] on [website]. Are you looking for a cost-effective way to [achieve this result relevant to content topic]?

I have done some research on [lead company name] and I can offer some advice regarding [area 1] and [area 2].

Do you have time for a call tomorrow at [give 2 possible times] to discuss a solution for your company?

14. Share a Valuable Resource

Above all else, you want to be seen as an asset to your recipients. You want to provide value to them every time they chose to open one of your emails. One of the quickest ways to do that is to share valuable and highly relevant resources with them.

Subject: Thought you might like this article

Hi [name],

You’re latest article on [subject] got me thinking.

I found this article on [article title] that may be beneficial to you and your team.

Here’s the link to check it out – [link]

Hope you find it helpful. Keep up the great work.

15. Rock the Boat

It’s easy to fall into familiar routines. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it sometimes prevents us from seeing or exploring new and potentially better ways of doing things.

A well-timed challenge to the status quo can produce big results. No one has the time to stay on top of all the trends, developments, tools, and tricks in their industry. So do that for them. Find – or be – a new tool or product they may not have heard about yet, and share it with them.

Hi [name],

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

We help busy executives free up time for higher priorities.

I wanted to learn what productivity tools you’re currently using and show you what we’re working on.

Are you available for a brief call next week?

Ultimately, remember that a template is a starting point. It’s not a finished product, but it does provide the bones you need to supercharge your outreach. Try these 15 to see what works and what’s relevant for you and your audience.

Do you have a go-to cold email template that you’d be willing to share with our other visitors? If so, leave it in the comments below: