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8 Proven Cold Email Templates & Frameworks That Get Replies

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8 Proven Cold Email Templates & Frameworks That Get Replies

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November 4, 2020

If your cold emails aren’t getting replies, something has to change.

The problem could be in your prospecting process. If the people you’re emailing aren’t qualified for your product/service, then you can’t expect to get replies.

But if you have done your qualification, the problem could lie in your emails.

We’re often told that we have to send thousands of cold emails to see any results, but this leads to problems. Your email copy will end up being generic, catering to the many instead of the few.

If you cut corners, you’ll end up sending cold emails that:

  1. Don’t resonate with your prospects
  2. Don’t get replies

Good news, that can be fixed.

Writing a good cold email isn’t hard, but if you haven’t done much outbound sales work before, it can be daunting.

We’ll look at:

  • Why Good Cold Emails Matter
  • Cold Email Best Practices
  • 8 Cold Email Templates and Frameworks That Get Replies
  • Common Cold Email Mistakes to Avoid

Sounds good?

Let’s jump in.

Why Good Cold Emails Matter

Cold email is highly targeted, personal, and, most importantly, effective.

You can reach decision-makers without going through gatekeepers or spending weeks perfecting your complicated inbound marketing system.

However, the barrier to entry is extremely low. Anyone with an email address can send one. Over 300 billion emails are sent every single day.

So, you need to stand out.

If your prospect can see that your pitch isn’t relevant to them or you’re clearly just fishing for a sale without trying to engage with them first, you’ll get ignored.

Luckily, we’re going to help you write cold emails that are actually effective. They’ll be the type of emails your prospects will actually read and be happy to reply to.

That said, all of these templates will rely on you customizing them to fit your unique business and customer type. It will be obvious to your prospects if you’re not.

Cold Email Best Practices

First, let’s take a look at some best practices. These are all essential ingredients to a good cold email template.

If you can master these and use them in every cold email you write, you won’t even need to look at templates. 

Write a Simple Subject Line

Your subject line matters. But, don’t focus all of your energy on it. Most people will open your email as long as the subject line is coherent.

Here are some of our favorite tips for cold email subject lines:

  • Keep it simple and brief
  • Ask a question
  • Mention their company name
  • Make it clear why you’re emailing
  • Use just one word

If your subject line is in line with those suggestions, you’ll be good to go.

Want to learn more about writing effective subject lines? Check out our recent post on it here.

Keep It Brief

When you cold email someone, you’re asking for their time and attention.

Keep your emails short and get straight to the point. 

No one wants to read a paragraph of fluff before you get to the real reason you’re emailing.

A simple rule is to write emails that you’d be happy to receive if someone cold emailed you. If you felt that they were wasting your time, you’d be less likely to respond. 

But, if they proved that they’ve done their research, mention a problem you’re already having, and then propose a simple next step, you’re more likely to hit Reply.

Make It Personal

Research is key in cold emailing.

The more time you spend researching your prospect, their pain points, and their motivations, the more likely you are to write an email that they actually want to read.

You’ve probably received bad cold emails in the past. It’s easy to spot when someone is sending the same template to 500 people or using a single merge tag to insert a link to your website.

When you’re starting out, consider writing every email manually. It takes time, but you’ll get in the habit of writing genuinely personalized emails.

Don’t Make Your Prospect Think Too Much

Your cold email should be simple. Your prospect doesn’t want to spend time deciphering what you mean. If you confuse them, they’re going to move on to the next email waiting in their inbox.

Every cold email you send should have one key focus throughout. 

This could be:

  • Get a Yes/No reply
  • Schedule a call
  • Invite them on your podcast

Don’t ask multiple questions in the same email. Pick one.

Get Your Mindset Right

Don’t treat your emails as another marketing campaign. Treat them as what they are – emails to individual people.

If you’re too focused on scale, you’ll dilute your email copy. It’ll be obvious to your prospect that you’re sending them the same email that hundreds of other people received.

Using QuickMail you can easily personalize your emails as much as you’d like. Test out customized introductions, custom “P.S.” before the end of your email, and anything else that will help your email be personalized.

There’s Money In the Follow-Ups

Your opening cold email could be perfectly written, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a reply.

Make sure to schedule multiple follow-ups. Studies have found that scheduling follow-ups can 3x reply rates, so it’s worth trying.

It’s not uncommon for someone to miss or ignore the first email you send. Often they’ll be happy to respond if you’re politely persistent.

In QuickMail, for example, you’ll do that by adding another email step to a campaign.

Keep your follow-ups simple, add at least three days between each email, and you’re good to go.

Don’t Break The Law

This should go without saying… but don’t break the law.

There are a variety of laws applying to email marketing in different countries and jurisdictions around the world, including the GDPR, CAN-Spam, and the LGPD.

Ensure you’re sourcing emails legitimately, and only sending emails to people with a legitimate interest in what you’re selling. 

8 Cold Email Templates and Frameworks That Get Replies

Ask a Quick Question

Your prospect won’t waste time reading and replying to a long email. Keep things simple and ask a quick question that they can answer in ten seconds.

The key thing to remember is that if you promise it will be quick, it has to be.

If someone opens your email expecting a simple question, but you’ve included long paragraphs and multiple questions, they’re not going to keep reading.

Subject:Quick question about {{company.name}}’s webinars

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

Really enjoyed {{company.name}}’s latest webinars, going to be testing out some of those tips in my next campaign.

I help companies turn their webinar recordings into white-papers, blog posts, and short clips for social media.

Is that something you’d be interested in?

Thanks,
{{inbox.signature}}

Show You’ve Done Your Research

People can tell when you’re sending a templated email. Stand out by doing your research on every prospect and writing a highly personalized email. 

For example, in the template below, you can see that research has gone into it. The sender knows that:

  1. A company just made new hires
  2. They haven’t received outside funding
  3. They’re a Founder/CEO

Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to send longer emails – personalization can be done well with just a few sentences.

Subject:Help with {{company.name}}’s sales process?

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

Saw your LinkedIn post mentioning that you’ve just hired two new sales reps. Congrats on the growth.

Considering you haven’t taken outside funding, I thought it’d be worth sending this blog post I recently published on Building a Sales System at Bootstrapped Companies.

I also run a course where I show Founders and CEOs how to build a high-performing sales culture.

Want me to send you the course link?

Best,
{{inbox.signature}}

Saw You In the News

As Dale Carnegie says, “talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours”. If a company has been in the press, the CEO/Founder will be feeling good about it. 

Most will be happy to hear from people congratulating them as it’s a major milestone for their business.

Subject:Congrats on opening your new location in {{city}}

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

Saw in {{publication}} that you just opened a new office in {{city}}. Great choice, lots of great people and companies in this area!

We help companies like {{company.name}} get more bookings through Google Ads. One of our clients saw a 5x increase in conversions after we made some updates to their existing campaigns.

Is that something you need help with?

Best,
{{inbox.signature}}

P.S. You only pay us if we get results, so there’s no real downside!

Aggravate a Pain Point

People need help to deal with important problems every day. If you can help someone solve a pain point, you’re going to have a great shot at getting a reply to your cold email outreach. 

As long as you know your ideal customer well enough, it shouldn’t be hard to find a pain point you can solve for them.

Subject:Need help to hire a ?

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

Saw that you’re hiring a {{job title}} and wanted to check to see if you’ve filled that yet?

If not, I run a job board focused on helping companies like {{company.name}} hire awesome candidates.

Want to post your job there?

Best,
{{inbox.signature}}

Schedule a Call

If you run an agency or similar service/product with a high upfront cost, most prospects will want to chat before giving you their bank details. 

Asking to schedule a call as your call-to-action is an effective way to show your prospect that you’re willing to move quickly and want to provide a personalized sales experience. 

Nathan Latka uses this framework to get people on his podcast – check out an example campaign in our gallery here.

Subject:{{prospect.first_name}}, 15 minutes on {{day}}?

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

I run a podcast on {{prospect’s industry}} and would love to mention {{company.name}}.

However, I had a few questions about your main growth channels – do you have 15 minutes to talk on {{day}} to clarify a few things for me?

I’ll be sending the podcast episode out to my email list, so it would be a great way to get in front of people in your target audience.

If that sounds good, here’s a link to my calendar – grab a time that works for you.

Best,
{{inbox.signature}}

Build a Relationship

If you’re looking to grow your network, cold email is a great way to do so. Reach out with the intention of starting a genuine conversation and most people will be happy to reply. 

Ask a question about something interesting they’ve done recently, or share a story you think they’ll care about. 

Remember, you still have to provide value if you expect someone to take time out of their day to reply.

Subject:Follow up after your talk at {{event}}

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

Saw your talk at {{event}} back in August, thanks for sharing your knowledge, particularly found your points on {{subject}} interesting.

As someone in a similar industry to yours, I’ve already tested a few of your suggestions and seen great results.

Do you have 20 minute to grab a coffee sometime in the next few weeks?

Thanks,
{{inbox.signature}}

Pitch Your Company as a Competitor Alternative

Highlighting your company as a good alternative to an existing product someone uses shows you’ve done your research, and is a great way to start a sales email.

Here’s an example of a cold email template pitching your product as a competitor alternative.

Subject:How is {{competitor}} working for {{company.name}}?

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

Saw that you’re using [your competitor] on your website for customer support.

[your competitor] is a great product, and I hope you’re seeing good results with their software.

I run a product that’s similar to [your competitor], but we’ve added features to help with [X].

Our customers that migrated from [your competitor] have managed to cut their support tickets in half thanks to our smart automations.

Thanks,
{{inbox.signature}}

P.S. I know switching customer support tools sounds like a major project – that’s why we offer a free service to move all of your existing data over from [your competitor].

Pitch an Irresistible Offer

If you know you can help a prospect with something, tell them. 

Don’t try to pretend you’re not here to sell if you are. If your value proposition is good enough, it’ll be an easy decision for your prospect to reply. This works particularly well for agencies and SaaS companies with proven processes.

Subject:3x {{company.name}}’s Facebook Ad ROI

Hi {{prospect.first_name}},

Saw that you’re running Facebook Ads for {{company.name}} and thought you might be interested in {{your company}}.

We help companies like {{company.name}} get more customers by improving their Facebook Ads. A customer we recently worked with saw a 3x ROI increase in under a month.

Do you have time to chat this week?

Best,
{{inbox.signature}}

Common Cold Email Mistakes to Avoid

So, we’ve looked at best practices and cold email templates that you can use in practice.

However, it can also be useful to have a guideline on what not to do. Charlie Munger said it’s easier to be “not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent”. The same rings true for cold email.

Your cold emails won’t win you awards, and won’t get framed on your prospects’ desk. Your emails are a way to start a conversation with someone you’ve never met before – that’s it.

With that said, here are a few ways to avoid sending a cold email that doesn’t work. 

Don’t Use Generic and Canned Phrases

If you don’t put effort into your cold email, it’ll be instantly obvious.

Avoid using generic phrases that could apply to anyone. Don’t use generic phrases like:

  • Congratulations on your growth!
  • Really like your product/service…
  • Need help with sales, marketing, or SEO?
  • Big fan…

You could put those sentence fragments into any cold email and they’d make it worse.

They’re not personalized, not specific, and won’t resonate with anyone.

No Clear Call-To-Action

Another common mistake is missing a clear call-to-action.

If you want to show your prospect that you respect their time, you have to make things easy for them.

A few call-to-actions that work are:

  • Ask a simple open-ended question (“Does that sound interesting?”)
  • Schedule a time to talk (“Do you have 15 minutes this week?”)
  • Say what action they need to take (“If that sounds interesting, click here to sign up for the webinar”)

Keep it simple.

Not Qualifying Your Prospect

The number #1 mistake most cold emailers make is that they forget to qualify their prospects. 

This is where you should be spending the most effort. Finding prospects that match your ICP and who you know you can help.

If you’ve built a prospect list effectively, writing your cold email should come naturally.

Creating Custom Cold Email Templates with QuickMail

If you need a way to send customized cold outreach emails at scale, QuickMail is for you.

QuickMail lets you import prospects, write, schedule, and seed emails, all from one place.

You’ll never have to worry about manually following up and your productivity will massively increase thanks to the ability to customize emails at scale using merge tags and manage multiple inboxes from one place.

It’s the perfect way to grow your company using outbound sales. Start your free trial today.

Finally, if you want to check our more cold outreach templates, check out some of the best ones we’ve received from other companies here.

 

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