7 cold email templates that skyrocket response rates

Cold emailing is a powerful tool for generating leads and making sales. In fact, a recent census by Econsultancy found that email showed the highest ROI out of all other marketing and sales channels. It is no surprise, therefore, that over 89% of marketers already use email as their primary source of lead generation.

Why are cold emails such an important part of a sales strategy? Because email provides a direct link to your prospects. Today’s consumers are getting most of their information and products online, and 99% of them check their email every day.

Sending an email is simply an effective way to gain visibility with digital-age consumers. Unfortunately, getting a prospect to actually respond to a cold email is no easy task.

To help you crack the code, we’ve put together seven cold email templates that will skyrocket response rates, generate a ton more leads and boost conversion rates.

#1: Quick question… (asking for a referral)

Use this template when you aren’t sure if you have the right contact. You’ve done your research, found a big-fish company your product would be perfect for but can’t identify the right person to contact.

Keep this email as short as possible and get to the point quickly. The less time your reader has to commit to your email, the more likely they are to take a quick moment to respond.

Template:

Good afternoon {first name},

Could you tell me who handles decisions in the {sales/customer relationship/product buying} department and how I may connect with them?

Thank you in advance,

{insert signature here}

Why it skyrockets response rates: The “quick question” template has a high response rate because it asks very little of your recipient. You aren’t trying to sell anything; all you’re asking for is an email address or phone number. This is effective because people are more likely to respond to a request that requires little to no effort on their part.

Additionally, acknowledging that you are unsure of whether or not you have the right contact helps humanize your email, making the recipient more likely to empathize with you and want to help.

When to use it: This cold email template is useful when reaching out to a larger company that doesn’t have a clear point-of-contact. Use it to ensure you’ve got the attention of the right person before taking the time to craft the perfect pitch.

#2: Third-party connection

On the other hand, let’s say you do know who the right contact is but are having trouble reaching them directly or getting a response. LinkedIn, Twitter, directories and other social media are great resources for finding employees slightly further down the chain of command. Use their contact information and the third-party cold email template to gain access to your prospect indirectly.

Template:

Hi {first name},

I came across your name on {source} and was wondering if you could help me out.

I have a solution for {industry problem or pain point} that I think {company name} could really benefit from, but I’m having trouble connecting.

Who is the right person to discuss this opportunity with, and how may I reach them?

I appreciate your time.

{insert signature here}

Why it skyrockets response rates: Lower-level employees are apt to present a profitable opportunity to their employer in the hopes it moves them further up the chain of command. In this scenario, your email is their opportunity to do just that, which makes a response likely. Furthermore, calling out an employee by name puts pressure on them to get your message to the right person. No one wants to be the employee who dropped the ball on a good opportunity.

When to use it: The third-party template is a cold email strategy used to gain access to a hard-to-reach prospect via a lower-level employee. Use this template when you are struggling to reach or get a response from your prospect directly.

#3: PAS: Problem, Agitate, Solve

The PAS cold email template is a three-part formula:

  1. Problem: Start by identifying a problem specific to the customer you are cold emailing. Twitter, Google, Yelp, Facebook and other user-driven sites are ideal for pinpointing a problem your recipient may be struggling with.
  2. Agitate: Now that you’ve identified the problem, poke at it a little. Try and evoke an emotional response from the reader by reinforcing why their problem is so frustrating.
  3. Solve: Offer a solution to the problem. The goal is to convince the reader that your product or service is a no-brainer solution that makes all their problems go away. Make sure this section includes a clear and low-commitment CTA.

Template:

Hi {first name},

I noticed your company has some negative reviews about poor customer service.

It’s incredibly frustrating to lose customers because of lost tickets, lack of tools and disorganization in the support department.

{Product} integrates all of your customer data into one centralized place, allowing you to easily track, manage and measure customer interactions no matter the channel.

Would you like to hear more about how {product} can turn those negative reviews into loyal, satisfied customers?

{insert signature here}

Why it skyrockets response rates: The opening line of this email example is personalized and shows the reader you’ve done your research. More importantly, pointing out a flaw or problem your reader has is highly motivating. They don’t want their weaknesses to be known by the general public, which is why the PAS formula has such a high response rate. Your reader will be desperate to fix the problem, and they’ll have an easy solution right in front of them.

When to use it: Make sure you’ve done your research before using a PAS email. It’s most effective once you’ve clearly identified a prospect’s pain point that you know you have a “no-brainer“ solution to.

#4: AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

Social proof, data and intrigue are what make the AIDA formula successful. Let’s look at an example of a cold email using the AIDA template backed by real data.

Template:

Hi {first name},

What if a {product} could help you {solve a problem}?

In one year’s time, we helped {company name} achieve a {x%} increase in sales after implementing {product name}.

In addition to an increase in sales, {product name} helped {company name} improve their overall workflow, increase efficiency, reduce response rate time and improve customer satisfaction from {A%to B%}.

I’d love to talk to you about how {product name} could help your company increase sales and improve workflow. Do you have time to connect this week?

{insert signature here}

Why it skyrockets response rates: The data and social proof should be relevant to your cold email prospect. For example, if your prospect is part of an enterprise company that sells home improvement tools online, your use case should reflect a similar brand model.

The opening line should grab the attention of and intrigue your lead with a thought-provoking and attractive scenario (attention). The second line is designed to keep the reader interested by offering a tidbit of social proof or data that supports your opening statement (interest). Next, peak your lead’s desire by offering even more social proof (desire).

The “attention,” “interest” and “desire” sections of AIDA will keep your reader hooked throughout the email, envious of the social proof you’ve presented and eager to achieve the same success. The last piece of the AIDA formula (action) should address the question, “Ok, I’m convinced. What do I do next?”

When to use it: Use the AIDA method when your cold email prospect is with a data-driven brand. Find out what is important to your prospect on a professional level. If your product is a match for that prospect, presenting attractive data from a successful use case will motivate your reader to respond.

#5: Don’t beat around the bush

Sometimes the direct approach is the best approach. This is especially true for busy executives and no-nonsense brands. Get right to the point by identifying a scenario or problem common to your prospect. Without any added fluff, present the reader with concrete data that proves your product is the logical solution.

Template:

Hi {first name},

Is your customer support system actually losing you money?

We’ve helped large companies like yours lower support costs by {x%} and improve overall sales by {xy%} in less than a year.

All we did was integrate their entire, company-wide support system into one efficient, easy-to-manage workflow called {product name}.

It’s quick, easy to set up and requires no onboarding at all. Do you have time this week to discuss how {product name} could boost your sales?

{insert signature here}

Why it skyrockets response rates: The opening line is the perfect hook for a busy prospect: short, attention-grabbing and engaging. In this case, the cold email caters specifically to the no-nonsense mind of your prospect. You get straight to the point, provide proof and leave your prospect with a low-commitment CTA that fits their schedule. Use a cold email following this example, and you’ll see your response rates skyrocket.

When to use it: This approach is also highly effective for eliciting responses from busy professionals. It quickly answers the question, “what’s in it for me?”, and provides proof to back it up.

#6: Paint a picture

Convince a prospect that your product will directly improve their world by first painting a picture of what your prospect’s life currently looks like without your product. Make sure whatever scenario you present is realistic to your prospect.

Next, paint a picture of that same scenario, only this time with your product. What’s changed? How has your solution made their life so much better?

Template:

Hi {first name},

Nothing is more frustrating than losing a great candidate because you can’t find their resume, interview history or contact information.

Imagine a world where all of that information is organized in one simple, easy-to-find place? {Product name} is that place.

Do you have time this week for a quick demo to see how it works?

{insert signature here}

Why it skyrockets response rates: Cold emails are only effective if the product you’re presenting makes sense to the reader. And by that I mean, they need to know how the product will directly benefit them.

The “paint a picture” format is a shortcut to getting your prospect to the “Aha” moment as quickly as possible. If they can envision having a better, easier or more productive life with your product, they’ll only have one question left: “Where do I sign up?”

When to use it: Some people may have a harder time understanding how your product works in a practical sense. This cold email option answers that question with a real-world example.

#7: Offer something useful

Everyone loves receiving valuable and useful resources for free. Cold emailing is the perfect platform for building a relationship with a prospect. The key is to give something valuable without asking for something in return.

A good tip is to do some initial research on your prospect. What are they sharing on social media? What are they interested in learning about? Use that information to your advantage.

Template:

Hi {first name},

I stumbled upon a post you wrote on {social media site} about {topic or post}. I thought your points were spot on!

{Insert main takeaways from the piece and how you found them helpful.}

Did you see {article} by {name} on a similar topic?

{insert signature here}

Why it skyrockets response rates: As I stated earlier, everyone loves to receive valuable resources for free. Additionally, praise and flattery can go a long way toward eliciting a positive response from your prospect.

Finally, you aren’t asking for anything in return. You’re just both excited about the same things and are starting what could be a profitable relationship for both of you. Humans inherently like to connect with one another over shared interests, which is why this template has such a high response rate.

When to use it: We recommend using this template when your goal is establishing rapport with a prospect. Perhaps you know that your recipient is going to be a hard sell or is more likely to do business with someone they already have a relationship with. This template helps you get there.

Start cold emailing today with a cold email template

Feel free to copy and paste a cold email template for your own use, but don’t forget to customize each one! Carefully reread every cold email before you send to check all merge tags and personalized information have been updated. Otherwise, response rates are likely to plummet.

One more thing: Crafting an engaging and compelling subject line is a vital piece of the cold email puzzle. Make sure you stay out of spam by avoiding flagged trigger words, and don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at the type of subject lines that are working for other cold emailers, and A/B test away!

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