26 Cold Email Templates Broken Down To Help You Write Your Own

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Dmitry Dragilev Last updated on July 21, 2017 35 Comments

People keep telling me cold email is dead.

“It’s SPAM! Stick a fork in it. Within five years, something new is going to replace email.”

I’ve heard this complaint too many times.

I disagree.

Email isn’t dead, it’s just changing.

Everything I’ve achieved in my career, I’ve achieved … through cold email.

I took a startup from 0 to 40M page views and sold it to Google … through cold email.

I helped another startup get acquired by AVG … through cold email.

I’ve had over 1,400 articles published in respected news outletsthrough cold email.

I’ve worked with Tim Ferriss, of The 4-Hour Workweek, Matt Mullenweg, of WordPress, and the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler … through cold email.

I grew a blog from zero to over 20,000 subscribers in two years, earning me $100K, when I launched my PRThatConverts.com coaching … through cold email.

Master cold email, and you’ll never be short of opportunities.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to learn all this from scratch. Others have spent countless hours figuring out cold email. I only had to borrow their strategies and hit send.

Now it’s my turn to show you how to adopt the same strategies that have helped me gain success and get replies.

In fact, I’ll not only share the email templates and resources, but I’m also going to tell you exactly why they work.

Strap in. This will be a long (and fun) ride.

Ready? Lets roll! If you’re in a hurry, jump to a section using this table of contents:

What is Cold Email?

Cold email is anything sent to a potential client who doesn’t have an existing relationship with you.

If you send a message to a startup founder after finding their email on a website, it’s cold email.

If you send a journalist a message through a publicly available email address, it’s cold email.

If you email an influencer you’ve never met asking for feedback on an article, it’s cold email.

Cold email usually has these characteristics:

  • It uses your real name.
  • It includes your contact information, including job title, website, social media profiles and phone number.
  • It’s personalized for the recipient.
  • It makes a specific request.
  • It’s intended to start a conversation rather than prompt a quick action.
  • It’s usually sent from one business to another, or from one individual to a public figure, such as a journalist, influencer, or editor.
  • It doesn’t always have a commercial motive.

Cold email is essentially a one-to-one email. Think of it as a cold call, but far less intrusive and annoying.

A cold email is like sending an email to a business acquaintance, except the recipient doesn’t necessarily know you that well, or at all.

You’d send cold emails to get guest posting guidelines from editors, to get feedback from an influencer, or to start a conversation with a potential client.


Cold Email versus Spam

One of the first questions my students asked me is, “How is cold email different from spam?”

Cold email and spam are polar opposites.


  • Uses a fake name
  • Doesn’t include contact information
  • Isn’t personalized, the same email is sent to several people
  • It’s not meant to start a conversation. Rather, it’s usually targeting a direct purchase.
  • Has a commercial motive.

Spam is an example of a “one-to-many” email. You know it when you see it.

For example, a few days ago I received this email:

Can you see all the tell-tale signs of spam? This email doesn’t address me by name, nor is it customized.

It doesn’t have a specific request, just a generic, “Let me know if you’re interested.”

Finally, there isn’t any contact information. I have no idea whom the senders are or what they represent.

Compare that example with a cold email I sent out a few days ago for feedback on a potential guest post:

Can you see the differences?

This cold email addresses the recipient directly, has a highly specific and relevant ask, and even mentions a common contact. I’m not trying to push a product or get them on the phone for a hour long chat.

The real world equivalent of this email would be saying “hi” to a friend of a friend you bumped into at a conference. It isn’t pushy, it isn’t annoying and it is perfectly reasonable as long as your ask is minimal (“buy my product!” = bad ask. “let’s get coffee sometime!” = good ask).

This is my “sniff test” for spam vs. cold email as well. Before you send out a cold email, ask yourself: would you be comfortable saying this if you met someone at a conference for the first time?

If the answer is no, then it’s likely spam.

If it’s not, it’s cold email.

Do keep in mind that spam is illegal. Send one too many spam emails and you will run afoul of CAN SPAM laws.


Cold Email vs. Unsolicited Email

Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is the official term for spam used by FTC.

UCE can range from a sales email (like the example above) to a newsletter from a company you’ve never heard of before. If you didn’t explicitly give permission to be emailed (such as opting into a form) and it meets the spam criteria above, you can classify that email as UCE or unsolicited email.

Technically, cold email is unsolicited as well. However, because it has appropriate header information, is personalized and usually gives value to the recipient, it might not come under the UCE definition as set by FTC.


Is Cold Email Covered Under Spam Laws?

It’s always tricky figuring out whether an email falls under the CAN SPAM laws.

As per FTC, all emails can contain three types of information:

  • Commercial content, such as selling a product, promoting a sale, etc.
  • Relationship or transactional content, such as a bank sending its customer a bank statement, an e-commerce store sharing transaction details, or a blogger sending a message to his list of subscribers.
  • Other content, which can range from personal content to mixed (relationship + commercial) content.

According to FTC’s regulations, the purpose of an email decides whether it needs to comply with spam laws. If the email is primarily commercial – or is deemed to be so by the recipient – it has to comply with spam laws.

A well-crafted cold email might have a commercial tilt, but it also offers significant value to the recipient. This helps it avoid falling into the spam category.


Cold Email Best Practices

While I’ll share a number of cold email templates below, there are still a few best practices you must keep in mind.

Think of these as “spam signals”. The more of these best practices you follow, the less likely your email will be seen as spam:

1. Use correct headers

The “email header” tells the recipient who the email is coming from.

This is bad:

Always use your own name and personal email address when sending cold email. This shows that you are a real person, not some random business sending unsolicited spam.


2. Use the recipient’s first name

This is the easiest way to show that you didn’t just find a list of emails and spam them – use the recipient’s first name.

A Hi {First Name} goes a long way towards making you sound more authentic.


3. Make it relevant to the recipient

One of the biggest indicators of a spam email is irrelevancy. Spam emails seldom address the specific needs of the recipient; they just send out the same message to everyone, regardless of their requirements.

Always ensure that your email has at least something of relevance and value to the recipient.


4. Don’t talk about yourself too much

A lengthy introduction makes for a bad email. Not only does it make your emails harder to read, it also makes it sound more like spam. You don’t have to tell them that you  are “John Doe from Acme Industries, the leading manufacturer of comically oversized gadgets for wily coyotes”.

The only time you should even use an introduction is if you are mentioning a common contact.


5. Match the subject line with the email body

The FTC is quite clear about this in its guidelines. Spammers have abused subject line – email body mismatch for years just to get emails opened. You might have even seen these in your spam folder – subjects like “Heard rumors about you”, “Dear friend”, etc.

Avoid these at all costs. Tell recipients exactly what they’re going to get in the email body right in the subject lines.


6. Don’t use obviously copy-pasted text

Modern email clients preserve formatting when you copy-paste from one document to another . Try copy-pasting the last sentence to a new Gmail message and see for yourself.

If you have obviously copy-pasted text because of formatting, the recipients will be able to see it from a mile away and send you straight to the spam folder.


7. Add your contact info to the signature

Name, website, social media profiles, position  in the company, phone numbers – these are the bare minimum you should have in your signature. If you can add a photograph, that’s great too.

Basically, show the recipient that you are a real person.


8. Track your emails

If you get too many emails being left unopened, it’s a sign that either your copy or your value proposition isn’t right.

Use tracking to get email performance, then fine-tune to improve delivery.


You’ll understand these best practices better after you’ve gone through the email templates below:


1. The $3,000 contract email

Bryan Harris, who used to coach me, is an absolute beast when it comes to cold email. He gets a response rate you and I can only dream of. Fortunately, he also likes to share what he does with his readers. Which is why we have gems like Bryan’s email:

cold email bryan harris


There’s so much to love here:

  1. Bryan states clearly that not only is he familiar with the product, but is also a customer.
  2. He drops a big name right in the second line. By telling the reader that an industry leader, KISSmetrics, trusts his work, he is establishing that he knows his stuff.
  3. He links to an actual example of his work on the KISSmetrics blog.
  4. Offer value: this is where the email stands out – Bryan gives away incredible value by showing what the final product might look like. Sure, it would have taken an extra couple of hours, but by doing this, he ensures that he’ll at least get noticed.
  5. He closes with a question. This makes it easy for the reader to respond to the email with an answer and increases chances of getting a response.

What you can learn from it

Don’t be afraid to give away tons of value. It means more work upfront, but you’ll stand out in the inbox.


2. A sales meeting cold mail done right

The folks at Close.io shared this as one of their Few templates to start a conversation with a prospective lead. The entire post is a fantastic read, but I thought I’d pick apart the first one.

cold email close io


Here’s what I love about it:

  1. Clearly identifies the sender, his current role, and what he’s trying to sell. I don’t know about you, but I sure like to know who’s pitching me a product.
  2. “Stab in the dark” is an informal, even fun way to put it. Plus, it shows that the sender has done the research and just needs a final nudge in the right direction. (Pro tip: if you don’t know who to send an email to, just ask!).
  3. The invite to discuss the product clearly lists the exact time and date. It also mentions that the call will be only fifteen minutes long. Which is nice because it saves everyone time in scheduling the meeting.

What you can learn from it

Identify yourself clearly upfront, verify whether you’re talking to the right person, and clearly mention how much of their time you want (and when do you want it).

3. The email that blew Noah Kagan’s mind

If you’ve ever hung around any marketing site, you probably know Noah Kagan. #4 at Mint, #30 at Facebook, founder of AppSumo, SumoMe and OkDork…Noah knows his stuff.

Which is also why he gets hundreds of emails every month from people who want his help.

This email, however, “blew his mind” (in Noah’s own words).

cold email noah


Noah has already done a pretty thorough teardown of the email, so I won’t go into this in-depth. But there are a couple of things I wanted to point out:

  1. Successful people like to deal with other successful people. The sender, Dave Daily of Grav Labs, points out upfront that he knows his stuff really, really well. It might sound arrogant, but when you’re competing for the attention of busy people, it’s a necessity to be upfront.
  2. Dave wanted to ask Noah about an app. So instead of fumbling around with an “idea”, he put in the effort to sketch out a wireframe. At a time when everyone and his grandma has an app idea, a wireframe alone means that you’re ahead of 90% of the idea guys.

Note that the email is clearly about Noah – what he can get out of meeting Dave – not about Dave. This is a good practice to adopt in all your emails.

Also note: the list format. There’s a reason why BuzzFeed works so well – people love to read lists, whether online or in their emails.

What you can learn from it

Show that you mean business; a busy person’s inbox is no place to be shy. You can also get away with writing long emails if you structure it right: lots of lists and a clear focus on how it benefits the receiver.


4. The “best cold email pitch” HubSpot ever received

Didn’t I tell you that Bryan Harris is an absolute beast when it comes to cold email?

Here’s one of Bryan’s emails, but from the perspective of the receiver (HubSpot).

cold email hubspot


You’ll notice it’s the exact same email I discussed above, except this time, it has been customized for HubSpot.

The customization is the interesting bit here:

  1. By referring to Ginny’s latest post on the HubSpot blog, Bryan is telling her that he’s not just random spammer; he’s actually taken the time to read the blog.
  2. One of HubSpot’s closest competitors is KISSmetrics. So of course, mentioning them in the email would catch Ginny’s attention.
  3. He doesn’t just share an idea – he makes an entire demo video. This isn’t a tweet or a 200-word blog post; making a video takes time. The free demo not only grabs attention, but also gives HubSpot an idea of what the final product would look like.

The result? HubSpot was totally sold on the idea. And Ginny Soskey, who manages content strategy for HubSpot, dubbed it the “best cold email pitch” she’s ever received in a blog post that was shared close to 2,000 times.

What you can learn from it

Personalize your emails beyond the “Hi [FirstName]”. Mention something the receiver might have done recently (check their blog or Twitter) to grab attention right in the first sentence.


5. The cold email that won one co-founder meetings at LinkedIn and Twitter

Takipi is a tool that helps developers understand when their code breaks in production. Since it requires an installation on a live server, selling it to developers isn’t an easy task.

Yet, Iris Shoor, the co-founder of Takipi, managed to get 5 installation from cold emails alone – 1.5x more than what she got through introductions.

This is an example of an email she sent out to a company that used Scala:

cold email iris shoor


Plenty of good stuff here:

  1. A nice, succinct introduction. Iris gets right into what Takipi does and how it’s relevant to the company.
  2. Iris knows that the company runs Scala, so instead of sending them to the homepage, she linked to Takipi’s Scala-focused landing page.
  3. She mentions the recipient’s Github page and recent projects, which shows that she has done her homework.

What you can learn from it

Craft an email for just one person. Don’t tell them about everything your company does. Instead, personalize your email for one person alone and create an email that solves his/her specific problems.


6. A cold email with a presentation

Scott from Life-Long-Learner.com shared an email template that uses an interesting tool to create a powerful visual message. You seriously can’t miss this email if it lands in your inbox thanks to this visual message.

Here’s an example he shared on his blog:

cold email lifelonglearner

Scott has a pretty nice teardown on his own blog, but there are a few things I’d like to point out:

  1. Scott jumps right into the issue without an intro. This works when you know the recipient from before. It can also work to grab attention (“your site doesn’t work!”) before you actually introduce yourself.
  2. Scott doesn’t send a long email with a list of all that’s wrong with blog on mobile sites. Instead, he creates a visual presentation that shows what’s wrong (again: show, don’t tell). Also note the little sound warning – a nice touch.
  3. Scott gives value by offering to take care of this for Dan. This could turn into a paid contract, or even a fruitful relationship in the long-term.

By the way, BContext is the tool Scott uses to create these visual presentations. It’s free for casual users.

What you can learn from it

Show, don’t just tell. Instead of writing a 500 word long email of your ideas, just create a video or presentation that shows your ideas in action.


7. A cold email that won over the founder of BranchOut

This is a great email from Sam Parr, founder of HustleCon, a startup event for non-tech people. It’s incredibly well crafted with extensive personalization. Hours of work went into each email, but when you consider the rewards, I’d say this was time well spent.

Here’s the email:

cold email kopywriting


This email is different right from the very first word. It eschews all conventions and is just…fun. It’s the email of a hustler, which is exactly what HustleCon is all about.

Here’s what I love about it:

  1. Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore that first line (reminder for marketers: what doesn’t stand out gets forgotten). That Sam also mentions Rick Marini’s (founder of BranchOut) barely known past and the $200k job he turned down means he comes across as authentic, and not just all bluster.
  2. A quick intro to what the email is all about, all bundled up inside 1 sentence.
    Sam plays to Rick’s ego by telling him that he can just come over and spread the “Marini gospel”. He knows that entrepreneurs who’ve reached Rick’s level of success care more about influence and spreading their ideas than making money.
  3. He doesn’t write a 500 word explanation, but links to a page that tells Rick more about the conference.

Sam also made these fun GIFs for all the recipients. It’s a great way to personalize the message without being stuffy and corporate-y.

cold email hustlcon


What you can learn from it

Have fun. And mirror the image of your brand in your language. If you’re branding yourself as a fun, youthful alternative to stuffy conventional conferences, don’t use the same stuffy, conventional language in your emails.


8. How to Score an Interview with Noah Kagan (via cold email)

John Corcoran was a writer for the Clinton White House, so you can bet he knows a thing or two about writing good copy.

John wrote a piece in the Art of Manliness where he mentioned Noah Kagan (OkDork, SumoMe, AppSumo). For a follow-up piece, he wanted to interview Noah about the importance of failure.

How’d he do it?

With this email:


cold email artofmanliness


Now there’s a whole process before this email (covered here), but the email itself has lots of gems:

  1. John mentions the recent interaction Noah and he had on another platform. Good way to remind the recipient that you aren’t some stranger.
  2. It’s important to reassure busy people that you won’t eat up half a day with your request. John clears this upfront by mentioning the interview will take just 5-7 minutes of Noah’s time.
  3. John namedrops Andrew Warner (of Mixergy) and his recent post on Forbes. This does two things: it establishes that John and Noah have a common contact, and that John’s work appears in reputed publications like Forbes.
  4. More namedropping.
  5. John knows how much Noah loves tacos.

What you can learn from it

Mention any common connections you might have. Even a distant connection is better than no connection.


9. A cold email to kickstart a business relationship

This email from Sidekick is simple, clear and well-thought out. It isn’t designed to do anything fancy or win over celebrities to speak at your gig. Instead, it focuses on driving leads and relationships further down the sales pipeline.

Take a look:

cold email sidekick


There’s nothing fancy going on here, but you’ll be surprised how many B2B salespeople get it wrong. This one is short, crisp and clear – exactly what you’d want in a B2B email.

  1. A clear, simple introduction. Using the example of established companies to describe what you do is a smart idea. People might not understand what “logistics accountability” might be, but they definitely understand FedEx and Target.
  2. The email further explains the business. Notice that it focuses on the benefits, not the features. There’s no mention of any fancy tracking algorithm or smart platform; it’s all about how they can save the recipient time and money.
  3. The email closes by asking for just 15 minutes of the recipient’s time, which is reassuring to busy people.

What you can learn from it

Focus on benefits instead of features. This applies to everything from landing pages and sales letters to emails.


10. A cold email that landed a $15k consulting project

Lots of cold emails are all about writing the perfect pitch or personalizing the email to the extent that the prospect just can’t ignore it.

This one from Messwerks, however, focuses more on what you can achieve if you target just the right audience.

Let’s take a look at the email:

cold email messwerks


As you can see, it’s nothing special. It’s got just three lines, a simple subject line, and no fancy gimmicks.

Yet, it won Messwerks a $15k consulting gig.


Because they focused obsessively on targeting just the right client. You can read about it on the blog post linked above, but for now, let’s take a look at the email:

  1. Messwerks targeted growing companies that had raised some funding. These businesses always have their hands full and usually need help with UX and design work. Since these businesses are already looking for help, the opening line works like a charm.
  2. A brief overview of what Messwerks can do – increase sales (super nice), engagements (who wouldn’t want that?), and conversions (every startup’s dream).

What you can learn from it

Choose your targets wisely. You can do a lot with a simple email if you target just the right group of people with it. Don’t skimp on the homework and research your ideal customer thoroughly before you even send an email.

11. Getting early customers with a cold email

This short, one paragraph email from Ash Maurya on getting early customers is completely full of win. It ticks all the right boxes: it’s succinct, it’s targeted, it’s personalized, and it has a clear objective.

cold email ash


Here’s everything I love about it:

  1. Ash mentions that he saw the recipient at an event. Even if this isn’t true, it establishes a connection that you probably share the same interests and passiones.
  2. Further hammering in the shared passions. Someone who breeds horses would definitely love to talk about how they select bloodlines.
  3. Flattery works, and there’s lots of it here. It tells the recipient(s) that they are among the “exceptional” breeders in Texas, and that their success with genetic has been “impressive”.
  4. Closes with a request for a phone call, plus a mention of the recipient’s future activities. This again hammers in that you aren’t some creepy sales guy just out there to make a deal. Instead, you’re a business owner who just happens to share the same passions.

What you can learn from it

Don’t be a sales guy. Be human. Show that you care about the people you email. Tell them about your shared passions and interests. Remember that your objective is to build relationships, not just close deals.


12. A cold email for 250 targeted prospects

Yep, this is the third Bryan Harris reference in this article (I said he is an absolute beast, right?). In this blog post on his site, Bryan shows how to use data to create a targeted list of prospects, then send them a clear, straightforward email about how they can make their business better.

Here is a nice example of this where Bryan Harris receives an email from Nathan Barry (who is a big deal as you might have heard, he is the founder of ConvertKit), take a look at this email:

cold email videofruit

The hard part is creating the list of prospects, but Bryan’s blog post goes pretty deep into that so I won’t cover it here. Rather, I’ll focus on the email:

  1. The subject line is a single word: InfusionSoft. Since Nathan’s list of contacts is very targeted (bloggers who are sick of InfusionSoft’s complexity) this one word subject line will still stand out in the inbox.
  2. “How are you liking it?” If you’re a blogger who uses InfusionSoft, you probably aren’t overjoyed about using it. This single line is a great way to bring the reader’s attention to this issue, without stating it outright.
  3. The actual subject of the email: the alternative to InfusionSoft that’s designed only for bloggers.
  4. A specific date and time for a call. Saves several emails of going back and forth to decide a meeting time.

What you can learn from it

Address the customer’s primary pain point in your email, and tell them clearly how you can help them solve it.


13. A cold email to start a relationship with a blogger/journalist

Before I share this PR outreach cold email template, if you need to find a PR outreach tool head over to this article rating every PR tool with pros, cons, and price.

This cold email below is a great way to kickstart a relationship with a blogger or journalist. It references their past work, directs them to something that might interest them (based on their past work), and opens the possibilities for a longer conversation.

cold email press


Here’s what I love about it:

  1. The first paragraph references their recent work, then directs them to a story from a trusted website (here: Gizmodo) that talks about the same thing.
  2. The second paragraph brings their attention to a related topic and plugs in your own blog post (except you don’t say so. I can be somebody else’s blog post too since your objective is to start a relationship).
  3. The email ends with a question, which opens up the chance for a longer conversation.

What you can learn from it

Journalists and bloggers care about their work. By referencing their recent work and directing them to something similar, you show that you care about them, and that you have similar interests. Over time, this can help you develop a relationship.

14. Cold email a blogger/journalist by pointing out typos

Every relationship with a blogger or journalist needs an excuse to start. And what better excuse than to point out typos and grammatical errors?

You’ll be surprised how effective these can be, especially with writers who take their work seriously.

cold email typo


  1. People can be touchy about their grammar. Instead of saying “your grammar is wrong”, be friendly and polite.
  2. Asking what the journalist is working on next is a great way to continue the conversation.

What you can learn from it

Show an interest in journalists and bloggers. Ask what they’re working on next to start a conversation.


15. Share your results with influencers

There’s nothing influencers love more than knowing how their strategies and tactics have helped others. Share your results with them and they’ll be happy to spread it to their fans and followers – it’s just good press for them.

Here’s a simple template to do this:

cold email results


  1. Mentions the recent post, then states how you’ve been following it and how it has affected your life.
  2. A link to the post, along with a subtle suggestion that the influencer can share it with his audience.

What you can learn from it

If you’ve ever followed any influencer’s advice, share your results with them. It’s the best hook for building a relationship with them.


16. Pitch your story to journalists/bloggers via cold email

For this template to work, you need two things: an interesting story, and a person willing to tell it.
The former is something I can’t help you with.

For the latter, monitor your Twitter feed, or start conversations using some of the templates above to see if there are any writers, bloggers and journalists looking to cover stories similar to yours.

Then, send them this email:

cold email story


  1. Mention how you found the story idea – on their blog, via email, or on their public Twitter feed.
  2. Your story – in as few words as possible.
  3. Tell them how this ties into the topic they wanted to write about, plus the results from your story.

What you can learn from it

Writers and journalists love it when they can get a personal, human angle to a story. If you know someone is writing on a topic, and you have relevant experiences, it’s a good idea to pitch in your story.


17. A cold email for a backlink

This is one email every marketer has to send sooner or later: a backlink request.

Here’s how to do it right:

cold email backlinks


The first step, of course, is to ensure that you have top-notch content. Then, find a list of people who link to resources similar to yours, and send this email.

Here’s why this email works:

  1. Clearly mentions the specific post and how you found it (social media, search, etc.).
  2. Links to the reference post that you improved on (aka the ‘˜Skyscraper method’).
  3. Asks for feedback, then puts a subtle plug for a backlink.

What you can learn from it

The best way to get a backlink is to improve an existing resource, then ask all those who’ve linked to it to take a look at your improved resource – and perhaps give a backlink in return.

18. A cold email to schedule a sales call

If you’re in B2B sales, or are a sales manager you’ll have to make dozens of calls every day. This template ensures that you’ll get more yays than nays:

cold email sales


  1. It asks for just 10 minutes. That’s good enough for most busy people. And what company wouldn’t want 100 more great customers?
  2. It name drops a close competitor or industry leader, and shows the results they got from this idea.
  3. A very simple 3-line email, but if someone promised to get you 100 more customers and asked for just 10 minutes of your time, wouldn’t you be interested too?

What you can learn from it

Tell prospects exactly what kind of results they can expect. Then tell them how long you’ll take to achieve it.


cold email

Even More Cold Email Resources

I promised you tons of email resources in the title of this post.

I’m not going to back out of that promise. I’ve covered plenty of templates here and this should help you craft a stellar cold email and you can get 15 more templates here). If you need even more help writing an amazing email, however, I’ve got you covered.

These are my go to resources for writing a cold email:


1. How to get early customers to respond to your emails

Feedback from your early customers is vital to your product’s success.

However, not all early customers are that eager to respond to your emails. This guide from LeanStack will help you out.


2. How to write a great email to a cold lead 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer, a marketer, or a founder, you’ll have to send out emails to cold leads if you want to grow your business.

This post gives a great overview of how to write an effective email that can win you deals.

3. How to automate prospecting to land clients fast

This is something every freelancer has been guilty of: you spend far too much time dealing with existing clients to look for new ones.

That’s bad for the long-term health of your business. Use the advice from this email to automate your prospecting with cold email.

4. How to write an email which doesn’t suck

93.9% of cold emails suck.

This is what Anand Sanwal of CBInsights found out after analyzing 147 cold emails. Read this post to figure out what makes a bad cold email, and how to write a good one.

5. 7 Sanity checks for sending emails out

Read this post before you hit ‘send’.

6. The complete guide to email outreach best practices

Long and in-depth post. Tons of useful takeaways on writing amazing cold emails.

7. Quick tips on how to write a subject line for sales emails

The subject line is the single most important part of any cold email. Read this post to get it right the first time.

8. 15 commandments of every email sequence

The 15 rules you must follow before sending out a cold email. Love the advice about mentioning competitors and mirroring your target’s tone.

9. How I Wrote an Email that Got 50% Reply Rate

A full case study of my very carefully targetted cold email campaign aimed at experts — the aim was to set up an interview. All about where I found my prospects, how I wrote and personalized my emails and more.

So there you go – lots of more resources to help you nail down cold emailing.


Why Cold Calling Doesn’t Work Anymore

According to PFL, a maker of marketing solutions, cold calling campaigns have a measly 1% success rate.

Given how labor intensive it is and how many rejections you have to endure to get one “yes”, it’s not a surprise less and less salespeople are pounding the phones.

Cold emailing is much more effective at putting yourself in front of prospects and nurturing them into customers. Here’s why it’s a whole new ballgame.

Cold emailing is scaleable

You can only cold call one person at one time. With email, you can use outreach automation tools to create automated cold email sequences and nurture hundreds of prospects at once.

The other limit of cold calls is, you have to catch a decision-maker at the right time. They rarely return voicemails. With email, you can stay on the first page of your prospect’s inbox for at least 3-5 hours, increasing your chance of getting noticed and opened.

How to send an automated cold email sequence to convert the maximum number of prospects into customers

In a cold email drip sequence, you prewrite 4-6 emails, leaving a few words and phrases to be personalized for each prospect such as their name, where you found them and what industry they work in.

Remember to write each email based on the customer perspective: how you can help the prospect solve a big problem for them. You may already know this but it’s easy to get stuck inside your own perspective as soon as you start typing.

Writing from your perspective: “My tool can help you rapidly build a targeted leads list”

Writing from your customer perspective; “Never worry about running out of new sales opportunities”.

Using an outreach automation tool like Prospect or Outreach, you can add the emails in your sequence, upload your leads list and set up a send schedule for it.

Your email sequence and schedule can go something like:

1st day: Introduction email

There are many approaches you can use for the initial introduction email including:

1. Ask for a connection to the right person in their company

Source: Breakthrough Email

2. Ask the prospect for honest feedback on your product

Source: Datanyze

3. Ask if you can share a valuable idea to grow their business

Source: Sales Hacker

4. How your company can help with a recent industry / competitor event

Source: Andrew’s Musings

3rd day: Provide value or offer to provide help in a follow up email

Source: Blogarama

5th day: Invite them to a relevant high value webinar where you can demonstrate your expertise and skills

Source: SumoMe

8th day: You’re welcome to pick my brain email

Source: Datanyze

Why send a sequence instead of just a single email? Many prospects may require a few touches before you a) catch them at the right time when they can type out a reply or b) understand your value to find it worth replying to.

When Heather Morgan of Salesfolk ran a cold email campaign for Ambition, they received responses as far along as the 8th (last) email in the sequence!

You can easily track your open and response rates

With cold calling, unless you call using special software, you have to manually input most of the data including how many callbacks you received and how many calls you had to make before you connected with your prospect.

With email, tools can automatically track sends, opens, link clicks and responses so you know exactly how well each sequence is performing. This also helps you analyze patterns that often most often lead to closed deals:

What send times got the most opens?
How many touch points does it take on average to get your prospect to respond?
Does it make a difference what sender name you use?

You can also tweak certain elements of your emails from the subject lines to the calls to actions as you go to see what changes improve your response rates.

It’s much more difficult to A/B test cold call approaches since many non-trackable variables can impact the success rate from your tone of voice to your choice of words (unless you read verbatim from a script every time).

Screenshot taken from Prospect.io

It’s much easier to find and guess emails than phone numbers

Many companies do not publicly list the direct phone numbers of their employees and it’s an uphill battle to convince gatekeepers to connect you. With email, since most companies use predictable naming format like [email protected] or [email protected], there are many tools that can ‘automagically’ provide you a list of email addresses based on first and last names and the company they work for including:


Additionally, prospecting tools like Skrapp lets you add relevant people you find on Linkedin to your leads list and finds their emails for you:

If email finding tools are having trouble finding a specific contact’s email, you can also try Googling

[email protected] email”

This sometimes turns up the emails of company employees published on a page and seeing how their emails are formatted, you can reliably guess the email of the person you want to reach at that company.


Based on that result, we can see that Salesforce formats their employee emails as:

[email protected]

Cold Email Subject Lines that Work

Subject lines should entice your prospects to open your email. The holy trinity of good subject lines:

1) short (8-10 words max)

2) use a casual tone (prospects do not want to read an email that sounds like it came from their lawyer)

3) not deceptive (if they feel you tricked them into opening, they won’t respond and it also sullies the reputation of your company)

Here are few high performing subject line formulas to use as reference

For initial introduction emails

  1. [Colleague] recommended I get in touch

If you use the appropriate person email template shown above, you can mention the name of the colleague who referred you in your subject line.

  1. A few ideas for [to resolve their biggest pain point related to your product]
  1. 10x [prospect company]’s [area they would want to grow – example: sales, user retention]
  1. I found you through [Name]

To be able to use this subject line, see what mutual connections you share with this prospect on Linkedin and mention one of them in the title.

  1. Congratulations on [recent good event that happened to their company]
  1. Been following you on [site where they publish content] and wanted to reach out
  1. Are you the right person to speak with?
  1. Saw you use [complimentary product] – you may find this interesting
  1. A new [area that your product is in] strategy for [Company]

For follow up emails

  1. My brain is an open book for you
  1. Should I stay or should I go?
  1. Can you blame me for swinging for the fences 🙂
  1. Re: subject line of your first email

Only do this for one of your followups.

  1. Saw that [event relevant to their industry / company or something the prospect recently did]

Bonus cold email protips

1. Create a separate email to send your cold email campaigns.

In case you get any spam complaints or servers flag you for sending a lot of similar emails at the same time, this protects the sender reputation of your primary email.

2. If you can find this data point on your prospects easily, separate your prospects into different lists based on their timezones.

This way, you can time your emails to go out exactly at 10AM their time for example. Without accounting for timezone, they may get your cold email at lunch their time and miss it entirely.

3. Make it possible to 1-click schedule a call with you at a time you’re available.

For example, Calendly lets you set which times you’re available and your prospect can instantly book a free time with you, eliminating the need for back and forth.

4. When setting up your first cold email campaign, it helps to write unique emails to your first ~10 prospects.

Try to use a slightly different approach, timing and copy for each prospect. Based on the open and response rates of your different approaches, you will see which type of subject lines work, what calls to action get the most clicks and when best to send the emails.

For 1-on-1 cold emails, you can use Mixmax to track the emails.

5. In the last 2-3 emails of your sequence, you can offer a way for prospects to opt-out of your emails to avoid annoying the ones who are not interested.

Many outreacoch automation tools let you insert an unsubscribe link into your emails. Clicking on it removes the contact from your list (similar to email marketing).

You can use a line like:
No longer interested in hearing from me? Click here.

All right, that’s a wrap! These are all the cold email templates and tactics I’ve used for 8+ years and now I want you to do the same!im

As always give me a shout if you have any questions or comments!

35 thoughts on “26 Cold Email Templates Broken Down To Help You Write Your Own

  1. reply

    Message Sumo

    Love these templates! These are the type of templates people need to be using within http://messagesumo.com.

  2. reply

    Justin McGill at LeadFuze

    Appreciate you linking to the Cold Email Best Practices guide. Great roundup of examples here!

  3. reply


    Great detailed beefy post Dmitry.

    You mentioned the Breakthroughemail above … looking at your post and the pdf you shared, do you recommend their purchased system, at all?

  4. reply


    Your english sucks 😉
    The name Scott takes two “t”. (Paragraph #6, below the screenshot).

    No seriously, thanks for sharing. Great post.

  5. reply


    Thanks for the awesome post! So helpful. VA recommendations on cold emails are too sales-y to hold my attention. I’ll definitely be referring back to this as a reminder to keep it personal and light.

  6. reply


    Way helpful. Thanks mucho!

  7. reply

    Myriam Caron

    Great Examples. Cold emails work great. Uber used cold email to launch in Chicago and several other cities. Cold email obviously won’t scale, but it can be extremely effective in developing that early momentum and cultivating early evangelists for your product. Here some good tips listed to write irresistible cold emails. SalesHandy has some amazing blogs on emails.

  8. reply


    Great post and examples of excellent, effective emails. Thank you for taking the time to write and share all this. When I started in sales I used similar emails to get appointments, but to further improve my prospecting and appointment setting I would also mail similar letters, personalized. That can stand out. I combined direct mail, letters, post cards, emails and phone calls.

  9. reply

    Javier Sardá

    Great article, Dmitry. One (small) observation. In point 12 you mention that Bryan Harris is sending the email. Bryan did not send that one. He is the one receiving it. The one who sends it is Nathan Barry (founder of ConvertKit).

  10. reply


    Thanks! This is an awesome resource.

  11. reply

    Emmerey Rose

    Awesome piece Dmitry! Thanks for taking time to share these tips! However, I want to know what is your take on writing emails to bloggers for your outreach with a casual tone (e.g. using emoji)?

    • Dmitry Dragilev

      Hey Emmerey, thanks for compliment, glad you liked the article. TO answer your question I don’t typically use emoji in my cold emails, I find them a bit spammy to tell you the truth, that’s just me though haha. They typically work well for newsletters sometimes. What are you trying to use emoji for? Who are you emailing and for why?

  12. reply


    whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your posts.

    Stay up the good work! You understand, a lot of individuals are hunting around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  13. reply

    Dr. Christopher Croner

    Any company with a dedicated sales team responsible for marketing efforts such as cold emailing potential clients can benefit from these email templates. Thank you so much for sharing such specific details about each one. I often find that making emails conversational in tone, including a clear call to action, and something as simple as proofreading emails before clicking send can also go a long way when it comes to receiving replies in response to what a company has to offer.

    • Dmitry Dragilev

      Thank you sir, great point on “proofreading” – it’s such an important part of any cold email, spelling mistakes have been shown to decrease response rate by as much as 50% in some studies since the quality of the offer or ask is ill perceived with spelling or grammar issues, or typos.

  14. reply

    Charlie Liang

    Great article, Dmitry!
    I recently broke down the best one I’ve received – take a look & let me know if you agree with the analysis (and if you’ve seen a better one): https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-sales-prospecting-email-ever-charlie-liang

  15. reply

    Jonathan Seet

    Can’t remember how I stumbled upon this page but it is a goldmine.

    So many powerful tips and suggestions I can’t wait to test and try out for some of my sites. Will update you on my progress once I’ve blast some of them out.


  16. reply

    Andrew Swon

    A good way of getting responses is also to use humor. Just read an article about some funny emails here: http://blog.1000leads.co/funny-sales-emails-that-work/

  17. reply

    Tracy Woods

    Hi Dmitry
    My client was trying her hand at cold emails and it was a collossal fail. Of 263k emails to 3 target segments, there was only 16k opens and no leads generated.

    I’m passing this post on to her, there’s some great points here that could have really helped with this campaign.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  18. reply


    Thanks for showing us how to properly write down cold email templates.

  19. reply


    I actually noticed that in the very first example (one of Bryan’s), he writes “video’s” instead of “videos” when he’s clearly talking plural, not possessive.

    Hate to say it, but that’s the sort of thing that’s an instant turn-off for me when I get a cold email (sometimes even a non-cold one). When you can’t write about the very thing you’re selling in proper syntax, it makes me wonder just how much of an “expert” you could possibly be!

    I have read some articles that suggest the occasional (deliberate) misspelling can be used to convey a sense of a cold email being “genuine” rather than mass/bulk-emailed, and written personally from the sender. An example might be writing “I’m hoping we cna find a time to talk later this week” (cna instead of can). But it’s important to make sure, if doing something like that, that it reads clearly as a typing error and not ignorance/lack of writing skill!

    (I’m also not entirely convinced of this tactic, because seriously, who doesn’t have spellcheck?)

    • Dmitry Dragilev

      Hey Dave, thanks for the shout. I have been on the fence lately with spelling mistakes in emails. Personally I don’t like to see it either. On the other side I have used them much like you suggest in your example and they have helped me get more responses. It also depends what type of outreach you’re doing, if it’s marketing and PR based the tolerance to spelling mistakes might be a bit different from sales outreach. What type of outreach are you doing?

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