12 Cold Email Templates and Examples to Inspire Your Outreach
Table of Contents
Cold email templates are like grammar rules. They’re good to have, but sometimes, it’s best to ignore everything you’ve read and do what sounds right.
- Pros of cold email templates: They provide useful general guidance and highlight some important best practices. Templates can also help marketers and salespeople get unstuck.
- Cons: They are, by their very nature, cookie-cutter. They lack two things that all good cold emails have: originality and personalization.
So even though this is an article with and about cold email templates, approach them with a degree of wariness. Use them as inspiration, not as imperative.
We’ll go over 12 templates below. Alongside each, we’ve included a cold email example to show how it can be used in the real world.
We’ve also thrown in a writing principle that each template illustrates, from William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White’s The Elements of Style. Despite its 100+ year history, Strunk & White's book remains the GOAT of writing guidance (as Stephen King put it, “Every aspiring writer should read The Elements of Style”). Its principles will help you stay focused and goal-oriented as you compose each cold email.
At the end, you’ll find a checklist you can use to make sure your outreach does its job.
What you need to know before starting your cold email outreach
Taking a bit of time for prep work will increase your cold email response rates. Before you start writing, make sure you know:
- Your audience—who are you reaching out to? What are their pain points? Knowing your customer personas will significantly increase your conversion rate.
- Your differentiators—what sets you apart? Define your unique value propositions, and also consider whether your writing style is a differentiator (e.g., will your emails be funny? sophisticated?).
- What good cold email writing is. It’s concise, personal, personable, authentic, focused, original, and clear.
We go over each of these must-knows in our article on how to write a cold email, where we also break down the main elements of effective cold emails: sender fields, hooks, email copy, calls to action (CTAs), and email signatures.
Cold email subject lines are so critical to open rates that we broke them out into a separate article.
Okay, let’s dive into templates—or take the polar-bear plunge, given the chilly subject matter. Each template will help you achieve a specific cold email goal.
- Book a sales call
- Book a sales call - shorter version
- Activate a free trial
- Request feedback
- Score an interview for your podcast, article, etc.
- Raise investment money
- Build your portfolio - get a new case study, project, etc.
- Follow-up email - book a call
- Add value - either a follow-up email or first email
- Request an introduction
- Ask for a backlink
- Initiate a partnership
1. Book a sales call
Hi [first name],
[Start with brief praise of the recipient] Love your work. [Prove you’ve researched them and know who you’re talking to] I read your book earlier this year and have been telling friends and family about it ever since—it’s been so helpful.
[Introduce the problem or status quo] I’m reaching out because I noticed you use [name of tool] for [purpose].
[Provide your credentials—who you are, why you’re uniquely qualified to offer a better alternative] I’m [job title/responsibility] at [company name]. [Key statement: Solve the problem. Offer value. Overcome key objections] I’m confident we can improve your ROI by offering a less-expensive platform that actually has even more automation tools than what you’re currently using.
[Give social proof] We’ve been helping companies like [company names] make the switch.
[Specific, low-friction CTA] Do you have time for a 15-minute chat next week? I could tell you more about [reiterate value]. [Provide a super easy way to set up a conversation, like a Calendly link] Here’s my calendar.
Why it works
- Proves you’ve done your research. It shows you know who the recipient is, what they use, and what they need.
- Adds a personal touch. Referencing the recipient’s other work—and adding a dash of flattery—builds a connection with them.
- Provides a reason for reaching out. You’re not wasting their time. You have something of value that can help them out.
- Handles key objections. The recipient might think, sounds great, but is it expensive? Or does it have fewer automation capabilities? This email resolves both objections.
- Gives social proof. Mentioning other companies gives your product credibility.
- Has one low-friction CTA. “Do you have time for a 15-minute chat?” is a yes/no question. The email has a clear goal—and an easy way to meet it.
This sales email will also work for variations on a call, like a sales demo.
Important: There are two approaches to CTAs in initial cold emails.
- You can either start off with a low-commitment question, like a simple, “Any interest?” The goal is to get a reply.
- Or you can send a calendar link and ask for time right off the bat, while the lead is warm.
There are pros to both. Asking for time in the first email is a big request. Everyone’s busy. Most people don’t immediately book a call with a sales rep.
“Interested?” is relatively low-friction and easy. If the recipient replies, they become slightly invested—and more likely to end up booking a call.
The first option does add a step. You’ll either need to get a reply or send a follow-up email. If you send a calendar link right away, you might be able to get right to the appointment-setting, although even in that case, you’ll probably need to send a follow-up.
Our recommendation: Test both. See which version is more likely to help you meet your goal.
The writing principle it illustrates: Avoid fancy words.
“Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy. … What is wrong, you ask, with [twenty-dollar words like] beauteous? No one knows, for sure. There is nothing wrong, really, with any word—all are good, but some are better than others.” - Strunk & White 111–2
Subject line: Love your work—think we can grow together
2. Book a sales call - shorter version
Hi [first name],
I noticed you’re using [competitor name] to [purpose].
[Key statement: Introduce the value] What if you could do even more at a lower cost?
[Short, benefit-driven product pitch] [Product name] helps you [benefits your product offers]. [Tie your product back to the recipient’s needs] We integrate with x, which I see you use, making it easy to [more benefits].
[Low-effort CTA] Open to a quick call? Grab a time here. [Offer value during the call, regardless of the outcome] Even if you’re not interested in switching now, I’ll share some new tactics that I think will help you streamline your [specific process].
Why it works
It’s a slightly shorter version of the first sales email template. It cuts to the chase. Although that means removing some initial personalization, this email does a good job of providing a clear reason for reaching out. And the sender does include a personal touch by mentioning that their product integrates with one the recipient is already using.
This email is more of a pitch than the last one. If you take this approach, be mindful of highlighting how your product/service can help the recipient, instead of just talking up its features. The more specific and applicable the benefits, the better.
Bonus: This email de-risks a meeting. The recipient will get something out of it no matter what: new, applicable tactics. Offer value even if the deal doesn’t close.
The writing principle it illustrates: Don’t overwrite.
“When writing with a computer, you must guard against wordiness. The click and flow of a word processor can be seductive, and you may find yourself adding a few unnecessary words or even a whole passage just to experience the pleasure of running your fingers over the keyboard and watching your words appear on the screen.” - Strunk & White 106
Subject line: [Name], still liking [competitor]?
3. Activate a free trial
Hi [first name],
[Start off with a research-backed observation, similar to Template #2] I noticed you’re using [competitor name] to [purpose].
[Introduce the problem. Be specific.] [Competitor name] can be a useful product, but it has its limitations. It’s slow to sync, and it doesn’t integrate with messaging tools. If you’ve gotten frustrated by that in the past, you know what I’m talking about.
I went ahead and hooked you up with an extended free trial of [product name]. [Key statement: Show how your product resolves the prospect’s pain points and offers value] It has automatic syncing—both on- and off-line—and fully integrates with Slack, which I see your team is using.
All you have to do is click here, and you’re set for 14 days. Figured we could skip the phone call. Just let me know if you try it and like it.
Why it works
Offering a free trial right out of the gate reduces the friction of a cold sales email drastically. Instead of telling someone why they should use your product, you let them see for themselves. Showing > telling.
Think of it as a form of product-led growth. Your product can sell itself, no sales rep needed. It’s that good.
When should you consider offering a free trial, no questions asked? Here are some parameters:
- Low product friction: Your product is easy to get started in and experience value from.
- High product stickiness: The value of your product increases the longer someone uses it.
- Virality: Your product has word-of-mouth potential.
- Self-service: You don’t need to put many resources toward supporting self-service users. They can experience product value without extensive training or support.
- Market competition: You’re offering an alternative to a well-entrenched competitor or introducing a totally new concept.
A cold email with a free trial link can be effective for reaching out to both ideal customers and influencers. If they like your product or service, they’ll stick with it—and tell others about it.
The writing principle it illustrates: Use the active voice.
“Many a tame sentence of description or exposition can be made lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive in the active voice for some such perfunctory expression as there is or could be heard.” - Strunk & White 34
Subject line: [Company name]’s collaboration tool—a suggestion
4. Request feedback
Hi [first name],
[Quick intro—who you are, what you’re doing] I’m building [company name], which [problems you solve].
[Key statement: Introduce the ask] I’m trying to learn about how sales teams choose their growth levers. I thought you’d be a good person to talk to, considering that [why the recipient, specifically, is the ideal person to talk to].
Do you have time this week for a 20-minute call? [Set clear expectations] I’ll ask a few questions about how your sales reps do x, y, and z. [Offer value, so the recipient gets something out of the call] I can also tell you about some new findings we’ve made recently that you can use for [purpose].
[Low-friction CTA] Please let me know some times that would work for you, or if it’s easier, feel free to book a time here. Chatting over email would be great too—whatever you prefer.
Why it works
This template has a personal touch and a clear reason for reaching out (“I’m trying to learn…”). A de-risked meeting suggestion (“I can also tell you about…”) is especially important here, since you’re basically asking for a favor: a request for feedback.
In general, we recommend having one clear CTA. This email offers a few different options for how the recipient can take it from here: replying to the email to continue the conversation, setting up a call through email, or setting up a call through a link. It works because there’s still one goal—set up a call—but suggesting multiple options shows flexibility.
Bonus points if you can subtly handle a key objection or offer social proof. Can you demonstrate that you’re legit by mentioning an award or recognition? Example: “I’m building [company name] (named a top 10 productivity app by TechCrunch)… .”
The writing principle it illustrates: Omit needless words.
“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.” - Strunk & White 39
Subject line: Reaching out from S20 - [sender name]
5. Score an interview for your podcast, article, etc.
Hi [first name],
[Briefly introduce the medium] I’m working on an article about [topic] for [company name]. [State the purpose and the audience] Our blog (# monthly views) helps growth marketers by providing vetted, high-value insights and strategies.
[Key statement: Introduce the ask] Are you available for a quick interview? I would love to get your thoughts on [specific topic]. We’d give you credit, of course, and include a link to your site.
[Low-key praise and personalization] I thought of you because I read your interview with [publication], and I really appreciated what you said about [related topic]. [Tie to your experience/company] It’s something we’ve experienced often at [company name].
Here’s the blog: [link].
Why it works
It hits all the key points without lingering too long on any of them:
- Clear reason for reaching out
- Handles a key objection: The blog gets enough monthly traffic that it will be worth the recipient’s time, plus they’ll get credit and a link.
- Adds a personal touch: “I read your interview” proves the email isn’t automated. It’s thoughtful.
- One CTA: “Are you available for a quick interview?” is an easy question to answer.
Authentic flattery can help an interview request stick. But make sure you mean it and have really done the thing you said you did (like read the recipient’s book, listened to their podcast interview, etc.). There’s a fine line between praise and pandering.
The writing principle it illustrates: Write naturally.
“Write in a way that comes easily and naturally to you, using words and phrases that come readily to hand.” - Strunk & White 101
6. Raise investment money
Hi [first name],
[Open with personalized, authentic praise] Big fan of your work as [job title/responsibilities]. [Show you have a true connection with their work] (I’m a member of x community.) [Say why the recipient would be a great investor] I thought you’d be a perfect match for our cap table because of your work at the intersection of y and z.
[Key statement: Introduce your business, the value it offers, and the problem it solves] [Company name] is a community platform. [It’s okay to brag here—you want to sound impressive] We’re building the world’s largest tech talent network. We have [accolades, media mentions, number of participants, etc.].
Here’s our pre-seed deck.
[Get to the investment] We’re raising a pre-seed round of [$$]. If you think this sounds like a fit, when would be a good time for a 30-minute call? [Offer value during the meeting, no matter the outcome] Even if you decide not to invest, I’ll share some discoveries we’ve made that I think you’ll find interesting and applicable to [what they do].
PS You’re one of [#] angels I’ve cold emailed.
Why it works
If you’re reaching out to someone about a startup investment, make it clear that they’re a perfect fit. And few others are.
This email successfully conveys that message. It never comes across as generic spam. Lines like “you’re one of [#] of angels I’ve cold emailed” make the receiver feel valued.
That line also adds urgency and transparency to the email. By letting the recipient know about other prospective investors, the sender significantly raises the stakes. If the investor doesn’t act quickly, others will get there first. Urgency is a strong motivator.
The CTA here is a longer conversation (30 minutes), which can be either a video or phone call. That’s fine considering that this is a bigger ask, but in general, try to keep proposed meetings to 15-20 minutes.
Note that for this email, the key statement is the one where you introduce your business. That’s not usually the case—as a rule of thumb, the key statement should be about value and benefits to the recipient. But here, the value is your company, so draw attention to what makes it exceptional.
The writing principle it illustrates: Be clear.
“Since writing is communication, clarity can only be a virtue. And although there is no substitute for merit in writing, clarity comes closest to being one. … Think of the tragedies that are rooted in ambiguity, and be clear!” - Strunk & White 113–4
Subject line: [Company name] x pre-seed
7. Build your portfolio - get a new case study, project, etc.
You can use this template when offering services to build your repertoire. That could mean putting together a case study, creating something for someone using your app/platform to build initial customer experience, writing or designing for a new contact, etc.
Hi [first name],
[Introduce yourself] I’m [name]. I run a team at [company name] that [what you do].
[Add social proof] We’ve been working with companies like [name] and [name]. [Alternatively, you could give the number of companies you’ve been working with in that sentence.]
[Key statement: Make the offer] Because we’re just starting out, we want to do some free campaigns to build up our experience.
Would you be interested?
Here’s what we’d do:
- Job 1
- Job 2
- Job 3
Again, this would be completely free for you. We’d just need a bit of your time to get you set up and see how it’s going. [Reiterate key benefits] You’d get assets you could use wherever you’d like, and obviously, given the price ($0), the ROI is tough to beat.
We’re only doing [#] of these, so let me know if you’re interested when you get a chance.
Why it works
This “ask” is one of the easiest to make, because the sender is offering to do work that benefits the recipient. Make sure you clarify what you’d need to get the job done. Consider your email to be almost like a project brief, where you lay out the scope to define expectations and avoid confusion.
As with Template #6, there’s urgency and scarcity here. People value things more when they’re harder to get.
To prevent the recipient from thinking this sounds too good to be true, the sender handles a key objection (cost) a few times. But be mindful of going too heavy on spammy words like “free,” which can get an email flagged as spam by internet service providers.
The writing principle it illustrates: Don’t use too many qualifiers.
“Rather, very, little, pretty—these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words. The constant use of the adjective little (except to indicate size) is particularly debilitating; we should all try to do a little better, we should all be very watchful of this rule, for it is a rather important one, and we are pretty sure to violate it now and then.” - Strunk & White 106
Subject line: Cold email as a service 💌
8. Follow-up email - book a call
After a first email, how many follow-ups should you send, and when should you send them? It depends on your reply rate. Here are our recommendations for when to check back in, and when to move on to other prospect companies.
Hi [first name],
I haven’t heard back from you, so I thought I’d check back in.
[Reminder of who you are, the value you provide, and the companies that are already experiencing that value] Our product helps restaurants keep food deliveries warm, even if they’re in transit for up to an hour. Restaurants like [name] and [name] got an immediate boost to customer reviews after signing up.
[Key statement] Do you have time Wednesday afternoon for a quick call? I can tell you about our research findings on delivery efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Why it works
Follow-up emails need to be even more pointed than initial outreach: Here’s who I am, here’s the value I provide, here’s why it’ll benefit you, and here’s when I can meet. Cut all fluff, and focus completely on conveying how a meeting is in the recipient’s best interest.
Being specific about a meeting time reduces the recipient’s cognitive load. It’s low-risk—if they can’t meet that day and time, they can always propose another.
The writing principle it illustrates: Use specific language.
“Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract.” - Strunk & White 37
Subject line: Lunch on me?
9. Add value - either a follow-up email or first email
Another way to approach follow-up emails: Add value beyond what was in your original message. Offer something the recipient hasn’t seen before.
This approach works for initial emails too. It can be a highly effective lead-generation tactic. What content can you share that will be useful, relevant, and beneficial to the recipient?
The more you can help your reader, the more interest you’ll garner. And the stronger your chances for a reply.
Hi [first name],
Since [company name] offers [product or feature], I thought you’d be interested in a video we just put together. It shows how [company name] uses [our product] to [purpose and benefits] increase customer retention and lifetime value.
[Key statement: Address the problem you can solve] What is your team doing to reduce churn? I know it’s a major issue in your industry—one that’s hurt a lot of companies’ longevity.
You’ll see in the video that [company name] was able to reduce churn by 20% over the course of four weeks. Kind of remarkable.
Are you interested in chatting about churn-reduction tactics?
Why it works
The best cold emails all do one thing: They provide value. If you’re not giving a prospect something that can help them in some way, you’re not going to get a response, let alone a sale. Always think in terms of how what you’re sending serves the person you’re sending it to.
This cold email template puts value at its core. It makes the recipient the focus of the email—here’s a problem you have, and here’s how you can fix it—while emphasizing exactly where the solution lies. With your product/service.
Bonus: The more personalized you can make your value-add, the better. Imagine getting an email with an audit of your website, social media presence, etc., and an offer to discuss high-ROI action items. You’d want to hop on a call ASAP.
The writing principle it illustrates: Place yourself in the background.
“Write in a way that draws the reader’s attention to the sense and substance of the writing, rather than to the mood and temper of the author. … To achieve style, begin by affecting none—that is, place yourself in the background.” - Strunk & White 100
Subject line: Noticed something about DC’s retention
10. Request an introduction
Hi [first name],
I’m [what you do]. I’m trying to reach the best person at [company name] to talk to about [problem you’re solving].
Super sorry if I missed the mark and that’s not your domain. If that’s the case, do you mind directing me to the appropriate person?
[Key statement: Get to the value you offer] I’m hoping to talk to you/them about your CRM, which is currently operating at 70% efficiency. Our integration, [app name], can boost that up to 98%—all it takes is adding a widget to your dashboard.
Companies like [company name] and [company name] have been using [app name] to shave hours every week off their CRM analysis. I wanted to get in touch to give [company name] a competitive advantage, since others in your industry are starting to really optimize operational efficiency.
Thanks so much for your help. I’m looking forward to discussing this further with your team.
Note: If you know the name of the person you’re trying to reach, your opener could be: I’m [what you do]. I was hoping you might be able to introduce me to [name of person].
Why it works
This email checks all the boxes: It’s personal and approachable, with a specific reason for reaching out and a single CTA (make the intro). It’s clear the sender has done her research.
A follow-up email could include a Calendly link, to shift the CTA toward setting up a meeting.
When sending an introduction email, it’s better if you and the recipient have a mutual connection. But if you don’t know anyone who knows the recipient, a friendly, respectful email asking for an introduction will warm up a cold email.
The recipient might either forward it to the person you want to reach, reply and cc them, or reply to you with their contact information. Any of those outcomes is a win.
The writing principle it illustrates: Use dashes to set off abrupt breaks or interruptions, when other punctuation marks are inadequate.
“A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses. His first thought on getting out of bed—if he had any thought at all—was to get back in again.” - Strunk & White 16
Subject line: Introduction from CMO at Planly
11. Ask for a backlink
Hi [first name],
Loved your article about [topic]. [Provide a reaction that shows you actually read the article] Such a novel insight about [specific point in the article]. I can see how that approach would really help email marketers with their A/B testing.
[Introduce the source you want them to link to] We recently published an article that explores a complementary topic: social media A/B testing. [Key statement: Pitch the link] Since your article mentions LinkedIn, our piece would be a good source for readers hoping to learn more about running social media experiments. [Highlight why your article would be valuable to the recipient’s readers] Unlike other articles on the topic, ours has original data from top growth marketers who’ve spent years optimizing their experimentation programs.
Here’s the link, in case you’d like to add it: [link]
Thanks for the helpful resources. I’m looking forward to seeing what you publish next!
Why it works
Backlinks are critical to SEO. When sites link to your blog post, Google and other search engines see that it’s not just you who thinks your article is useful. Others find it useful too.
You can apply the same tactics to backlink outreach as you would to other forms of cold email. Be personable, do your research, and make it clear that the recipient is uniquely qualified to add a backlink, given their subject matter expertise.
You can send backlink-request emails through SEO platforms like Semrush or email automation software like Mailshake. No matter how your email goes out, make sure it doesn’t seem automated. Always add that personal touch.
Should you offer a link in return? It’s risky. Google considers “excessive link exchanges (‘link to me and I’ll link to you’)” to be a link scheme, which can hurt site rankings. Definitely don’t overdo it.
The writing principle it illustrates: Use positive statements.
“Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, noncommittal language.” - Strunk & White 34
Subject line: Idea for your Product Hunt playbook
12. Initiate a partnership
Hi [first name],
[Front-load the partnership request] I noticed you run payment processing for the freelancer community. We might be able to team up and provide you with a new marketplace opportunity.
[Introduce yourself and highlight your company’s core benefits] I’m the co-founder of [company name], a SaaS tool used by 40,000+ freelance marketers to create high-converting landing pages.
[Key statement: Introduce the problem you think a partnership could solve] One limitation we’ve experienced is our payment platform, which doesn’t have the type of automated notifications that we think our users would prefer. We’ve gotten some feedback from them that they get charged when they don’t expect to.
[Emphasize the value you’re seeking from a partnership] Customer service is extremely important to us, so we’re looking for a partner who can give our customers a transparent payment experience. Based on our research, Checked seems like a strong candidate.
[CTA and next steps] Any interest in exploring partnership opportunities together?
Why it works
Partnership outreach doesn’t require as much of a “pitch” as a standard cold email, since the benefits for the recipient are clear: If they’re B2B, they could acquire a new customer.
But you should still talk up your company, because you want to get on a call with someone from their top leadership, who probably has a full schedule. Make it clear that by partnering with you, they’ll become associated with a reputable business that has a wide user base.
Note that “partner” is sometimes used in sales terminology to mean “customer.” “We’d love to discuss partnerships” can actually mean, “We’d love to make a sales pitch.” You might consider trying that language in your B2B sales outreach—but only if you’re absolutely sure that the recipient will know what you mean. Always make your intention clear.
The writing principle it illustrates: Don’t overstate.
“When you overstate, readers will be instantly on guard, and everything that has preceded your overstatement as well as everything that follows it will be suspect in their minds because they have lost confidence in your judgment or your poise.” - Strunk & White 106
Subject line: [Their company name] x [your company name]
Cold email checklist
That’s a wrap on cold email templates! For further reading on cold email strategy, check out our deep-dive article Cold Outreach 101: How to Send Better Cold Emails.
As you write your cold email, check your message against the list below. It consolidates the key takeaways from all the “why it works” sections above.
How many of these does your email do? The more boxes you can check, the higher the likelihood of getting a reply—and a sale.
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