Cold Email Template Issues: Are You Still Using These Stale Tactics?
Using a cold email template that’s outdated and overused won’t help you.
Predictable Revenue was a book written 6 years ago, about stuff they were actually doing 10 years ago. It doesn’t work anymore. Are you still using these stale tactics?
We’ve rounded up the top cold email template and examples in use today. These are being shared by other sites and resources as though these are the models to follow. We give our thoughts on the good, bad, and downright ugly parts of each.
Cold Email Categories:
- Cold Call Email Rules
- General Cold Call Email Example
- Template for Cold Email Followup
- Cold Email to Decision Maker
- Voicemail then Cold Email After
- Cold Email Breakup Template
10 Successful Cold Email Rules – The LeadFuze Grading Criteria
- Catchy subject line & first line – You want to catch the recipient’s attention and avoid getting caught in SPAM filters. 4 words or less is ideal.
- Short and to the point – Four to five sentences at most is recommended. I recently wrote about a cold email framework to follow called QVC to make this easier.
- Personalized not just “personalization” – Using proper mail merges is important, but taking it further with something more direct about your recipient helps your cold email stand out even more.
- All about them… not you – Replace every “I” and “we” with “you”. This will force you to change the tone of the email to be focused on the recipient and not be self-serving.
- Easy to understand value prop – If you can’t explain what you do and why you’re great in one to two sentences, then you need to go back and better understand your business and what it brings to the table.
- Value offered before CTA – Are you actually delivering value in your message first? Or are you just going right in and hoping to book a time with them? Even asking to be introduced to someone else says you haven’t done your homework. Bring value before an ask.
- No obvious red flags – Bad grammar, obvious sales or marketing pitch, missed personalization are some of the obvious red flags that will get you deleted, or worse yet routed to spam, in a heart beat.
- Not an obvious canned template – With more and more companies adopting cold email as a lead generation strategy, your potential customers are seeing these emails on a more regular basis. Make sure yours stands out.
- Easy Call-to-Action – Don’t ask them to book a time in your first email. Just try to get the conversation started.
- CAN-SPAM Compliant – There are seven simple cold email laws you must follow in order to stay compliant when cold emailing anyone in the United States.
These are the factors that go into our cold email reviews. Feel free to use this grading formula yourself as you construct your own cold emails.
General Cold Email Template
The general cold email is your first attempt to start a conversation with a prospect.
Below these general cold email examples you can listen to a video of Damian and myself breaking down these emails in more detail.
Cold Email Example 1
At first glance, this cold email doesn’t seem so bad. It’s nice and short, there’s mail merge level personalization, etc. However, there are a few things that make this a bad cold email:
- “My” “I’m” and “We” are all on the first line of this email.
- Asking for introduction to someone else might have worked for Salesforce years ago, but this strategy simply doesn’t work anymore and smells of you not doing your homework. Why should they do it for you?
- It doesn’t follow CAN-SPAM laws
Cold Email Example 2
So this one is a little more obvious that it’s a bad cold email. Why it is floating around online as an example to use is beyond me. Here are a few of the things wrong with this cold email:
- The phrases “stab in the dark” and “based on your online profile” just smell of generic.
- Should have homework done already. Saying “if that’s you” says you’re just finding a decision maker and hoping they introduce to someone.
- Multiple calls-to-action is a weak close. They are asking to be introduced, but hey… if they hit the lottery and the recipient is the right person then lets go ahead and schedule a call.
- This is not a simple call-to-action either. You are either asking for them to forward your message to someone else or be so in love with who you are out of the gate to book a call. This is a big first ask.
- If you do ask to book a time, there are two things wrong with giving a very specific date and time. One, if they aren’t available it is very easy just to say no. Two, if you send this out to 2 people and they both want to book it – then what? This is a time when getting a little more generic can actually be really helpful.
- Again, it fails to use CAN-SPAM laws.
Cold Email Example 3
So this email is short and sweet. At first glance, I can see why people think this example is good. However, we have a few pitfalls here:
- The first line is wasted on yourself. They do not care about you or your company, they don’t know you. This first line is the single most important part of your cold email because its what they see in their preview panes in their email client or on their phone. Don’t waste it by talking about yourself.
- The next two sentences have “We” “I” and “we’re” in them which is self-serving and not putting the emphasis on the recipient.
- Call-to-action has the same issue as the one above and is not a good way to get a conversation started.
- Fails to comply with CAN-SPAM laws.
Cold Email Example 4
Again, not even sure how this gets promoted as a good cold email example. I think it is relatively obvious what’s wrong here, but let me list the reasons:
- For starters, it’s a long wall of text.
- “I/we” rather than “you” all throughout the email.
- It basically just repeats itself by asking for an introduction to someone else… TWICE. As if once isn’t bad enough. Then of course, asks for 15 minutes on the calendar.
- It closes weakly with “I don’t want to waste anyone’s time” yet that is precisely what this email did.
Full Cold Email Video Commentary:
The goal of this initial cold email is to simply start a conversation. You need a compelling value prop communicated in a crystal clear way that is focused on the recipient and not yourself.
Cold Email Example to Decision Maker
The cold email to ask for the decision maker is a popular template choice today. Does that mean it works? Hint: NO. As I’ve stated above in each of those examples, this strategy just does not work today. You should know the role and industry of the people that make good customers for you. Focus your prospecting efforts on those personas!
You should know the role and industry of the people that make good customers for you. Focus your prospecting efforts on those personas!
Below these introduction cold email examples you can listen to a video of Damian and myself breaking down these emails in more detail.
First Cold Email to Decision Maker
Cold Email to Decision Maker Number 2
Third Cold Email to Decision Maker
Predictable Revenue was a book written 6 years ago, about stuff they were actually doing 10 years ago. It doesn’t work as well anymore.
I know it can be difficult putting together a quality cold email and so far all you have seen are bad examples. However, I think there’s value in breaking down some of these supposed “good cold email examples” that are being promoted and getting you to see the various ways in which they’re written. Some are a little easier to identify as bad than others.
Cold Email to Decision Maker Commentary:
Cold Email Template – Follow Up
The cold email follow up template goes after your first cold email failed to generate a response. Follow-ups are a great time to go for a bigger ask such as hopping on a call.
I also feel like this is a great time to hammer home a different angle on your value prop. Perhaps one benefit didn’t resonate from the first email, so use your follow-ups as a chance to highlight other benefits.
Below these follow-up cold email examples you can listen to a video of Damian and myself breaking down these emails in more detail.
Cold Email Follow Up Template 1
So I actually kind of like this one. I’m a fan of the second email being a one-liner question. This goes beyond that and is even more powerful with just the line “Let me know what makes sense as a next step, if any?”
This one question makes the recipient feel obligated to respond, all the while encouraging them to review the previous emails.
Speaking of previous emails, if you include the previous emails in your message and they have all the CAN-SPAM compliant things like address and a way to opt-out, then you don’t need to provide that again in your next email.
Cold Email Follow Up Template 2
Telling people you are following up is unnecessary. Letting them know they didn’t email you back is not a good way to start a relationship either. There’s no real added value to this email as a whole.
I know I have spent a bunch of time hammering the whole “introduction to someone else methodology”, but in follow-ups it actually works and makes sense. If they didn’t respond, it is natural to then ask if perhaps someone else might be a better fit.
Cold Email Follow up Commentary:
Cold Email Template – After Voicemail
Below these voicemail cold email examples you can listen to a video of Damian and myself breaking down these emails in more detail.
Cold Email After Voicemail 1
We’re missing context here so we don’t know if they know this person or if perhaps they filled out a web form.
Assuming you don’t know the person, this is a great opportunity to re-emphasize your value proposition.
Don’t assume they think you’re great just because they contacted you first.
Cold Email After Voicemail 2
This is actually a really solid follow-up after a voicemail.
The subject line pique’s curiosity and forces the recipient to at least make a courtesy glance at the intro sentence.
Since this is a manual follow-up, I think having a set time and date to follow back up makes sense. Asking them to call you is actually inviting in this case.
Cold Email After Voicemail 3
Leading in with “How is it going?” is a waste. You don’t really care and they aren’t going to answer that anyway.
This cold email follow-up is also missing a value prop or hook.
There’s no reason why someone would respond to this email.
Cold Email after Voicemail Commentary:
Cold Email Breakup Template
The cold email breakup template is your final attempt to start a conversation with a prospect (after prior emails have gone unresponded).
Below these breakup cold email examples you can listen to a video of Damian and myself breaking down these emails in more detail.
Cold Email Breakup Template 1
The breakup email strategy isn’t as effective these days. We’ve still seen some responses, but usually they are negative responses by this point. These can still be worthwhile as it helps show engagement, but you have to understand that most people are using this as a final email.
Not only is it becoming more common, but do you really want to promise to not follow up again?
Maybe now is just not a good time for your prospect. You should still have a goal of getting them into a different sequence in the future.
Cold Email Breakup Template 2
For starters, nobody “closes” files anymore, so this is not really believable. Unfortunately, it happens three times in this example.
That said, I think this email closes with a great call-to-action. It makes them think about what the next step should be.
Cold Email Breakup Template 3
If you say you are removing the fluff… ACTUALLY remove the fluff. There’s still a lot of fluff in this email.
While some of this is fairly decent and unique, I would add better benefits. Or a possible alternative would be to turn these benefits into questions (ie, “is managing your content difficult?”).
Using specific statistics in this case is clever, but it ends weakly by not having a specific question to respond to.
Cold Email Breakup Commentary:
The bottom line is if you are going to use a cold email template, make it your own.
Then, once you find something that works, make sure that only people on your team are using that cold email template. After awhile, the cold email template will get out there. I see it all the time with one’s we experiment with.
However, this lets you maximize results with it first before others come in to copy it.