Cold feet about cold emails? Learn how to ace your outbound sales emails

You know who loves writing outbound sales emails? No one.

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You know who loves writing outbound sales emails?

No one.

The reason that writing cold emails makes people uncomfortable is that you’re facing down an enigma. Or rather, a whole bundled-up knot of enigmas. Where to even begin?

You’re only getting one chance to say something to a complete stranger, and you don’t even have the opportunity to say it in person. What’s really going to connect with them? How could you possibly know what will interest them? Why are they going to care what you have to say in the first place?

What’s worse, B2B email outreach is only getting harder with time. Harvard Business Review reports that “only 24% of outbound sales emails are ever opened”. The majority of people aren’t even going to give you a chance.

Fortunately, we have a few clues already.

Only 24% of emails get opened. How come?

Probably because they aren’t waiting for an email from you!

They’re expecting business emails from colleagues, messages from grandma, updates from their favorite blog, etc. If you aren’t on that list, your chances of getting opened have already sunk pretty low.

There’s only one thing that you can do about that: hit the subject line out of the park.

How to write great outbound email subject lines?

When it comes to sales emails, the subject line is the proverbial foot in the door. Over 30% of recipients open emails based only on the subject line.

If you don’t have a good one, you might as well not even bother sending the email in the first place. How much time do you spend hunting through your inbox looking for emails to read from people and companies that you don’t know, with subject lines that you don’t care about?

Probably about as much as everyone else. (None.)

Remember when we asked how you could possibly know what will interest your prospect? …And then we said that we have a few clues already.

That was one of the clues.

There hasn’t been any magic in receiving an email since 1994. If you want to have a good shot of getting someone to read your message, you’re going to have to… find out what’s going to interest them!

Your prospect might not be waiting for an email from you, but this is your chance to convince them that they should have been.

Do your best to find out something about the people you’re trying to get to.

LinkedIn exists. Use it!

If you have the luxury of time or you really need to get through to specific people, expect to put in some serious footwork to find something that will click with your prospect in 50 characters or less.

If you have a lot of prospects on your list though, or you don’t have enough shared connections to view their profile, take whatever you can get. The company that they work for or their job title, for example.

Take your research and expand on it. How can you turn what you’ve learned into a question? What are your prospects’ pain points, based on what you know? What do you have to offer their company?

But don’t give them too much. In fact, give them very little.

Your subject line is the hook at the end of your outreach email fishing line. If you give them everything in the subject line, why should they bother opening the email? You want the bait to stay on your hook so you can reel them in (to your email).

You’re also trying to avoid reeking of sales pitch. People do everything they can to avoid being sold to. You’re trying to come off as personal as possible.

Subject line templates

Questions are good for reeling people into your email.

  • Working on {{problem}}?
  • Hey {{name}}, need any help with {{pain point}}?

Short, casual statements can also be effective.

  • Quick question for you.
  • Idea for {{company}}
  • Fixes for {{pain point}}

Mentioning a recent achievement is a reliable winner. You’re complimenting your prospect, personalizing, and avoiding sounding salesy all at once.

  • Congratulations on {{thing that person/company did}}!

To go against everything I’ve just said, sometimes being straightforward is also effective, especially if you know exactly what your prospect is looking for. In that case, your email can be a miraculous answer to your prospect’s pain point.

  • I can save you {{amount of time}} per week on {{task}}
  • I can make {{problem prospect is struggling with}} a breeze

Unfortunately, that’s just the first step. Once you’ve succeeded in getting someone to crack open your email, you only have a few seconds to get them interested in what you have to say.

Writing killer sales email body text

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules about what is going to get people’s attention.

Everyone is different, your clients are different from each other and from the clients that will use a different service. Your company and its personality are different than your competitors’, even when they have an extremely similar offering.

Get creative.

Use pictures, gifs, short videos. But make sure you’re working them into a message that’s tailored to the specific prospect. A 20-second video shot on your cell phone that includes the prospect’s name could go much further than a professionally shot, two-minute video that wasn’t made for anyone in particular.

What did you find out about your prospect?

That’s still the number one tool that you have in your toolbelt.

Keep working that knowledge. Mold it into a masterpiece.

What can you specifically do, for this specific prospect, to help with their specific problem?

Don’t know what their specific problems are? Put yourself in their shoes. How can the service that you offer help?

Actually, it isn’t that difficult. Most companies are looking for ways to:

1. Make more money

2. Spend less money

3. Find more customers

If you can link your service to one of those goals, do it.

Numbers help. Can you save someone 2 hours of work each day? Can you reduce their expenses for X? Say it.

And save everyone some time and get to the point.

Outbound email body templates

Trying to get an appointment?
Show them why it’s going to be easy for them and how it’s going to pay off.

  • Template 1

“Hey, {{Name}},

In 7 minutes, I can show you how to double your {{something that prospect needs}}.

I want to schedule a call with you to show you how {{your other client}} has {{received the same benefit}} by using my service.

Do you have time this week?


  • Template 2

Trying to warm up a cold lead?
Send an introduction video which includes a soft call to action, but make sure to say what the video contains.

“Hi, {{Name}},

I just wanted to introduce myself and tell you how {{my service}} can do {{something good}} for {{your company}}.


P.S. I just saw your latest post on {{social media}}, I really enjoyed it!”

  • Template 3

Once you’ve introduced yourself, send them some valuable information, making sure to tell them what it is:

“Hey, {{Name}},

We recently did this webinar on {{solving pain point}}, I thought you might find it useful.


Get back to me and let me know if anything resonated with you. I’d love to answer any questions!


  • Template 4

No response from your first email? Follow-up with a reminder.


Just circling back to see if you got my last message. Let me know what you thought.


  • Template 5

Prospect hasn’t responded to a few emails? Send them a “last chance” email. Break up email subject lines are especially important, though. Your prospect should know without opening the message that this is their last chance.

Subject line: I’ll take you off my list

“Hi, {{Name}},

I guess I’ve got the wrong person! I’m not trying to irritate you, so I’ll take you off of my list.

If you’re ever in the market for {{my service}}, get in touch.


These messages can be surprisingly effective, don’t neglect them.

Next steps

So you’ve written your emails. Now what?

A/B test!
This might be the most important thing that you can do. Even if your original emails aren’t great, if you keep testing new ideas and tweaking your best templates, they’re going to get better with time.

Don’t forget to be persistent!
This is the last point, and we can’t say it enough times; persistence, persistence, persistence.

With your prospects and with your campaigns. Don’t be afraid to send several emails to each prospect.

People are busy, they might not even notice your first email. They might notice your second email and want to open it but have something else to do and forget. Don’t be irritating, but don’t give up either. Follow-up emails often have a higher open rate than the first email you send.

If you’re ready to get serious about your outbound sales emails, testing, comparing results, and setting up sequences of emails (and other types of messaging!) goes way faster with sales engagement software.

And don’t be discouraged by your initial results. Keep improving your emails and keep going after all those fish in the sea.