How to Write Cold Emails to Generate Leads + Free Templates

Created On:
January 16, 2023
Updated On:
June 12, 2024
Cold Email Lead Generation

Lead generation is one of the most important objectives for any business. FYI, 'lead' is a sales and marketing term that refers to any person who is interested in your company's service or product. When it comes to lead generation, one of the most successful methods is cold emailing.

In the era of social media, cold emailing is still the most successful method of lead generation, more than Facebook and Twitter combined. In fact, an extensive McKinsey survey shows that cold email marketing is 40 times more effective than social media outreach.

However, cold email lead generation is no easy job – it takes excellent copywriting skills and in-depth knowledge of the target audience. An average email user receives roughly 120 emails a day, of which 59% are considered irrelevant by the receivers.

So, how do you stand out from the crowd, and how do you improve your campaigns' email open rates and click-through rates

In this blog post, we've discussed everything you need to know about cold email lead generation including how to write a cold email to generate leads and improve sales. Also, we've added actionable cold email templates. Feel free to customize and use them in your campaigns. 

Let's get started. 

How to structure a Cold Email: The Subtle Art of Persuasion

1. Write an Interesting Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing potential customers notice before opening a cold email. A SuperOffice study shows that 33% of email recipients open emails based on the subject lines. 

Also, including your prospect's first name in the subject line gives a personal touch to the email, thus improving the email open rates by up to 22%. 

For example, a subject line that reads "{prospect's name}, We have found what you were looking for" has a far better chance of opening than "We have an offer for you"

Similarly, adding numbers to a subject line increases the chances of email opens. For example, "XXX sold so far" is a great subject line example of intriguing your audience. 

On that note, triggering your prospects' FOMO is a great trick to improve email open rates. For instance, "Time's running out fast" and "You've got only 10 minutes" can trigger curiosity in your prospects. 

Here are a few tips for writing an interesting subject line: 

  • Personalize as much as possible. Do your research and use prospect data. 
  • Be honest about what you are claiming
  • Keep it short (ideally within 60 characters or 9 words) 
  • Avoid spam trigger words, i.e., sale, free, discount, etc. 
  • Use emojis 😁

It's best if you A/B test your subject lines before choosing a final one. 

Watch this video, where we talk about how to create an A/B test for your cold emails and what should you be looking for in the data. Watch Here!

Here's something nobody told you: Spend time editing the preheader text as well. Most marketers overlook it but believe us when we say this; it makes your email stand out from the crowd. Write a personalized email preheader text that gives a brief overview of the email. 

Smartlead Homepage

Read more: 80 Cold Email Subject Lines to Increase Your Response Rate

2. Keep Your Email Simple and Concise

Have you ever noticed how you read internet content? You don't read a wordy article fully; you just scan through it. 

That is the case with emails as well. People just skim through the relevant and important phrases or information. A survey conducted by Boomerang found that emails containing 75 - 100 words had the highest email open and response rates (51%). 

And according to Campaignmonior, an ideal business email should contain 50 -125 words. 

So, keeping your email short, simple, and to the point is extremely important to hook your prospect instantly and can help you in successful cold email lead generation. In order to make it look interesting and easier to skim through it, keep your sentences and paragraphs short. 

This way, you are respecting your prospects' valuable time and retaining their attention till the end of the email, which encourages your prospects to take necessary actions. 

3. Personalize Your Email Content

We all receive tons of generic emails every day, and what happens to them? We delete these emails even before reading the whole content. 

Generic content is a buzzkill for cold emails. It shows that you care more about aggressively selling rather than catering to your prospect's needs. A survey run by McKinsey and Company shared that companies/brands using personalization are getting 40% more revenue.  

Content personalization is the key to your prospects' hearts. So, use sales automation tools or email marketing software such as Smartlead to generate prospect data and personalize your content according to your prospects' needs. 

For instance, addressing a prospect by their first name brings a personal touch to the email. Also, you can start your email by congratulating them on their achievements. 

Other than that, you can personalize your email based on their job role, responsibilities, age, purchase habits, mutual connections, and demographics. 

Even if you are using cold email templates, it is best if you automate personalization and cold email outreach in your sales engagement tool. Also, segment your email list to provide your prospects with content they want to receive. 

Smartlead AI Personalization

4. Don't Push; Provide Value Instead

Sometimes it's hard to resist the urge to write edgy and sales-y content. However, a cold email might not be the ideal place to write one. 

Putting yourself in your prospects' shoes while writing a cold email will help you understand their perspectives. A cold email is not a sales pitch; instead, it is a valuable piece of content that pitches your idea and provides value to your prospect. 

For example, if your prospect is running a mid-sized organization and isn't using a CRM tool, you can easily point out the benefits of a CRM and pitch your product/service skillfully. 

To succeed in your cold email lead generation endeavor, try and offer value to your prospect. You need to know the following: 

  • Prospects' pain points
  • Their goals
  • Industry
  • Whether they are decision-makers (job position) 
  • Measure of success

5. Send Emails at the Right Time 

Every day we wake up with our email inboxes full of messages, and we simply ignore them. So it's natural that your prospects will do the same. 

So think again before launching your cold email lead generation campaigns. 75% of cold emails get opened within an hour of receiving them. That's why you need to send cold emails during business hours to get the maximum click-through rates. 

According to Mixmax data, the ideal time to send cold emails is between 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM in your prospect's time zone.

Cold emails don't see many opens (and responses) during weekends (Saturday and Sunday), Mondays, and Fridays. The best days to send cold emails are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

However, the ideal time varies based on industry, client demographics, age, etc. So, creating an ideal customer profile will help you send cold emails efficiently. 

You can automate your cold emails and the entire sales follow-up process easily with Smartlead.

6. Include a Compelling CTA (Call-To-Action) 

Although many marketers disagree, including only one CTA in your cold emails can increase your click-through rates by 42%. 

So it is best if you only add one compelling CTA to drive your prospects to take action. Multiple CTAs can confuse your audience and distract them from the main agenda (turning your leads into paying customers). Also, multiple calls-to-actions (with too many attachments and links) often get marked as spam by ESPs (Email Service Providers). 

Research your audience and their pain points to determine the intent of the cold email. This way, you can easily determine the CTA for your email marketing campaign

Smartlead Features

7. Follow-Up

Did you know that a successful cold email lead generation conversion can take at least 5 follow-ups? According to HubSpot, a whopping 44% of sales reps give up after only one follow-up email

Once you run your cold email campaign, it's best if you follow up at least after 5 days after sending the last email. This is where the following-up begins, but it doesn't mean you should spam your prospects' inboxes. 

It's best if you add value to your leads while sending follow-ups such as sending informative articles, suggestions to improve, data, free PDFs or eBooks, etc. 

You can't predict a specific timeline for follow-ups, but here's how it may look like:

  • 1st follow-up: 2 days after the first email
  • 2nd follow-up: 3-4 days after sending the 1st follow-up
  • 3rd follow-up: 7 days later
  • 4th follow-up: 14 days later
  • 5th follow-up: 25-30 days later (breakup email)

However, sending timely follow-ups based on your qualified leads' positions in the sales funnel is a complicated and time-consuming task. We'd recommend you automate your follow-up sequences with cold emailing tools.

Read more on how to write the best performing follow-up emails, here.

8. Additional Tip: Visual and Brand Optimization

Emojis have become a profound communication language. Adding emojis in your email subject line or in the email body brings a color splash and a personal touch to your emails 💯🚀. 

Also, you can experiment with GIFs in relevant content, so it adds up flavor to your emails. Dell, in their case study, revealed that it had increased its revenue by 109% with GIF-centric email messages. 

Also, it's best if you optimize your email with brandings such as logo, tagline, branding image, etc., to create a solid brand impression. Make sure your images and graphics are optimized for mobile devices. 

10 Customizable Cold Email Templates For Cold Email Lead Generation

#1 Product Introduction Cold Sales Email Template

Subject: Introducing {new product name}

Hey {recipient name},

We're excited to introduce our new product, {product name}. In a few sentences, it does these three things:

-Solves a problem for {target customer}

-Is really easy to use

-Creates great results for businesses like yours.

Learn more about how {product name} can help you grow your business by clicking the link below.

Let us know if you have any questions - we're happy to help!


{sender's name}

{professional signature} 

#2 Customer Testimonial Cold Email Template

Subject: Customer Testimonial

Hi {recipient’s name},

I wanted to share a testimonial from one of our clients with you.

"{client name} has been using {product name} for the past month and found it to be an invaluable business tool. They love how easy it is to set up and use."

I would love to chat with you more about how we can increase your conversions through email outreach and see if our product is right for your business. 

This business tool can also become an invaluable part of your business. If it's something that interests you, please reply with "Yes," and we'll book a meeting to discuss it further. 


{sender name}

#3 LinkedIn Prospect Cold Email Template

Subject: Connecting you with valuable connections

Hi {recipient name},

We've noticed that you're looking for new connections on LinkedIn, and we wanted to introduce ourselves.

We're a team of professional recruiters dedicated to connecting talented professionals with relevant opportunities. We work with hundreds of companies from across the world, providing them with top talent so they can continue to grow their business.

One of our team members, {name}, saw your profile and reached out to us. We'd love to connect with you on LinkedIn! Let us know if you'd like our intro email by replying to this email.


{sender name}

#4 Value Addition Cold Email Template

Subject: {product name} can change the way {prospect's organization} works!

Hey {recipient name},

I'm reaching out because I noticed you're looking for a way to grow your business. I wanted to share some information on our new product, {product name} which can help you do just that.

When we were developing this product, we made sure that it had the following things:

1) The ability to generate leads for your business

2) Automation so you can spend less time on things like updating your list and managing your outreach 

3) An ability to integrate with other tools in order to make things easier for you.

We're offering a free trial, so you can try it out and see how it fits into your business. If this sounds like something that might be valuable for you, check out our calendar and book a meeting at your convenience. 

Best wishes, 

{sender name}

{professional signature} 

#5 Value Addition Cold Email Template

Subject: Solving {pain point} is easier than you think

Hey {recipient name},

I saw your post on {insert social media platform}, and I wanted to reach out to see if you had any questions or needed any help.

Here's a layout of how we do it: 

{tip #1}

{tip #2}

{tip #3} 

We offer {insert value add here}, which is also a great way to grow your business. We've helped a lot of people just like you achieve their goals.

I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have about our service; just reply to this email.

Best regards,

{sender's name} 

{professional signature} 

#6 Congratulating Prospect Cold Email Template

Subject: {name}, congratulations!

Dear {recipient name},

Congratulations on your recent success with {company name}! We're excited to see how you grow the {department name} team in the next few years.

We are a {service} provider, serving {niche industry} industry for more than ten years with excellence. 

We want to help you get started. If you haven't already, we recommend signing up for our newsletter and checking out our blog for some helpful tips on increasing your conversion rates.

It's never too late to take advantage of our free trial offer, so don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or just want a chat.

All the best, 

{sender name}

#7 Cold Email to Businesses from Content Writer

Subject: 6x traffic Increase in 1 month

Hi {recipient name},

I am {sender name}, and I am a content writer working as a freelancer. I'm passionate about helping businesses find the right words to attract their audience and convert their leads.

I specialize in copywriting, blog posts, creating videos, and social media content. My rates are competitive at $30/hr for remote writing assignments and $50/hr for in-person writing assignments.

My content has been featured on Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur Magazine, Mashable, and more!

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about our services or rates.

Looking forward to working with you!

Thanks and Regards, 

{sender name}

{professional signature} 

#8 B2B Collaboration Cold Email Template

Subject: {prospect’s company} + {sender’s company} = 🚀

Hi {recipient name},

I am writing to you because I believe we can work together. I am a salesperson with {company name} and have been successful in sourcing new business opportunities with other businesses such as yours.

I understand that your company is looking to partner with another company to provide your products and services to their clients. This is where our company comes in. We offer marketing, advertising, and social media services for our clients. 

We can provide you with these services at the same time as partnering up with your company to provide them on the other end. I hope you are interested in considering this proposal; we would love the opportunity to work together!


{sender name}

#9 AIDA Cold Email Template

Subject line: {prospect's name}, plan a vacation with your family.

Hi {prospect’s name},

I was wondering what you would do if you got 10 hours saved each week.

I am asking because many of our clients have saved hundreds of hours every year, if not more, by choosing our {product/service name} to their sales workflow. 

You can ask experts like {expert name #1}, {expert name #2}, {expert name #3}, or {expert name #4}, whom we have been serving for more than five years in a row. 

I am {sender name}, working as {job role} at {company name}. I have seen how you proceed with {task name}, and I am confident that I can save some of your precious time. 

I would love to talk to you in person over a cup of coffee. Are you free for an hour next week so we can arrange a meeting? 

Best regards, 

{sender name

{professional signature} 

#10 3-Line Cold Email Template

Subject: Let's talk! 

Hi {prospect's first name}, 

I have come up with a solid plan for automating {departmental workflow} in your company and I just need 10 minutes of your precious time to explain it to you and generate 100 precious customers for you. 

I recently implemented this idea to help {company name} to grow bigger than {competitor's name}. 

{prospect's name}, let's schedule a quick 10-minute meeting so I can give you a quick overview of how you should proceed. When is the best time for you? 


{sender's name} 

Common mistakes to avoid in cold emailing

1) Not Personalizing

Sending generic emails without any personalization can make your email feel spammy and decrease the likelihood of a response. Always address the recipient by name and try to tailor the content of the email to their specific interests or needs.

2) Failing to Research

Not doing enough research on the recipient or their company can lead to emails that are irrelevant or off-target. Take the time to learn about the person you're emailing and their company so you can craft a message that resonates with them.

3) Overlooking the Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing the recipient will see, so it's crucial to make it attention-grabbing and relevant. Avoid generic subject lines like "Hello" or "Opportunity" and instead try to pique the recipient's curiosity or highlight the value proposition of your email.

4) Being Too Long-Winded

Cold emails should be concise and to the point. Avoid rambling or including unnecessary information that could overwhelm the recipient. Get straight to the purpose of your email and make it easy for the recipient to understand what you're asking or offering.

5) Not Including a Clear CTA

Your cold email should have a clearly visible and focused CTA. Whether it's scheduling a meeting, responding to your email, or visiting your website, make sure the call to action is specific and easy to follow.

6) Ignoring Follow-Up

Sometimes, people don't respond to cold emails right away, but that doesn't mean they're not interested. Make sure to follow up with recipients who haven't responded after a reasonable amount of time (usually a week or two), but avoid being too pushy or aggressive.

7) Not Offering Value

Cold emails should provide some value to the recipient, whether it's in the form of useful information, a relevant resource, or a compelling offer. Make sure to highlight what's in it for them and why they should bother responding to your email.

Wrapping Up

Attention, interest, desire/decision, and action – these are the four steps of any successful cold email. Follow the eight above-mentioned cold email tips to write compelling cold emails that generate successful leads. 

However, make sure you: 

  • Don't write misleading emails 
  • Don't add false email addresses (don't buy readymade email lists) 
  • Don't send emails repeatedly
  • Don't add spam trigger words

And don't forget to test different variables of your cold emails to find out the most responsive one.

We'd recommend using a lead generation tool like Smartlead, that will reduce your burden and automate the entire workflow. Automate the follow-up process and never miss a lead and streamline your cold email strategies. Smartlead offers:

  • Unlimited sender accounts
  • Automated email warmups
  • Subsequences
  • LinkedIn outreach
  • Webhooks and APIs
  • Master inbox
  • Dedicated IP servers
  • Full whitelabel experience

This sales engagement tool offers 14-day free trial, so you can test it before buying a subscription. No credit cards required.

FAQs in Cold Email Lead Generation

Q.1 How do I find the right email addresses for my cold email campaign?

You can use professional networking sites like LinkedIn to find the names and positions of relevant contacts within a company. Utilize email finder tools such as, Voila Norbert, or Clearbit to search for email addresses based on the name and domain of the company. If nothing works, leverage your existing network to ask for introductions or referrals to the contacts you're trying to reach.

Q.2 How can I personalise my cold emails without spending too much time on each email?

Use mail merge features in email marketing platforms like Mailchimp or HubSpot to personalize emails at scale by including variables like the recipient's name or company. You can also personalize your emails when you are using a tool like Smartlead. Remember to segment your email list based on criteria such as industry, job title, or location, and tailor your message accordingly for each segment.

Q.3 What's a good open rate for cold emails?

A good open rate for cold emails typically falls within the range of 15% to 25%, although this can vary depending on factors like industry, target audience, and email content.

Q.4 What metrics should I track to measure the success of my cold email campaigns?

You can track metrics such as open rate, click-through rate (CTR), response rate, conversion rate, unsubscribe rate, etc. Know what these metrics are in more detail via this blog.

Q.5 How do you write a lead nurturing email sequence?

You can follow the below steps to write a lead nurturing email sequence: 

Introduction: Start with a brief introduction and establish relevance by addressing a pain point or need that your product or service can solve.

Educational Content: Provide value to your leads by sharing relevant industry insights, case studies, or how-to guides that demonstrate your expertise and help build trust.

Offer: Present your product or service as a solution to the lead's problem, highlighting its unique features and benefits.

Call to Action (CTA): Clearly state the next steps you want the lead to take, whether it's scheduling a call, signing up for a free trial, or downloading a resource.

Follow-Up: If the lead doesn't respond to your initial email, send follow-up emails at regular intervals to stay on their radar and encourage engagement.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Author’s Details

Sattwik Das

Sattwik is a Digital Marketing professional at Smartlead. He is a dedicated content writer who focuses on juggling words to bring out meaningful content. He is experienced in well-researched and SEO-optimized content creation, content editing, and copywriting for various businesses throughout the globe. His expertise in SEO, SMM, and SMO with a touch of creativity helps businesses grow and maximize their credibility and sales.


Edited by:

Charu Mitra Dubey


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Frequently asked questions

General Questions

What is Smartlead's cold email outreach software?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead's cold email outreach tool helps businesses scale their outreach efforts seamlessly. With unlimited mailboxes, fully automated email warmup functionality, a multi-channel infrastructure, and a user-friendly unibox, it empowers users to manage their entire revenue cycle in one place. Whether you're looking to streamline cold email campaigns with automated email warmups, personalization fields, automated mailbox rotation, easy integrations, and spintax, improve productivity, or enhance scalability with subsequences based on lead’s intentions, automated replies, and full white-label experience, our cold email tool implifies it in a single solution.

How does the "unlimited mailboxes" feature benefit me?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Our "unlimited mailboxes" feature allows you to expand your email communications without restrictions imposed by a mailbox limit. This means you won't be constrained by artificial caps on the number of mailboxes you can connect and use. This feature makes Smartlead the best cold email software and empowers you to reach a wider audience, engage with more potential customers, and manage diverse email campaigns effectively.

What do you mean by "unibox to handle your entire revenue cycle"?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

The "unibox" is one of the unique features of Smartlead cold email outreach tool, and it's a game-changer when it comes to managing your revenue cycle. The master inbox or the unibox consolidates all your outreach channels, responses, sales follow-ups, and conversions into one centralized, user-friendly mailbox.

With the "unibox," you gain the ability to:
1. Focus on closing deals: You can now say goodbye to the hassle of logging into multiple mailboxes to search for replies. The "unibox" streamlines your sales communication, allowing you to focus on what matters most—closing deals.

2. Centralized lead management: All your leads are managed from one central location, simplifying lead tracking and response management. This ensures you take advantage of every opportunity and efficiently engage with your prospects.

3. Maintain context: The "unibox" provides a 360-degree view of all your customer messages, allowing you to maintain context and deliver more personalized and effective responses.

How does Smartlead ensure my emails don't land in the spam folder?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead, the best cold email marketing tool, ensures your emails reach the intended recipients' primary inbox rather than the spam folder. 

Here's how it works:
1. Our "unlimited warmups" feature is designed to build and maintain a healthy sending reputation for your cold email outreach. Instead of sending a large volume of emails all at once, which can trigger spam filters, we gradually ramp up your sending volume. This gradual approach, combined with positive email interactions, helps boost your email deliverability rates.

2. We deploy high-deliverability IP servers specific to each campaign. 

3. The ‘Warmup’ feature replicates humanized email sending patterns, spintax, and smart replies.
4. By establishing a positive sender reputation and gradually increasing the number of sent emails, Smartlead minimizes the risk of your emails being flagged as spam. This way, you can be confident that your messages will consistently land in the primary inbox, increasing the likelihood of engagement and successful communication with your recipients.

Can I integrate Smartlead with other tools I'm using?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Certainly, Smartlead is designed for seamless integration with a wide range of tools and platforms. Smartlead offers integration with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Clay, Listkit, and more. You can leverage webhooks and APIs to integrate the tools you use. Try Now!

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

What type of businesses sees the most success with Smartlead?

No, there are no limitations on the number of channels you can utilize with Smartlead. Our multi-channel infrastructure is designed to be limitless, allowing you to reach potential customers through multiple avenues without constraints.

This flexibility empowers you to diversify your cold email outreach efforts, connect with your audience through various communication channels, and increase your chances of conversion. Whether email, social media, SMS, or other communication methods, Smartlead's multi-channel capabilities ensure you can choose the channels that best align with your outreach strategy and business goals. This way, you can engage with your prospects effectively and maximize the impact of your email outreach.

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Do you provide me with lead sources?

Smartlead distinguishes itself from other cold email outreach software by focusing on limitless scalability and seamless integration. While many similar tools restrict your outreach capabilities, Smartlead offers a different approach.

Here's what makes us uniquely the best cold email software:

1. Unlimited Mailboxes: In contrast to platforms that limit mailbox usage, Smartlead provides unlimited mailboxes. This means you can expand your outreach without any arbitrary constraints.

2. Unique IP Servers: Smartlead offers unique IP servers for every campaign it sends out. 

3. Sender Reputation Protection: Smartlead protects your sender reputation by auto-moving emails from spam folders to the primary inbox. This tool uses unique identifiers to cloak all warmup emails from being recognized by automation parsers. 

4. Automated Warmup: Smartlead’s warmup functionality enhances your sender reputation and improves email deliverability by maintaining humanized email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

5. Multi-Channel Emphasis: Smartlead places a strong emphasis on multi-channel outreach. You can reach your prospects where they are with the LinkedIn outreach feature.   With Smartlead’s cold email automation software, you're always one step ahead in your outreach efforts, enjoying the freedom to scale your initiatives and seamlessly integrate with other tools—all while maintaining a focus on maximizing the impact of your outreach.

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

How secure is my data with Smartlead?

Ensuring the security of your data is Smartlead's utmost priority. We implement robust encryption methods and stringent security measures to guarantee the continuous protection of your information. Your data's safety is paramount to us, and we are always dedicated to upholding the highest standards of security.

How can I get started with Smartlead?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Getting started with Smartlead is straightforward! Just head over to our sign-up page and follow our easy step-by-step guide. If you ever have any questions or need assistance, our round-the-clock support team is ready to help, standing by to provide you with any assistance you may require. Sign Up Now!

How can I reach the Smartlead team?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

We're here to assist you! You can easily get in touch with our dedicated support team on chat. We strive to provide a response within 24 hours to address any inquiries or concerns you may have.

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