Cold Email Tips + Templates

by Kera DeMars in May 9th, 2022

Cold emails can be used to solicit customer interviews, sell your SaaS solution, or get in touch with a prospective mentor.

Regardless of what you're using it for, your cold email should follow a few basic principles.

  1. Keep it short
  2. Make it personal
  3. Say more with less
  4. Have a clear ask


A Bad Example

Below is a cold email I received literally yesterday. This is an example of what NOT to do in your cold emails.

Hi Kera,

I hope you are well.

You may find HedgeSync.com interesting.

It's an interactive database that institutional investors use to discover new funds and managers. At the moment, current subscribers represent ~$2 trillion aum and ~$12 trillion under advisory.

We also have "HedgeSync Create" which is an online portal that allows funds to create custom fact sheets within minutes - there are about 20 templates to pick from. The cost is £149/month/fund - it can be bolted on to a database subscription or taken as a standalone service.

Finally, there is the "HedgeSync Network" a niche social media platform for the buy-side community. The app can be downloaded at network.hedgesync.com or by searching "HedgeSync Network" in the Apple App Store or Google Play store. It is completely free.

I hope you find it interesting.

Mel


Breaking Down Why It's Bad

It's too long

This is the first interaction we've ever had. The author immediately dives into the details of his business – listing every product his company offers, the price, etc.

He's throwing way too much information at me.

It's impersonal

It's clear this is a template, and that the author didn't do any research on me before sending this email.

There is zero effort to connect with me as a person, which makes me feel zero obligation to respond to his message.


He talks only about his product

Do you know what makes someone open up to a stranger? Talking about themselves.

If you get someone to talk about themselves, they'll see you as a generous, kind, approachable person.

But if you approach a stranger and only talk about yourself, they will see you as a selfish, socially inept, egotistical person.

We'll talk more about how to solve for this below.


There is no ask

The author of this email doesn't ask me to do anything. It's not clear if he wants me to give feedback on his product, or pitch his product to my team, or invest in his company.

Since there's no clear ask, there's no impetus for me to do anything... other than delete this email.


A Good Example

Below I converted the "bad" email into a "good" email.

Hi Kera,

I recently attended Hustle Fund's webinar on fundraising from Angel Investors and loved it. You and Eric did a great job making the content easy to understand!

My name is Ronnie and I'm the founder of HedgeConnect. HedgeConnect is a database that institutional investors use to discover new funds and managers. We have around 300 people on the platform as of today.

Would you be open to looking at our website and giving me some feedback from an investor's perspective? I know you're probably super busy, but you seem like an expert on this kind of thing, and I'd be grateful to get your insights.

Here is a link to the site, and here is my calendly - maybe we could schedule a 15-min chat about the site?

Thank you!

Ronnie


Breaking Down Why It's Better

It's not too long

Each sentence packs a punch. No rambling sentences or big blocks of text. Only short, powerful, easy to read sentences.


It's personal

It's clear the person did their research before sending this email. The first two sentences makes it seem like this email was crafted just for me (even though the rest of the email is a template).

See the section where the author says "I know you're probably super busy, but you seem like an expert on this kind of thing"?

That one line is guaranteed to make the reader feel special, important, and valuable.

And when you make someone feel special, important, and valuable, they want to help you.

Once you establish a relationship with someone, it's much easier to talk about yourself, your company, and your product.


It summarizes the product + immediately shows value

Instead of diving into the details of the business, this email condenses the section about the product into 2 sentences.

Those sentences give a quick insight into what we do ("database to connect investors to new funds") and the value we can offer ("lots of people on the platform").

🔥 This email is not the time to make the sale. Your goal is to get the recipient interested enough to schedule a call.


There is a clear (and EASY) ask

The ask is clear: 15 minutes to give feedback on a website.

The ask isn't buried. It isn't vague. And it isn't overly time consuming. It's also not an enormous ask.

⚠️ Examples of an enormous ask: Can you schedule a meeting with me and your CEO? Can I do a presentation for your sales team? Can we get coffee? Will you invest in my business?


Template: Request For Customer Interview #1

*Hi Elizabeth,

I saw your tweet about the importance of having a generous parental leave policy the other day - and I agree completely! Companies that take care of their employees are much more likely to retain those employees. Seems like a no-brainer.

My name is Kera and I am the founder of JobHunter. We are a recruiting platform for startups.

The reason I'm reaching out is because I am trying to understand how recruiters spend their time, and what tools they use to do their jobs. You clearly have amazing experience in this space, and your opinions would be super valuable to our team.

Do you have 15 minutes to chat with me about your processes? I'm sure you're insanely busy, so I'm happy to work around your schedule to make this work. Here's a link to my calendly.

Hope to speak with you! -Kera*


Template: Request For Customer Interview #2

Hi Elizabeth,

My name is Kera and I am the founder of JobHunter. We are a recruiting platform for startups.

I noticed that you've worked at a handful of startups in a recruiting role, like BrightRoll, Splunk, and Airbnb. It's clear you have a ton of great experience in this field, and I was wondering if you'd be open to chatting with me for 15 minutes about your experiences?

See, I am doing research to understand how recruiters spend their time, and what tools they use to do their jobs. Given your expertise, your opinions would be super valuable to our team!

I'm sure you're insanely busy, so I'm happy to work around your schedule to make this work. Here's a link to my calendly.

Hope to speak with you! -Kera


Template: Request For Customer Interview #3 – current customer

Hi Elizabeth,

My name is Kera and I am the founder of JobHunter. Thank you for being an early user! We are so grateful for your support.

I noticed that you've been on the platform for a few weeks, and I was wondering if I could grab 15 minutes of your time to get some feedback on JobHunter.

We're a small company, and feedback from users like you will have a huge impact on how we're evolving the product.

Are you open to chatting with me for a few minutes sometime next week? If so, here's my calendly.

Hope to speak with you! -Kera

PS: I see you're connected to Eric Bahn on LinkedIn - what a small world! Eric and I worked together at Google a million years ago.


Template: Cold Email for SaaS #1

Hi Elizabeth,

We've never met, but I saw an article about you in Forbes last week. I loved what you said about the future of work - my team has been struggling with the move to a hybrid model, and your insights really resonated with us.

My name is Kera and I'm the founder of Lemonade. We're a sales prospecting tool for startups.

It seems like your team is selling primarily to architects and construction companies. I think we can help improve lead quality by at least 30%.

Would you be open to chatting for 15 minutes to see if this might be a fit for your team? If nothing else, I would be so grateful to get your feedback on our tool. You seem like an expert in this kind of thing.

Hope to speak with you! -Kera

PS: Here's my calendly.


Template: Cold Email for SaaS #2

Hi Elizabeth,

We've never met, but I've been a big fan of your firm for years. I'm a bit of an architect nerd, and I loved the library project your team spearheaded in downtown Portland.

My name is Kera and I'm the founder of ArnoldPalmer. We've build an accounting tool designed specifically for architects and builders.

I imagine your team spends around 15 hours/week on accounting. I think our tool can cut that time by at least 50%.

Would you be open to chatting for 15 minutes to see if this might be a fit for your company? If nothing else, I would be so grateful to get your feedback on our tool. You seem like an expert in this kind of thing.

Hope to speak with you! -Kera

PS: Here's my calendly.

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