Cold Email Templates to Warm Unengaged Leads

Cold prospecting email templates that won’t make you feel spammy

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Cold Email Templates to Warm Unengaged Leads

Cold prospecting email templates that won’t make you feel spammy

It happens to the best of us: We get busy, we forget to follow up, and next thing we know, it’s been months since a lead or former customer has heard from us.

It can feel awkward to get the relationship going again, and you might be tempted to write off those cold leads and focus on new leads. But if you went to the effort and expense of starting a relationship with someone, then—assuming they’re in your target audience—it’s worth trying to reignite the relationship.

We’ll show you how to warm up those relationships in a way that feels genuine and is most likely to get a response.

But first, let’s take a moment to get clear on what we mean by a “cold lead” and how to reach out in a way that helps your emails avoid being labeled as junk email.

The right way to send cold emails to stay out of spam folders

The best way to use cold emails is to re-engage leads who expressed an interest in your company at some point in the past—not people who have never heard from you before.

The problem with sending emails to strangers is that they will most likely mark your email as spam, which can cause future emails you send—even legitimate emails to customers—to land in recipients’ junk folders.

To protect your company’s reputation with email service providers (like Gmail, Yahoo, Apple, etc.) and to ensure good email deliverability rates, only send emails to people who have engaged with you at some point in the past.

We do NOT recommend buying a list of leads, because these contacts are most likely to not respond and mark your emails as spam. It’s a much better practice to use marketing methods that allow interested people to opt in to receiving email from you. Once they opt in, follow up automatically so those leads don’t grow cold.

When to email a cold lead

Cold emailing done right means reaching out to a lead who opted into receiving emails in the past but has since gone “cold” because either:

  • They haven’t engaged with one of your emails in awhile
  • You haven’t sent them any emails in awhile

An email to these cold leads serves as a last-ditch effort to reignite your relationship with them before removing them from your email list.

While response rates to cold emails are usually not very high, even if they opted in previously, there is a chance that some people who weren’t ready to engage with you before will be ready now, so it’s worth it to give them a chance to respond before giving up on them entirely.

The more recently they last engaged with you, the better the chance they’ll open your cold email, which is why it’s a good idea to automate follow-up emails and sales emails so that leads don’t go cold in the first place.

Regardless of how long it’s been since they last heard from you, what you say when you reach out again is especially important. The best cold email template is one that expresses a desire to reignite an existing relationship and offers something of value to them.

When to give up on a cold lead

Because sending to unengaged contacts can hurt your email deliverability to engaged contacts, it’s important to go through your list periodically and remove unengaged contacts. This is called email list hygiene.

Although it may seem counterintuitive to remove contacts, list hygiene is in the best interest of you, your company, and your contacts.

Cold emails are a way to give unengaged contacts a final chance to stay connected with you before you remove them from your list.

Cold email templates that will reignite interest

Now we’ll look at some cold email examples that seek to spark a new conversation by sharing something of value to your contacts.

For even better response rates, send a series of emails. This gives the contact multiple opportunities to re-engage. Download the Cold Email Templates guide (see the sidebar on this page) to get 3 cold email template series for B2B and B2C businesses.

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Pro tip

For best results—especially if you’re trying to re-engage many cold leads at once—use software to automate your outreach. Start a free trial of Keap's sales and marketing automation software to put these templates to work right away, along with other free email templates

Share what they’re missing

How it works: Provide a recap of news that your lead may find valuable. This could include new developments in your industry, important announcements, new products/features, etc.

Important note To avoid coming across as self-serving, lead with something about the industry or topic before mentioning something about your company or product.

Why it works: People hate being left out of the loop and want to be “in the know.” An email like this incites curiosity and the desire to find out what they’ve missed.

Subject: What you may have missed

Hi [first name],

It’s been awhile since we connected, so I wanted to send you an update on the latest developments in [industry/topic].

[List industry developments/news]

If you’re concerned about [problem/topic], you might also be interested to know that [company/product announcement].

Reply and let me know if you’d like to learn more. You can also schedule a call with me.

[Your signature & contact info]

How to automate it: Use a software tool like Keap’s appointment scheduling feature to generate a booking link so that contacts can pick a time to meet with you, avoiding the back-and-forth hassle of finding a time to meet.

Incentivize a renewed interest

How it works: Offer a limited-time promotion that gives a great discount and/or adds additional value for free.

Why it works: High-value promotions grab attention and spark action, especially for those who are interested but on the fence.

Special offer: [Discount/incentive]

Hi [first name],

In the past you expressed an interest in solving [problem], so I wanted to let you know about a very special limited-time promotion we have going on right now:

[Offer details]

This special expires [date, time] so be sure to [call to action] before the deadline.

[Include any additional information, terms & conditions, etc.]

[Your signature & contact info]

P.S. Here’s what one of our customers said about their experience with [product/service]: [customer testimonial]

Help and solve (not sell and promote)

How it works: Instead of pitching your product or service, show how you can help with the issue they’re dealing with. Give them a solution to a simple problem, then offer to help them with a bigger problem.

Why it works: Leading with how you can help them, instead of making it all about you, can go a long way to building trust. This approach is especially effective in situations where:

  • Your leads are accustomed to getting bombarded with sales offers and don’t respond well to them
  • Your lead might not be the person who can make the buying decision (such as in corporate B2B sales)
  • You have slim margins and can’t offer very attractive discounts

Subject: Here’s how to solve [problem]

Hi [first name],

Do you struggle with [problem]? You’re not alone. Fortunately, there is a way to [desired result].

First, set yourself up for success by [small action or mindset shift they can take right away to move in the right direction].

After that, you’ll need [solution]. That’s something I can help with. To learn more about how it works, schedule some time on my calendar and I’ll be happy to walk you through it.

[Your signature & contact info]

P.S. Here are some of the results our customers have achieved with us: [list outcomes or testimonials]

“Are you the right contact?”

How it works: Your contact may not be interested because they’re not a decision maker or the best contact at their company for what you do. Ask to get referred to the best person before you start pitching.

Why it works: Many people wish to be helpful by connecting people. Asking this question often elicits a response, either confirming that they are the correct person (which opens the door to further dialogue) or pointing you to a more appropriate contact.

Subject: Are you the right person to speak with?

Hi [first name],

I noticed that you expressed interest in the past about [product/service/topic], but I just want to make sure you’re still the best person at [their company name] to contact about [problem/solution].

Are you the right person, or is there a more appropriate contact I should reach out to instead?

I don’t want to be a bother, so please let me know and I’ll update my records. Thanks for your help!

[Your signature & contact info]

Re-opt-in or part ways

How it works: Ask if they still want to receive your emails or if they want to unsubscribe. Let them know you plan to remove them from your list if you don’t hear from them.

Why it works: People often respond when something is about to be taken away from them. By telling them they’re about to be removed from your list, it motivates them to take a moment to reconsider their interest level and easily take appropriate action. And it helps you maintain a healthy email list.

Subject: Do you want to be removed from our list?

Hi [first name],

You haven’t looked at one of our emails lately, so we’re checking to see if you’re still interested in receiving information from us about [topic].

We’re dedicated to helping [type of person] with [problem] to [desired result] by [solution/product/service].

If you’d like to continue receiving emails from us, click here to reconfirm your email subscription. We’ll send you [free resource] to help you start moving forward.

If you’d prefer to unsubscribe from future emails, click here.

If we don’t hear back from you, we may remove you from our list.

Thanks for letting us know your preferences! Either way, it’s a pleasure serving you.

[Your signature & contact info]

When to send it Continuing to email leads and customers who haven’t engaged with your emails in over six months can negatively impact your email deliverability. So we recommend sending this email 3 to 6 months after their last email open or click.

Boost results with a series of cold sales email templates

These single templates are a good starting point, but you can increase the likelihood of response even more by sending a series of emails.

To unlock free advanced tools, use these resources:

By using sales and marketing automation, you can send more advanced sales campaigns while saving time. This not only helps you win more sales, it helps prevent leads from going cold in the first place.

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