How to write a great outreach template

Gmelius Team
Gmelius Team
Jun 20, 2017

Coming up with the perfect email outreach campaign is every company’s dream. The great series of emails that gets your inbox flowing with product requests and sales deals is a utopia though. A good cold outreach open rate is considered to be anything around 30%, whereas the response rate is deemed successful as soon as it reaches the 10%.

So you should adjust your expectations, work hard on how to write a great outreach template and test it, test it and test it some more.

First, if you are not used to email outreach you might be asking yourself why we write a template?
The answer actually lies above, you will need to test your emails and for that reason you will need them to be sent to a large number of people and have different variants to see which one has the most success. The easiest way to achieve this without hours of copy-pasting is templates.
But careful, templates do not mean impersonal,** a great template is tailored to your audience** with enough personnalisation that you don’t realize the email comes from one.

So how do you go about creating this template?

Do your research

If you have a great, brilliant, funny, original idea for an initial email outreach, then by all means write it down and try it out. However, this should not mean that you shoot that email only thinking it is amazing without trying out anything else.

You want your emails to be unique and sound like your brand, but you also need to** be aware of what works in your field**. Knowledge is power, so you should get a sense of what your competition is sending out in terms of outreach.
If you can’t find info from your direct competitors you should try to get a sense of what companies that you like or feel close to brand-wise, and who sometimes have bigger means and more market research data, are sending out.
You can also use websites such as Good Sales Emails or Good Email Copy or Really Good Emails to look for emails by theme or topic.

The 3 types of initial email

If you have never sent out email outreach before, select a couple of examples you particularly like to draw inspiration from. Keeping your brand in mind you should aim for 2 or 3 types of email templates.

At the beginning, I would suggest you aim for the basics: the short and catchy email and the descriptive one.
Then you should try out one original email, the one that reflects the most your brand’s identity or that strikes out as the most unique.

There are a couple key point to each ones:

  1. The short and catchy
  • Mention your tagline, the essence of your product
  • Make the connexion between your product and their business
  • End with a communication oriented Call-to-Action: “answer to schedule a call or a chat”, give them a chance to get more info.
  1. The descriptive
  • Use numbers and metrics to showcase the benefits of your product
  • Give examples of your product being put to use by similar businesses
  • Give them some extra content outside the email, a link to a blog post, a video or a small infographic about your product or something related. (Do not send out big attachments)
  1. The original
  • Use your brand! You have a space based design? Go cheesy with “ Our product will send you over the moon”.** Use your style to make yourself stand out.**

  • Be natural, use humour or give details about your team, make “who your brand is” stand out.
    After signing-up to the Hustle newsletter I received an email which read:“After you pressed the submit button and sent us your email a little buzzer went off in our office. Our entire team can hear it, and when it went off everyone smiled. Our office manager gave a golf clap and our operations guy did a pushup (I don’t know why, but for some reason he does a pushup each time the buzzer goes off).”
    This made me smile and imagine their team, it made them relatable.
  • Ask your recipient about them, in relation to the problem your product is fixing. “Are you satisfied with xyz?” “How easy is your xyz process?”

For each email** your Call-to-Action should be directly linked to your email objective**.
Your email objective will vary depending on the nature of your outreach contact lis. Is it a general list of people with some interest in the field your product is in, sport’s enthusiasts for an active wear brand for example, or are they potential big clients, here professional sportsmen and women or influencers?
For the former case you might be hoping for visits to your website where a button could be your CTA, but for the later you will be aiming for a much more direct interaction with your product and your service such as a call.

Subject Lines

Now that you have taken a look at the different type of emails out there and roughly drafted your own versions in different templates, you need to tackle one of the deciding open rate factor.

Your subject line.

We previously touched on how to write a subject line for a follow-up and the same 3 key tips go:

  • Get to the point and focus on your objective
  • Be concise and wary of spam triggers
  • Personalize as much as possible

Your subject line should already reflect your CTA and trigger the will to actually open the email and possibly act upon it.
If possible use their first name to catch their eye and personnalise the subject line, you could also use numbers such as a key metric or something triggering an emotional response, while always keeping it in line with your actual email content.

Think of your subject line as a headline, it is the catch that makes you read the article. You can even test your subject line with tools such as this Headline Analyzer to get some feedback on what open rate it is estimated to get.

As with the copy of the email, you should use variants of your subject lines to test different approaches.

Keep in mind that most inbox also show the first sentence of your email so make sure it is catchy, coherent with your subject line and personalized (include their first name in the greetings).

Personnalisation

We told it times and times again, personalized emails are a must. When using templates you should then be wary of not sounding too generic.
A first name in the greetings or the subject line is the minimum, whenever possible try to use additional information such as their company name or to include some sort of unique information.

Some companies change up one sentence every week giving a recent info on their product either a feature launch, an event they attended or their favorite blog article for the week. Anything to show the emails are tailored and specific and up to date.

For elements such as first name, last name, company name of the recipient and even for the name of the sender, if your emails are sent by multiple people, you should use variables.

Depending on the service you use to store and send your templates, different variables will be available to you with different ways to write them. Indeed, variables need to be written in a specific way to be identified by the program you are using.
Greetings depending on the service could be written:
Hi {{to.fname}},
Hi {{ $first_name | fallback: ‘’ }},

So you shouldn’t hesitate to double check the markdown writing of variables for each platform if you switch from one to the other. Some platforms, such as Gmelius offer the options to directly select your variables from a list of options, without any markdown knowledge necessary.

Variables available may include:

Gmelius’ variables for templates

Test

I can’t emphasize this enough, you should test, test and test again. Before you send out your email to a list of potential clients, make sure all your variables work, that your email structure looks good in different provider inboxes and on mobile too.

Don’t risk your email looking strange with paragraphs broken down and don’t risk a link not working or images not coming up.

Double check it, triple check it and once you’re sure, ask someone else to take a look. Once you are done, you can confidently send this initial email to your leads.

Working so hard to get the perfect template going may seem time consuming, but remember you are sending not one but 3 emails to many many recipients, so you should try and fail and adapt as much as possible. Open rates are ruthless and sales email competition is high, so try your best to get as much sales as you can!

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