How to Perfect Your Templates: Useful Recommendations and Tools for Email Writing

How to Perfect Your Templates: Useful Recommendations and Tools for Email Writing

There are dozens of effective cold email formulas and thousands of “proven” templates that promise high reply rates.

Yet, no matter the template you use to connect with your prospects, you will still have to customize it to suit your needs. This makes email writing a valuable skill for any SDR or sales professional.

While my sales experience isn’t as impressive as that of some of my colleagues here at Reply, there’s hardly a type of written content I haven’t created over the past 8+ years. So it’s safe to assume that I do well with words.

In this post, I’d like to share a few recommendations (and tools I personally use) to help you improve your cold email writing skills. But first, let’s talk about the holy grail of all SDRs – the templates.

Should you rely on templates in your cold emailing? 

Not all email templates you find online will be effective for you. There, I said it. 

This doesn’t mean that you should go into full Shakespeare mode writing all of your emails from scratch. Just don’t blindly trust the experts who claim to get a 60% response rate from that single template they generously share just because (following up with a product pitch or webinar announcement). They have the name, the brand, the data, and countless other means to make it work.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there might be dozens if not thousands of other crafty SDRs using that very template. Imagine how effective it would be if your prospects receive almost identical messages a few times every week from different companies!

In practice, any sales email template would require some work to make it your own. Here are some general recommendations for choosing the right template and customizing it for your campaigns.

  • Make sure the template matches your use case. Don’t copy and paste every template you like. What works for a real estate agent wouldn’t necessarily be equally effective for a B2B sales agency. Recruiting emails won’t work just as well for sales outreach. You get my point.
  • Customize based on your ICP. The next aspect of a template you should pay attention to is the audience it’s aimed at. It’s not just the role, age, or niche they are working in. Every single detail you know about your buyer persona could be extremely useful when adjusting your templates to resonate with that specific audience.
  • Add some personality. Using variables or custom snippets to make the email appealing to each individual prospect is great. But it’s equally important to show a bit of your own personality in those emails. Remember there’s no B2B without human to human first and foremost.
  • Adjust the tone or style to keep it consistent with the rest of your messaging (and your communication). This correlates with the previous point with just one tweak: Your communication with the prospects should follow your personal style (or corporate tone of voice) to be distinctive and easily recognizable.
  • Watch the formatting when copy-pasting the templates or their parts. A mix of different styles and fonts with odd background colors (especially visible in dark mode) doesn’t simply look unprofessional but also shows that you didn’t put any effort into your email. Always clear the formatting when you paste text from various sources.

Explore the ultimate collection of 100+ battle-tested email templates to meet all your business communication needs

Go to library

Pro tip: When using third-party templates, keep an eye on the variables they contain. Depending on the software you use, their format might differ. So if you use {Variable} instead of [Variable] or {Variable_1} vs {Variable1}, your sales engagement platform can fail to populate those fields causing some serious trouble.

7 email writing tips to perfect your templates

To make your day-to-day work as an SDR a bit more romantic, try viewing every email as your canvas and yourself as the artist. You can’t possibly create a masterpiece if you’re painting by numbers – simply filling in the blanks in the template.

Not feeling very creative? Here are some easy email writing tips to make every template better.  

  • Cut the fluff

There might be many things you want to say to the prospect in your email, but not everything is worth being said. So, if you’re asking a person to give you a minute of their time, don’t waste a second of it on unnecessary fluff – get straight to the point.

That said, the first thing you should do to your templates is eliminate unnecessary text, especially at the beginning of your email. Phrases like “How are you?” or my personal favorite “Hope this email finds you well” add no value and are a waste of space in your sales email. 

Let’s take a look at some examples:

❌ I’m reaching out to you because I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you are working at {{Company}}. Given your role as {{Job_Title}}, my assumption is that {{Department}} processes fall in your wheelhouse.

✅ Given your role as {{Job_Title}} at {{Company}}, the {{Department}} processes should fall in your wheelhouse.

The second option here isn’t just half as long, it’s also much clearer – there’s no fluff and the reason for outreach is very straightforward. At the same time, the message is still almost identical. Magic ✨

Going a step further here, I dare to say that even an introduction might be unnecessary in a sales email. A prospect can already see your name and company info as the sender, even before they open the email. So don’t hesitate to cut it out too! Less is more 🙂

  • Mind the I/you ratio

Most sales emails I’ve seen revolve around the sender. Starting every other sentence with I/we might feel natural (after all you have to explain who you are and what you’re offering). But it can be a major turn-off for most of your recipients. There’s no surprise here, it’s basic sales psychology.

Instead, try to avoid writing “selfish” emails and focus on the prospect and their challenges/needs/interests instead. In other words, rephrase your email to maintain a healthy I/you ratio. 

Here’s a simple example.

❌ “I noticed the photos from your recent ski trip. I love skiing!”

✅ “Did you enjoy your recent trip? Your skiing skills are impressive!” 

Both lines can be used as conversation starters, but guess which one is more likely to start an actual conversation (the one your prospect would really like to participate in)? If this example looks a bit exaggerated or irrelevant, here’s a more realistic one.

❌ “I’m writing to you because I noticed that you attended our [Event Name] event last week, and I was thinking that you are looking for software or tips that might help you with [Pain Point].”

✅ “Saw that you attended our [Event Name] event last week. Could this mean that you’re looking for software or tips that might help you with [Pain Point]?”

The two email extracts above convey the same message but notice how different they are and think which one would seem more appealing to the recipient.

  • Use relevant social proof

Who wouldn’t want to show off big names like Google, Amazon, or Apple as their clients? But if you’re targeting startups or local businesses it wouldn’t matter to them. In fact, it could even scare away some of the potential clients, as they might think that you’re too expensive for them. 

The key to effective social proof is to make it relatable. Here are some examples to put this into context:

❌ Since we’ve helped {{Company1}} and {{Company2}}, I felt you might be interested in [Pain Point].

✅ While we have already helped companies in {{Industry}}, such as {{Similar_Company1}} and {{Similar_Company2}}, I felt you might be interested in [Pain Point].

In the first case, you’re just listing two of your clients (probably the most prominent ones) while the second option specifies the prospect’s industry and mentions two similar companies in that space to make your offer more relevant and compelling to the recipient.

Another great way to make your cold emails more appealing is to use some numbers along with your social proof. For example, would you rather be interested in “drastically improving your team’s productivity” or “saving 7 hours a week” with a tool? See, the more specific the benefit you’re offering, the more appealing it sounds. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should be making up those numbers. But making your value proposition a bit more tangible is always a good idea.

  • Avoid jargon and buzzwords 

One of my mantras as a content creator has always been: “Write as you speak.” While different channels or types of content might have their own preferred formats, none of them requires excessive use of jargon or buzzwords. 

So-called “marketing speak” doesn’t just overcomplicate your emails but also makes them sound salesy. This is a common problem I see with value propositions sales teams use. In most cases, they would just copy and paste the product tagline used on the website or in other marketing materials.

And while there’s nothing wrong with keeping your positioning consistent across all of your communications, sales emails could really use a different approach.

Let’s look at the following examples.

  • Leverage, utilize, employ ➡️ use
  • Enhance, boost ➡️ improve/increase
  • Accelerate ➡️ speed up
  • Bolster ➡️ support

Using the words on the left might make you feel professional and “in the know” but they may only confuse or even irritate your prospects.

  • Prioritize readability

Email writing is no exact science, so the perfect cold email length remains a mystery.  Based on our research, emails containing 54 words tend to offer the best results. 

Yes, if we take a look at the length as the number of paragraphs in an email, the results are a bit less obvious. While emails containing 2-3 paragraphs tend to get up to a 58% higher reply rate and up to 66% more Interested responses, the ones with 7-10 paragraphs generate results that are close to (or even slightly above) the average in terms of reply and Interested rates.

This means it’s generally OK to write longer emails if needed – as long as you keep them well-structured and easy to read with shorter paragraphs.

So make sure to structure and format your emails for better readability, use lists, and highlight the key points in bold (just don’t write in all caps).

How to write better cold emails, according to data

Data-backed insights on several aspects of effective cold email copy, including length, variables, questions, and non-text elements.

  • Choose soft CTAs 

Closing your cold email with the right CTA is another form of art in email writing. You don’t just have to tell the prospect what you expect them to do next, but you should make sure they are willing to do it. That is why trying to book a call with your cold email (even if it’s just 10 minutes) could be overkill. While the prospect knows exactly what their time is worth, they are yet to assess the value of your offer – no matter how compelling the pitch might sound. Again, it’s simple psychology.

So my recommendation here is to use soft CTAs asking for interest rather than a call, e.g.:

❌ “Let’s talk!”

✅ “Open to learning a bit more?”

❌ “Are you available for a quick call next week?”

✅ “Worth a chat sometime next week?”

As you can see from the examples above, soft CTAs don’t put any pressure on your prospects to respond while sounding warm and welcoming.

  • Don’t overdo it 

You might think your email is creative as hell, but, trust me, it is more likely to confuse and irritate the prospects than drive them to respond to your outreach. Here’s probably the most bizarre cold email I’ve ever received.

It took me a few minutes to even understand what this is about (a guest post request), so I wasn’t ready to waste another minute to respond to it. But it got even better when I received a follow-up a few days later. Behold!

Now, I don’t intend to shame a person for their cold outreach. All I want to say is: People are busy. They want things done – fast – to move on with their day. They won’t appreciate your creative writing skills.

Although I enjoy a witty pun or GIF in a cold email (especially on a stressful day), this kind of writing is simply too much.

Useful tools for email writing

While I tend to believe that your writing skill is the only tool you really need to craft a really good email, I don’t mind using some help along the way. And here are some of my top picks among the best tools to write and improve your emails.

  • Grammarly – the must-have tool for practically anyone who writes. It can do a quick spellcheck and fix some obvious mistakes in your grammar. It works on almost every text editor in your browser – from an email composer to Google Docs. And it’s free to use. I personally don’t find its paid options worth it (their AI still fails to grasp the style and context when making improvement suggestions). 
  • ChatGPT – the buzzworthy generative AI tool. While I don’t think it’s any good at writing, it does help with writer’s block or when you need to spark your creativity. There are also several more advanced ChatGPT use cases in sales development, so it’s definitely worth a try.
  • Hemingway Editor – a free editor that helps you improve your emails, highlighting the sentences or phrases that are hard to read or have simpler alternatives. The way it encourages you to avoid adverbs or passive voice might be questionable, but other than that it does a pretty good job.

If you’re not looking to write an occasional email but rather want to streamline your sales outreach – inbound or outbound – you should also check out our AI-assisted email generation feature in Reply.

Nicknamed Jason AI, it relies on ​​ChatGPT and our own email quality assessment algorithms to create unique messages optimized for each customer segment or purpose. If you prefer your own templates, it can simply score your copy and provide suggestions for its improvement.

Moreover, Jason AI can also build multichannel outreach sequences for your specific use case, suggesting the optimal flow (which channels to use and when). 

Generate emails and sequences automatically in Reply with Jason AI

Try now for free

Over to you

Over the past few years, cold email templates have remained one of the hottest topics in sales development. Be it a webinar or blog post, it always drives a record number of views, as if every SDR is hoping to find the holy grail of cold outreach – the perfect template.

And there’s nothing wrong with relying on templates, as long as you know how to use them and can make them your own with some customization.

But if you want to truly take your cold email writing to the next level, it’s time to go from using templates to developing customizable cold email frameworks. This requires familiarity with how cold outreach works as well as some reverse engineering, but in the long run, this could be a more scalable and effective approach to writing cold emails that get replies.

Hopefully, the recommendations and tools I’ve shared in this post will help you with that!

Subscribe to our blog to receive the latest updates from the world of sales and marketing.
Stay up to date.

Related Articles

Top 7 AI Email Generators to Try in 2024

Top 7 AI Email Generators to Try in 2024

Top 7 AI Email Generators to Try in 2024
Your Ultimate Email Format Guide for Cold Outreach in 2024

Your Ultimate Email Format Guide for Cold Outreach in 2024

Your Ultimate Email Format Guide for Cold Outreach in 2024
How to Write a Good Prospecting Email: The Full Guide

How to Write a Good Prospecting Email: The Full Guide

How to Write a Good Prospecting Email: The Full Guide