SEO Cold Email Templates that Actually Get Responses
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Emailing people of interest without any prior introduction or notice is just as necessary in the world of SEO as it is in pretty much any other industry that relies on selling a product or service.
While cold emailing can have massive potential for unlocking the doors of opportunity, the large majority of people do not have much luck with it – or a lot less than they could.
First, we’ve outlined the basic concepts of cold emailing that will your sales and marketing team generate interest and responses from an ideal customer in regard to your value proposition rather than just painful dead silence – whether you are using templates or not.
After that, we’ve included 5 SEO cold email templates that we’ve had lots of success with over the years that have boosted our sales outreach and helped generate SEO leads and get guest posting opportunities and other types of backlinks.
Fortunately for you, getting next to no replies from your cold email outreach stops now.
What is Cold Emailing?
Cold emails are emails that you, a business development, or sales team send out to prospective customers/clients whom you don’t already have a relationship with. In other words, you don’t really know them, and they don’t really know you.
The purpose of cold email outreach is generally to get the right person to help your business by creating interest in a product, service, or call to action. Cold email outreach is used heavily in B2B sales. It makes sense that the appropriate person contacted by a sales rep during a cold email campaign should be either a decision-maker or potential buyer of a product (or service).
According to Mailchimp, average cold email response rates are around 20%. A good response rate to shoot for is 5-10%. However, most response rates are sadly hovering above the 0% mark.
In the SEO industry, a cold email is often the only way to reach the right person or someone from the company of interest. An effective cold email campaign can expand your client base, get backlinks, and open up new business opportunities.
Even if you’re not sending any cold emails, if you have any websites live, chances are you have been receiving quite a lot of them (sometimes from people who know you’re busy).
And 99.9% of them are complete crap.
How NOT to Write a Cold Email
Here is an example of a horrible cold email we received just a few days before writing this article that was crafted from a subpar cold email template:
Do you think we replied to it? Would you?
To give this one a little credit, the bit about making a “long-term business relationship with you forever” actually gave us a chuckle. Biswajit could be the overly-attached business partner we never wanted.
Here’s one more bad example of template use:
Both of these cold outreach emails are more spam emails than cold emails.
Horrible grammar/punctuation/structure aside, some things that make them spam are:
- No personalization
- Immediate commercial offers
- Lack of credibility or proof
- Overly generic
- Fake names
- Lack of company/contact info
Using a cold email template should not mean sending the same generic spam over and over like these, which you can guarantee are getting close to a 0% response rate.
One way that you can quickly tell the difference between cold emails and spam emails is to ask yourself this question: “Would I walk up to someone I have never met before and pitch a service in this manner?”
If the answer is “no”, there’s a good chance that your email is either spam or an example of a cold email that isn’t going to generate the type of results you are expecting from the right person.
Writing Effective Cold Emails
While crafting cold emails that actually get responses will take more time than copy/pasting the same generic spam message, it is actually not too difficult to do.
Here are some guidelines to follow when using cold email templates or crafting your own message from scratch:
In a study by Propeller, personalization increased the response rate of a company’s emails by 100%.
This is because personalizing the email shows an appropriate person that you know and care about them, their company, and their goals.
Some ways to personalize cold emails are:
- Using the contact’s first name (in the subject line or opening line)
- Mention or congratulate them on any recent news or accomplishments
- Bring up details about their company
- Mention recent blog posts of theirs that you enjoyed
- Establish common interests or goals
No one reads or replies to spam, but people do read and reply to emails that are clearly directed to them by someone who has obviously done their homework.
Headers and Subject Lines
Your name and subject line are the first things that the recipient will see.
Don’t use spammy, keyword-filled text for your name. Using a real name has the highest chance of success. People like to talk to people – not to brands or obvious marketing emails.
Concerning the subject line, a study by Prospect.io had some interesting results.
According to their data, there are two ways to go about crafting a subject line: Either something very short or something quite long that is very personalized.
For short subject lines, you could use something like “Quick Question” or “Hi [First Name].” A brief one-sentence pitch or a quick call to action may work well too.
For longer subject lines, you can include things like their name, recent product launches, recent posts, referral names, and industry terms that relate to their business.
Content and Length
Like the length of your subject lines, your email length can be:
- Short and sweet messages that get straight to the point (like a call to action)
- Longer emails that contain lots of highly relevant and personalized information
The longer emails tend to get more responses than the short and sweet emails, but you might not want to spend the amount of time that that would entail.
Regardless of which you choose, here are some more things to keep in mind about the content:
- Keep the fluff to a minimum
- Use text in small blocks – no more than 3 lines of text in a paragraph
- Don’t copy / paste too much – people can tell and this will drastically decrease responses
- Keep the tone friendly, light-hearted, appreciative, and even humorous
- Make it actionable – the recipient should have a clear idea of what you want them to do
- Don’t make it too “salesy” or pushy
Following these basic cold email best practices will improve response rates and decrease bounces.
Make it About Them
Everyone likes to talk about themselves, but this is not the time for you to do so.
Keep the email relevant to the recipient and offer them value (i.e. how your company can help). You can do this by addressing the prospect’s pain point, goal, need, what they want, and how you can help them.
Spam emails like the ones above do not address the specific needs (or pain point) of the recipient – they just send the same sales emails to everyone regardless who it is, what they do, and what they want or need.
Provide Proof of Yourself
While the email should largely be about them, you still need to provide proof that you are a real person and someone worthy of their precious time.
You can do this by:
- Using your real personal / company name in the cold email header
- Providing proof of your industry status, credentials, or authority (if it’s relevant to the right person)
- Providing examples of previous work (guest posts, rankings)
- Establishing common interests or goals
- Full contact info in the signature along with your company name and job title
- Establishing a shared contact (business or social media)
- Providing a phone number
When establishing a shared contact, it’s best to mention it in the introduction of your email. If you don’t have a shared contact, it’s best not to talk about yourself in the intro. Start the email about them, and when it comes time to establish yourself, keep it to 1-2 lines at the most.
According to the results of a study by Woodpecker, writing more follow-up emails to your initial cold email can triple your response rates. They found that sending 1-3 emails got a 9% response rate while sending 4-7 sales emails got a 27% response rate.
This makes following up an absolute must.
When sending follow-up emails after they initially do not reply, don’t just remind them that they didn’t answer you. Try to provide some kind of new value or information for the conversation you may have with them.
It’s recommended that you space out your replies irregularly – try different times, different gaps between the emails, etc. Don’t send a follow-up every day at the same time. Then you’ll just come off as annoying.
Using Cold Email Templates for SEO
We don’t advocate filling out a cold email template just once and using that same email over and over.
If you have read the previous sections of this article, you should be aware by now that spamming a cold email would go against best practices and almost everything that we’ve explained in this cold email guide.
Instead, use the following templates as guidelines for your email structure and things to include, and be sure to be tailoring your emails for each specific target using all of the points mentioned above.
The results should more than justify the extra work needed to complete them.
If you have more information about your target (or people/companies like the target) that can help you add more content to the email that is focused on their company, goals, and needs – have your sales teams add it! More is always better as long as it’s relevant and not just “fluff.”
These sample cold email templates to bloggers and site owners can act as your starting point, although they will do a great job as they are.
Cold Email Template for Getting SEO Clients
The premise behind this cold email template is to get a lead on the hook by offering a free video audit showing why their competition is outranking them. It’s like a free trial offered by product companies.
Some opt to send the video audit immediately in the first cold email, but this method can save you lots of time creating videos for clients who were never interested in the first place. Both have their strengths, and you could modify this template to include a video if you want.
Here is the template for your first email:
Subject: [First Name] – Why [Competitor] is out-ranking you for [Keyword]
Hi [First Name],
I searched for [Keyword] today on Google and noticed that you aren’t on the first page (you are currently #[Current Rank]).
[Positive thing about their site or SEO], but you are missing out on a lot of calls and business by being back on [Current Page Rank].
I’ve had lots of success ranking and generating additional leads for other [Niche/Business Type] in [City] and [City]. You can see [Proof of ranking].
Because [positive thing about their site or SEO], you are a prime candidate to outrank your competitors like [competitor 1] and [competitor 2], and I’ve made a video showing how you can do that.
If you’re the right person to send this video to, and you would like to speak, just respond to this email that you’re interested and I’ll get it sent over to you right away.
If I need to be talking to someone else, please let me know! I’d hate for [Company name] to miss out on this opportunity.
Thanks [First name]!
[Full Contact Information]
Remember to follow up properly if the recipient doesn’t reply.
After you receive a reply, you’ll need to create a video audit for their site and competition. All you need to do this is some free software like OBS, a microphone, and a tool like Ahrefs.
Check out our video tutorial about analyzing websites for SEO if you aren’t quite sure how to do it already.
Guest Post Cold Email Template
Guest posts are one of the most powerful ways to get backlinks for SEO.
After you’ve found some guest posting opportunities, it’s time to send them an email.
The goal of this guest post outreach cold email template is to start a conversation with a site owner about the possibility of you writing a guest post for their site – thus earning yourself a high-quality backlink.
Here’s how it goes:
Subject: Your Post about [Recent Post of Theirs]
Hi [First Name],
I just recently found [Their Website] and wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job! Your recent post about [Recent Post Topic] really helped me with [How the post helped you]. Keep up the great work!
I’m also a writer in the [Niche] niche and wanted to reach out to you about some ideas I have for articles I could write for [Their Site] that I think your readers could get a TON of value from.
Based on the content on [Their Site], here are some ideas I came up with:
[Article Idea 1]
[Article Idea 2]
[Article Idea 3]
You can see some examples of recent guest posts I’ve done for [Website 1] and [Website 2] here:
[Article URL 1]
[Article URL 2]
If you have any other article ideas that you think would be a good match for my expertise, let me know! I’d love to be featured on [Their Site].
Thanks for your consideration, and I look forward to your next post!
[Full Contact Information]
This simple guest post email template is sure to land you guest posts and give you a good idea of how to ask for backlinks.
It’s proven to work time and time again. All that’s left for you to do is deliver!
Be sure to check out our article guest post footprints. Used in conjunction with our cold email templates, you’ll be getting tons of links!
Broken Link Outreach Cold Email Template
Another way of earning free backlinks is finding broken links and notifying the site owner that you have an article that would be a good replacement.
You can find more information about broken links in our article about getting free backlinks.
Here is the cold email template that has helped us a lot:
Subject Line: Broken Link on [Article Name] on [Site Name]
I was reading your article about [Article Subject] and noticed that your link to [Site Name] isn’t working any more:
You can find the link [Location of link on their page].
If you’d like, I think this article on [Your Site] would make a great replacement because [Reason it’s a good fit]. Your audience should get a lot of value from it:
Just thought I’d let you know! Keep up the good work, [First Name]!
[Full Contact Info]
Short, sweet, and to the point (one sentence lines are okay here). Enjoy your free backlinks.
Resource Page Cold Email Template
Resource pages are pages where the author has compiled lists of resources (other pages or articles) that their users will find useful for learning about whatever subject.
This outreach template will help you get your article added to these pages:
Subject: Question about Resources on [Article Name]
Hi [First Name],
I came across your awesome article about [Article Topic] which contains a lot of helpful resources for your readers:
I recently wrote an article for [Site Name], a site that [What benefit your company provides], here:
I think it would make a great addition for your resource page because [Reason why it’s a good fit], and I’d be honored to have it listed there!
Regardless, thanks for your time and keep up the great work!
[Full Contact Info]
Like always, be sure to follow up properly.
Brand Mention Cold Email Template
Our last template will help you earn backlinks from finding articles that have mentioned your site or brand without linking to you. You can find more information about this method here.
Here’s one of the cold email templates to use once you’ve found your targets:
Cold Email Subject Line: Thanks for mentioning [Your Site]!
Hi [First Name],
I recently came across your article on [Article topic] where you mentioned us, [Your Site]:
First off, we really appreciate it! It’s an honor to be published on [Their Site].
I wanted to reach out to you because we recently [Wrote or Updated] an article about [Article Topic], and we thought that your audience would get a lot of value if you included [Your Site]’s mention as a link to it:
Thanks for the mention again, and keep up the great work, [First Name]!
[Full Contact Info]
The key for this one is all about appreciation.
Although it’s not absolutely necessary, feel free to leave a phone number if you actually use one and (when necessary) offer a time and date to discuss for the person to speak with you (e.g. “if you would like to set up a call next week”). Including the phrase “I know you’re busy” can be an appropriate addition as well.
Your full contact information should include your real full name, company name, job title, business email, and maybe a social media link or phone number.
SEO Cold Email Templates Wrap-Up
Throughout this article on cold outreach email, you’ve learned the basics (and best practices) of writing an effective cold email that will get you what you want for SEO – clients and links.
You’ve learned how to craft effective cold emails for SEO yourself for any subject that will actually get responses (and b2b sales) while also setting yourself apart from the thousands of spam emails that get sent out every day trying to hawk any product or service.
We have also given you 5 blogger outreach cold email templates (with appropriate subject lines) that have proven highly successful for our own lead generation and link building needs.
With all of this practical knowledge, you now have the ability to use cold emailing as a powerful new weapon that can transform the way you do b2b or b2c business – so use it wisely!
If you’re interested in taking your email template to the next level with a personal and controllable narrative that draws from classic soap opera motifs, then check out our article on using the Soap Opera Sequence for email marketing.
Got anything to add? Leave us a comment below.
Hey I'm Chris, one of the founders here at SirLinksalot. I'm into building internet money machines (affiliate websites) and specialize in building backlinks. Find out more about me and my link building team.
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