3 of the Best Cold Email Templates For SaaS Startups

3 of the Best Cold Email Templates For SaaS Startups

SaaS startup founders are constantly performing multiple jobs on a day to day basis. This is natural as there’s a lot to do and you cannot always hire dedicated people for each role. Sales and Lead Generation might be one of the things that ends up on your to-do list. And if you have given this a go, you know that it’s a daunting process. Especially if you don’t come from a Sales background.

Regularly talking to your users is one of the guiding principles of The Lean Startup methodology, a popular methodology that has gained a lot of traction in the SaaS startup world. The Lean Startup approach prioritises building features based on early adopter feedback. The end goal is to create a feedback loop by building, measuring, learning, and then repeating. Cold emails (a form of direct sales) are a great way to get this feedback cheaply when you’re in the early stages of a startup.

Starting over I’d also focus on direct sales sooner. The feedback from each rejection is so much more powerful than just having your online sales pitch silently rejected hundreds of times each week – Nathan Barry @ ConvertKit

A cold email is an email sent to someone that you’ve not yet had prior contact with. Cold emails can be a fast and cost-effective way to find your first users, who will be valuable in providing feedback that will shape your product. We wanted to share some of the cold email templates that worked for us when we were acquiring our first users at actionable.me.

General guidelines to make your cold emails more effective

  • Personalise your email – Your cold email will be more effective if you add anything that is unique to the recipient in an introductory sentence or ask them a question that you know is relevant to them. Personalisation has been shown to increase response rates.
  • Keep it short – no one wants to read long emails, and studies seem to back this as they have shown that the average person spends 10 seconds reading an email. Keep your cold email short to increase the chances that your recipient will read it in its entirety.
  • Have a clear call to action – always provide an action that the recipient can take in the last sentence of a cold email. Examples include: scheduling a phone call, visiting a website, replying to a question, or signing up for your service.
  • Find a killer subject line – before your recipient can read your email, they need to open it. Choosing the right email subject line greatly affects the chances that your recipient opens your email.
  • Schedule your email delivery time – the time that you send your email will also affect your open rates. A study of email open rates (Best Time to Send Email Backed By 10 Data-Driven Studies) summarised that Tuesday & Thursday are the best days to send emails, with 10am & 8pm the best time of day.
  • Add social proof – build trust with your recipient by using existing customers as evidence that your product works. Include a recent, measurable, positive result that your product has had on an existing customer.

For more on these tips, read our blog post “6 Tips For Writing Effective Cold Emails”

The Cold Email Templates

Each of the templates listed below will generate a different response from your recipients, so choose the template that best suits your situation and audience.

Template 1: Start a conversation with the “Quick Question”

Cold Email Template - Quick Question


  • Starting a dialogue with early adopters
  • Gathering real world feedback on the problem your product addresses
  • Validating that there is demand for your product.

How it works
Ask your recipient a quick question framed around a problem they have that your product solves. To make it really easy for them to answer, ask them to rate the severity of the problem from 1 to 10. Try to use a word that describes a negative metric of the problem rather than a positive one as this will usually resonate more with your recipient, e.g. “slow” vs “fast”, “difficult” vs “easy”, “complicated” vs “simple”.

Why it works
It is really easy for the recipient to reply to your email as they simply need to answer with a number from 1-10. The template also directs the focus on the recipient rather than yourself since you haven’t mentioned your product in the email.

Other things to note
If the recipient replies with an answer rated from 1-10, reply to them with an email that introduces your product and how it solves the problem that they rated. E.g. “Thanks for the feedback! The reason I’m asking is because I’m currently working on building a cold email tool that makes the personalisation process 2x faster”. At this point you should ask more questions on why the user gave the 1-10 rating to better understand their problems, as this will help you validate that they are a good fit for your product.

Bonus points
Add a personalised P.S. at the end of the email that includes a unique piece of information about the recipient that you have found from your research. Some examples we have used included:

  • For a recipient that played in a band: “P.S. I checked out your band [band name] and loved your sound!”
  • For a recipient that included a Seth Godin quote in their LinkedIn bio: “P.S. I recently started listening to Seth Godin’s Startup School podcast and it has changed my life!”
  • For recipient that just got promoted: “Congratulations on your recent promotion!”


Template 2: Get feedback with “early access partnerships”

Cold Email Template - Early Access


  • Expanding your early adopter user base
  • Gathering real world feedback on the problem your product addresses

How it works
Let your recipient know that you’re looking for early adopters who will shape your product. Offer them early access to your product and include a personal story on why you built it.

Why it works
The first line of your email builds authority with the recipient, showing them that as a founder you are able to impact change on the product. The second paragraph includes a story on the personal motivation that lead to building your product, as well as outlining the problems it solves. The last line includes a special “early access” link (setup a separate landing page on your marketing website for this) which shows exclusivity in what you are offering – early access that will directly shape the product.


Template 3: Create sign ups using the “rule of threes” by listing 3 problems

Cold Email Template - 3 Problems


  • Expanding your user base

How it works
Write an email that lists out three common pain points in bullet form that your recipient has in their day to day job that your product solves. Include a call to action allowing your recipient to signup to your service at the end of the email.

Why it works
This template uses the Rule of three – which is a principle suggesting that the human brain prioritises patterns when skimming for information (which is very common when reading emails). Since three is the smallest number that forms a pattern, listing three items is an effective way to capture your users attention.

Things to note:
You need to nail the three pain points. If possible, personalise one or more of the pain points per email based on research you have done on your recipient.


Are you a SaaS Startup Founder? Find your first users using cold emails today with a free actionable.me account


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