Growing Your Business with Email Marketing Templates

email marketing

photo credit: Flickr

Which templates generate the best engagement? What kind of ‘asks’ will get you closer to your goals? By the end of this article, you will be able to write a killer email template that will get your contacts opening your emails in a heartbeat.

As a digital marketer who works primarily within the startup space, I am constantly under the gun to create low-budget marketing initiatives that drive growth but are still simple enough for a single (often non-marketing) person to carry out. I often turn to email marketing due to its straightforward nature. The right email templates can help you execute various email campaigns far more efficiently, but drafting an effective template can be a major stumbling block; there are just so many variables to keep in mind, like the length of the email and avoiding a sales-like tone.

After working on a multitude of email campaigns, I’ve identified the golden standard for marketing email templates. Read on to learn what kind of email templates can help you grow your business.

1. The Initial Email

Your opener is, perhaps, the most important part of your entire outreach and can often determine whether you gain a new client / contact, or end up on their block list. The trick is to research your contact, know what they care about, and appeal to their interests in the first two sentences of the email. For example, let’s say I am promoting my own content and want an influencer to post it on their site and link back to me. I might begin my email by referencing an article I liked on *their* website that is also relevant to the content I am promoting.

Consider the following template (items in brackets are custom fields):

Hi, [Tim the Trainer]

I was just reading your recent article on [ferret Frisbee training]. I found it to be extremely insightful and will be adding these methods to my ferret’s training regime!

I work for a ferret training firm in Cambridge, MA and I recently wrote a step-by-step guide to cooking the best ferret food that I think your audience would love. The food is very cheap to make, extremely nutritious, and my two ferrets love it.

Let me know if you would be interested in checking it out! 
Warm regards,


Notice that I am not asking for anything; only offering to add value to my contact. That’s a key component to the golden initial email— do not include a link or attachment to your content, and don’t ask for anything other than to help them. This builds rapport with your contact.

Also, make sure to keep your initial email brief, personal, and use a specific call-to-action (CTA). In just 5 sentences, I was able to:

  1. Establish a personal connection
  2. Introduce my content
  3. Pitch the value of hosting my content

The faster that you can accomplish these 3 things in your opening email, the better your chances of keeping people’s attention.

2. Positive Response Email

So, let’s say that Tim the Trainer liked the idea of your ferret food article and wants to hear more. Congrats, you are in! Now you can send them a link to check out your content as promised, and you can encourage them to share it with their audiences by— once again— offering your help. See below:


Thanks for the reply, you can check it out here:

The Best Ferret Food of All Time-

If you decide to share this on your site, I’d be happy to write a custom intro to the post for you. 

Looking forward to your feedback!

3. Rejection as an Opportunity

email marketing

photo credit: flickr

Suppose that Tim responds but only to let you know that he will not be posting your content. This email actually opens the door to some great opportunities; though the current article might not get published on Tim’s website, chances are that he will have many useful connections within your target group and would be willing to refer you. Since you’re coming from a referral, these connections are likely to respond favorably to you.

I respond to these types of rejections by asking for an introduction to a colleague who might be a better fit, creating an opportunity out of a rejection.

Hey Tim,

Thanks for giving my article a look. Do you know anyone who would be a better fit for this type of content? I would also be interested in producing an article that would fit well with your website. I have been considering the following topics:

  • Top 5 summer ferret toys of 2015
  • Make your own ferret toys at home
  • Ferret toys that you may want to avoid this season

Would you be interested in posting about any of these topics?



Notice that this follow-up template also pitches a few custom articles tailored to this particular website. I don’t offer this service to just any of our publishing prospects but, if the right, high-authority website presents the opportunity, it never hurts to take it.

4. The 1-Week Rule             

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 1.29.32 PMIf a contact has not responded within one week’s time, I send out an email reminder. Whatever their reason, if you haven’t heard back within a week, the chances that you will never hear back are pretty high, so at this point you have nothing to lose by following-up. I often see the best responses to my follow-up when I use the following template:

Hi Tim,

Hope all is well! It’s been a week and I had not heard back from you yet, so I wanted to follow-up regarding the addition of my Ferret Food Article at to your list of helpful resources. 

It would be fantastic to hear your feedback on the content.

Thanks again – I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you soon!

All the Best,


[Note: I DO include the link to our resource in the follow-up because, at this point, it doesn’t hurt to make your content readily available and possibly expedite the process.]

Passing the Torch

These are some of the core components to a successful email template, but every case is different, so keep experimenting to see what works best for your unique space. I have given you the tools that you need, now it is up to you to build something memorable!


DrewDrew Frayre is a digital marketing analyst at Chimaera Labs . He manages SEO, web analytics, and content marketing for clients in the tech space.

These 3 Email Subject Lines Will Kill Your Chances of Winning a New Customer

spencerXsmith-stop-checking-inHow many times have you gotten an email from a salesperson with one of these three subject lines?

“Checking In”

“Touching Base”

“Following Up”

I’ve received dozens of emails like this and am guilty of sending a whole bunch of them too. Think about it: aren’t these just euphemisms for “Wanna buy my stuff?”

What to say instead of “Wanna buy my stuff?”

“What should I say instead?” you might be wondering. Following up is such a critical part of the sales process, and the last thing you want is to be forgotten by your prospect. What’s a way to follow up while simultaneously providing value?

Instead of emailing someone to remind them you would like to sell them something, use the opportunity to provide targeted education. What’s the best way to be sure you’re sending something that’s relevant, though?

After you earn a prospect’s email address, assign that prospect to a simple workflow based on their interests. This is difficult at first if you’re simply maintaining one catch-all email list. Instead of just one list, create a series of categories based on specific interests. John Jantsch does a great job describing this concept in his recent article titled Content 3.0 – The Rise of the Content Community. This community concept may seem a bit overwhelming at first, however, and you may be wondering…

What to do if you don’t have digital assets yet

If your business is struggling with this whole digital marketing thing, start with baby steps as you work toward a Content Community repository. To get started, consider this: What questions are your prospects asking you every single day that you’re manually answering via email or phone calls? What can you offer these prospects that is both concise and actionable? Simple digital assets like cheat sheets, checklists and templates work great in this capacity. Limit these downloads to one page so they can easily be shared or printed.

By offering specific assets geared at fixing specific problems, you can gauge your prospects’ interests immediately, and not be left guessing what issues they’re facing. Which asset do you create first? This is where we need to stop thinking so hard. What question do you hear more than any other? Create that one now.

As an example, if you’re a marketer specializing in SEO, you probably hear the question “How do I drive more traffic to my website?” all the time. For those prospective clients who download your “5 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make With SEO” cheat sheet, ensure your email messages further their education about that specific topic. That will be an email they’ll actually look forward to receiving.

How to get started right now

This is the part where I ask you to get out of your own way. Don’t analyze these concepts to death or over-automate your workflows…just start. Instead of retroactively applying these ideas to your existing email list – an incredibly daunting task if you’ve been in business more than a few years – start fresh with only new prospects. You’ll iron out the kinks much faster, and just as importantly, you’ll get to experience success early and often as a result of your efforts.


10.2 headshot2Spencer X. Smith is committed to helping clients achieve measurable increases in revenue from their digital marketing efforts. He uses Plain English to help you understand what methods are worth doing – or not doing – with your business. The ideas he shares are what he uses every day in his companies, and only through experiencing the success and failure can he confidently advise on them. He is also an instructor at the University of Wisconsin.