Turn Local Businesses into Customers: Email Prospecting Strategies & 7 Templates

Turn Local Businesses into Customers: Email Prospecting Strategies & 7 Templates



Griffin Morris


April 3, 2024

At some point, we've all felt stuck when it comes to reaching out to local businesses. That's why I like email prospecting: you can connect with the right lead at the right time and with a great pitch. 

The results are great, but the process isn't easy (at least on the first try). Even when you find your way, you still need to keep improving constantly. 

This post will help you craft powerful email campaigns that resonate with small businesses. We'll break down everything you need to know, from the basics of 'what is email prospecting?' to skyrocketing your open and response rates.

As Tejas Kinger (former Product Marketing Manager at Plum, Hiver, and Freshworks) already said:

“It's time to stop treating emails as transactional pieces of content. Instead, it is time to delight your end users with the kind of content that they'd like to read and talk to them in their language, as you would with a friend. And get your basics right — accessibility and readability across platforms and devices.”


  • What Is Email Prospecting?
  • Does Email Prospecting Work?
  • Powerful Prospecting Email Templates
  • How to Find Prospects' Emails
  • Hot to Write Prospecting Emails That Convert
  • Data-Driven Decisions: What Email Prospecting KPIs Should You Measure?
  • Follow-Up to Boost Your Prospecting Email Response Rates
  • Conclusion

What Is Email Prospecting?

Email prospecting is the strategy of using emails as the main channel to reach out to prospects (potential customers). 

This process involves: 

  1. Identifying prospects
  2. Researching them
  3. Creating target lists
  4. Using cold emails to qualify them and determine who is worth following up with

This doesn't mean you're not going to call or visit them. You will do this, but in a smarter way and spending less time with unqualified leads.

When you reach out via email, it's not just a shot in the dark. You're gathering insights along the way that help you tailor your messages. It's like finding hidden gems—those folks who could turn into loyal customers.

Think of email prospecting as the modern-day version of knocking on doors, but way less intrusive. Instead of cold-calling, you're sliding into their inbox—the place they check most often. And what's the ultimate goal of these prospecting emails? Simple: get them to hit reply

That's your ticket to kickstarting a conversation and building a real connection.

Does Email Prospecting Work?

Email prospecting can do an awesome job connecting with local business owners, but it depends on how you use it. 

Let’s be clear: email is a competitive channel. 54% of Americans suffer from email overload, and 59% say the majority of emails they receive aren’t useful to them. (Edison Mail, 2023).

Additionally, MailButler (2023) reports that 40% of email users have at least 50 unread messages in their inboxes.

However, this doesn’t mean your prospect email won’t be successful. You just need to ensure that your strategy is targeted, personalized, and offers valuable content and offers for your prospects. Learn how to do this in our next topic!

How to Write Prospecting Emails That Convert

1. Build Your Target List

It might seem strange, but to write a good prospect email, your work starts with the list and not with the email itself. The more targeted your list is, the better you can write a personalized email. 

According to HubSpot State of Marketing Report (2023), segmented emails drive 30% more opens and 50% more clickthroughs than unsegmented ones. 

78% of marketers report that subscriber segmentation is the most effective strategy they use for email marketing campaigns.

For example, if a coffee bean supplier wants to reach out to businesses that make coffee in Francisville (PA), instead of creating a list with every restaurant or coffee shop in the area, they should create different lists for each industry

This way, they can create emails specifically tailored for coffee shops in the neighborhood, bakeries, restaurants (which can be specified by type), and businesses like offices or workout/yoga studios.

2. Spend Time on the Subject Line

If we don't pay attention, it's normal to spend a lot of time thinking about the best content for the email and not as much time on the subject line. But it should be the opposite. 

OptionMonster (2023) reveals that 47% of recipients open an email based solely on the subject line, while 69% classify emails as spam based solely on the subject line.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't spend time creating the best email possible, but it doesn't matter if you have the best email in the world if people don't open it. And for them to open it, you need to excel in the subject line. 

The ideal subject line should include: 

  • Geography: Opt for neighborhoods instead of cities or states (e.g., Downtown Tampa instead of Florida). 
  • Business type: Target specific businesses (e.g., pizza shops instead of restaurants). 
  • Combination of both: 'Opportunity for Pizza Shop in South Tampa' is much more targeted than 'Opportunity for Restaurants in Florida'.
Email Prospecting - Connect with Local Businesses

3. Key Content Considerations


The rule of ‘don’t write a long email’ it’s not always true. Writing a long email can be the better shot in the case of newsletters, emails to engaged customers, and more. But for a prospect that never heard of you? Keep it short.

The best test it’s to send an email for yourself and open on your mobile. If you need to scroll to read, it’s too long. 


When we're trying to qualify a prospect, sometimes we make the mistake of asking too many questions in one email: Are you the right person? Are you interested? Are you available next week?

You should try to focus on just one question. It can be challenging, but it increases the chances of getting a response.

Try something like this:

We help other X companies facing Y problem accomplish Y. Are you having this problem?

If you're interested, let me know and I can send you more information.


Include a short, plain-text signature. Sign off with your name, your company or role, and whichever phone number you'd like prospects to reach out to you with. 

Allow the prospects to see you as a real person with an email signature, but keep any HTML and links out of it in order to avoid being identified as spam.

4. Avoid Low Engagement & Spam Triggers

  • Don't include HTML or links within the email. This often redirects your email into spam before anyone can even decide whether they want to open it or not.
  • Don’t add words or phrases that are known to trigger spam. Check out this list from ActiveCampaign.
  • Skip generic greetings like "Hello" or "Good morning" that don't include a first name. If you don't have a name, you're better off starting with the body of your message to avoid coming off as spammy.
  • Avoid using a generic email address on your account like info@yourcompany.com, office@yourcompany.com, etc. as this will often go to spam and come off as less personal.
  • Keep your email short. Data shows that the shorter the better when it comes to email length in prospecting. Aim for the first message to come off more like a casual text message - just a few sentences! Similar to how you'd start a conversation with a friend.

How to Find Prospects' Emails

You're diving into email prospecting and increasing your cold email skills. But where do you even find those email addresses? Should you be scouring Google and social media, or maybe it's time to fire up a spreadsheet?

You don't have to spend time googling. In fact, the key is to spend less time hunting for emails and more time perfecting your email strategy

And to make that happen, you need a platform that's more than just a database—it's a complete software designed to connect you with local businesses.

Resquared, for example, has data on over 12 million local businesses

Less than 10% of local businesses are on LinkedIn, and 60% of all businesses in the US are not on LinkedIn. Resquared has data on all of them! 

Prospecting with our platform usually yields 2x higher open rates and 10x higher response rates when compared to industry standards. And you will not only reach out by email, you can also count on their social media pages and phone numbers. 

If you need to reach out to brick-and-mortar businesses, Resquared is the perfect solution for you. You can schedule a demo with our team to see how this works in real time!


Powerful Prospecting Email Templates

Here are some examples of email templates to inspire you in how to start. Remember to personalize them with what you know works. 

Just remember not to include HTMLs and links in the first email, and don't ask for a meeting right away. Instead, first ask if they are interested. Don't assume you know what they need, be curious! 

These insights come from weekly interviews we have with local business owners. You can check them out on our podcast or on our YouTube channel.

Company Announcement 

Subject: Congratulations on [company name]'s recent [company achievement]!

Hi [prospect's first name, if you have],

I noticed that [company name] recently [company achievement or action]. Congratulations! I'm always interested in staying updated on [prospect's industry], so it would be great to connect with you.

I work with [your product or service], helping companies like [examples of companies in the same industry]. If you're interested, I can send you more information!


[your signature]

Customer Referral 

Subject: [mutual connection] said to reach out!

Hi [first name],

[mutual connection] recommended I reach out to you since you also work with [prospect's industry].

I specialize in [your product or service], helping companies like [prospect's company name and mutual connection company name] achieve [example of results].

Let me know if you're interested, I can send you more information!


[your signature]

Useful Advice 

Subject: [first name], overcoming [prospect's industry] challenges

Hi [first name],

I'm working with other [prospect's job title]s like you, and especially in [prospect's industry], I've noticed that [pain point] is one of the biggest challenges.

I have some real examples of how others have overcome these challenges with these strategies:

  • [tip 1]
  • [tip 2]
  • [tip 3]

If you're interested in a personalized plan without any commitment, let me know, and I can send it to you!


[your signature]

Respond to Social Media Post 

Subject: Your [social media] post grabbed my attention!

Hey [first name], 

I saw your recent post on [social media]. Since I'm always interested in [prospect's industry], it would be great to connect with you! I really liked how you talked about [topic of social media post]. 

I work with [your product or service] for companies like [companies in the same industry]. If you're interested, I can send you more information! 


[your signature] 

Reference a New Role

Subject: Congratulations on your new role at [company name]!

Hi [First Name],

I saw you've just taken on a new role at [company name], congratulations!

I specialize in helping [prospect's job role] make an impressive start in their first months with [your product or service].

Let me know if you're interested, and I can send you more information along with some testimonials!


[your signature]

Here’s a nice example of a cold email one of our team members received when achieved 4 months in Resquared.

Example of Good Cold Email Prospecting

Marketing Agency Prospecting Email Templates

SEO/Google My Business

Subject: Area + Type of business

Are you getting the majority of your business from referrals or calls through Google? We see most of the opportunities for new business for [type of business] in the first 5 Google search results. 

Are you looking for more business? Would be happy to send you a diagnostic.

Website Work

Subject: Type of business + Area

We work with [type of business], so we know the challenges you may face firsthand. Most clients we start working with rely only on referrals, and growth is limited (+ stressful).

When was the last time you got a lead from your website?

Our clients see at least 20 and up to 50 leads a month! 

Are you open to connecting for a free audit to see how we can help?

Paid Ads

Subject: Type of business + Area

We work with local [area] [type of business] to drive more clients using Google and Facebook ads. 

We specialize in converting ads for local [type of business] to create more business. 

Are you open to learning how we can drive traffic to your business?

Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Email Template

Subject: Space Available for [use case]

I’m working with a [#1 feature of center] shopping center in town. We have a space available for [use case].

Do you have any plans to relocate or expand? I was reading about [business name] and thought you might be a good fit. Let me know and I can send you a flyer or set up a tour.  


Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Email Template

Follow-Up to Boost Your Prospecting Email Response Rates

It’s hard to know the best way to follow up. The truth is, there’s not only one formula that works for everyone. You should test and discover what works best for your prospects, but here’s a standard formula in case you want to know how to start:

  • Day 1: Send the first email.
  • Day 2: Make the first call. If they don’t answer, leave a voicemail.
  • Day 3: Send a DM on their social media.
  • Day 4: Send the second email.
  • Day 5: Call one more time.
  • Day 6: Send the third email and send an SMS (letting them know you’re reaching out by email too).
  • Wait for a few days. Make the last call (remember to always leave a voicemail if they don’t answer) and send a ‘walk away’ email. 
  • Add them to a list to send news about your product/service when you have new updates or features. 

Don’t be afraid to be persistent, but know when you should start working on other prospects. The routines of small business owners are full all day, and they’re not always checking their messages, so it takes a couple of attempts in most cases. 

But if you've already spent two weeks or more and haven't received any responses, just add them to a list to nurture with news and tips occasionally, and move on to the next prospect.

Data-Driven Decisions: What Email Prospecting KPIs Should You Measure?

The most common KPIs to track in email prospecting campaigns are:

  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Reply rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Spam rate

In our guide to Mastering Cold Email: Subject Lines for Higher Open Rates, we talk more about each one of them. They are the standard ones and help you understand the overall health of your campaigns. 

But to be honest, the most important ones for me are:

  • Open rate: If they don’t open it, it doesn’t matter if it’s an awesome email.
  • Reply rate: As we've already mentioned, in the first email, you don’t want to include a link, so there will be no click rate.
  • Conversion rate: What is the percentage of all the people I reached out to who became customers? It's also good to calculate the percentage of interested people who became customers.

For example, let's say your list had 100 people and 5 became customers. But out of the 100 people, only 15 replied and showed interest in your product. 

So there are different rates, and I like to track both to understand my conversion rate of the overall list and the segment of interested people.

  • Conversion Rate (Overall): Number of customers / Total number of people on the list 

5 customers / 100 people = 0.05 or 5% 

  • Conversion Rate (Interested Segment): Number of customers / Total number of people who replied 

5 customers / 15 people = 0.3333 or 33.33%

In case there’s a link in your email, maybe in a follow-up or for a list that already subscribed to your communications, I would also add the click-through rate as an important KPI to track. 

According to HubSpot State of Marketing Report (2023), clickthrough rate is the number one metric marketers use to track the success of their email marketing campaigns.

Hubspot Research in the US in October 2023


Email prospecting isn't about sending transactional pieces of content. It's about sending emails that are easy to read, with a valuable offer that will make the lives of local businesses easier.

If you have a great product or service, it's your job to make the lives of your prospects better with it, so don't be afraid to start testing your email campaign.

And don't forget, if you want to spend less time looking and more time improving your emails, count on a platform like Resquared.

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