Your prospects are busy people. And they get a lot of emails each day, the majority of which are probably ignored. So that begs the question: How can you send them an email that they will actually want to open and respond to?
In this blog post, I’m going to tell you.
How Not to Write a Sales Email
First, let’s talk about how not to write a sales email.
Let me give you an example. The other day, I received this exact email in my inbox (the sender’s name and company has been changed):
Subject line: Mobile Friendly Website design and Development
First of all, I would like to utilize the opportunity to introduce myself to you as SLP, India Web development Company. As an Internet Application Development company, we have been progressively growing over our year of operations.
Our prices are best in the market, which is why we have a client base in countries like USA, Europe, Canada, and Australia.
Our services web development in Web Designing includes:
• Logo Designing.
• Graphic Designing.
• Custom Web Designing.
• Corporate Website Designing.
• Website Redesigning.
• Web 2.0 based designing.
• E-Commerce Web Designing.
• PSD to XHTML and WordPress conversion.
• Reseller Development Services.
Do let us know if you are interested in designing/developing the sites and I can share you the detail information for proceeding further. I would be happy to share our Work Portfolio, Client testimonials and Methodologies.
In case of questions and queries feel free writing us back?
What’s wrong with this email?
For starters, the generic and vague subject line does not even make me want to open the email. It’s not clear to me what the benefit is or how this is relevant to me and my team at SUCCESS agency.
Then when I do open the email, I find that the sender has clearly not even taken the time to look up my name, since her salutation just reads “Hi.” That’s the first tip-off to me that the sender has sent this email to about a million other people.
She ineffectively starts off the email by introducing her company and the services that she’s offering—this is not an uncommon mistake and one that, unfortunately, many salespeople tend to do. But think about this from the sender’s perspective. Why do I care what you do or what countries you operate in? My only concern is how you can help me.
She then goes on and on about the services that she offers. I might as well be perusing her website at this point. The email has absolutely zero relevance to me and SUCCESS agency.
If you insist on introducing yourself and your company, then at least be more specific than this sender is. She states that her company has “been progressively growing over our year of operations.” What exactly does that mean? If you’re going to say things like this, it’s really only effective if you’re specific.
She also states that, “our prices are best in the market, which is why we have a client base in countries like USA, Europe, Canada, and Australia.” That tells me that her primary selling point is price (not quality). If you’re competing on price, like Jacqui is, then it’s just a race to the bottom. So don’t do this.
After finally finishing a long-winded overview of her company’s services, Jacqui tells me to contact her if I’m interested in finding out more. But I’m still not clear as to what the benefit is for me.
The email ends without a clear call-to-action. It’s obviously clear from the email that the sender is not a native English speaker, which doesn’t help her case (side note: if you aren’t a native English speaker yourself, be sure to have your email proofread by one before sending).
But that can even be overlooked, as long as the message is personable, understandable and benefits-oriented (which this email definitely is not).
More problematically, the sender does not clearly state the call-to-action and ends things on a question mark: “In case of questions and queries feel free writing us back?” Definitely not a powerful call-to-action that makes me want to take that next step.
Okay, now that you know how not to write a sales email, let’s look at how to compose an effective sales email…
How to Write an Effective Sales Email
First of all, you should know the name of the person you’re addressing. This seems like common sense, but far too many senders (like Jacqui) don’t do this. I receive countless emails that are addressed to “Sir or Madam.” Seriously? How hard is it to find the name of the person you are sending an email to?
Next, don’t waste time introducing yourself or what you do. Remember, the email is about the prospect, not you. If they want to find out more about you, they can do their research. Instead, after addressing them by name, open with a sentence or two (and no more!) about why you’re reaching out.
Personalize it and make it relevant to the prospect. Maybe you read a blog post on their website that stood out to you. Maybe someone else sent you the contact information of the prospect and encouraged you to contact them. Maybe you share a similar business philosophy. Perhaps they had a recent business accomplishment that you could congratulate them on. Here is where you explain the relevance and why they should want to continue reading your email.
Some suggested openers:
- Congratulations on…
- <Name> suggested I contact you…
- I recently read your blog post on…and I loved how…
Next, jump right into how you can help them. Don’t ramble on about your company accomplishments or what you’ve achieved in the last year. Your prospect doesn’t care. Just cut to the chase and tell them directly how you can help your prospect achieve their goals.
The body of your email should be no more than one or two sentences. You could even ask them a question to pique their interest. However you phrase it, your message should be as clear and succinct as possible. If your recipient has to struggle, even a little bit, to understand the benefit of what you’re offering, then your message is ineffective and will probably be ignored. If you’re unsure, get a colleague or a friend to read it over before sending it (in fact, it wouldn’t hurt to do this regardless).
Some suggested copy for body:
- Have you ever thought about…?
- I was wondering if…
- I wanted to show you…
You should end your email with one sentence stating what the next steps are. Or ask them a question that gets their mind reeling.
The closing is your call-to-action. And you should only have one. For instance, don’t tell your prospect to visit your website, give you a phone call and review some documents that you are sending them. If you provide them with more than one call-to-action, it’s likely that they will not follow through with any of them.
Some suggested closers:
- How about we schedule a time to talk…
- When is a good time to chat?
- Would you be willing…?
Writing your subject line should be your last step, since essentially it’s an overview of what’s in your email. Crafting a catchy and relevant subject line is half the battle. After all, it’s what makes your recipient decide whether or not to open that email…or trash it. And it’s not always easy.
Think about the exact benefit that you’re offering. And personalize it. If Jacqui’s subject line had read something like “Website development for SUCCESS agency,” no, it’s definitely not the strongest subject line—but at least it’s personalized. With my name in there, I’m much more inclined to open that email, because I already feel like the content I will find will be personalized to me.
If Jacqui had taken the time to look over our website, she could have also mentioned something unique to SUCCESS agency that she encountered on the website. If she had reviewed our “About” page, she would have found that we refer to our clients as “investors.” And she could have written a subject line that read something like, “Your investors need our web development services.” That immediately tells me that the person sending that email knows a bit about my company and my needs. It’s relevant to me. And as a result, I’m intrigued.
A few other pointers: Avoid spammy words like “final,” “and “reminder.” And on that note, never write a subject line in all caps (this just screams spam).
Okay, so now let’s look at what Jacqui could have done differently. She could have written an email like this:
Subject line: Increase your investors’ bottom line
I just finished reading one of your latest blog posts, “A Custom Web Design vs. A Pre-Made Website Template: Which One is Right for You?” I wanted to contact you because I think that together, we could be a great team and would have a lot to offer your investors.
I’d love to schedule a ten-minute phone call with you sometime this week to discuss a bit further how I can help your investors achieve their goals. When works best for you?
It’s not perfect, but I’d say it’s about 100 times better than the original version.
Writing a sales email that gets opened and responded to isn’t easy. Like all sales prospecting, the important thing is to really put yourself in your prospect’s head and think about what would make them want to respond. Why should they be interested in what you have to say?
Personalize the email and make it relevant to your prospect’s needs. Call them by name.
Above all else, keep your email short and to-the-point. Now is not the time to be verbose. Make sure that your message is clear. Keep the tone conversational—as if you are talking to a friend. And end with a clear call-to-action.
Finally, when crafting your subject line, make sure that it is reflective of what’s actually in the email. If you have high open rates but low response rates, that might be a red flag signaling that your subject line is a bit deceitful. Or it could be that your email itself is simply ineffective. And if your open rates are low…then it’s probably your subject line that needs some work.
It will take a bit of trial and error. But once you get the formula just right, your prospects will be opening—and responding—to your emails in no time. Guaranteed.