How to Write a Compelling Sales Email

Published on Oct 03, 2017 by Michael Hanson | 7 min(s) read time

Sales emails are a powerful channel to help generate leads. Yet due to less “free-time” and an increasing number of other emails competing for the same goal as you, a staggering 57% of them still get marked as spam by their recipients.

 

So what’s the most effective way to avoid that dreaded spam folder, and most importantly, actually get engagement? 

 

In the following article, we tackle the following with 10 easy to follow steps to creating a sales email, powerful enough to attract the attention of even your busiest persona types!

 

 

Step 1: Do your research

 

Hard work, resolve, determination and research are all crucial in the creation process, with luck usually having little to do with it. 

 

Taking the time to do some background research on your audience and the types of challenges they’re likely to be experiencing, needs to be your foundation of knowledge prior to drafting your first message.  Factors such as the timing of your email, the sort of media you share and even the general tone of the message will all influence how well it does.

 

Write a plan, set your goals and stick to them. Having a clear break-down of your must haves/what should be achieved and when will really help with the strength and delivery of your overall message, making it more appealing to your target audience. 

 

 

Step 2: Set your scene and Stand Out!

 

When creating a book title for their latest project, the author in question would have to think up a title that not only reflects the message of their novel, but is also short enough to remember. A good subject line should do the same. 

 

Characteristics such as being eye-catching, engaging, and bold enough to stand out from the many other emails competing to do the same are all crucial components when working to get your mail (rather than that of your competitors) opened by your audience. 

 

33% of emails are opened based on their subject line alone. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how an engaging subject line isn’t just a fancy option, it’s a necessity. 

 

Add a personal touch with a first name, company or department name and/or a question that evokes a sense of curiosity serving as an extra boost to your open-rates. [{First Name}, How was last quarter?] for example, helps.

 

Trying to reach out to their inner samaritan by asking for help is another tried and tested method. A line as simple as “Name, could you help?”, provokes the human desire to help another in need and achieved click rates in the high/low X%’s.  

 

Lastly, don’t forget to actually deliver on what your subject line initially promised. The quickest killer of any business relationship is one built on mistrust and broken promises.

 

 

Step 3: Grab their Attention 

 

Congratulations! You’ve overcome the first battle of getting your e-mail opened! Now’s the time to keep them switched on with an attractive opening and engaging body! 

 

Avoid lengthy introductions about yourself, your company or what you do. Getting to the point quickly is key to keeping them engaged. Keep your greeting friendly but brief. A simple “Hi”, along with your job role, last quarter’s stats or how “great” your organization claims to be aren’t on your prospect’s agenda. What you can do to help them overcome their current pain-point is.

 

(This is where that research element comes in handy!)

 

Maintain focus by mentioning a topic of interest to them. Relate the topic of your intro to a pain-point you know they’re likely to be experiencing and that your product/service can help them overcome. A recent post from their LinkedIn or a pain-point you know others in their field are also currently experiencing are tried and tested ways to engage your audience. Due to the fact that they’re working in the same industry, means they’re likely to be experiencing issues in the same area. 

 

 

Step 4: Be Concise & Clear

 

Keep the general tone of your email friendly but brief. 

 

Positioning yourself as a thought leader is very important here. A detailed 2,000 word thesis on why your product or service is better than your competitors will earn you a fast track ticket to your prospect’s spam folder. 

 

Instead, share some relevant media on topics that are of interest to the prospect due to the resolutions they offer for their particular pain points. E.g. Sending an article to a HR persona type on 5 of the industry’s biggest recruiting mistakes is going to be better received by that prospect than something that mentions the specs of the software you’re trying to sell, regardless of which of their challenges it helps to overcome. 

 

In today’s time-starved society, keeping things brief, without being salesy, is a sign of consideration for your prospect’s busy schedule. You’ll be met by a more appreciative audience if your email is able to relay the information it needs to in under 100 words, giving plenty of time to return to that long list of to-do’s already pending. Short videos, blogs, whitepapers & company related media (if it’s after the first touch) are other options that work well here.

 

 

Step 5: Tailor Your Message to the Recipient

 

A one size fits all approach isn’t going to cut it if applied to a campaign indiscriminate of persona type, industry, etc. Different personas will all have different variables that work best for them. This one-size-fits-all approach will inevitably hurt your campaign as it fails to take into account the vast differences that exist across job titles, industries and even individuals. 

 

Segmenting your campaign to better tailor your message and enable its tone to fit best with that of each of your audience groups will help your message to be met with a greater number of quality responses.

 

Remember It’s Not About You! 

 

Trying to sell too soon in your cadence may seem like the best way to generate sales by showing your audience what their product has to offer. Discussing the newest features and specifications of your product is an easy way to lose your prospect’s attention. 

 

Turn your focus instead, on how it solves challenges your prospect is currently facing. Highlighting cost benefits to a CFO or improved data security to a CTO are likely to be better received as they are areas that directly impacts them and their company and therefore will likely be a topic they are open to discuss.

 

 

Step 6: Be Visual

 

Remember your most and least favorite classes at school  (and of course their accompanying teachers). Did their bad breath, perfectly polished halo or complete disregard for the concept of personal space have any impact on the grades you achieved in any way? Or perhaps it was the style of their teaching, in particular, the way they delivered their message? 

 

Being original by creating a video, infographic or short presentation showing how what you’re offering will work for your prospect in real time is more likely to be better received than a white screen with a lot of text. In short, keep it fun so your prospect will want to keep engaging.

 

N.B; For extra brownie points, include the client’s own website, logo or branding, demonstrating the effort you’ve undertaken to understand your client’s needs. Take a look at this smart pitch that doubled as a demo and wowed our partners at Hubspot to see how we did it! 

 

 

Step 7: Call to Action or Qualifying Question

 

Having a clear and reasonable objective to your email that your prospect can follow, outlining their next steps is essential. A phone call, meeting or booking a demo are all great examples of “next steps” to get your prospect to follow to help move them through the sales funnel. If you don’t have a clear ask in your message or don’t demand much from your recipient, you’re on your way to receiving the same.

 

Asking a probing question which highlights a pain point your audience didn’t realize they had, encouraging your reader to download an ebook to access more information or asking them to look at one of your case studies related to a past client in the same industry, are all suitable options to help keep your audience engaged and position yourself as a thought leader.

 

 

Step 8: A/B Test

 

Keeping track of the success and failures of previous campaigns means you’re able to keep better tabs on what has and hasn’t worked. Make changes to different aspects of each email to give you a clearer picture of what’s been causing what effect, revealing which variable worked best for which segment or audience. 

 

Important note;  When A/B testing, it's important to only change one factor per email, per email campaign, keeping your statistical results clear.

 

Changing two variables or more within the same email will confuse the results of your test, making it hard to pinpoint exactly which factor caused which change in your email.

 

 

Step 9: Follow Up

 

Sending just 1 email alone often isn’t enough to get your recipient interested enough to want to buy what you’re selling. Ensure you have a series of follow-ups ready, relevant to the first touch to keep your prospect engaged and increase your chances of getting a response.

 

Consider the timing of any follow up emails and how many you send. Determination (rather than pest-istence) is the key to success here. Your results are always going to be a reflection of your efforts. 

 

Like with your first touch, share relevant media here to get your message across in a more engaging way. Case studies can be a great tool to use, especially towards the end of your cadence. Your prospect will appreciate the opportunity to see for themselves how your product or service has helped others overcome their own particular pain-points, after of course already positioning yourself as a thought leader!

 

 

Step 10: Remain Human!

 

The only time cold sales emails work is when they’re filled with warmth!

 

Writing quality emails takes more of your time and effort than a one-fits-all, robotic approach. However, the overall pay-off is much higher. As much as you will be sending out fewer emails overall, the percentage of warm leads you’ll receive back will be well worth the extra effort you put in. Keeping your cadence, friendly and human will reassure your prospect that…

 

 

 

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Topics: sales