Are you frustrated by writing sales emails that don’t get a good response? Either you’re not getting many replies (cue the crickets) or your emails don’t move the sales process forward much. (Cue the snails!) Well, there’s good news – there are strategies that can help. In a recent webinar I hosted called “How to Write Sales Emails that Really, Really Work”, I talked with Steve Slaunwhite, professional copywriter, who shared his best techniques and strategies that will boost your sales email success rates by 35% or more. These are step-by-step techniques you’ll be able to use right away to craft emails that get noticed, get opened and — most importantly — get actions.

1. Do your homework on the prospect.

Treat your email as you would a meeting. The more prepared you are, the better that meeting will go. Before sending an email, find out about…

  • The professional background of your prospect.
  • Actions taken on your website. (Have they downloaded or subscribed to anything?)
  • Previous interactions with your company. (Have they sent inquiries previously?)
  • News, issues, buzz, etc., in the prospect’s industry.
  • Events that might “trigger” an interest in the type of solutions you offer.
  • Similarities with other customers you’ve had success with.

Doing your homework on your prospect will provide you with the knowledge to creatively customize an email just for them – which in turn has proven to get a far better response rate.

2. Write conversationally to ONE person (This isn’t mass email marketing!)

  • The prospect should feel like it’s an email just for them. (So, make it just for them!)
  • Personalize as much as possible (without seeming creepy.)
  • Avoid apology-talk. “I know you’re busy, so I’ll only take two minutes of your time…”
  • Show you’ve identified an opportunity to help the prospect solve a problem or achieve an objective.
  • Write the way you talk. Your email should sound natural when read out loud. (So, read it out loud!)
  • There should be twice as many you-words than we-words.
These are step-by-step techniques you'll be able to use right away to craft emails that get noticed, get opened and — most importantly — get actions. Click To Tweet

3. Keep it short and easy to scan.

  • Ideally, no more than 200 words.
  • Write in short paragraphs to make reading easier – looking at large amounts of text without any breaks may seem daunting and discourage your prospect from even reading it.
  • If appropriate, use a bullet list.
  • Avoid bolds, font colours, etc., that make the email seem like a mass marketing piece.
  • No attachments. Some companies have firewalls that will prevent your email from ever being received if it contains attachments.
  • What does the prospect need to know to take the action you want them to take?

4. Ask a question that gets the prospect thinking (dreaming) of a solution.

  • Is this a challenge you’ve encountered?
  • Can you see how [product name] might boost ‘pick and pack’ times in your distribution centre?
  • Do you happen to be looking for ways to solve this problem?
  • Would being able to do [x] make it worth a few minutes to learn more?

5. If possible, drop in some “social proof”.

  • Names of customers with similar issues that your product/service has helped.
  • Number of satisfied customers.
  • Industry ranking, product reviews, publicity (“As featured in…”)
  • Customer stories and case studies.

6. Suggest an easy-to-say-yes-to next step.

  • Don’t ask for too big of a decision. (Don’t propose marriage on a first date!)
  • What is the next easiest action a prospect needs to take to learn more?
  • Consider making two calls-to-action. A hard offer and a soft offer.

7. Use a benefit-focused subject line.

  • Curiosity-focused subject line:
  • Another spill on aisle 10…
  • Ask-focused subject line:
  • Do you have a moment to chat? Topic: new, safer forklifts
  • Benefit-focused subject line:
  • Will our safer forklifts lower your insurance costs? Let’s find out…

If you implement these strategies, along with the double-whammy approach of reaching out to prospects through more than one platform (an email followed by a LinkedIn connection, or a telephone call followed by an email) you can increase your response rate by 50%. This really, really works!