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Sales 101: How to Write a Sales Email That Sells

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15 min read

How to write a sales email

Have you ever thought of a paradise where every sales email you send is delivered to your prospects’ primary inbox, they read emails zealously, and right after they find your contact info, your phone won’t stop ringing...?

Breaking your heart is not on my to-do list, but there’s a harsh truth: most sales emails eventually end up in the junk folder (or spam if you’re unlucky!)

According to superoffice.com, on average 24% of emails were opened globally in 2018. This dropped to 22.1% in 2019. Based on Campaign Monitor’s benchmark, the click-through rate in 2019 was 2.69%. This means only two or three emails produce some sort of action out of 100 emails!

But, hey, don’t lose hope yet! Our goal is to write personalized sales emails with the attributes of those two or three emails so the ratio goes up.

I know exactly what you are thinking: “What is so special about those emails?” “Why do recipients read those emails?” “What makes the recipient grab their phones or click on the links?” “Are those emails written on keyboards that cost $10k?!

If these questions are popping up, you are in the right place! In this blog, we will learn about the essential elements of how to write a sales email that sells.

What is a Sales Email?

First thing first, let’s be clear about what a sales email is and its goal because often people mix up sales emails with marketing and promotional emails. They might share similar structures sometimes but do not necessarily serve the same purpose.

A sales email is just like another regular email sent to prospects with an intention to sell something. The way of selling can be different based on the product or service and the volume of business.

Unless you have just joined a company and got your email set up yesterday, you are likely to have received quite a few sales emails already. Those look like emails, but they have a hidden agenda: to sell something to you!

For instance, a bookstore asking recipients to visit their antique books section, a consultancy firm trying to set up a meeting or a local charity attempting to land you on their donation page: all of these are examples of sales emails because they all have the similar goal: to sell something.

There are many types of sales emails. Depending on your audience, product, and technology you are using to send emails, sales email can take different forms. It could be typed, graphical, or a combination of both. Based on purpose, in general, sales emails are B2C or B2B emails. When you are trying to sell a product directly to consumers via email, that is B2C (business to consumer) email. If you provide services that other businesses can use, then selling your service via email is a B2B (business to business) email.

Purpose of a Sales Email

Personally, I find that the best way to describe a sales email is not emphasizing the end goal, which is sales. To me, a great sales email’s job is to initiate a process that will eventually lead to a sale.

Confusing? Let me explain.

Think about those times when salespeople knock on your door while everyone is sleeping and pushes you to change your internet service provider as soon as you open the door! Be honest here, you just might want to shut the door on their faces or call 911! But, what if the salesperson politely asks your permission to talk, finds out what provider you are using, and offers you a better connection based on his/her knowledge? The odds are higher that you will be less rude, might listen to the offer, and you might even end up considering it seriously?

See the difference?

This is every salesperson’s goal while dealing with a prospect: to address an existing need or to invoke a need in your prospects’ minds. When you generate the need, you can suggest a reasonable solution. The rest will follow.

This real-life trick applies to the virtual world as well. If you get an unsolicited, blunt, tasteless email out of nowhere that offers you a product that you don’t need at all, most of the time, you will send it straight to the junk folder.

But then again, there are those emails that will hook you to get back to the sender. I remember buying Grammarly’s premium subscription after getting one of those persuasive emails!

It is not about showing creativity. It is not about how good your humor is either. It is all about sales. It is not a wise action to spend time on something to get the reader’s admiration. Which one you would pick: an amazing email that makes people smile and keep them WOWed for the rest of the day with no further action taken or a plain email that will make your prospect call you or buy your product?

You need to convince your reader that you offer something they need, and BOOM!

Repeat with me again: it is all about sales.

From the very beginning to the very end of a sales email, you need to think about sales and sales only. But, your email itself should not sell anything. Instead, every single line of the email must be designed in a way that keeps the reader hooked until the end.

Step-by-Step: How to Write a Sales Email

In this blog, we will learn the basics of writing an effective sales email with a real-life example.

You will be playing the role of Sam Landon, a salesperson who works for Trident Inc. Trident Inc. is a marketing agency specialized in social media presences. They aim to grab a new market segment: startups. For this segment, they designed an affordable package to manage social media channels. To gather a hot prospect list, Trident Inc. sponsored StartupExpo: a large, nationwide event for startups. They were able to collect contacts from the event. Most of these startups are funded in some way and, assuming the situation in the initial phase, they are yet to reach the position to have a dedicated marketing expert.

Sam’s goal is to reach all these companies via these contacts and land contracts under which Trident Inc. will manage their social media pages. Think about winning 10% of prospects with a $10k/year contract. That’s about $500k in revenue from this stream alone. Not bad!

However, to earn this fortune, the first thing Sam needs to do is to set up a meeting so she can deliver a killer pitch. To set up the meeting, she needs to make sure these leads read the sent emails and gets back to her.

Well then! Let’s get the 500k!

Sales Email Structure

There is no magic structure of a sales email. The design or structure is entirely up to you. If it hooks the prospect, it works!

However, having a structure in mind is not a bad idea because that helps to organize thoughts better.

Generally, a good sales email will have the following sections:

  1. Subject Line
  2. Email Body
  3. Conclusion or Call-to-Action (CTA)
  4. Signature


Subject Line

Subject lines are the first place where pro salespeople stand out from the crowd. An email subject line is the first impression of a company and its product or services. And, everyone knows: the first impression is the last impression!

Treat is as the summary of your email. If prospects aren’t hooked by the subject line, or worse: if you forget to write a subject line your open rate will suffer.

As gate-openers for any sales email, subject lines must be created meticulously after thorough research. Sometimes it is easy to write the subject line first and then write the body. Sometimes it is the other way around. Whatever works for you!

Here are a few tips to write great subject lines:

  • Keep it focused: The trouble with subject line is that you need to make it creative enough so it stands out from hundreds of other emails. Creativity here comes at a cost, though! This article on Business Insider reveals that desktops don’t show beyond 60 characters in a typical inbox while smart devices lower it to 25-30 characters. Therefore, you need to use important keywords within that limit. Avoiding filler words helps.
  • Do your research: You need to know about your prospects and their needs to make a good subject line. If you can hit the right spot, the chances of them opening the email will be higher. While using jargon is strongly prohibited, using appropriate, prospect-group specific terms can be helpful.
  • Give them a hint: Your prospects need to know what’s in for them. Provide a sense of the value proposition in the subject line. This value proposition will be elaborated in the body.
  • Personalize: Everyone could use a bit of a personal touch. If you are sending it to individuals, personalize the subject line with their first name. If your email is for a company, insert the company’s name. In this way, prospects have a sense of getting an email from a real person.
  • Prompt action: Giving a sense of rush is not a bad idea. Instead of telling them what happens, asking them to do something gives them a sense of urgency.

Here are some subject lines that are likely to make one of the prospects, Jake Townsend, CEO of GamerZone, open the email:

 

“Jake, capture 5x leads with more social media pages!”

“Jake, what are your thoughts on social media presence?”

“Jake, get GamerZone in the top 10 trending on social media”

 

Caution 1: If possible, avoid using flagged words in your subject line. There is a higher chance for your email to land in the spam folder if the email service provider detects one or more of these words in the subject line. Examples of such words are: Win, Free, Cash, etc. Here, you can find a list of spam trigger words that are best to be avoided in your email subject line. Also, remember: TURNING CAPS LOCK ON DOES NOT LOOK GOOD FROM THE READER’S END!

Caution 2: It is best not to use any cheap tricks to make the reader open the email. A common trick is to promise something in the subject line and give something else in the body. Trust me, everyone hates clickbait. Another cheap trick is to put RE: before the subject line so it seems like a follow-up. These tricks will increase your open rate for sure, but these will also cause readers to put you in the spam list. Nobody likes to deal with tricksters! Our goal is to get a meeting invitation, not to get blocked!

Email Body

Introduction

According to many sales specialists, the most common mistake in most of the sales emails is emphasizing the sender’s intro! Not saying that this method doesn’t work. It might work. However, when you are writing a sales email to someone who has potentially never heard about you, such an intro might turn into a lethargic, old school approach. For instance, let’s look at this opening:

“To whom it may concern,

Good morning. Hope you are doing fine!

My name is Sam Landon. I am a Marketing Specialist at Trident Inc. Our company is a leader in the social media management faction. We have won this award, and this recognition, and were nominated for that. We proudly serve this number of companies, and we are also certified by XYZ…”

I cannot classify this introduction as one of those emails everyone laughs about since it is not that bad. However, these days, this email has a substantial chance of being ignored as well. Unfortunately, a significant portion of sales emails follow the same opening, which was probably originated during the dot com bubble!

Why does this sales email intro carry a high risk of failure? Among many other reasons, a prime one is because by the time you reach the main point, the reader will lose interest. It is also screaming ME! ME!! ME!!! The reader is not interested in your credentials at this stage: they want to hear about them and how you can help them. Also, the To whom it may concern is a big blow! In the 21st century, personalized sales emails are the trend and not having one’s name in the email is unlikely to get attention.

Let’s not forget, those who are getting your sales email are probably reading hundreds of emails every morning. We want them to open the email by the subject line and then keep them interested until the end. To make that happen, we need to be special!

Here are a few tips to write an attention-grabbing email intro:

  • Personalize: The most common mistake in a sales email body is when the sender writes generic “To whom it may concern” or worse, writes “Dear Sir/Madam”. These are big turn offs. It is always better to start the email with the reader’s first name as it bolsters the sense of credibility gained from the personalized subject line and assures the reader that this email is intended for him or her.
  • Keep it short: Everyone is busy. Even if someone might not be, it is always better to assume they are always on their toes. Therefore, removing extra burden from the intro is a great thing to do. Make it precise but deliver the information you need them to hear.
  • Be casual: A sales email doesn’t need to be heavily toned, super-structured, or full of heavy terms. You are neither writing a legal contract nor sending a message that can cause WW3 if it falls into the wrong hands. It is a plain sales email. Remaining casual throughout the email is proven to be more effective than being super formal because the latter might intimidate the reader. Let the prospect have the “heavy” personality if he/she choose to have that.
  • Find a common ground: A common friend, or common interest, can boost your credibility. People feel comfortable talking to others with mutual connections. If you have a reference, use that appropriately. If you do not have a reference, find common ground. That may be a conference you attended together or a forum where you both attended.
  • Talk about them: Everyone loves to hear about them (in a positive way, obviously). So, when they see the intro is all about the sender it creates a “meh” vibe. Talking about the reader, their issues, their challenges, their company is a great deal. Doing that the right way, you will able to hold their attention until you make them ready for your short pitch.
  • Flatter the reader: A golden rule is to flatter them! Do your research, find what they did recently, find what they have achieved or what award they received. Starting email with those flatters the readers and they will be more open to hear what you are going to say.

Let’s try again! How about this one:

“Hi Jake,

This is Sam Landon from Trident Inc. First, let me congratulate you on your successful display at StartupExpo last week. I had a chance to visit GamerZone’s stall and it was an amazing presentation. I also visited your Facebook and LinkedIn pages afterward..."

Sounds better, right? It is neat, concise, personalized, and talks about the reader’s recent activity. It also has a common ground (the expo). Surely, this email intro has higher odds to bring the reader to the next paragraph where you can do a subtle value proposition.

Value Proposition

Congratulations! You have survived the introductory phase and, hopefully, your prospect is still reading the email. As you have already introduced yourself, the reader is likely to be at ease and ready to hear whatever you pitch next.

There are plenty of tricks to write a perfect sales email body or pitch. However, these are the most common practices:

  • Hit the right spot: Remember, every business face challenges and not all of them can be solved internally. Hence, they look for solutions. Our goal is to anticipate and address those problems. Thorough research on your clients can generate valuable insights. For instance, in this case, these startups are quite new, which is a sign that he is trying to do these things: promoting business, displaying products, and landing more customers. It is also highly likely that they are missing a dedicated marketing person (due to extra cost). Here, you have the area to address!
  • Offer solutions: Addressing the problem must be accompanied by one or more solutions because those startups are aware of what they are facing and what challenges he is having. By addressing the issues, we are telling him that we know about the issues. However, offering solutions demonstrate that we are experts in this field and we have what it takes to solve the problems. Here, for example, we can customize the page with visually appealing graphic elements and boost certain posts to drive traffic to the store.
  • Drop big names: Just like a reference in the introductory line opened space for more conversation, using big names in the pitch can boost reliability that will help prospect to make a decision. Peer review is one of the greatest factors, especially when someone is going to spend a chunk of money for a service or product. Telling Jake about our existing clients will certainly help. And ,if one or two clients are big guns, that will work like a talisman!
  • Give a demo: This is not super mandatory, but then again, we must stand out as PROs out of hundreds of regular JOEs. Not every sales email will contain a demo so this is our chance to make an unforgettable impression. A demonstration will also show that we know our stuff, and we are actually a few steps ahead of most of the other agencies that are trying to reach him. However, when sending thousands of emails, giving super-personalized demo for each will be difficult. Instead, publicly available resources like past projects can do great work here.

One golden rule to write a great email body and keep yourself in check is to ask yourself “so what?” Just walk in the shoes of the prospects and try to convince yourself. Every time you tell yourself about a benefit, ask “so what?” By doing so, you will be forced to refine your pitch and will likely end up creating a better pitch than the first one you drafted.

Now, let’s try to formulate the value proposition again:

 

“While I was visiting those pages, I realized that more leads can be captured if you had more customized social media pages. I know you are extremely busy, Jake. If you need extra hands, we can manage GamerZone’s social media presence, generate content, and handle inquiries for you.

We proudly manage social media accounts for ABC & XYZ. Take a look at our previous projects with our clients…”

 

This sales email body doesn’t look like a regular, tasteless, unsolicited, mundane, destination spam folder email!

It hits the right spot (challenges in maintaining dynamic social media presence), acknowledges the constrains (too busy to manage 10+ social media accounts), provides solutions (managing, content creation, and inquiry handling), and drops big names to boost credibility (ABC & XYZ). It also includes previous projects to provide the prospect with an example of the quality of service. Also, did you notice that GameZone is mentioned in the email? That will give the email an extra personal touch.

Since this part is done as well, all we need to do right now is to conclude the email with a clear CTA (Call-to-Action).

Conclusion

Now, we have reached the prospect, introduced ourselves, and pitched already. The final part is to conclude the email with a CTA or Call-to-Action. The CTA gives a sense of direction to the reader about what will happen after the email.

Let’s assume the reader is impressed and ready to give a thought about having your service. But how? That will be determined based on the business goal we have. Here, our agency wants a contract and for that we need to land a meeting. So, we can take any of these common paths:

  • Ask for a meeting: Request a meeting to demonstrate further and discuss the plans, pathways, service types, and pricing. Since, we already know Jake is the owner of the video game store, we can directly ask for a meeting. The common practice is to give a date and check if they are available. However, you can also eliminate this process by using scheduling tools like Calendly. If the client is impressed, let them decide when they want to meet based on their availability.
  • Request direction: What happens when you are not sure that he will be the right person for this purpose. I mean, your contact could be a salesperson who does not deal with marketing or a CEO who is too busy to deal with these? In such cases, it is better to request direction to the right person.
  • Give a timeline: Nobody wants to hang in the air! It is better to have a clear NO than to wait for days with false hope. Therefore, it is better to set a timeline. Giving a time for a meeting gives them an urgency to respond. Sometimes, you can also set a deadline for responding, but that is usually for specialized offer.
  • End with a question: Asking a question will usually get you an answer. It initiates conversation and states a clear CTA. Form the question clearly based on your goal.

For this sales email, we will ask for a meeting within a specific time period. Here is how our conclusion with CTA looks like:

 

“We would love to share other big ideas in mind for GamerZone. Can we have a 15-minute slot this week with you or (if you prefer) with the team that deals with marketing?”


Signature

Don’t forget to put your signature in the end! This is one of the most common mistakes in sales emails, especially when there is a mass email campaign going out. Signatures often miss important details like a cellphone number. I mean, if you are missing your cellphone number, how is the interested party supposed to call you?

Another important aspect of signature is that it gives you some space to insert additional content about your company: your social media accounts, website, video blogs, online resources, etc. We cannot put these things on the email body due to the space restriction, but we can certainly put the links in the signature.

Also, giving out all this information and social media presence bolsters your credibility.

Here is a regular signature type that is used in most sales emails:

 

Best regards,

Sam Landon
Marketing Specialist
Trident Inc.
1 Lorem Ipsum
Polar Cave, Antarctica ABC EFG
www.tridentincdoesnotexist.xyx
sam.Landon@ tridentincdoesnotexist.xyx
+1 235 712 1931

Looks good, but something is missing, right? A bit mundane, especially in this case. Remember, we are a social media marketing agency, so we must demonstrate at least the minimum level of creativity!

How do you think this one looks?

Now it looks like something from a marketing person, right? I mean, look at all those social media icons and the company logo! Certainly provides the reader with a better sense of credibility than the previous signature.

Now, compiling all the sections we discussed above, here is the complete sales email template we crafted:

Sales Email Template

Here you go! You have a cool sales email template that a higher chance to bring you results. You can customize this template and send personalized emails to your prospects.

Good luck!

Feeling Overwhelmed? We Can Help!

We know that creating personalized sales email campaigns is a cumbersome work. Honestly, if I had to create 500 personalized emails with the contacts' name and company, I would be overwhelmed, too. Not to mention the worry about the success of the campaign.

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By using SimplyCast for your sales email campaign, you can easily design a campaign timeline through the drag-and-drop editor and automate the entire campaign. Create stunning, personalized emails with attention-grabbing visual elements, track your campaign success through different metrics, and generate a detailed report to create more effective future campaigns. You have all the features you need!

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