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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistFri, Jul 31, 2015 5 min read

Your Sales Emails Suck. Here’s How To Fix Them.

ThinkstockPhotos-166537796How many emails hit your inbox every day? 50? 100? Maybe more?

Whatever your number, there are two broad categories these messages fall into: emails you want to read, and emails someone else wants you to read.

Sales emails, by definition, fall into the latter category.

When sales emails fall into this category, they get put on the backburner; they’re bypassed for something more important, filed for later review, deleted or otherwise forgotten about.

How To Write Better Sales Emails

Assume your prospects receive more emails than they care to in a day. By assuming your prospects are inundated with messages, it gives you a framework to write within: Your message is vying for your prospect’s attention amid scores of others.

Your subject line is the most important element of a sales email.

Even though it’s just a small portion of your message, the subject line carries tremendous weight.

Think of your subject line as a headline in a newspaper or magazine; it’s the gateway into your story. It should hook the reader and convince them that what follows is worth reading.

David Ogilvy, widely hailed as the “Father of Advertising,” said the headline does 80 percent of the work in a piece of copy.

“Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy,” he said. “When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Writing a great subject line for a sales email isn’t easy. However, there are many online resources offering tips and best practices for writing better subject lines

The biggest takeaway from the vast amount of resources out there is this: Put yourself in your target buyer persona’s shoes. People generally don’t want to be solicited or sold to. But everyone likes a compelling story or a message full of valuable content.

I Get It, Subject Lines Are Important. But What About The Actual Sales Email?

If your prospect sees your sales email and is compelled or intrigued enough by your subject line to click through, congratulations! This is not an easy milestone to reach. It means you’ve done something right. Now don’t drop the ball.

The body copy of your sales email should speak to a pain your target audience has and provide something of value to address that pain.

This doesn’t mean you have to make your reader aware of pains they already know they have. Rather, it could be an opportunity to paint a picture of an ideal scene where the pain isn’t there.

As advertising pioneer Claude Hopkins once said, “Don’t show the wrinkles you propose to remove, but the face as it will appear. Your customers know all about the wrinkles.”

  • Make your email copy easy to read. Use bullet points and bolded words to get the reader’s eyes to focus on key points.

  • Keep your message short. No one expects to open an email and read a novel. Try to keep your body copy to no more than 300 words.

  • Stay on message. Your sales email should be hyper-focused. Don’t offer the reader a bunch of options (Visit our website! Speak with a rep today! Call us now!). Focus your messaging. If the goal of your email is to drive the reader toward a landing page, make sure you’re not handicapping yourself.

  • Have a clear call to action. This CTA could be a graphic element or a text element; either way, it should stand out and direct the reader where you want them to go next (like a landing page that’s part of your inbound marketing campaign.

Remember, your sales email shouldn’t be about you and your products, but about your prospect and their problems. The ultimate goal of your sales email is to get a response. Make it easy for readers to understand what response you’re looking for.

Start Today Tip: Seek out some resources on how to write effective email subject lines (just Google it, there are plenty out there). Treat every sales email you write as a working draft. Open a separate blank document and write several versions of your sales email subject. Pick the best two and, if you’re able to, A/B test them when you send out your message. Make sure your email body copy is about the reader, not about you. When you provide valuable, reader-focused content, you’re much more likely to get a reply. 

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.