Sales Email Writing In 5 Steps, Part Two

sales email

A sales email is still a common, and important, outreach tool when communicating with prospects. As my last post introduced, salespeople need to prepare and put thought into emails before sending. The post covered the prep work needed, based on expert advice from Sales Hacker’s Nicholas Rubright.

Now, it’s time to get to the actual writing of the email. The five steps include:

  1. Capture attention with the subject line
  2. Personalize the introduction
  3. Connect content to their goals
  4. Close the email well
  5. Make sure it is short and simple 

Sales email must-haves

Reps must come up with content that gets the prospect to open, read and respond. The devil is in the details, Rubright believes, and his tips tap into those important details. It’s attention to these subtleties that make the difference in a prospect’s response. 

Capture attention with the subject line. This simple line has so much power; Rubright actually believes that it is “the most important thing to get right when it comes to getting your emails opened.” And, he has data to back up this belief, reporting that, “33% of recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. This is why emails with personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened.” Denise Gibson, SalesFuel's Director of AdMall Sales, agrees that reps must pay attention to their sales emails' subject lines. "You want to try and write a compelling subject line," she says. "That decides if people open your email or not."

An effective subject line should:

  • Capture interest
  • Build curiosity
  • Promise useful information (without misleading)

There are many ways you can write a sales email subject line to do those things. For example, a past SalesFuel post suggests using questions to immediately capture the prospect’s interest. “A subject line that asks a question can be very effective at getting a reader to open an email,” according to the post. “Questions naturally pique one’s curiosity, and who doesn’t love to share their opinions?” Make sure the question is:

  • direct. Or, if you use the subject line to allude to a question within the email, state it clearly. Give the reader a reason to open the email.
  • open ended. If you ask a question that requires a simple “yes” or “no” answer, there’s really no incentive to open and respond.
  • answered either in the email’s opening line or early in the body.

Personalize the introduction. If you followed Rubright’s pre-​sales email advice, you’ve already warmed up the prospect. Now, make that initial connection work in your favor. And once again, he has data to back up his tip, reporting that, “Emails with personalized message bodies have a 32.7% better response rate.” Think back on the research and early outreach you’ve already done to craft a personal, relevant opening that will keep their attention (and show you actually care). Your sales email will definitely stand out among the multiple generic ones your prospects likely receive (and delete).

Connect content to their goals. You’ve done research and you have an idea about the prospect’s business, industry and goals/​pain points. Use the body of your sales email to connect your product or service to their goals. Approximately 86% of received emails are useless; this, Rubright warns, is not the time to be generic and hold off on showing value. “Don’t send your prospects a useless email,” he advises. “Instead of sending out generic pitches, make sure you connect your email to your prospect’s business goals. Sell them on the solution to their specific problem rather than the services you’re offering.” Showing value entices them to open and reveals your preparation. 

There are two more steps to go

These are just three of the sales email tips Rubright shares (and the others are also data-​backed). He even includes some examples of effective sales emails for further guidance.

 It’s clear that it takes a bit of time and thought to craft an email that stands out and inspires action. But, the return on this investment could be a signed contract and a new client.

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel and Media Sales Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.