How to Write a Sales Email (That Someone Actually Reads)

By Paula Felps


Emails can be a tricky business. Every time you send out an email, you’re hoping to catch someone’s attention and make them interested enough to click “open” instead of hitting “delete.” This can be a challenge no matter what kind of email you’re sending, but when it comes to sales emails, the challenge is even greater.

A great sales email not only catches the attention of the recipient, but is interesting and relevant enough to make them want to learn more. (It’s the business equivalent of getting someone to swipe right instead of swiping left.)

Then, once you are successful in getting them to open the email, you want them to respond, too. In today’s noisy, busy online world, that can seem like a lot to ask, but the good news is, it can be done if you take the right approach to writing your sales email.

Simplify your strategy for writing a sales email by breaking it into these five steps:

Step 1: Have a good reason for reaching out.

 sales email 1Yes, you’re trying to connect with them because you want to make a sale. But is that a compelling reason for them to respond? No.

To take the first step in crafting a successful sales email, you have to do your research on that potential customer. Make sure they fit your buyer persona and are a good candidate for what you’re trying to sell.

That means looking at your offer through their eyes. As you take a closer look at their reasons for responding, you might find that they aren’t a good fit for your offer. Or you might need to change what your offer is. Don’t think about what you’re trying to sell them; think about what kind of value you can provide to them.

The extra time spent researching your potential customer can pay off in a big way. And it might be the difference between getting an interested response and ending up in their trash folder.

Step 2: Consider your subject line.

A good subject line won’t be threatening, spammy or panic-inducing; it will attract someone’s attention enough to make them want to take the next step — in this case, opening the email. According to Convince & Convert, 35% of email recipients base their decision of whether or not to open an email based solely on the subject line.

Choose those words carefully; there’s a lot riding on them.

Using the person’s name in the subject line has been shown to grab better results, and so does engaging them with a question. Just make sure that the question is relevant, actionable and that you have a solution to their problem. (For example, “Greg, do you want to increase the reach of your social media content?” is better than “Find out why your social media isn’t working.”)


Step 3: Come up with a great opener.

“Haven’t we met somewhere before?” doesn’t work in a bar and — spoiler alert —it’s not going to work in your email, either. Our email marketing specialists know that a great opening line should be smooth and inviting, making the recipient want to know more. It shouldn’t feel too slick or salesy; aim for something that is personal, relevant and appealing. And remember, it’s all about them.

Potential customers are less interested in who you are than what you can do for them. Immediately telling them what you can do and how that will benefit them is critical to maintaining their interest — and ultimately getting the sale.

Knowing their pain points and frustrations (Step 1) allows you to create an email with an opening line that speaks directly to them. Consider mentioning a recent social media post they’ve made, a company announcement or a career milestone they’ve recently achieved, then find a way to tie it into what you can do for them.

Step 4: Keep their interest with a great body.

 sales email 2Body copy, that is.

This is where you truly connect and provide them with targeted information that provides genuine value. Since you’ve done your research, you have a good idea of what goals they might be trying to achieve.

Providing three or four tips with helpful advice on how to reach that goal or solve that problem can establish you as an expert and demonstrate what your company can do for them. Avoid being generic; use your research on their specific company and needs to determine what is most useful for them.

There’s plenty of debate about how many words a sales email should be, but there’s truly no set word count. Make sure it’s long enough to convey your message but keep it as snappy and to the point as possible. Short, active sentences helps the reader move through the email copy more quickly and increases the odds that they’ll read it all the way through … which also increases your odds of a positive response.

Step 5: Finish strong.

The closing to your email should be like a good business meeting: You give them a clear path of action, and they know exactly what to do next. Think about what you want to get out of this email; are you trying to set up a phone call? Do you want to arrange a time to make a presentation? Be clear on what you are trying to accomplish and use the final part of your email to ask for that.

While you can use a template to help you find a structure that works best for you, each email should be personalized to the recipient and should reflect the research you’ve done on their company, their position and their needs. Be succinct, be useful and then be ready for the next steps when they respond.


Paula Felps

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