There’s no avoiding email as a sales tool.
And nearly every client we work with dreads writing them.
But the kicker? They can work really well when done right. The challenge, though, is to stand out (in a good way) from the 120 emails per day the average professional gets. With an average open rate across industries at just over 21% and an average click rate at 2.62%, you’re facing some tough competition.
So, how do you write sales emails that get opened, read and replied to positively?
You could take a course on writing sales emails – there are some fantastic ones out there from top-notch organizations – but if you need to write a better sales email right now, nothing beats a template.
And guess what? We have FOURTEEN sales email templates for you in our downloadable package. You can use them for guidance or cut and paste them directly – it’s all good! Either way, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, which means you can get your emails out the door faster.
We’ve made it super-easy with examples you can use, reuse, and customize to your heart’s content. We have templates for a bunch of different scenarios, including:
- Multiple versions of cold outreach emails to new prospects
- Follow-up emails to send after an initial meeting
- Emails for sharing new content or creative ideas
- And more! (So much more – we can’t wait for you to see them all.)
You can download this template package right now and put these emails to work for you immediately.
“But Beth,” you say. “How do I know these will work? Are you flimflamming me?”
No flimflam, tomfoolery or shenanigans here, I promise.
To see the decision-making and strategy that went into making these high-converting sales email templates, read on.
What Makes a Sales Email Convert
Two things to remember: Sales emails have to be personal and actionable. You can’t start out with the ask – people are just too savvy. They can smell a sales pitch just by browsing the list of subject lines in their inboxes.
Your focus has to be on helping, sharing, informing, probing and maybe even challenging your prospects’ status-quo beliefs.
That’s a tall order – even for experienced writers, and more so for anyone not 100% comfortable with this type of communication.
Related Reading: Pick up a few persuasive copywriting tips with our Free Persuasive Copywriting Guide
When you break it down to basics, it gets a little easier.
Let’s focus on the three features that all great sales emails share in common:
- They get attention right away.
- They communicate a clear benefit.
- They provide an actionable next step.
Get Attention Right Away
Here’s a sample email using the Generic Cold Outreach template in our package:
Subject: Thoughts on lead generation
I’ll keep this short and sweet.
As an inbound marketing specialist at Clariant Creative, I always find myself in conversations about generating more leads and converting sales. Your company is on my radar because we’ve helped a lot of companies in your industry do just that.
In fact, one of our clients saw a xx% increase in leads and more conversions than they could handle in just one year. Talk about a great problem to have!
You can see for yourself how we’ve helped companies in your industry in our success stories [link to success stories page].
Could we schedule a 15- to 20-minute call to talk about your strategy for generating leads – what excites you, which challenges you see, and how you envision your plan evolving down the road?
Even if you decide not to continue the conversation after our call, I promise you’ll take away at least one tip to help you move further toward your goal.
You know those people who stand on the sidewalks in major cities and ask for a “few minutes of your time?” As soon as it comes out of their mouths, you know they’re trying to sell you something. So, most of the time, you walk past them. They might get a smile or “no, thanks” from you but nothing more.
What would get you to stop walking and listen?
That’s what your email needs to do – starting with the subject line.
Start with a Powerful Subject Line
Think of your subject line is the advertisement for your email. This is where you make or break it with prospects. About 33% of people will open your email based on the subject line, so it needs to connect – fast.
Make Your Subject Line Intriguing With a Sense of Urgency
Your subject line should be intriguing. Avoid using words like "free," "sale," or "discount." They’re begging to be flagged as spam. Go for words that create urgency like “today,” “tomorrow,” and “now.”
Make Sure It’s Mobile-friendly
It shouldn’t surprise you that over 40% of emails are opened on mobile devices.
Shorter is better – fewer than 50 characters including spaces. Anything longer than that gets cut off when it’s viewed on a mobile device.
Use What Works
At Clariant Creative, we’re really a bunch of content marketing nerds (but fun content marketing nerds) looking for new ways to serve our clients. So, we pay attention to what works in the emails we receive, we attend regular online training sessions, and we read – boy, do we read – to find out what other industry experts are recommending.
That’s how we learned subject lines that start with numbers have a higher open rate. And so do those that are half sentences or ask a question. We also found HubSpot’s great list of 45 subject lines that you will definitely want to bookmark and come back to again.
For our email to Judy, we used “Thoughts on lead generation” as our subject line. It’s open ended and creates a question in the prospect’s mind about something important to their business goals: “What about lead generation?”
Once your prospect opens your email, though, make sure you don’t lose them in the first few seconds.
Get Your Greeting Right
Your next hurdle is the greeting. This seems like a no-brainer, but we still get emails hailing us by our titles and not by our names. Don’t do this. It’s the easiest way to tell your prospects that you have no idea who they are.
You’re establishing rapport with your greeting. Use first names, unless it’s not appropriate. Just keep in mind you’re not a teenager asking your neighbor to borrow her lawn mower. You don’t have to be as formal as you think. And please avoid “Dear Sir/Madam.” It’s so formal as to be archaic while also creating a risk of misgendering your recipient.
If you’re emailing people you’ve already met, you can use a more relaxed greeting like “Hey Susan!” For those you don’t know at all, go a bit more professional: Something like “Hi Stephen,” should be perfectly acceptable across the board. (And make sure you triple-check the spelling of the lead’s name – you’d be surprised how many sales emails we get with our names misspelled. It doesn’t make a great first impression.)
This list of email greetings from EmailAnalytics has some creative greeting ideas to inspire you.
Do Your Research
Since you know your prospect’s name, do a little research on them and their company before reaching out. Social media is fantastic for this.
Check their LinkedIn profile – which every business professional should have – and see if you can find them on other apps like Facebook, Instagram, an even Pinterest. Pay attention to what they like and don’t like from their posts.
Have they recently been promoted? Feel free to congratulate them. Is their Facebook full of Schitt’s Creek memes? Slip your favorite David gif into the email.
(Remember, though – we’re going for “speaking to them as a person,” not “do we need a restraining order,” so while pretty much anything on their LinkedIn is fair game, go light for anything you see on their more personal social media.)
You’ve got your prospect’s attention, now what? The next step is to give them a reason to care.
Related Reading: If you think sales emails are challenging, try writing your own bio. We’ve put together a template to help with that: How to Write a Better Bio
Communicate a Clear Benefit
Here’s a sample email using the Helpful Website Content template:
Subject Line: New content you might find helpful
Clariant Creative has just published a new resource, and it made me think of the conversation we had about your frustration with low Google rankings for your new website. It has an interesting perspective that may help with that issue.
The section on UX and Core Web Vitals really stood out to me.
I hope you find it helpful!
“What’s in it for me?”
That’s the ultimate question to answer in the sales process.
You don’t want to unload your entire sales pitch or make a hard sell in an email. That’s way too much and will turn prospects off. But you do want to give your prospect a reason to care and inspire them to take action.
Highlight Value and Importance
Think carefully about your prospect’s goals and challenges. This is your opportunity to provide value and build a stronger, more strategic relationship that’s better for the client and more profitable for your company.
We mentioned urgency earlier, but that may be part of the value. If there is a limited time for this offer and you know it’s important to your prospect, tell them. Often, people don’t respond to emails or take action because they don’t see the importance.
People make decisions when they are emotional. Some would say that you can’t move a person to take action without it. Whether it’s due to happiness, guilt, sympathy or anger, emotion is powerful. If you can generate one of them, you’ll have a better chance of engaging recipients and inspire them to take action.
Think about the FOMO (fear of missing out) phenomenon. It’s a very real thing and 100% based on emotion inspiring action.
In our email to Roger, we highlighted a frustration point and paired it with an article that could solve the problem. It’s a simple email, but the benefit to the prospect is clear.
We’re almost there – now we need convince the reader to take action.
Include an Actionable Step (or Two)
Here’s a sample email using the Last-Ditch Attempt template:
Subject Line: Persistent or annoying?
All great partnerships begin somewhere. Perhaps ours is right around the corner?
I’m worried I’ve crossed over the line between persistence and annoyance.
Based on your silence, it seems you’re not interested in learning more about creating a podcast. If I’ve misread you, please let me know!
If you are still interested but need some extra encouragement, here’s an online Spotify credit good for a full month of listening – Spotify has tons of podcasts to check out for ideas.
Of course, if you’re interested but just haven’t had the time to get back to me, I get it.
Let me know when would be better for you, and I’ll make a note to reach out and follow up with you then.
Take a minute and ask yourself a few questions before you draft your sales email:
- Why am I sending this?
- What are the best case and second-best case outcomes?
- What do I want this prospect to do with this?
If your email satisfies the first two features we discussed, your prospects will be asking themselves the same questions – at least the first and last question.
How you answer these questions determines the clear, actionable step you should include in your sales email. We call this a CTA or call to action.
Again, this seems intuitive, but your prospect can’t read your mind, so you don’t want to make them try to infer your meaning in the email. So, your CTA must be crystal clear – whether it’s to click a link, respond via email or pick up the phone.
This is where visuals come in handy. Without going over the top, make it impossible for your prospect to miss your CTA.
In our email to Roger, we offered two CTAs: an app credit and an opportunity to reschedule a meeting. Even if he only uses the app credit, it’s still a toehold into a door that might have otherwise slammed shut.
A Few More Tips
We have a few additional tips that can help your sales email get opened and clicked:
Ask questions. Statistics suggest that an email with one to three questions is 50% more likely to garner a reply or other desired action.
Be mindful of your graphics. Some prospects use non-html email platforms that won’t render an image.
Optimize when you send. According to Yesware, the best time to send an email is 1 p.m. and the best day is Monday.
Be ready and willing to change. Track the emails that work and those that don’t, consider A/B testing your subject lines or CTAs, and adapt accordingly.
Related Reading: Free Inbound Selling Questions Template
Ready to start writing?
Download the 14 sales email templates in our package (each template is in a ready-to-use Word document) and make an impact immediately!