How to Write the Perfect Email for Sales Success

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Email can be an incredibly effective sales tool, but getting the most from it means understanding the rules of basic copywriting and how to structure your email for optimum impact. Before typing anything, you need to start by analysing your target market and understanding how your offering meets the needs of that market. The key to a successful sales pitch is then how you tailor the structure, content and tone of your emails to each target audience.

Know your customer

The next step is identifying where each customer is in the sales journey. Typically, there are four main stages is any sales funnel, starting with the cold ‘call’, or the email that builds awareness of your company and product. After this, you might be targeting customers who know about your company and may even be considering using your services. Thirdly, there’s the conversion stage where the goal is to make the sale and, lastly, you’re aiming to win repeat business and loyalty. How you structure you email and talk to each of these audiences is vital to the success of your campaign.

The all-important subject line

Perhaps the biggest challenge is getting the recipient to open your email. That’s the job of your subject line, as this is the first thing your customer will see when your email lands in their inbox. If the subject line is too generic or too salesy, there’s a very good chance it will be viewed as spam and binned.

Either use the subject line to deliver the benefit straight away, or create a tease to entice the recipient into opening the email. However, if you opt for the latter, make sure you know who you’re talking to. A regularly updated mailing list – ideally, one that’s segmented – can help when it comes to tailoring your subject line for each audience. Do this right and you’ll see a big increase in your open rate.

Keep it short and sweet

While it can be tempting to tell them everything about your business and product, no prospect wants to wade through a lengthy email to get to the information they need. Use subheads for each section. Make sure the very first sentence talks about them, not you. Outline the problem your product solves for the customer. After that can you can tell them a bit about the business. The whole goal here is to elicit trust, so be brief and to the point. Highlight the credentials you have to solve your customer’s problem. Focus on your USP, not generic statements or promises.

You can go into more depth about the key benefits in the middle section. Finally, finish with the ‘call-to-action’ - essentially, what you need them to do next. Ideally try to keep the whole email within 400 words for maximum impact. The key is to keep them engaged throughout. If it’s too long they’ll stop reading and move on.

Tone of voice

Tone of voice is incredibly important. For the most part, keep it casual - even entertaining. Of course, a lot here will depend on what you’re selling and where the customer is in the sales journey, but, as a general rule, try to keep the tone friendly and informal. Be empathetic with customer needs and challenges, explaining how you can solve them.

Get personal

Wherever possible, personalise your email. We already touched on the importance of having a good mailing list, but your response rate will rise dramatically simply by using the person’s name in the copy. If you can then tailor the benefits of your offering to the specific needs of each segment of recipients, you’ll see the response rate rise even further. Remember - more responses means more conversions.

Nail the call-to-action

It’s easy to neglect the importance of your closing paragraph, or what’s known as the ‘call-to-action’. Here’s where you make your final pitch with the ultimate goal of getting the sale, or a response that you can follow up on. Make it as easy as possible for them to respond: direct them to your website, or sales page; give them an email address or telephone number for more information; tell them you’ll be happy to contact them at a time convenient to them – anything and everything that helps them take action. Again, tailor this depending on what stage the customer is at in the sales journey.

Finish strongly by letting them know in no uncertain terms that your product will solve their problem – as long as they get in touch ASAP. A ‘limited time’ offer can be the mechanism by which you do this.

Above all, be positive, confident and avoid generic clichés.

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