Attractive prospects receive tens, if not hundreds, of cold emails a day. Given this reality, it’s no wonder that most people are quick to pull the trigger on the delete button. Your prospects only have a few moments to scan their inbox and decide whether your email is worth opening. It may sound like an impossible task, but a well-crafted sales email can yield your outreach campaign exceptional results.

What to Expect When Writing Your First Sales Email

You can put together your first sales email in just six simple steps. Sounds easy, but, as with most things, the devil is in the details. Here’s what you need to do to write the perfect sales email:

  1. Decide On Your Value Proposition
  2. Write A Compelling Subject Line
  3. Decide On Your Opening Line
  4. Write The Email Body
  5. Wrap Up With A Call To Action
  6. Include Your Email Signature

The Good

Crafting a great sales email may seem daunting, but it’s not that difficult. Every good sales email has five key components, which I outline in the steps below. Master these components, and you have a chance of boosting your prospecting significantly.

If you’re still not convinced that email is your best tool for prospecting and outreach, check out these statistics from a recent McKinsey study:

  • Email yields 40x better results than Twitter and Facebook combined.
  • 91% of consumers use email daily.
  • Email conversion rates are an estimated three times higher than social media conversion rates.
  • Average order values via email are an estimated 17% higher than social media.

Another piece of good news is that it gets easier. Email templates allow you to maintain most of the email’s content, only editing some aspects to personalize it to prospects. Once you get the hang of it, your email templates will be doing the heavy lifting for you.

There are also tons of free sales email templates on the internet. You can use these as inspiration to create your winning template. In short, your efforts with the first few sales emails will pay off in the long run. You won’t have to repeat the same tedious process every time you want to reach out to prospects.

The Bad

There is no easy way to say it. Prospecting via email is tricky. People generally don’t like strangers flooding their inbox, so you have your work cut out for you. Email open rates range anywhere between 19% and 25% depending on the industry. Just getting someone to open your email (forget closing a sale!) takes effort.

Another problem sales reps run into is the misconception that a sales email is basically spam. The two practices are worlds apart. Spam goes out to untargeted contacts, the opposite of sales emails. Also, unlike spam, sales emails provide valuable and relevant content to the target. Still, that doesn’t stop a good chunk of recipients from reporting your email as spam, even when they know it’s not.

Even so, you can avoid these two major pitfalls by getting a running start on creating a winning sales email. The steps outlined below will help you do just that!

Step 1 – Decide On Your Value Proposition

We’ve briefly touched on the difference between spam and prospecting, but it’s a fine line. Even the best-crafted sales email may be considered spam in some instances. By definition, spam is any unsolicited message irrelevant to the recipient’s identity and context. If your email could equally go out to many other potential targets with no defined context or relevance, it might be considered spam.

The key here is to have a message targeted at particular persons for specific reasons. This idea separates outbound lead generation from spam.

Refer to your buyer persona

A buyer persona is essentially a research-based and detailed description of a fictional person or persons who best represents your ideal potential customers. This profile will help you decide who to target with your sales email campaign. A good buyer persona should give you a clear picture of your target audience, including the following:

  • Demographic details
  • Professional information
  • Behavioral traits
  • Goals and challenges
  • Buying patterns
  • Values
  • Interests

It is worth creating a buyer persona if you don’t already have one. There are many free tools online that you can use to create a basic profile. At the very least, think hard about who you should be targeting before writing a single line.

Hubspot’s free Make My Persona tool is a great place to start.

Find a reason to connect

Targeting the correct recipient is only the first step. You need to give them a reason to want to connect with you. Referencing mutual acquaintances, sharing similar experiences or backgrounds, recognizing their achievements, or mentioning trigger events are great places to create common ground.

You want to create rapport right off the bat. Then, you can explain your value proposition clearly and concisely.

Research your prospects

You have a prospect in mind, a reason to connect, and value to offer. Doing some background research on your prospect will help to tie everything together. This method works exceptionally well if you only have a handful of prospects in mind. Social media, including professional platforms like LinkedIn, are a gold-mine of understanding your prospect’s values, goals, and pain points.

You can also zero in on similarities between your prospects. Then, you can create sales email templates that still address your target’s pain points while casting a wider net.

Snov.io is a great tool to help you in this step. This outreach automation platform offers valuable tools to help you with prospecting, including:

  • Find email addresses by name, company, or domain
  • Verify email addresses
  • Track sent emails in Gmail
  • Launch drip campaigns


Snov.io integrates with many of the most popular CRMs, including Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho CRM, and Asana. Plans start at $33 per month.

Step 2 – Write A Compelling Subject Line

With the groundwork out of the way, it’s now time to start crafting the actual sales email. The obvious place to start is the subject line.

This single line is crucial since it’s the first point of contact with your prospects. Most prospects also decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone. It doesn’t even matter how well you master the following steps. It won’t make a difference if people don’t open your email in the first place.

Spark the prospect’s curiosity

Ideally, your subject line should make the prospect stop and want to read the second line of your email. To accomplish this, the subject line needs to hint that the prospect has something to gain from opening your email.

A hint of how the prospect could boost their revenue in the next quarter or wanting to find out why a mutual connection referred you to them are great examples. A few examples of intriguing subject lines include:

  • [Mutual contact] suggested I get in touch/li>
  • I have a great idea on how to improve [prospect’s pain point]

Keep it short

Keep the subject line short, and don’t reveal too much. The idea is to pique interest, not to close a sale just yet. The ideal length should be around 50 to 60 characters or less. The main thing to avoid is your subject line getting cut off.

When that happens, the recipient doesn’t know what your email is about. Almost half of the prospects might be reading your email on mobile, so be mindful about the subject length.

Personalize the subject line

Including your prospect’s name in the subject line can make all the difference. A personalized touch makes you come across as thoughtful and not just sending out emails to people willy-nilly. You can take this a notch higher by referencing something unique to your prospects. For example: Hi [prospect’s name], I loved your post on [website name].

Such detail of personalization may not always be possible. Still, using just the prospect’s name should achieve the desired effect. Most CRM lets you automate this process, so you don’t have to send out bulk emails manually. Check out our post highlighting the eight best CRM software solutions to help you streamline your sales pipeline.

Don’t be afraid to express urgency

This tip works exceptionally well if you have a limited-time offer. Some prospects need a little nudge to open the email. Creating urgency makes prospects want to open the email immediately just in case they’re missing out on a fantastic deal.

A great example of this subject line includes: [X] hours until our [deal] expires!

Step 3 – Decide On Your Opening Line

The opening line sets the president for the rest of the email. This is where the prospect decides whether they’ll read the rest of the email. There are too many general, unoriginal, and salesy opening lines out there. Try to make your opening line intriguing enough to capture the audience’s attention.

Use the warm approach

Take a warm approach to your sales email. Use your opening line as an opportunity to explore whether you and the prospect can have a mutually beneficial relationship. To do this, you’ll need to invest in building a genuine connection.

You can achieve this by referencing a trigger event or showing you care about the prospect’s struggles. Examples of such opening lines include:

  • I read about your company’s [event] in [publication]
  • Congratulations on [event]!

Another great way to build trust is to leverage mutual connections you might have with the prospect. People naturally want to work with people who can be vouched for. An ideal opening line, in this case, may look something like this:

My name is [name], and I’m with [company]. I worked with [mutual connection] on [project] and [a brief line or two about why you’re reaching out]…

Look for ways to connect with your prospects on a personal level in the opening line.

Keep it relevant

Ideally, your opening line should reveal what your message is and why it matters to the prospect. People don’t have a lot of time to understand your email. This is also a great way to build trust, showing that you’ve taken pains to understand your prospect’s challenges.

Keep it brief

A long-winded sales pitch can put your prospect on the defensive. Remember, the idea here is to explore a mutually beneficial relationship. Keep the opening line brief and relevant to the email subject line.

Step 4 – Write the Email Body

The body will be the ‘meat’ of your sales email. You have a chance to make your case for why the prospect should complete your desired action.

Get the ideal length

The length of the body text depends on your audience.

For example, a short email of about 50-125 words may work for a busy executive. On the other hand, you might need a longer email, say 300 words or more, when writing to a prospect with a shared mutual connection.

Keep the email body tight, including only what’s absolutely necessary and relevant to make your pitch.

Create additional context

This step depends on how much detail you went in your opening line. You may need to talk a little more about who you are. Talk about results you’ve achieved for similar companies or other companies in the same industry using your products or services.

Offer value in your pitch

Knowing your value shouldn’t be difficult if you already identified the value in your first step. The main thing here is not to come across as too salesy. The prospect most likely doesn’t care enough about you and your business. It’s nothing personal, but your products or services’ quality isn’t at the forefront of your prospects’ to-do list.

The best strategy is to focus on the client rather than your business. Talk about the client’s pain points and struggles and how you can help. Prove to them that you are genuinely interested in helping and not just here to make a quick sale.

Highlight specific benefits that your prospect can get from using your products and services.

Focus on the goal of your sales email

It helps if you know exactly what you want to achieve with your sales email and why. This clarity will give you direction on how to structure your email to achieve your goal.

Step 5 – Wrap Up With a Call to Action

Finish your email with a call to action (CTA). This is what you want the prospect to do after reading your email. The call to action depends on the goal you want to achieve with your email.

Define a clear call to action

The prospect should have no doubt about what they need to do next. Call to action examples may include scheduling a Skype call, signing a contract, replying to your message, scheduling a meeting, signing up for a free trial, or any number of tasks.

Keep it brief and precise. A good call to action should be one or two sentences long.

Keep it simple

It takes time to build trust with prospects. For now, ask for a simple request that the prospect can fulfill immediately. You may want to get the prospect on a 30-minute call as soon as possible. However, most people just don’t have the time. Also, most people prefer communicating by email. Where possible, start small and build up to the big ask, whether that’s scheduling a call or a meeting.

Give specific times and dates

Offer specific times and dates when you want the prospect to schedule a call or a demo if you decide to take this route. Leaving it up to when the prospect is free is too open-ended and does not yield many responses. Professionals need to make important decisions every day, and when to schedule a follow-up with you may not be high on the priority list.

Instead, offer specific times and dates in your call to action. For example: Does next Tuesday at 10 Am or Thursday at 2 PM work for a 10-minute call?

This approach makes it easier for the prospect to give you a yes or no answer.

Step 6 – Include Your Signature

Many people underestimate and underutilize the power of an email signature. A sound email signature leaves a lasting impression. It is a great place to build credibility and show the prospect why they should respond to you.

Shift the focus to yourself

The running theme so far has been to focus on the prospect. You’ve already proposed value to your prospect. The signature is the time to sell yourself.

Start with your best social media link. LinkedIn is always a safe bet since it’s a hub for professionals. Other social media, like Twitter, can work just as well. Share the social media profile that paints you in the best light. Bonus points if you have high engagement with other industry professionals on the platform.

Include a tagline

It’s not an accident that big brands have famous taglines. You, too, can take advantage of the staying power of a catchy tagline. Consider coming up with a short, memorable quote that speaks to your values.

Taglines aren’t just memorable. They also communicate your values and ideals.

Show off your victories

Another great way to build social proof is to show off your successes. These could be articles featured in major publications or famous clients you’ve worked with. Adding your accomplishments helps to build credibility and trust with prospects.

Keep it light

It is possible to go overboard with links, images, and media. Too many images can get your emails flagged as spam. There is also the risk that your images won’t display correctly on the prospect’s side.

Too many links can also be distracting or overwhelm the recipients. Include only the most necessary links that help to build your credibility. Two to three links is a good number to shoot for.



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