First off, let’s get one thing straight: this is a guide to writing personal sales emails to a specific person, not an entire target market or email list. Your first email to any lead should actually be written for them, not some cookie cutter email with their name filled in by mass email marketing software. If you want to send out regular sales information, start a newsletter or blog, but if you want to make direct, outbound contact with a lead and begin the sales process, you have to write an email worth responding to. That means also having a good reason to email your lead in the first place. You must have something to offer that will help their business or life in particular.
When writing any sales email, you have 3 hurdles to leap: first, you have to make sure that your email survives the initial subject line screening. You want your lead to open your email, not mark it as read because it looks too sales-y. Second, you have to make sure your lead really reads your email, instead of scanning it and dismissing it as “not for them.” Third, you have to get your lead to respond to your email and keep the conversation going.
How do you do all that? Read on…
Do Your Research
Learn as much as you can about your lead in 5-10 minutes. Do a simple Google search--see if they blog, a social media account, or a presence on their company’s website. Now it’s time to discover your reason to email them! Ask yourself: how can you make a connection with this lead? Why do they need your help? Have they reached out to your business before, and why? Use all this data to peg down the best way to start your personalized email correspondence with your lead. Remember, your goal is a response, and not to close a deal--so really think about your lead’s wants and needs.
Write a Killer Subject Line
Make sure your lead actually opens your message by hooking them with your email subject line. Focus your subject line around the reason you’re emailing: did someone tell you to get in touch? Do you have a question for them? Thoughts on one of their blog posts, or ideas to help them with a known issue for their business? Put it in the subject line. Remember: keep it short, simple, and personal. For more subject line tips, check out this post on our blog.
Keep Your Content Focused on Them
Again, keep your reason for emailing front and center by using it in your first line: “I noticed XYZ about you and your company” or “I wanted to ask you a question about a recent blog post you made.” In the body of your email, you can talk about the value you can give to your lead--but again, keep the focus on them. Ask questions about what their priorities are right now and what they need to know from you. What benefits are they looking for, and how can you deliver them?
In general, avoid clichés, jargons, and generalities (no “I can improve XYZ by X%. Send me a response to learn more!”). Keep your email no longer than 2-3 short paragraphs--no more than 5-7 sentences total. It’s not a bad idea to end your email explaining how your lead can contact you. A simple, “I’m free most of tomorrow. Is there a time that works for you?” opens the door to a response.
Sign off with a simple signature (no fancy font, gifs, or large pictures). But wait before hitting send, you’re not done yet!
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Spelling and grammar mistakes are unacceptable, as is comic sans and yellow font. Good writing speaks for itself. Use an online proofreader or another fresh pair of eyes if you’ve hit a block.
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