How to Write an Effective Sales Email [Step-by-Step]
Updated on July 5th, 2016
Did you know that 44% of salespeople give up on a lead after just one follow-up?
Which is a funny statistic, considering most sales – around 80% of them – require at least five follow-ups. Persistence can pay off.
Making a sale isn’t what most would call easy, but that’s why we have sales marketing strategies and multiple methods for nurturing prospects into customers.
Whether they’re a qualified sales lead or just an email subscriber, having an email sales sequence in place can increase your chance of closing more sales, and is a crucial part of your overall web marketing strategy.
But it’s not as easy as typing up a quick email to your entire list and hitting send. It’s more than that.
Your email sales sequence needs to take new prospects on a journey from getting to know your brand personality, to building trust and credibility in a way that drives buying behaviour.
But when you’re not familiar with writing sales emails, it can be a bit confronting. Most people make a lot of assumptions about what will work and what won’t. As it turns out there is a formula to it all…
That’s why we created the Email Sales Copy Template. It acts as a guide on best practices when it comes to crafting a compelling sales email. The rest of this article will step you through exactly how to use it.
It has been downloaded tens of thousands of times as a part of our 33 Web Marketing Templates – if you don’t have a copy you can download one below.
Working with the Template
It’s important to note (and this is why it’s explicit at the top of the template) – that building trust with your readers is the most important factor in driving sales. And that takes time.
Before you sell anything to any of your readers, you want to be sure that you’re establishing rapport with them. That you’re first building a foundation of value for them.
That means offering them free material, whether it’s a helpful infographic or instructional video, that they’re able to use on their own.
Emailing your subscribers shouldn’t involve a hard sell – your tone needs to be friendly, without pressuring them. The days of the pushy salesman are limited in today’s world of information sharing. It’s more about drawing your prospects in with helpfulness and generosity.
And if you’ve taken the time to build some great rapport with your audience – through consistent engagement with them on your blog, through email, or on social media – then you’ll never actually come across as a pushy salesman. Chances are, you’re pretty approachable to them, because you’ve built up some trust – you’ve given them advice, great content, and you’ve helped them.
To keep that solid foundation, be sure that you take the time to determine why you’re making an offer – when it comes time to sell.
Are you looking for more exposure for your product or brand? Are you trying to grow your list? Are you testing a new service or product?
Nailing down the purpose of your sales email will help you better determine how to structure the message and the tone you’ll use.
Sales Copy That Works
Let’s jump into the actual copy of the sales email then.
The email subject and greeting are pretty important, and shouldn’t be glossed over – you want to assure the recipient that they’re hearing from a real person, so they’re able to put a face to a name.
Keeping the email subject line personal will ensure that your email is actually opened – using personalisation in your subject lines means your message is 26% more likely to be clicked on.
The subject of your email should be specific – look back at why you’re actually sending the email, and that will help you to craft the subject so that you’re staying on topic, and your readers know what to expect. It should have some context for them.
And keep the greeting somewhat casual – type the way that you would talk to a real person (because that is who’s getting the email)!
Next, you’ll want to establish the purpose of the email with the reader – bring up a pain point, one that you’re clearly familiar with and have experience addressing.
Note that the particular problem in the example above – setting your marketing goals for the year – is tied to the subject line of the email. Not only is this consistent, but you’ve brought up a common issue and begun addressing it immediately with the reader. You’re staying relevant to them, which encourages them to read further.
Then you can make your offer, which should directly solve their problem, and you’ll explain how in the next few sentences.
Addressing this issue within the first few sentences of the email helps tell the reader that you’re not interested in wasting their time (or yours). Explain as succinctly as possible why you’re the most capable of helping them address their pain point.
Next, acknowledge that your reader might not be ready for this kind of offer. We don’t necessarily know when our prospective customers are actually ready to make a purchase.
You’re still there to give them great content and solid advice, even if they don’t take you up on the offer.
But continue with your offer, because if they do change their mind at a later point, they’ll want to know how they might benefit directly. So point out how others have used your services or products by integrating social proof. There’s safety in numbers, and people are more likely to buy if they think others have in the past.
Give them an example of exactly what they’ll be getting when they sign up – include a link to the service or product page, and provide details on what you’re offering to them. They should feel like the offer is as risk-free as possible.
In this next section, explain the value proposition of your offer. You want them to feel like they’re experiencing a premium service, but they’re getting away with paying just a fraction of what you’d normally charge.
Next, introduce the feeling of urgency – limit the amount of time that you’ll make the product or service available. Make them want to sign up then and there, by using language indicating how scarce this offer is. Perhaps they weren’t entirely ready to purchase, but setting a deadline might tip them towards making a decision about buying sooner rather than later.
You’ve applied a little bit of pressure, so reassure your readers. Address their pain point again – they need this offer. But give them peace of mind that the offer is risk-free – if they’re not happy with it, they don’t need to worry about wasting their money with you. As always, you stand by your products and your content (which they might already be familiar with).
Additionally, you’re there for questions – by including your phone number and email address, you’ve made yourself accessible to them, because that’s how much value you believe the offer will bring to them.
Finish your email with a friendly sign-off, and include a P.S. to close things off – they stand out and will be the last thing they’ll read, so include a link or call-to-action. Remind them of the importance of the offer with a final note about it.
Include your details again in your email signature, along with any other ways that they might be able to find you.
Also, offer the option to unsubscribe from your emails because this makes you compliant with any guidelines around spam.
Follow up with them with a soft reminder to purchase before the deadline is up, and you’ll also want to nudge anyone who clicked on your link but didn’t buy at the time. Remember, following up is the key.
The effectiveness of email marketing in contributing to sales has been hotly debated for several years. But stats show that email is still a relevant and VERY useful method of selling.
In fact, email marketing was the biggest driver of Black Friday transactions in 2015, with 25.1% of sales originating from that channel.
It’s important to remember that your competitors aren’t all just sending out e-blasts without first developing a strategy and personalising their offers. Your customers receive a LOT of communications from brands, and sometimes they hear from the same company every day.
Make yours stand out so that you stay top-of-mind when it comes time for them to make a purchasing decision. Not only that, but you want to stay top-of-mind to your evangelists and those who might refer you. Perhaps they’re not ready to purchase, but it’s entirely possible that they know someone who is.
How do you stay relevant to your prospects? Do you incorporate any email marketing into your web strategy?
Content Marketing Sales Funnel
Your content marketing sales funnel is all about getting people to know, like and trust you by nurturing them with the right information at the right time.