How Do I Write Effective Sales Emails?

Article author
Sarah Malone


Email is a powerful sales tool. When done correctly, sales emails can help you raise awareness, build rapport and convert qualified leads into sales opportunities at scale. There are several best practices you can follow to increase your email conversion rates.

Refer to the steps below to learn how to write effective sales emails.

Outbound Email Examples

For example templates, please refer to the Sample Outbound Email Templates article.

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Understand the Pain Points of Your Target Audience

Every 60 seconds, around 197.6 million emails are sent. Before you write a sales email, ask yourself 3 important questions:

  • What challenges are your ideal customers facing?
  • How can you help them overcome their biggest challenges?
  • Why should they care about what you have to say?

You need to speak in your ideal customer's language, focus each email on one of their biggest needs or concerns, and ensure you provide content of value. Make sure you answer relevant questions in the content of your emails. Your readers need to be able to identify the reason for your email right away.

Turn generic terms, such as "better" and "faster" into specific outcomes, such as "our company can increase sales by 20%." The more relevant, specific, and quantifiable your statements are, the more impactful your messages will be.

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Make It Personal

It is only when you fully understand the needs and concerns of your ideal customers that you can personalize your emails effectively. Before you write a single message, you first need to segment your customers into smaller groups that share the same key characteristics and challenges.

Follow the recommendations below to reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right time:

  • Set the goals for your campaign(s) and decide the parameters by which you will segment your ideal customers.

  • Use Search Filters when prospecting to find the specific contacts and accounts that fit your criteria for a certain campaign.

  • Create your key Buyer Personas, identify their defining characteristics and determine their biggest pain points. This information should frame the content of the emails in every sequence.

  • Build Lists to segment your target contacts and accounts into the appropriate categories.

  • Create Sequences with highly targeted messaging that speaks directly to each of your buyer persona's specific needs.

  • Use Sequence Statistics to analyze and refine your segmentation tactics and further personalize your approach.

When you are ready to write your emails, let your audience know that you see and hear them. Speak to their needs by making your messages relatable, personalized, and clear.

Apollo Snippets

Please note, you can take advantage of Apollo's Basic Snippet, Advanced Snippet, and Custom Snippet features to increase personalization in the body of your emails.

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Create Intrigue in the Subject Line

Subject lines hold the key to high open rates. Keep it short, create intrigue, and make it personal.

  • Length: Try to capture your message in as few words as possible. Between 10 and 60 characters is ideal.
  • Intrigue: Leave your reader wanting more. Relate to their key interests or concerns, offer value, and create a fear of loss.
  • Personalization: Avoid generic terms and phrases. Instead, use {{company}} snippets to personalize your approach and give your emails a more human touch.
Subject Line Taboo

Although personalization is important, try to stay away from first name snippets in the subject line. While {{company}} name snippets tend to increase open rates, email servers often flag as SPAM any subject lines that include {{first_name}} snippets.

Here are some examples of effective subject lines:

  • Idea for {{company}}
  • {{company}} + [Your Company Name]
  • How competitive is {{company}}’s Sales team?
  • 10x {{company}}’s traction in 10 minutes
  • Question about Employee Loyalty at {{company}}
A/B Test with Apollo

Please note, every industry, niche, and target audience is different. Follow best practices as a starting point, but make sure you A/B Test your subject lines to improve your open rates and uncover what works best for your specific niche.

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Keep it Simple and Concise

Attention spans are short so be concise and get straight to the point. Your ideal customers are not interested in your life story. They want to know why your message is beneficial to them. If they don't see value immediately, your email will end up in the trash folder. So keep to one focal point per email and make your message digestible.

Simplicity is also key in sales emails. You need to strike a balance between approachable, casual, and informative. Don't overcomplicate or provide too much detail. Keep your emails clean, concise, and conversational. Avoid bullet points and heavy punctuation, make your point clear, and provide just enough value to spark their interest and leave them wanting more.

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Include A Powerful CTA

A CTA (Call-to-Action) is a question, link, or button that draws immediate attention to the offer or focus of your email and encourages the reader to take action.

CTAs should be easy to spot, action-oriented, thoughtful, and persuasive.

Follow the tactics below to engage with your readers and encourage a response:

  • Mention a specific time or date to make it easier for your contact to commit to a meeting. For example:
Are you available for a call on {{now_weekday->plus_1}} 
or {{now_weekday->plus_2}}?"
Can you touch base on a call this week?
Let's talk. How does this {{now_weekday->plus_1}} work 
for you, {{first_name}}?
  • Be polite but persistent:
Have you given any thought to my last email, 
Are you still the best person to talk to about 
[topic]? If not, who would you recommend I speak to?
What are your thoughts about the proposal?
  • Be helpful:
Do you have any questions at all?
Want me to run you through your options?
Does it still make sense for us to sync up?
  • Give context:
Can I share a [short video] about 
[overcoming related pain point], {{first_name}}?
Click here to discover, engage, and convert your ideal 
Got 15 minutes to talk about [topic]?
  • Add Urgency:
Sign up now.
How much time does it currently take your team to do 
[X task]?
Reply by EOW to receive your discount.

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Add Multiple Touchpoints

Every point of contact that you make in a campaign is a touchpoint. This refers to email, LinkedIn, call, voicemail, SMS, etc. The ideal number of touchpoints that you should make per contact in any given campaign will vary depending on the type of buyer personas, the stage they are in the sales cycle, and the specific industries with which you engage.

No matter the circumstances, don't give up after the first hurdle. You need to nurture your prospects, provide valuable content, and have confidence in your approach. Remember the reason why you are contacting your ideal customers and the value that your product or services can bring to them.

Touch Points

On average, 5-8 touches is a good place to start—provided you segment your leads correctly and share a clear, valuable message with every touch. Don't forget to A/B Test though. Analyzing the data will help you to find the ideal number of touchpoints for each specific campaign you run.

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Learn When And How To Link

In an outbound campaign, you start as a stranger to those whom you are contacting. You need to build trust and prove that your message is worth the readers' time before you can expect them to click on any content you send.

If you want your readers to open the links you share, provide context and entice them. Use short, action-oriented CTAs and give them a rough idea of what they will gain from clicking. Refer to the example below:

Click here to find out how Coder achieved a 50x ROI 
within one month using Apollo.
Avoid SPAM

Please note, you should keep the number of links down to 1 or 2 maximum per email or your bounce rate may rise. In the first touch email, it's very important to avoid sending any links, attachments, or images as the recipient's server is more likely to flag you as SPAM.

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Avoid SPAM Triggers in Your Email Content

To improve delivery rates and avoid email servers flagging your sales emails as SPAM, there are several content best practices that you can follow:

  • Try not to over-promise or sensationalize the information in your emails. Avoid words and phrases such as cost, payment, earn, buy direct, and make money.
SPAM Trigger Words

For a more detailed list of words and phrases to avoid in your emails, refer to this HubSpot Article.

  • Remove unnecessary links from the body of your email and your signature. It's especially important to avoid links in a first-touch email.

  • Do not include images or attachments in the body of your email unless it is 100% necessary. Again, this is especially important in first-touch emails.

  • Keep your paragraphs concise. Long content can activate SPAM blockers.

  • A/B test your messaging to discover which versions of your emails have the lowest bounce rate.

Avoid SPAM Filters

Please refer to the Avoid SPAM Filters article for a more comprehensive look at how to improve the delivery rates for the emails that you send through Apollo.

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A/B Test

What works for others may not work for you and your target audience. The best way to determine the most effective sales messaging for your campaigns is to let the data do the talking. A/B Testing allows you to test multiple messages in a sequence step. With more than one email template per step, you can analyze and leverage the data to tweak your messaging and improve the effectiveness of future emails.

A/B Testing in Apollo

For more information about how to create and configure A/B Testing in Apollo, refer to the article: Add an A/B Test to an Email Step in a Sequence.

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