The warm, positive response to my previous Yesware column on writing effective sales emails proved gratifying to yours truly, since I began the piece with remembrance of how my late father, a master salesman, helped me craft a letter that got a college professor to change her grade from a B+ to an A.
As the son of a salesman, and an entrepreneurial journalist, I understand the challenge in writing effective sales emails is connecting with your audience. And since he did so well last time, I’ve invited back direct response copywriter and sales funnel specialist Jeremy Reeves to take turns dispensing writer’s wisdom.
1. Emails should range between 50-125 words
Our data shows that the average Yesware email clocks in at 132 words. While this may seem concise, it’s actually a bit too wordy. Research shows that the ideal email length is 50-125 words. To be exact, 75 worded templates are optimal.
Another point – mass emails don’t work. Templates sent at a high volume consistently yielded lower reply rates. Highly personable templates that are low volume are most effective. And keep in mind to always refresh your templates and don’t overuse your old ones.
2. Writing Effective Sales Emails Means Rewriting
I didn’t invent this one, but I did rewrite it. (Get it?) Seriously, it takes persistence to come up with an authentic, exciting and meaningful message. You’ll have better luck if you write multiple drafts of the same sales email, refining it each time for clarity, tone, and verb strength. From there on out it’s all about tracking your response rates and iterating as needed.
3. Make it Pass the “So What” Test
Reeves says readers will want to ask this question. Why not beat them to it? “With each sentence you write, ask yourself, ‘So what?’ If a prospect is reading your message and is saying this to themselves, you’ve lost the sale,” he notes. “Every message you communicate must either deliver a specific benefit to the prospect, or connect with them on an emotional level.”
4. Study the Greats
The English poet John Keats poured over volumes of Shakespeare just before his work blossomed. The Beatles listened to Motown, Elvis, Buddy Holly, country music, and the top pop artists of the day as they created their unique sound. Which sales bloggers and influential writers do it for you? By immersing yourself in their work, you’ll pick up chops to spare. In the meantime, we’ve highlighted some of our most helpful resources on the right to get you started.
5. Weed Out Jargon, Cliches and Generalities
Nothing walls you off from your audience like jargon, a danger for those in fields such as computer sales. (Ask the average Joe what “RAM” stands for, or what “quad core” means.) Cliches turn people off because you’re regurgitating what popular culture has shoved down their throats countless times. And now more than ever, generalities like “the best product on the market” don’t cut it. Be simple, original, and specific.
6. Get a Second Opinion
You know who said, “No man is an island?” John Donne, who was … a writer. I’ve never tried to go it alone, and had great editors at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Chicago Tribune. As a writing coach, I stress this fact: Getting the feedback of someone you trust can give you new perspective and make a positive impact on your message.
7. Short. Sweet. Simple.
If you find yourself strapped for time, imagine how your prospect must feel when you come knocking with an email. But there’s a way to lube your way to a link click, Reeves says: “You want to write in short, succinct sentences. Like this. Break up the length by having one very short sentence after any longer ones. This helps people slide through your email with ease and eliminates friction.”
So much sales training concentrates on technique, body language, asking open-ended questions, and more. Working on your writing might not seem as flashy or trendy. And to be sure, it’s an investment of time and money. But like any sound investment, it can impact your bottom line in rich, rewarding ways.