First Impressions Count: How to Craft a Successful Sales Email

When it comes to email marketing campaigns, it can be tricky to know what exactly to put in that first cold email. Making a good first impression digitally is equally as important as it is in the real world, but it’s often harder to convey a personality and to build a rapport.

With that in mind, at Global Database we’ve put together some tips for creating the best possible sales emails in order to engage your prospects and have a much better chance at driving a conversion.

Sales email writing tips for email marketing

Subject Lines are Vital

Though sometimes overlooked as nothing more than a finishing touch, a good subject line is the key to capturing your target’s attention, so if you fail to pick a decent one you do so at your own peril. Given the vast number of messages we all receive each day, it’s important to stand out from the crowd a bit and entice the recipient enough to make them want to open your message. When it comes to writing the subject line, pay attention to the following:

  • Length – Keep it short and simple. Get your message across in as few words as possible and avoid flowery language.
  • Clarity – Make sure the reader knows exactly what to expect before they open your email. If you make false promises or make a confusing statement you’re likely to lose their trust very quickly.
  • Personalise – Research from Experian found that personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Whether it’s the recipient’s name, location, industry, company, or a specific challenge they face, tailor it to their needs to pique their interest.

Don’t be Desperate

Nobody wants to feel like they’re being hassled into making a purchase. If a lead gets the sense that you’re begging for their custom they’re just going to assume you’re desperate for business and immediately become turned off. While you’ll of course want to let them know what your product or service can do for them, don’t turn your message into a long-winded list of every single selling point. Instead, keep it brief and focus on how you can solve the particular issues or challenges that the prospect has; or even better, give them an example of what your product has achieved for a similar customer.

No junk mail please!

Don’t Sound like a Spammer

People are much more hyper-aware of spam messages these days, and with good reason considering the amount that gets sent every single day. Being identified as a spammer not only means the prospect isn’t going to take your message seriously, but also could result in your sender reputation being damaged, affecting your email deliverability rates for future campaigns. Thankfully, it isn’t too difficult to prevent this happening, as long as you bear in mind the following:

  • No spammy language – Avoid words like ‘free’, ‘prize’ or ‘opportunity’ in subject lines, as these are often used by spammers.
  • Keep it professional – Don’t use weird fonts or excessive capitalisation. Whilst you obviously want to come off as friendly, don’t be too overbearing and definitely ease off on the emojis.
  • No free accounts – ISPs are more likely to identify you as a spammer if you’re sending out numerous emails from a free account, not to mention it just doesn’t look as legitimate.
  • Keep it Clean – Getting a lot of hard bounces from emails that are longer in use is one of the best ways to be labelled a spammer. Use an accurate contact directory to clean your email list, or build one from scratch.

Offer Something of Value

Give your leads something that they genuinely want, whether it be interesting facts or insights, graphs or infographics, or even a link to a report or whitepaper. This will help them see you as reputable and with a good knowledge of your industry, so they’re more likely to feel good about making a purchase from you.

This is also important when it comes to avoiding that pesky spammer label; most mail servers and ISPs use community-based systems to identify spammers, so it’s vital that your prospects feel your messages are relevant.

Be Authentic

Make it clear that your leads are reading a message from a human being, not a soulless robot. Focus on building a rapport, and open up enough to show some personality, whether it be through humour or an interesting anecdote, for example. Even if they don’t need your product or service now they may in the future, or know someone else who does, and they’re more likely to remember that friendly and interesting salesperson who messaged them than the one who sent them a generic template-based email.

Remember that email is a two-way street; open up a dialogue with a prospect and you’re already further ahead than most.

I want your email
photo credit: 28 Dreams / Flickr

Get Through to the Right Person

Even the most carefully crafted “first impression” email is sent in vain if you address it to the wrong person. Global Database is a company intelligence provider offering humanly-verified contact data for millions of employees worldwide. Not only is the data regularly updated and impressively accurate, it’s also easily filterable so you can find the exact types of contacts you need to target. For example, you can use filter options such as:

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Seniority Level
  • Revenue
  • Number of employees

Once you’ve built your list you can download it via Excel for easy integration into your own CRM, so you can reach right out to key decision makers from day one.

While the prospect of creating cold sales emails can be a little daunting, providing you follow best practices and show a bit of personality you should get the results you’re after. Don’t be afraid to follow up if you don’t hear back after a few days; be as proactive as you’d be with a cold calling campaign, it’s often not until after the third email that sales are made so it’s worth not throwing in the towel too soon.

To see the Global Database contact directory in action visit us at