8 Tips for Writing Sales Emails That Sell

8 Tips for Writing Sales Emails That Sell

Do you think of your customers as friends? Do you want them to see you the same way? Your sales emails should reflect that. Not in a faux-chummy way (there’s a slippery slope to smarminess), but by striking a tone that’s both businesslike and warm, focusing on their needs and experience, and providing something of real value. 

If you can hit those marks, you’ll be their favorite sales email of the day. 

Why so many sales emails fail

As a copywriter, my ability to pay my mortgage is rooted in a simple truth: Most people hate to write. They’ll do anything to get off the hook, even for the simplest of projects. And what could be simpler than writing an email?

After all, you know your product, you understand its value for your customers, and you (hopefully) have something compelling to offer them. All you have to do is jot down a few words to deliver the good news and get the conversation started.

And yet the moment you sit down to write, that blinking cursor triggers your fight-flight-freeze instinct. In this case, it might take the form of hiding behind analyst-speak, perhaps something cut-and-pasted from a messaging document: 

“Dear {FIRST_NAME}: According to industry analysts, the rapid and acceleration transformation of the global legacy widget marketplace in the face of disruptive customer behaviors, organizational shifts, emerging megatrends, and technology innovation will drive an estimated 43.6% CAGR increase in spending through FY2025 …”

Good lord. Step away from the keyboard!

The irony is, salespeople by nature tend to be the most personable, charismatic folks around. They’re funny, charming, and persuasive, and they’ve got a way with words—at least, in spoken form. The key is to get that voice into digital form as crisply as possible.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for writing sales emails that, you know—sell. 

How to write better sales emails

1. Lighten up!

You’re writing to a friend, as a friend. Never forget that. 

2. Keep your subject line super-short

Subject lines are tricky. For a marketing email, you’re trying to hit on keywords, value statements, action words, and customer qualifiers without getting truncated in the inbox:

Learn how widget leaders in healthcare are cost-effectively addressing cyberthreats … nope, too long

Stem surging cyberthreats targeting widgets in healthcare while keeping TCO low … dang it, still no good

50 characters—the recommended max for a marketing email subject line—is just a brutal constraint. The good news is, we’re writing sales emails instead. 

The bad news is, those should be even shorter.

Use as few words as humanly possible to let them know what you’re writing about—like five or less. Including their company name can improve your chances of an open.

Widget security for {COMPANY NAME}

Are {COMPANY NAME}’s widgets secure?

{COMPANY NAME} and Amalgamated Widgets

Something like that. You want to land in their in-box with the lightness of a leaf in autumn, not clunk like a brick of buzzwords. 

3. Don’t TL;DR 

Nobody really wants to read your email. It’s nothing personal. It’s just human nature to avoid being sold to—even when it’s something you really need. People are weird, right? 

They’ve already given you a break by opening your email. Now repay the favor by making it as painless as possible. Make it clear what you’re writing about, deliver your message, make your ask, and get out. Big blocks of text are a one-way ticket to the trash.

Leave the 300-word manifestos for marketing HTML emails. You’re shooting for 100 words or less. Bonus points for coming in under 75. If they’ll have to scroll down on their phone, try again. 

4. Say hey

Nothing says “mass email” like an impersonal greeting. You’re probably already merging their own name into the salutation. Now don’t kill the mood by saying “Greetings” or “Dear” or “Hello.” Would you start an email to a friend that way?

Personally, I prefer “Hey {FIRST_NAME},” but not everyone is comfortable with that. “Hi {FIRST_NAME} is fine too. 

Some people like to re-introduce themselves at the opening, too:


It’s {REP_NAME} at Amalgamated Widgets. How are things at {CUSTOMER_COMPANY}?

It’s not a bad idea, but it does add length—two lines, if it’s a standalone paragraph. In the interest of keeping it mobile-friendly, I’d leave it out and get to the point. They already saw your name in their inbox, and they’ll see it again in your sig. 

That being said, if there’s a specific personalization you can add for a given recipient, go for it:


It was great catching up with you at WidgetCon22 last week! My kids loved your story about meeting the guy who played Olaf in Frozen. 

It might not be practical at scale, but when you have an angle available, it can deliver a nice return on your one-on-one networking investment. 

5. Feel their pain

If your email opens with the name of your own company or product, you’re already on the wrong track. For all the talk about customer-centric this and that, far too many sales messages begin with something along the lines of:

Dear {FIRST_NAME}: Great news about Amalgamated Widgets! Blah blah our product, blah blah our exciting technology, blah.

Customers don’t wake up in the morning wondering how you’re doing. They’re thinking about their own company and its challenges. Acknowledge that, and show you understand what they need:


Having a hard time keeping up with the widget needs of your business? No wonder. 

Remote work makes widget security a nightmare. Users are fed up with the old kind, but it’s hard to pivot to the new kind. And the widget market is a confusing mess these days. 

I can help. 

The goal, as in any sales conversation, is to get agreement early and often. They should be nodding their heads well before you bring up your offer. 

(Did you see how short those paragraphs are? Never go more than three lines without a break. Two is better.)

6. Don’t try to make the whole sale

If you find yourself listing a whole lot of features, benefits, and differentiators, take a moment to think about what you’re really trying to accomplish with this email.

Got a new feature or exciting use case you want to highlight? Great:


Having a hard time with security for remote widget users? We’ve got a new SASE integration that makes it a lot simpler. If you can spare 20 minutes I can fill you in.

But don’t do this:


Having a hard time with security for remote widget users? Widgetex 2.0 is loaded with great features you won’t find anywhere else, from SASE integration and SSO to AES-256 encryption and built-in threat intelligence. The latest Glarpner Group report puts us in their Enchanted Circle as the industry leader in secure widget delivery across hybrid infrastructure—that’s key for today’s ever-evolving environments—and you’re going to love what we’ve got in store for Kubernetes … 

To keep your email concise and focused, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What specific customer need am I addressing? (Remote widget security)
  2. What specific benefit are you offering? (Simpler widget security)
  3. What action are you asking for? (Meeting for a demo)

On that third point …

7. Be strategic about your CTA

You’re not just writing to say hi. You want them to take an action. Which action? It depends.

In the last example, you asked for a meeting. That can be fine for a one-off email, but a multi-email cadence or drip campaign might call for a different approach. 

There’s a school of thought that you shouldn’t ask for a meeting right away. Give them something first to build trust and put them at ease—an internal resource or analyst report or webinar invite, for example—and then follow up later offering a conversation to answer any questions. 

You might be limited in what’s available to offer them. (Unless you’re working with a crackerjack product marketing firm to keep your content pipeline full, just saying). But whatever it is, make sure it’s substantive and useful, not just a hard-sell marketing slick. And make sure it’s connected to the theme of the email:


Having a hard time with security for remote widget users? I saw this article/report today and it’s got some great angles for solving that problem. Take a look and let me know what you think!

In this one, we’ve got a primary CTA—read this article—as well as a secondary, soft CTA: let me know what you think. You’re not actually pushing for a meeting, just making yourself available. The real meeting ask can come in the next email. 

8. Leave them smiling

This applies to your signoff—say something warm and personal like “Best” or “Yours,” not “Sincerely”—as well as to your overall tone.

Some sales cadences can start getting a little needy or peevish as they progress, coming across something like this:

When I sent you that Amalgamated Widgets beer coozy last month, I thought we were building something special together …

It’s becoming clear to me that you really don’t care about widget security after all. I fear for your customers and your business, but I guess I can’t force you to be responsible …

Don’t do that. There’s no crying in sales! Keep your nudges friendly and understanding:

Have you had a chance to check your calendar yet? Making time for a sales call can be tough, I know! But I promise it’ll be quick and worth it.

Any thoughts on that Widgetex 2.0 demo? I’m pretty open on Tuesday, would love to take you through it if you can squeeze it in!

Make reading your email a pleasant experience for them and they’ll be more likely to open the next one you send.

It’s supposed to be fun

There’s no shortage of content out there on best practices for sales emails. Many are more detailed and extensive than the ones above; some are even rooted in analytics, psychology, maybe even astrology for all I know. Whichever tips you embrace, of mine or anyone else’s, please remember the most important point of all:

We’re all just people here.

Write like a person, to a person. 

When your customer relationships are based on real human connection, the sales will follow. 

Still want to turn to a professional resource for your sales emails—or any other copywriting or product management projects? Get in touch with Aventi for a free consultation and we’ll explore the possibilities together. 

Written By

Dan Janzen

Dan has been writing B2B sales, marketing, and PR copy for tech companies since the early dot-com days. His clients have ranged from niche startups to industry disrupters across every corner of the economy and every layer of the stack. Most recently, Dan has focused on cybersecurity, data science, digital workspaces, and networking, though he welcomes opportunities to explore, communicate, and evangelize innovation in all its forms in blog posts, solution briefs, white papers, case studies, ebooks, infographics, and wherever else compelling copy is needed.