5 Tips for writing unignorable sales emails
4 min read

5 Tips for writing unignorable sales emails

Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder. If you want to share this newsletter with your friends, you can send them this sign up link. I'd also be honored if you shared on LinkedIn. Here's an example from Chad to make it easy.

Most sales emails go unread. Even fewer get a reply.

I’ve written hundreds of sales emails (manually!), and had the opportunity to do a lot of research on them too.

To help you write unignorable emails that immediately improve your reply rates – and help you book meetings faster than you can say “does 4pm work for you?” – here's my advice:

(BTW, I wrote this with sales in mind, but they apply to marketing too.)

  1. You subject line has to grab attention

Your email is useless if it’s not read. That means priority #1 is your subject line.

Two tips for unignorable subject lines: Use the “mystery” or “tactical” approach.

Tactical: The “tactical” headline is straightforward and tells the reader exactly what’s inside.

The goal is to be upfront and clear about the value inside your email in order to entice the reader to open.

Example: How to book A LOT more meetings with LinkedIn

Of course, your prospect has to care about booking meetings via LinkedIn for this to work.

Mystery: The goal is to create curiosity that motivates your reader to open your email. By clicking, they hope to “solve” the curiosity within the body of the email.

You’re specifically being vague to intrigue the reader.

Example: “Deals heading south?”

If your prospect is a VP Sales that is expanding her sales force into the Southwest, you can tie it to that. Speaking of which...

2. Open with a trigger

You ALWAYS need a reason to reach out to someone. But that doesn't include downloading a white paper or attending a marketing event. No one downloads content because they want a demo of your product.

The real trigger isn’t the act of downloading an ebook on digital marketing best practices – it’s the fact that they’re interested in improving their digital marketing results. Otherwise, why download?

If it’s a cold prospect, look for signals that they have interests or responsibilities that your offering addresses. Typically you find this on their LI profile or content. If they’re a “dedicated coach,” align that insight to how you help develop and retain employees (assuming that’s what you do).

Use triggers to create a connectino between their interest and your offer.

Before: I saw you downloaded our ebook, so I wanted to see if you’re interested in seeing a demo of our product.

After: It looks like you’re interested in leveling-up your team’s performance through coaching. What specifically are you working on?

Now you’ve entered a conversation, and in that conversation you can ask for time to show them how your offering solves their pain.

How to do this at scale: Create a spreadsheet list of triggers and associated connections to your offering that you can copy/paste in your outreach and email replies.

3. Ditch the jargon

In hopes of being professional (especially when reaching out to executives), sellers try too hard and lose their human voice. People live in the specifics, so give it to them straight. Don’t promise “demand generation efficiencies.” Tell them you’ll help them “create qualified pipeline quickly - the kind that actually closes.”

Note: Some industries have specific language they use to describe things. For example, “sales reps” is B2B talk, but in Real Estate they’re called “agents.” Using the same vocabulary is critical for building immediate credibility in your email outreach.

But jargon includes overused words and phrases that get thrown around so often that meaning is lost. When two HR VPs are having coffee and talking shop, what words do they use? My hunch is they say “use,”  not “utilize.” You get the idea.

This doesn’t mean get cute, silly, or unprofessional. It means keep it real. Write like you’d talk, or even better, how your buyer talks.

4. Keep it concise

Don’t stress on how many sentences you have. Email length is less important than the potency of your message.

I’m gonna’ nerd out for a sec. In college I took a poetry class. I definitely forgot more than I remembered, but Professor McKinney drove home one point: Say as much as possible with as few words as possible.

There are world famous poems that are two lines long and others that are thousands of lines long. They’re known for what and how they are written, not for the word count. Same applies for world class sales emails – make it worth reading and compelling to reply, and you’ll be successful.

In case you’re wondering… these are the key points every great sales email includes (at least): Something specific to the reader (aka personalization), the problem they have, the negative impact of those problems, intro to your offering (the solution), and an effective CTA.

Speaking of which...  

5. Pick the right CTA

Your call-to-action- comes down to (1) what your ask is and (2) how you word it. Great CTAs nail both.

When doing cold outreach, most sellers ask for time, but you should consider asking for interest instead.  

The goal is to sell the conversation, not the meeting. Subtle but important difference.

How you phrase your CTA is also important. Before responding yes or no to your offer to meet, your prospect is going to ask themselves, What’s in it for me?

Meh: Do you have 15 minutes to meet?

Great: Are you open to learning how you can improve your sales performance through target coaching?

If they say yes, then you ask for time.


This one was a doozy (do people still say that?), so my advice is to focus on ONE thing this week. Get it down, then move through the list.

Before you know it, you’ll turn email into your secret weapon.

Holler at you next week,

PS: This list isn’t exhaustive, more like the absolute must-knows. See something missing or have questions? Let me know, I’m putting together an email writing course and want to make sure it covers every angle.