5 Sales Emails That Work Every Time (and How to Write Them Yourself)

As the old saying goes, you should “always be selling,” right?

While email marketing certainly streamlines the sales process, you won’t make a cent if you don’t know how to write emails that sell.

Here’s the thing: the most effective sales emails out there are rooted in old-school principles.

Masters of the direct mail era laid the groundwork for digital marketers today.

The key here is to take these sales principles and apply them to your own email marketing. 

So lets get down to business!

Sales Emails that Work

The key to effective emails (i.e. ones that get more opens and clicks) is understanding what makes your readers tick.

Outlined below are five tried-and-tested types of sales emails that you can adapt for your own marketing campaigns.

1. the proof driven offer

Social proof is undoubtedly the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.

Especially if you’re trying to sell to someone who’s never heard from you before.

Why It Works

Let’s get real: consumers today are naturally skeptical toward any form of marketing and they have every right to be.

By showing off others who’ve benefited from your products and services, you break down the trust barrier and establish yourself as the real deal.

Plus, testimonials encourage your recipients to put themselves in the shoes of a potential success story.

How to Write It Yourself

  • Curate your biggest supporters or most satisfied customers & collect testimonials that can help you seal the deal with prospects time and time again.
  • Use numbers.  If you have a large amount of subscribers, customers etc. consider working this into your email copy.
sales emails that work - elegant themes testimonials
Elegant themes includes a link to their customers stories in their testimonials.

2. the “i had this problem too” offer

This type of email presents you as a normal person with normal problems.

Only now, you’ve found the solution and want to share – which feels more like you’re a friend helping a friend, rather than a straightforward sales pitch.

Why It Works

Such emails often touch on the pain points of your potential customers and likewise make you seem more human and relatable in the process.

How to Write It Yourself

  • Share your personal success stories but don’t make outlandish claims.
  • Rather than frame yourself as some sort of guru with all of the answers, present yourself as a helping hand with a product that represents the ideal solution.
  • Your recipients are wary of get-rich-quick schemes: be sure to present them with your own personal (and real) results that speak to their problems.
sales emails that work - amy porterfield
Social Media Guru, Amy Porterfield often shares her own experience growing her online business as a way of creating authority in guiding her subscribers through their own social media strategy.

3. the urgent offer

Limited time offers are the bread and butter of many industries.

And, luckily, they also work like a charm via email marketing.

Why It Works

By crafting time-sensitive deals, you ultimately eliminate the option for your leads to slide out of your sales funnel. They either buy now or they don’t buy at all. 

The caveat of urgent offers is that you can’t run them all the time.

They can, however, be great incentives for any prospects who were on the fence initially. For this reason, urgent offers are a fantastic tool for re-targeting customers via email.

How to Write It Yourself

  • Make your offer direct and to the point.
  • Imagery works well here as recipients understand (at a glance) that time is of the essence.
  • Rather than try to sweeten the deal, simply let them know that your offer is on the table but it’s now or never, giving them less incentive to click “Back.”
sales emails that work - Baublebar limited time offer
Baublebar delivers a creative offer with a “self-destructing link”

4. the crucial question

Subject lines containing questions are noted to perform well across all industries. Therefore, they’re more than fair game for your sales emails.

Why It Works

Crucial question emails represent a sort of eye-to-eye moment between you and your readers. That is, you show them that you understand what’s on their mind and offer up your insight in response.

This approach conceals your sales pitch and turns your recipients from questioning skeptics to curious readers.

How to Write It Yourself

  • It’s all about the subject line! Think about the questions burning up your readers and how your product provides a succinct solution.
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge your readers’ beliefs or pose a controversial question. This will only work to pique their curiosity even more.

Zillow: “What Can You Afford?

DocuSign: “What are our customers saying?”

Quirky: “Abra-cord-abra! Yeah, we said it.”

Warby Parker: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring”

Groupon: “Best of Groupon: The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”

5. the straight shooter

With straight shooter emails your offer is short, sweet and to the point.

You don’t build up to it with a relatable problem, you don’t tell a story, you just say exactly what the product, service or offer is.

Why It Works

As noted earlier, your recipients don’t have the time or energy to deal with lofty marketing messages. They want you to get to the point now.

While straight shooter emails may best be reserved for previous customers, don’t be afraid to take a short-form approach with a warm list that’s already in love with your brand.

How to Write It Yourself

  • Present them with an awesome offer and in your face Call-To-Action. If you have a hot list of opt-ins, there’s no better way to immediately grab their attention.
  • Don’t let these messages become your norm. These types of emails represent a breath of fresh air versus long-form sales letters.
  • To grab readers’ attention at a glance, be sure to include numbers (75% or 90%, for example) which will immediately catch their eye versus a wordy explanation of your sale.
BirchBox offers a 15% discount with a statement email and clear call-to-action.

What Sales Emails Perform Best With Your Readers?

The diversity in these examples goes to show that there is no single strategy for a killer sales campaign.

By experimenting with a variety of messages, you can figure out what resonates best with your readers and what you should ultimately avoid.

Regardless of which types of emails tick the boxes of your list, you need to make sure you not only have a diverse body of messages to send but also a solution for reaching prospects consistently.

If you’re new to email marketing and want to give one of these sales messages a try, give Sendlane a spin to see what our automation platform can do for you.

Kristen Dahlberg

Content Manager at Sendlane
As a member of the Sendlane content marketing team, Kristen focuses on everything from organization to content curation and process improvement. She enjoys variety and the challenge of learning the best way to accomplish each new goal.

Outside of work, Kristen spends as much time as possible at the beach, soaking up the San Diego sunshine!