You probably use email every day to communicate with prospects and customers. How well you use email may often determine the size of your commission check.

Naturally, we want people to open our emails and respond to them. The better we do that, the more we earn. Unfortunately, most of us have never been taught how to craft an email (especially to prospects) that gets high open rates and high response rates. Based upon my certifications in email marketing from the eMarketing Association and Constant Contact, and extensive testing with clients, here’s how to do it:


Use Compelling Subject Lines

Statistically, the two most important elements of an email that determine if it will be opened are the sender’s name and subject line. Spend the time to write subject lines that pique the recipients’ interest:

  • Mobile can only display a maximum of four to seven words. Keep your subject lines short. Thirty or fewer characters is ideal.
  • Don’t be deceptive. Sure, you may get them to open your email but once they’ve discovered the deception, you are done — forever.
  • Title caps scream “sales email.” Use sentence caps for a more relatable touch.
  • Ask questions. Some proven winners include “Mike, quick question for you,” or “Should I stay or should I go?” or “Want some ideas to stop employee theft?”
  • Avoid words that trigger spam filters — words such as “sale,” “complimentary,” and “unique.”


Personalize Your Greeting

Take the 60 seconds necessary to find the name of the person you want to talk to and begin a conversation like a human being. Use tools such as LinkedIn, and to find the people you need to speak to in any organization. Always use a person’s name in the greeting.


Have a Great Opening Sentence

The opening sentence of an email is displayed in most inboxes directly below the subject line. Here’s how to write a great opening sentence:

  • Avoid sales lingo. Offering freebies or limited-time offers in the opening sentence does more harm than good.
  • Use the name of your recipient. Personalization works.
  • Comment on something the recipient posted on their blog, on Twitter or on other social channels. This shows you took time to invest in the situation. Things like “I noticed you…” or “Loved your post on…” go a long way toward getting your email read.


Show Value With Main Body Copy

Your goal is to demonstrate your understanding of their business, challenges, situation and any other relevant information — and how you can bring value to them.

One of my favorite ways to do this is with video. Simply make a short video explaining how your products and services can help them. Sure, you could type it all out but video adds an engaging component. It also sets you apart from others.

Your laptop, tablet and phone all have a camera. Put it to use for more sales.


Call to Action

Give your prospect a clear path to action by having a strong closing at the end of your email. Do this in the form of a question to trigger a response. Use questions such as “Do you have 10 minutes to talk about this tomorrow?” or “What do you see as the next action steps with our proposal?” or “Does it make sense for us to talk, or is there someone else in your organization I should speak to?”


Signature Line

Include your name, company name, job title, and phone number. Stay consistent with company branding. Your email address would be redundant, so no need to include it here. Do include links to your LinkedIn profile and relevant social media. Avoid clichés or philosophical quotes.

Follow these best practices so your emails are opened and responded to.