How to Write Sales Emails That Get Responses

Guest Post written by David Baars, Marketing Manager, PipelineDeals – Read verified user reviews of PipelineDeals on G2 Crowd or learn more at www.pipelinedeals.com.

Salespeople constantly strive to write great emails that will resonate with their prospects. Messaging, length, and timing can be the difference between closing a major deal and being ignored — again.

Even the best salespeople need to master the art of email and CRM outreach. But what are the best subject lines? And when is the best hour of the day to send emails? David Baars, Marketing Manager at PipelineDeals, provides tips for writing great sales emails that are guaranteed to get responses.

3 TIPS FOR WRITING SALES EMAILS

The best sales emails that get responses vary by business and by industry, but there are common characteristics to consider when writing an email. After analyzing more than 30,000 email campaigns, we’ve concluded that businesses can gain a significant sales advantage by: (1) adjusting when they send campaigns, (2) rethinking how they use email templates, and (3) focusing on short and compelling subject lines. If salespeople can address these three areas, they’ll see vastly higher engagement with their email and impact to the bottomline of the business.

Below we’ll share some of the results from our study, focusing on:

  1. When should you send email to maximize getting a response?
  2. When should you use email templates and when should you avoid them?
  3. How long should your subject line be?

WHEN YOU SEND MATTERS

When we looked at email campaigns, we found that:

  • Most email campaigns are sent between 8AM – 5PM
  • Peak send times are between 9AM – 12PM, and from 2PM – 4PM

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Chart shows when email campaigns were sent by time of day.

When we looked across all campaigns, we didn’t see a significant difference in open rates based upon send time between 8AM – 5PM.

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Box and whisker plot showing the range of open rates depending on the time of day the campaign was sent.

With that being said, we sliced the data one layer deeper and discovered a clear difference in open rates by send time within specific industries. For instance, our data shows software companies have dramatically lower open rates for morning campaigns. Alternatively, marketing and advertising companies saw higher open rates in the morning campaigns, while financial services companies saw peak engagement in the afternoon.

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Box and whisker plots for open rates based on time of day, broken out by Software, Marketing, and Financial Services industries.

What should you take away from this? Ignore the general wisdom of when you should send out email and actually start testing for yourself. If you’re just getting started sending email, look for industry specific data.

STOP SETTING AND FORGETTING EMAIL TEMPLATES

Email templates are useful for providing consistency across teams. With that being said, templated emails can hurt if you never work to improve them.

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Average open rate for templated vs. non-templated emails.

Non-templated emails perform roughly 30% better than templated email (33.75% OR Template vs. 43.98% OR Non-Template). Digging deeper into this number, we found the following:

  • The disparity between templated vs. non-templated emails is most evident when you’re sending to a very small group of people or a very large group. In our research, email templates are best for mid-size campaigns (10 to 100 recipients).
  • Template performance tends to decline through time. This phenomena is a little bit of a mystery, but the worst performing templates were never changed and the performance tended to decline through time.
  • More personalized emails will always perform better, so consider using merge tags in the subject lines to enhance open rates. Templated emails that had merge tags in the subject lines were the only templated emails that beat non-templated email performance.

LESS IS MORE WHEN IT COMES TO SUBJECT LINES

The number of characters in the subject line of your email does impact the open rate. There is a slight negative correlation between subject line length and open rate overall. Interestingly, the most successful subject lines are less than 10 characters. Subject lines with less than 40 characters tended to perform the best overall. This makes sense given trends towards viewing email on mobile and the fact that most mobile email browsers restrict your view to roughly 40 characters.

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Open rate for email campaigns based on number of characters in the subject line.

One surprising finding is that open rate improves for emails with subject lines between 70 to 120 characters, before declining again. More study is needed to understand why this is the case, but one hypothesis is that the content is more personalized and relevant to recipients.

CONCLUSION

Overall, sending the right message at the right time is the key to success. However, the perfect combination differs for every prospect. It’s important to keep this in mind and test different subject lines and send times to determine what resonates best with your audience.

For more sales-related tips and tricks, check out the Sales section of our blog.