How to write a killer sales email

Your entire goal as a web designer is to make other people money.

Let’s say it again just in case: your job is to make websites to generate leads and sales. You aren’t really a designer — though you do wear that hat often I’m sure — you’re a business person. People hire you to get the word out about their own projects and companies. You need to be good at conversion.

But what about before that? Before you start designing and before you get into your favorite coding IDE or notepad you need to find people that want your services.

Cold calling. And emailing too, but mostly calling. People want to hear you and see you to judge you. They want to judge your character and your morality — they want to know if you are true and can make them money, so emails don’t always work.

I hate calling people…

Get over it.

Unless you have a dedicated sales team or you already know clients who keep bringing you deals because they know you are worth of the job, you will have to find new clients to sell to. Everyone has to do this, and most people really dislike it (some don’t, but those people are super extroverted.)

Come to grips with the fact that you’re gonna have to talk to people and sell yourself. However you don’t actually have to talk to them right away. It’s often a good tactic to send a sales email and follow that up with a call the next day or two. Then you have something to talk about right away:

  • “Hi my name is [Bill] from [Agency]. Did you have a chance to go over that email I Sent you yesterday yet? Well no problem I’d be happy to go over it with you now if you have a few minutes?”

Okay, let’s move on.

Pre-sales Email

There are three parts to a killer sales email:

  1. The Opener
  2. The Benefit
  3. The Call to Action

Find who owns or runs the business if possible (many don’t disclose this information), find their email addresses and phone numbers. Google the company. Find out any interesting bits of information that may pertain to them, like awards, events or anything in the newspaper about the business. Save this information, because we’re going to use it in the email.

The email should not be more than 250 words. Your potential clients are busy and don’t have time to read a long letter trying to sell them something. Do not mention selling anything in the email at all. This time is not for you to get money, but for you to learn about the people you want to do business with. Ask questions. Do research on the business!

Subject line

Your subject line should contain something personal relating to the one who reads this email. If you have it use their name, but if not you can try to talk to the business. For instance:

  • “Mark, congratulations on [that thing I read in a newspaper]”
  • “Mrs Chastain, I was just on your website…”
  • “[Mutual contact] sent me your info”

All you want is for them to open the email at this point. Don’t sell anything. Don’t trick them. Just be honest.

The Opener

The beginning of your email should grab the reader’s attention and immediately set their frame of mind. Remember that most people only glance at the subject line and part of the first sentence. Make it count! They don’t want to read this email unless it’s beneficial to them. Be on point and articulate your reason for connecting:

  • “Is [growing your revenue] a priority right now?”
  • “Did you know [important industry aspect]?”
  • “Are you fed up with no shows at your events?”
  • Here’s a few more

The Benefit

I have to remind you that this email is not about selling anything. First you have to make them understand that you want to help them. This conversation is all about them. You are not taking orders, and while this is a partnership between peers, you have a duty to ensure your client is getting everything they can from you. Respect is important in business. In exchange you can charge the big bills:

  • “Our app can reduce loss of growth by 25% by connecting your employees with 24/7 communication.”
  • “We help you minimize loss by connecting you to customers directly as they make loyalty decisions.”
  • “Well, we can reduce no shows by up to 25% by informing attendees and keeping them involved in our app.”

The Call to Action

The final part of your email should include an easy method for you to get in contact with you and continue the conversation. Your goal here is to get them to agree to a short 20-30 minute meeting. If you can get them in person you have a greater chance of sealing the deal.

Let them feel that you are ready to go whenever it’s convenient for them. Be courteous, but don’t be a push over. Example:

“If you’re ready I’d be happy to show you how our app works.
Your Name,
Your Position

That’s it.

Keep it short and straight to the point. Make them want to open the email to see the rest of the message by enticing them with honesty and your talent and skills. Keep it professional and easy to understand. Stick to one mild font that’s easy to read. Don’t add more than one or two tasteful colors and expect people to not see the color at all, because many only use text email. No photos, but if you do only use a small (300px wide max) company logo near the top of the email.

Sales is a numbers game for sure, but using these tips you can increase your chances and become a better seller over your competitors. Be personable and cater to your audience and they will come back and give you more work than you could dream of.

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