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What Goes Into a Readable Sales Email?

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When your sales emails don’t convert, look to your email elements for the reason why. 

Key takeaways:

  • Sales emails are definitely worth the effort – they’re 40% more effective at closing the sales than certain social media. 
  • Emails have a lot of competition, so you have to put real work into creating an email that will perform. 
  • You can boost your odds of success by knowing what elements go into a sales email (and what makes those elements work). 
  • Partnering with a kickass content provider can help ensure you get the email results you need.

A sales email is the perfect way to make connections with your prospects, but it has to be great. The people on your mailing list get a lot of emails, so you have to go above and beyond to make an impression. 

When sales emails do work, they’re worth it. According to McKinsey, emails are 40 times more effective at snagging sales than Twitter and Facebook combined! 

That said, you’ve got stiff competition simply trying to get your emails looked at. Just 9% of sales emails get opened, while the remaining huge majority go unread.

Instead of letting your emails fall into the abyss, you can set yourself up for success by knowing what makes each element work. When you break your emails down into a repeatable format, it’s easy to work on every element separately to ensure it works as a cohesive whole.


The 6 elements of a great sales email

You can boil down a fabulous sales email into six simple elements:

  1. The headline
  2. The preview text
  3. The salutation
  4. The body
  5. The call-to-action
  6. The conclusion 

Instead of sitting down and banging out an entire email, take the time to consider each element as its own important piece of work. Your email’s preview text is just as important as the CTA, so don’t let some elements falter as others shine.


  1. The headline

The headline (or subject line) is your opportunity to capture the reader’s attention, so don’t let it miss the mark. It’s arguably the most critical part of the email, since you only get one opportunity to convince the reader to click and read more. 

A great email headline is:

  • Simple: Get right to the point with a basic headline that’s concise and short – your reader is busy and likely to skim their inbox, so you need to make a point without taking up much space. 
  • Engaging: Capture your reader’s attention by teasing what the reader is going to get from your email. What do they get out of opening your email? 
  • Fun: Of course, this depends on your brand and audience, but consider lightening your subject line with an emoji or a funny reference. 

The length of your email headline matters. On desktop, most email headers cut off at 65 characters, but today’s readers are likely to check their emails on mobile, which cuts off at 25 or 30 characters. 


  1. The preview text

Also called a snippet, the preview text is where you can expand on the email headline. A great preview text works in harmony with the subject line to hook the reader.

If your headline captures the reader’s attention by offering 15% off your product, then the preview text is where you can push them to act by telling them it’s a flash sale that ends tonight. 

Your preview text is a seriously valuable tool for winning clicks, so don’t write a clever subject line and then call it done. In fact, 24% of readers look at the preview text when deciding whether to open an email!


  1. The salutation

Believe it or not, the salutation is an important element of any sales email. The salutation is how you greet the reader, and it can be formal or casual. 

Whether you go formal or informal depends on your brand and audience. The most important part is establishing a personal connection with the reader. This often means a casual greeting, but not always. If you know the reader’s name, use it! Definitely don’t go with the old classic, “To whom it may concern.” 


  1. The body

Here’s the meaty part of the email where all the substance is. Up to this point, you’re focused on getting the reader to open your email and then stay on the page long enough to read it. Now that you’re there, it’s time to actually show the reader why you want their attention. 

Here are some tips for a great email body: 

  • Keep it concise – every word should serve a specific purpose, and if it doesn’t, cut it! 
  • Use lots of white space (e.g., short paragraphs) to keep the reader’s eyes on the page
  • Offer value by introducing a problem and then putting forward a solution for it (e.g., problem, agitate, solution)


  1. The call-to-action

You should be thinking about the call-to-action (CTA) the entire time you’re drafting a sales email. In fact, every word in a sales email should move the reader closer to the CTA. The entire purpose of a sales email is to get the reader to take an action, such as buying your product or scheduling a consultation. 

Your email should have a single CTA, but you can restate it in a few different ways over the course of the email. 

For instance, don’t write an email that asks the reader to buy your product, book a call, and hit the reply button. Instead, pick one of them and repeat it in the subject or preview text and again at the end of the email (maybe halfway through the email too). 


  1. The closing

Close your email by restating the purpose of the email – what the reader stands to gain by following through. Tell the reader that you’ll follow up (“I’ll remind you tomorrow”), or invite them to take action themselves (“Give us a call”).

Then, close it all up with a closing salutation. Hint: readers love gratitude, so try a variation of “Thank you” instead of the old standby “Sincerely.”


Leave your sales emails to the pros

If you’re here reading this, you’re not an email expert, so don’t put the weight of perfect emails on your shoulders. You could learn all about what makes emails convert, but there are a million other ways you could be spending your time. 

That’s why you need ContentBacon. 

When you partner with ContentBacon, you get access to a whole team of pro writers, editors, and strategists who know how to finesse your emails just right. 

If you want to leave the writing to the pros, reach out for a consultation and find out how we can tailor a subscription to your goals. We’ll make sure your means sales emails aren’t just readable, they’ll deliver real value to your readers (which translates to conversions for you). 

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