By Gavin Meikle, Head Of Learning And Founder Of Inter-Activ

How many sales emails do you delete every day without even reading them!

Writing poor sales emails is an unforgivable sin that could be costing your business thousands if not millions. Please stop it! There is no acceptable excuse for a poor sales email these days so read on to learn how to avoid making these most expensive mistakes.

1. Boring, bland subject header
2. Lack of personalisation
3. We’ing all over your customers
4. Failure to provoke an emotional response
5. No call to action
6. No postscript

Take time over your Subject Line:
This is the first and perhaps only thing your readers see, so if it doesn’t grab their attention or hook their curiosity your email will be in the delete bin before you know it. Take time to craft an effective headline. One tip is to brainstorm a range of alternative headings and then choose the best. Another tip is to include one or more “power words” in the header. These are words that grab our attention by stimulating an emotional response. Here are some examples to get you started - Sex, Lies, Smart, Dumb, Threat, Brilliant, Kill.

Personalise wherever possible:
Wherever possible, please resist the temptation to start your email with a phrase like “Dear Sir or Madame. Nobody speaks like that these days. If you know the recipient's name use it! Personalised emails are twice as likely to be opened as un-personalised ones!

Don’t wee over your customers:
Emails that focus on the sender rather than the recipient seldom get read. Reading a litany of “we” statements is boring, selfish and downright rude and guess what, your readers won’t be interested. A much better way to earn your reader’s attention is by quickly identifying a real problem that they are facing and then offer a solution.

Failure to provoke an emotional response:
I know it’s hard to believe, but your customers are human and as such, their emotional response plays a large part in the decisions they make. Sure they need logical, rational data to justify those decisions, but the initial decision is almost always emotional. Bombarding them with dry dusty facts, abstract ideas and general statements is unlikely to move them to action. Case studies, specific examples, and customer quotes, on the other hand, are much more likely to provoke a visceral reaction.

No call to action:
Doing all of the above will be a waste of time unless include a call to action in your email. You need to tell your readers what to do next! “Please feel free to contact us for more information” simply isn’t good enough. One very effective tip is to include an offer in your call to action, along with an associated hyperlink to a page or sign up form. Here are a couple of examples to get you started.

- Contact us today for a free report on wealth management.

- Could your present accountant be costing you money - Take this simple test now?

I have found that adding a postscript containing a second call to action, below my signature often increases my response rates significantly. It has the added benefit of capturing the attention of those readers who tend to scroll down to the bottom of the email first to discover the sender’s identity.