If you have a role in sales, business development, marketing, or PR, chances are that you send a lot of emails. If done well, outbound emails can be extremely effective in acquiring new customers, increasing sales or establishing key partnerships.

In the past seven years, I've analyzed over 10 million emails sent by hundreds of companies I've worked with to understand how to optimize email response rates. Here are tips and tricks that helped increase email response rate by over 320 percent. 

Start by improving your email subject lines.

Improving your subject line will increase email open rates. It may sound simple, but I've seen dozens of companies working for months on improving the messaging and call to actions inside their emails, but never touching the subject line. If your subject line isn't compelling, people won't even open your emails. Here are 3 ways to improve your subject lines:

  1. Make your subject lines personal. For example, adding the contact or company's name in the subject line itself makes it sound more personal (e.g "Intro: YourCompany.com | Acme.com")
  2. Avoid asking questions in your subject line. This has been the single most effective change in increased open rates (e.g Try replacing lines such as 'Time to chat? Something of interest?' with "Follow-up" or "Follow-up re: meeting").
  3. Keep your subject lines short. Specifically, anything longer than 6 words will result in a significant dip in response rate.

Then improve the content of your emails.

This will encourage customers to read and better understand your emails, eventually increasing their response rate. Here are some ways to improve your content.

  1. Make email content as personal as possible. Personalization, even if you're doing high volume emailing is critical. Readers should feel like each email was individually crafted for them specifically by a sales rep. Don't copy and paste every word from a template. The more genuine and on-brand you sound, the more likely it is that you'll get a positive response.
  2. Introduce yourself and what you do. Don't beat around the bush or ask prospects long-winded questions, self-reflection, etc.
  3. Keep them short. Attention spans are extremely short these days. The fewer words you use to get your point across, the better.
  4. Keep the messaging simple. If someone doesn't understand what you're offering, they'll just skip and put your email in the trash. Avoid jargon whenever possible.
  5. Explain what's it in for them. What are the pain points you're solving?
  6. Create FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Use language that makes your offering sound exclusive or intriguing. (e.g. "Your competitor is already using us and gaining a competitive advantage from it.")
  7. Build credibility. Don't make blunt statements (e.g. "We're the best company..."). Try to include relevant data points, client names or case studies. (e.g. "1,400 companies use our fraud API, including leading merchant processors such as Stripe, Shopify and Braintree.")
  8. Have a clear Call To Action (CTA): Have a specific CTA at the end of your email. Try requesting 15 to 30 minute of their time for a quick phone call or demo.

Finally, improve the format of your emails.

This is a very important step that is often forgotten. Your emails need to look professional and hand-crafted from a real person.

The last thing you want is to spend time writing great emails but having them look like you copy and pasted the same messaging to dozens of people.  Here's how to avoid bad email formatting:

  1. Remove most formatting. Don't use special fonts or font colors. Limit yourself to writing in bold, italics, or underlining. Bullets and numbered lists are also a great way to organize your content while maintaining a personal hint and professionalism.
  2. Make sure to add your professional signature. Your email signature should include your name, title, email, phone number, company name, company website and company logo. Adding a professional-looking photo of yourself will also boost response rate, but make sure to keep the file's size small.

I've refrained from posting an actual template or examples here. As per my above points, you shouldn't use templates. The best way to create highly effective sales email templates is to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and write genuine and simple messages.

Make sure to chat with and run your templates by your sales and customer success teams. They spend a lot of time talking to clients and understand their pain points best.  

With these modifications to your emails, you should be seeing your response rates increase. Always test different messaging and modifications to find the sweet spot for your target recipients. At Growlabs, these tips have helped us improve conversion rate by 320 percent for our clients. 

There's always room for improvement when it comes to open and response rates, so keep that attitude in mind and continue tracking your results over time.