Getting your prospective customer's attention is hard, especially when so many other companies are vying for their mind share and wallets.

All the more reason why you need to make the most of your sales and marketing emails.

Here are 7 simple copywriting tips I've used to help fast-growing Silicon Valley startups double and triple their sales email campaigns' click and response rates.

1. Write for lazy people.

No one wants to read a novel in their inbox, especially if it's from a stranger. Make your sentences short and easy to read, using plain every-day English.

Before you press send, look at your email. Do you see a giant wall of text? If so, chop it apart and cut it down to the bare minimum. Most of the best cold emails are only 3-5 sentences long.

With email, less is always more.

2. Kill the jargon.

I promise all the buzzwords you and your colleagues like to use aren't as cool as you think. Your potential customers don't care, and using terms they aren't already familiar with alienates them, reducing your chances of getting a click or response.

Only use terms that your audience would use regularly with their colleagues in their industry; not the jargon that your marketing team has conjured.

3. Keep it casual.

Unless you're writing to the Queen of England or you're from the Dutch Consulate (I helped them write cold emails once), you probably don't need to start your email with "Dear Sir or Madam."

Instead, just use "Hey," "Hi," or "Hello," depending on context.

Likewise, using over-complicated language doesn't make you look cool or sound intelligent. It just makes your emails harder to read, and so fewer people will act on them.

4. Don't be a narcissist.

Just like dating, no one wants to hear you talk all about yourself; especially when they don't know you. Your email should not read like a self-obsessed monologue, but rather a thoughtful conversation that aims to get to know someone and their business better.

A good self-check is to count the number of times you say "I," "my," we," or your company's name, versus "you" and "your." Your email should focus at least as much on them as it does on you. The more it's about them and their needs, the better.

5. Focus on only one thing.

Resist your urge to cram all your value propositions into one email. I promise you'll have other opportunities to demonstrate all your other offerings in other emails. Instead, pick one benefit or pain point to focus on in each email, and flesh it out to make a compelling pitch.

Nothing more, nothing less.

6. No exclamation marks!

They're gimmicky and they make you look childish, or even untrustworthy.

Instead, let your copy speak for yourself; just concentrate on writing solid emails that don't need to rely on cheap tricks that never actually work.

7. Read things out loud after.

Although reading your emails aloud in a coffee shop might irritate the people around you or make you look a little crazy, it's one of the most effective ways to self-edit your emails.

Not only will it help you catch grammar errors, you will be able to listen to see if your email sounds natural or not. Try to put yourself in your reader's shoes, and think about how you would react if you received the email you just wrote.

For more tips on cold email copywriting best practices, check out this short guide.

Published on: Aug 11, 2016
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