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Sales Emails: How To Improve Your Open And Response Rates

Let's start with the truth. Open rates, in general, suck. Only about 23.9% of sales emails get opened. And that's all the evidence you need to give up on your email campaign, right?

If you're still reading, you know there's way more to it than that....

The ROI on email marketing is 4,200%, and if you give up now, you're losing out on immense potential. Your emails may be getting ignored for a number of reasons, and some of them are pretty simple to fix.

It's worth reviewing, improving and testing your sales email campaigns before you entirely give up on the idea, because the benefits are just too good to miss out on. Here's what you can do...

Drop the boring subject line

Not judging a book by its cover is, quite frankly, a virtue that many of us lack these days. If you roll into someone's mailbox with a dry and boring subject line, there's a very slim chance that you'll be prioritised over anything else they've received that day. People are just too busy and inundated with communication across all the other mediums they already use.

Your subject line should always be:

  • Personal
  • Clear
  • Engaging

This means:

  • Include the recipient's name.
  • Be specific about the topic of the email.
  • Include something that's going to engage them according to their buyer persona type or specific pain point.

Don't oversell

Remember the all-important buyer's journey. If your goal is to get the lead to book a demo, think about their current position in the buyer's journey. Typically, you would only invite them to book a demo or a call at the decision stage.

So, if you're sending out more generalised type emails to educate the buyer at the awareness stage, your book-a-demo call to action (CTA) really has no business in that email. It's too much, too soon. Instead, ensure that you provide valuable information to the recipient, show them you're a reliable and trustworthy source of information, and wait for the right time and the right indicators to ascertain whether they're ready to schedule a call or watch a product demo.

Include a video

Want to increase click-through rates by 300%? Place a video in your email. Even just putting the word "video" in your subject line could increase your open rates by 7-13%. Videos provide an opportunity for making that essential human connection, so ensure that you come across authentic and genuine. You do this by delivering useful information rather than a pushy sales pitch.

Your videos don't need to be fancy, highly edited, cinematic masterpieces, but they should be well lit, and the audio must be clear. To ensure the recipient clicks on the video, ask your design team to create engaging thumbnails that speak to the customer's pain point.

Use clear, concise copy

Your emails have to strike a fine balance between being personalised and objective-driven. This is because your prospect simply doesn't have the time to dedicate to anything that's not genuinely useful to them, but they also won't engage with hard-sell copy that resembles spam.

If you've included a video, ensure that the text around it specifies what the video is about, how long it is and what action the viewer should take after watching the video.

Your copy should be free of errors and easy to skim. If writing isn't your thing, acquire the services of a specialist because you really want to avoid making your email look like a phishing attempt.

Test and monitor

As with all things in inbound marketing and sales, your email campaigns must be analysed to ensure continuous optimisation. The only way to know if you're getting closer to your goal is to frequently check the key performance indicators (KPIs) that show whether you're on the right track or not.

According to research, including an A/B test in your email campaigns generates an ROI of 48:1. Your email provider or HubSpot portal will offer specific features that help you monitor and test your emails. You can tweak your content and change specific variables to see how engagement and response rates are affected. This will help you shape up your email strategy and optimise your campaigns.


Emails will continue to be an integral part of your inbound sales initiatives. With billions of email users worldwide, it's one of the easiest ways to reach your audience directly. When done incorrectly, however, it's also one of the easiest ways to damage your brand.

If someone has trusted you with their email address, you have a responsibility to ensure that each attempt at communication is valuable, authentic and purpose-driven. Check that the topics you're covering are relevant and of genuine interest to your buyer personas, invest in good quality copywriting and leverage the power of personalised videos to get instant engagement.

90% of marketers believe that email engagement is the metric to track when checking content performance, so it's not hard to see how the two activities feed each other. Good quality content to promote in your emails = higher open rates. This is where sales can collaborate with marketing to ensure that the content being created for use in email nurtures really answers the buyer's questions. And the insights from marketing in turn influence the sales emails.

If you'd like to learn more about how to optimise your sales performance, apply for our Sales Enablement Service.