Writing emails is a skill.
With the right characteristics — such as personalized text, ideal length and a solid call to action — email marketing is an affordable way to boost sales. — TommL/Getty Images

As a marketing tool, email is one of the most effective ways to reach customers. One study places the ROI of an email campaign at 122%, four times higher than any other marketing channel.

Email is also becoming more impactful than traditional sales methods like cold calling. Analysis of recent sales tactics found that 61% of first contacts happen via email. It takes a great sales email, however, to get a response. Otherwise, you risk getting marked as spam and lost in junk mail. Follow these steps to write a sales email that gets a response.

[Read: 3 Expert Strategies for Converting Leads to Sales]

Start with a compelling subject line

A strong subject and the first line of your email will virtually make or break your initial outreach. Hubspot’s analysis found that 33% of email recipients decide whether to open the message simply based on the subject.

Keep the subject to four to seven words, or 30 to 40 characters, to make sure the entire line can be read on a mobile device. You should try to use words like “tomorrow” or “alert” to create a sense of immediacy to the message. Avoid words like “sale” or “reminder,” as these words can trigger the email client’s spam filter.

The opening line is equally important. “The vast majority of your prospects are scanning their emails on a mobile device or within an email program that displays a preview of each email’s subject line and first sentence,” writes Entrepreneur. Start with something personal and impactful, rather than introducing yourself.

Personalize the content

Before you send the email, do your research. Learn about your contact’s industry and interests, and find out more about what problem your business can solve for them. Then tailor your email to focus on their needs. The less you use the word “I” in your outreach, the more successful you will be.

Every email should appear as if it was written specifically for each individual, even if you’re using a group emailing platform like MailChimp or your CRM. To go the extra mile, learn how to create custom fields that can automatically populate with information from your loyalty program or customer database.

[Read more: 6 Essential Steps to Creating an Effective Email Marketing Campaign]

The best sales tactics involve trust, so nurture the relationship before you make the hard sell.

Keep it short

Data from Hubspot suggests that the ideal length of a sales email is between 50 and 125 words. Make it easy for a person to scan your message on a mobile phone and easily understand the action you want them to take. The goal of your initial email is to build a relationship with a prospect: to take them from warm lead to warmer or hot. Save the bulk of your sales pitch for an in-person meeting or follow-up call.

Find a common connection

Part of personalizing an email is establishing some common ground. “Give your prospects a reason they should want to connect with you; a reason to care,” recommends one sales blog. Spend one or two sentences establishing where you align. It can be anything from a mutual contact, a good blog post or piece of content, a recent award or recognition, or the same hometown or alma mater. The intent is to build a relationship. The best sales tactics involve trust, so nurture the relationship before you make the hard sell.

End with an action

Whether you're asking for more time, contact information, or their business — always make sure you're asking for something,” says one sales expert. Each email should have a purpose. Are you looking for a meeting? A phone call? Asking them to click on a link? Make the action something you can measure to assess the effectiveness of your campaign.

Whether you're trying to drive more customers to a website or increase sales, working these five easy steps into your marketing emails will help lead to more clicks and landing the deal.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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