9 Ways to Increase Reply Rates on Sales Emails

Jeff Osness

April 25, 2024

13 min

Table of Contents

Email is a critical component of sales outreach, along with phone calls, social networking, texting, and other methods.

From cold email prospecting, to lead follow-up and sales cadences, email can be effectively used at all stages of your sales funnel.

It's an attractive option as well. You can automate the process to many recipients at once. You can analyze the response so you can adjust and improve. And it's a medium most people are very accustomed to.

But being seen (and standing out) in a sea of other emails is a challenge. And that can hurt response rates. What's a smart salesperson to do?

As you are running your sales email campaigns, here are some tips you can use to increase reply rates and improve your ROI.

1. Analyze the Content

Email copy is not all created equal.

Your open rates, click rates, and responses will vary significantly based on the strength of your subject line, email copy, call to action, etc.

Bottom line? Don't get complacent about the email(s) you've written. Analyze the content, open rates, and responses, and adjust your messaging to improve your results.

Is the subject line as effective as you thought it would be? Does the content get to the point and flow smoothly enough to make the email easy to read? Is there a compelling reason for your recipient to reply?

2. Write to One Person

When writing sales emails, we're often writing something that will be sent to a lot of people. So it's easy to fall into the trap of writing an email with a generic, general tone. Avoid that mistake to get more responses.

Email is one-to-one communication. Write your email like you're only going to send it to specific person. Be conversational.

It's easy to ignore or delete an email that feels like a sales email sent to a lot of people. That's not the case when it's clear someone is reaching out just for you.

3. Make It About Them

An email about you will get quickly deleted.

So rather than focusing on what you do... and what you specialize in... keep your focus on a specific benefit you bring to your prospect. Make it compelling so that your prospect has every reason to start, or continue the conversation.

4. Pair Phone Calls with Emails

It's been said that the most effective sales outreach is a phone call paired with an email. If you use the phone for outreach, have emails ready for any kind of call outcome. You can fully automate these sales workflows with PhoneBurner.

Reach voicemail? Leave a voicemail AND send an email. You can even refer to other one (i.e. "I just left you a voicemail. Hoping to touch base about how we help restaurants like yours double delivery business in 60 days. Do you have 15 minutes to talk?)

Did you talk to your prospect? Have a polished email ready for different call results (i.e. send me more info, interested in a demo, maybe next month, etc.)

5. Consider Adding Video

Video content is becoming increasingly popular and important in all aspects of marketing. Not only do a lot of people prefer video to text, it's also more personal.

Not surprisingly, people relate to you better when they can see your face and hear your tone, compared to reading your text based email. So it's a great way to warm up your prospects, strengthen connections, and build relationships.

You can even pop an animated video GIF into your email to encourage click-throughs and video views. Like this (it was clickable in the email of course).

6. Put a Photo in Your Signature

It may not have the same impact as a video, but a photo at the bottom of your email can go a long way. Consider adding a nice head-shot in your signature along with your contact details. It's a surefire way to personalize your outreach, make yourself more approachable, and drive up response rates.

7. Really Personalize It

It's a given that you should be using your contact's name in your emails (and testing it in subject lines). But, in terms of personalization, you can go well beyond that...

Do you have the contact's company name or website? Work that in.

Have you worked with a prospect's competitor? Mention them by name.

Do you help a lot of people in a geographic location? Reference it.

Do you work with a lot of companies in their industry? Be specific about it!

The more you personalize your outreach, the more you'll increase your response rates. Try it.

8. Try, Try Again

You've heard all of the statistics already - it takes multiple exposures to get results.

So don't be a "one and done" dude or dudette!

Have a multi-touch cadence, set reminders to follow-up with prospects you're already engaged with. Do whatever you need to do to build persistence into your outreach.

9. Track Opens and Clicks

In addition to knowing the overall open and reply rates of your emails (so you can gauge success and test new variations), there's a lot of value to monitoring individual email activity.

PhoneBurner's "SmartSender" feature lets you see when an individual opens an email, clicks a link, watches a video, views an attachment and more. It's the difference between sending emails and wondering what happens, and knowing what happens.

Not only does this intel tell you which prospects are the most engaged, it also helps you follow-up with the right message at the right time.

These are precisely the kind of emails that get the highest response rates, and that are most likely to result in a sale.

Wrap Up: Tips for Increasing Reply Rates on Sales Emails

Email is widely used in sales outreach, and goes hand-in-hand with other methods like calling, networking, and social media. But given how much email most of us receive, standing out is a challenge. Here are 9 tips that can help increase the response rates of your emails.

  • Analyze your content for improvement opportunities
  • Write like you're talking to one person
  • Focus on them, not you
  • Combine phone and email for better response rates
  • Incorporate video into your emails
  • Have a photo in your signature when possible
  • The more personalization the better
  • Be persistent
  • Track email opens, clicks, and attachment views, and prioritize engaged prospects for follow-up
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