Write like a human: 3 keys to writing sales emails

How do you write a good sales email? And more importantly, how do you write one that sounds authentic and not like, ick, an internet marketer?

You see, the biggest problem you may have when writing sales emails is feeling like a pushy, inauthentic used car salesman. You’ve spent so much time building a trusting relationship with your list — you don’t want to blow it on the sales email!

So how can you sell — and sell well — without scaring away your readers? Or, better yet, how can you sell while DELIGHTING your readers?

Below Heather Giannone from GrowthLab pulled three of her favorite sales emails.

Go OFF topic

It’s easy when you’re so close to a topic to forget that not everyone knows — or cares about — what you do. Same goes for running a business. When you spend eight months creating a dog training course, it’s hard to pull yourself out of the weeds and remember that normal people don’t care about clicker training yet. You need to get their attention first.

Take a look at this sales email for How to Talk to Anybody, the social skills course.

This email is about learning to be a leader. But the author knows his reader is getting this email on a random Thursday. They’re probably busy at work or bored on the subway. They don’t care about “becoming a leader” — yet.

So he finds a simple topic to hook them in.

Subject: Why I love ordering food for my friends


I LOVE ordering food for my friends when we go out to eat.

Except if you have celiac or love duck. Then please, don’t eat out with me.

Anyway, I noticed a very interesting phenomenon happening when I went out to eat with my friends. We’d sit down at these restaurants, especially restaurants where there are a lot of small plates that you share with everyone (AKA NYC restaurants that want to charge you more). We’d look at the menu, and sometimes there would be one person who’d speak up and say, “Okay, I can recommend a few dishes or if you guys like, I can just order for everyone.”

You know everyone’s reaction?


In this case, it starts with a fun story about ordering dinner for his friends. Not everyone will be sitting at work thinking about how to improve their leadership skills. But everyone likes food!

Once the reader is hooked in with a fun, “mainstream” story, then he is ready for the topic of leadership.

People spend so much of their day making decisions that it’s a RELIEF if someone else makes a decision for them.

Today, I want to talk to you about being a leader. This is about more than offering to pick the menu for your friends. It’s about being liked and admired by the people in your life. It’s about being unforgettable.

Social skills are one of the most important, but overlooked, skills of all.

  • With good social skills, you get promoted faster
  • With good social skills, you get better relationships — both as a single person and coupled up
  • With good social skills, LIFE IS WAY MORE FUN

On the other hand, if you never think about social skills as something you can develop and improve…you’re just like everyone else.

So, let’s talk about the social skills to become a leader.

If you were standing in line at Starbucks (an editorial test we use often) and saw this subject line pop up in your email, “Why I love ordering food from my friends,” would you open it? I would!

If it was “How to become a leader”? Probably not.

Talk to your readers like a human

A few years ago, Heather had to host a sales webinar here at IWT/GrowthLab. She practiced for hours. It started off easy. Heather was being herself — conversational, fun, friendly. But the moment she had to transition to the pitch? Her voice changed. She got creepily quiet and serious.

What is it about selling that turns us into robots? When done correctly, pitching will sound like a casual chat with a close friend.

Check out this sales email for the Teach Yourself Anything course. It’s pretty light. They give a few cool tips, but they still make a sales pitch at the end.

For a few bucks, you could learn any of these things by the end of the week.

Btw, I thought it’d be fun if we all try to learn something new — together. If there’s something you want to learn — on this list, or something you come up with yourself — book it TODAY and reply to my tweet by the end of the day.

Here’s what other people are learning. I want to hear what you decide to learn!


P.S. We have a new course called Teach Yourself Anything. Open this week only. If you’re interested in learning how to learn faster, you’ll love it.

Notice how, even when we’re selling, we’re talking in a very conversational tone, like we’re talking to a friend in a bar or getting an email from a friend. Even with the casual use of “btw” — like we’re texting our BFF.

In copywriting, this is called the “Bar Stool Test” (more about that in the Ultimate Guide to Email Copywriting). If you wouldn’t say it to a buddy over a couple of cocktails (for example, “Do you want to achieve meta learning mastery?”), it shouldn’t be in your copy.

Use the “Us v Them” Technique

One of the scariest sales emails to send is the “last chance email.” This is where you let readers know that sales are closing — so they better act now. No matter what kind of funnel you’re writing, you likely have to send this email.

Why is this scary? Because there’s no storytelling, no teaching, no entertaining. You are straight up selling.

The goal is to get them to do something NOW. How do we do that? How do we make the reader feel like they should take action — without sounding condescending or pushy?

One thing you may do is, when saying something that might come off as an attack, talk about THEM, not YOU.

In less than 30 days, you’ll start hearing people set their New Year’s Resolutions: how they’re gonna start hitting the gym, or eating better, or reading more. Some might even resolve to do something cool, like learn to dance or play the guitar. Some resolutions last. Many don’t.

Why? Because they don’t know the #1 most essential skill: how to learn new skills fast, without it getting in the way of their life. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to learn for a while, here’s my suggestion: Don’t wait another month. If something is worth a New Year’s Resolution, it’s worth starting now. I can help. Try Teach Yourself Anything today.

Notice how the author of this email refers to “them,” not “you.” He’s not saying … “It’s almost New Year’s Eve. When was the last time you kept a resolution, hmmmm? You’re failing because you need this new skill.”

That can feel like an attack, as a reader I might think, “You don’t know me!”

No. Instead he’s basically saying, “Look at all those OTHER sad losers who don’t keep resolutions. It’s because they don’t learn how to learn. You and I know something different. Don’t be like them.”

As a reader, I can look at my problem from a distance. Yeah. I don’t want to be like THOSE people. It helps me relate without feeling personally attacked.

This is called the “Us v. Them Technique.” Now that my guard is down, I might go check out this course before it closes!

Source: growthlab.com