Copywriting is hard. Like any other skill, it requires persistence, dedication, and perseverance to master. Of course, it helps to get a few pointers!

Enter 321 and our latest Growth Snack.

We rounded up the 321 community to check out some of their sales emails and optimized them using some techniques that we cover in our Lean Sales course.

Here are a few tips we shared that you can implement in your own sales emails.

But first, some context…

Before we got started, Carey from Team 321 just wanted to lay some ground rules.

“You could Google ‘how to write a great sales email’ right now and you’d find somebody saying ‘this is the answer – just do this one thing’. But the reality is that there is no one answer.”

“I would encourage you to apply lean startup principles to the practice of writing sales emails. It’s about writing the best, value-giving sales email that you can, and then using data to learn about what works for you.”

Despite having crafted hundreds – if not, thousands – of sales emails over our 25 years of experience in the startup game, we feel like we are still students. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to your sales email woes. We are always learning and adjusting, just like you, and so we hope you take this as an invitation to experiment with your sales emails to see what works for your unique goals.

Let’s have some fun!


“General, one-size-fits-all emails underperform. Make no mistake, they’re easier to create, but what’s more effective is when we have multiple flavours, with slight nuances, so they really resonate for your target customer.”

One of the quickest ways to have your email unopened, ignored or even filtered into a spam folder is to send your prospect a mass-produced, cookie-cutter sales email. Especially if the lead is cold, you run the risk of getting lost in the shuffle, as your non-specific email doesn’t do an adequate job of appealing to your prospect’s unique needs, given where they are in their “buyer journey”.

People buy from people they know, they like, and they trust. Your email should reflect that. The good news is that it’s easy to add a few personalization elements to your next email.

Here are a couple things you can do to personalize your emails immediately:

  • Sender: The modern email inbox is filled with unsolicited communications that remain unread. By making yourself familiar to the prospect beforehand, you immediately set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd. 321 does this by offering content on social platforms where our target market hangs out, or by doing social outreach in advance (where that makes sense).
  • Subject line: Contrary to popular belief, the subject line is not a summary of the email. Use this space to come up with something to entice the prospect into opening the email. Use the prospect’s name, make the subject line highly relevant, and focus on giving them the reason to open.  In our travels, we have found that this is an area where people typically don’t spend enough time, so be sure to come up with a subject line that’s authentic, interesting and attention-grabbing.

Focus on the recipient

Common to all the emails submitted for our review at Growth Snacks was a tendency to focus too much on themselves and not enough on the prospect.

“You’re going to hear me say it a lot. I think you got the balance wrong. It should be more about the recipient and less about ‘here are all the things that we do’. “

We want to tell our prospects all about our product’s features or how our service is so much better than the competitions, but the focus of your email should remain on how you’re going to help your prospect solve their problems.

Less is more

Being on the receiving end of a super content-dense email can be overwhelming.

Extremely thorough, lengthy emails are hard to consume. When you consider that most emails are read on mobile, the user experience of overly long emails can leave a lot to be desired. We’d recommend removing any content that isn’t absolutely necessary, to make the messaging more digestible, and concise. And don’t forget adding negative space to improve readability!

When adding links to an email, be careful. Having too many calls-to-action (CTAs), in an email can create paralysis by analysis for the recipient – they just don’t know what you want them to do next. Instead, we’d encourage you to make sure there is a clear CTA (or two) at the end of your email.

What’s Next at 321

Your next chance to connect with 321 will be at our Growth Snack on fundraising on Wednesday, June 23rd. We’ll talk about the (many) parallels between fundraising and sales, and will be joined by a couple of our investor friends for a Q&A. So sign up, and bring your questions for the panel!

Connect with us!

Don’t be a stranger! Connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram (or all three!) and be sure to check out our newly refreshed website for more information on all things 321.