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What Ingredients Make a Great Outbound Email?

Outbound sales
July 17, 2021
Hello. What makes a great outbound email. Outplay

Will they or won’t they? 

A question you’ll find an SDR ponder over as soon as they send an email to a prospect. Will the prospect be impressed with your outbound email or even have an interest in opening your email? All of this depends on factors such as a strong subject line, crisp email copy, a bold CTA amongst other things. 

In this blog, we’ll go over some top tips followed by our very own Outplayers, the ingredients required to make a great outbound email and as a bonus we’ve added a few email templates used by top companies like Drift, Hubspot, etc. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

So, here’s what you need to focus on to build a terrific outbound email. 

1. Subject line of an outbound email

Once your prospect opens your email, half of your battle is won. The key to a great subject line is crisp and captivating. In a few words you should lure the prospect to open the mail by creating curiosity. 

Of course, you should always A/B test your subject lines and check which ones generate the highest open rate. Pick that and use it for your future email sequences. 

Try personalising the subject line and build their level of curiosity. A few words have the power to set the precedence for your entire email body. Here are a few examples and tips: 

  1. I know how you can improve [X]
  2. I have a question about your [any recent news like funding]
  3. [X] told me to reach out to you
  4. Stick to using only 2-5 words for the subject line
  5. Use their firstname, their company name, and competitors name to make it more personalised
  6. Use the word “help”, “referral" in the subject line. Eg: Can you help, {{firstname}}?, Referred by {{firstname}}.

Avoid using spammy words like discount, free, help, consultation, etc. The idea is to sound more human or conversational. 

2. Email intro

The first few lines before you go into your email body must be very clever and unique. This is where you can leave a good first impression on the prospect by showing off your research skills. 

Well, we don’t mean finding out about their family history, allergic reactions, etc. But, in this case we mean heavy research on the company to show how well you’re aware about any news around them, their pain points, new additions, etc. 

These 2 lines of intro can still make the prospect hit the ‘x’ button in spite of opening the email that had a catchy subject line. You can start off with something like the following: 

  1. Hey [X], firstly congratulations on your recent funding announcement
  2. Hi [X], after checking out your LinkedIn Profile + Website I noticed you were hiring SDRs
  3.  Hey [X], with unemployment at all-time lows, how have you changed your recruiting strategy?
  4. Hi [X], given your presence in [Y], I thought you might want in on [your company]’s solution. 

The above openers are few successful openings that have been used by top companies like Urbanbound, DemandDrive and Nearmap. The idea is to expand on such information and show that you're concerned.

3. Body of an outbound email 

A good practice to follow here is to convey your product/service’s value by asking simple questions that are aligned with the prospects goals or needs. But at the same time, subtlety is the best policy here. 

Eg: What if your reps could follow best practices across multiple channels like email, phone, social, etc. to maximise the number of meetings with a perfect combination of automation and personalisation?

We don’t want the email to be too sales-y. This section must emulate more on the problems they face and how you can help them. The trick is to highlight how the prospect will benefit from your product or service and to not make this bit feature-heavy. 

The pitch is about your prospects' needs and not your products list of features. 

You can also capture their attention through storytelling and relatability, which would in turn pique their curiosity. 

Eg: I bet you’d rather spend your time talking to the prospects rather than worrying about managing your sales cadence. That’s why I thought you might want to check out a tool that takes care of everything in terms of sales engagement and helps you get more meetings booked.

4. Closing statement

For the final zing, you need to add a closing statement that will persuade your prospects to complete an action and gently nudge them to give a response. 

This statement should clarify the aim of sending the email. Here’s something you can try: 

  1. Are you available for a 15 minute call on [date and time]?
  2. Do you have any more questions that I can answer? 
  3. Do you have any time on your calendar to discuss this further? 

5. Your signature

You must polish and clean your email signature before sending the mail. 

Thus, the signature should look professional and include the information that’s required for the prospect to learn more. Your contact information, social profile link such as LinkedIn and the company website link are a must. 

Be careful about using any photos in your signature as some email clients might end up blocking any images by default. And if this happens, your signature will end up looking broken. The same principle applies to using html based signatures from online websites - these might look pleasing to you, but actually can be the reason for your email ending up in the ‘spam’ folder. 

Hear it from our outplayers

We asked the sales superstars of Outplay on what they think are the best practices while sending an outbound email. Here’s what they have to say: 

  1. Offhand what makes a good email is AIDA, which is: A = Attention, I = [pique their] Interest, D = Desire, A  = Action. - Bill Stiber
  1. There are a couple of elements that help draft a crisp email. A short subject line, persona/individual based personalisation, elevator pitch, an offer to educate and a catchy CTA at the end. - Manthan Gupta
  1. The value proposition in the mail should be more around asking the prospect a question and tying that to the personalisation you displayed at the start of the email. The idea is to mention that we can help solve the problem, but you shouldn’t stress on ‘how’ we can solve it, as this helps generate curiosity. - Muneesh Tyagi
  1. Crisp and unconventional subject lines are the way to go. You should also try to reduce the fluff by staying away from terms like efficiency, productivity, 2x, 3x, etc. as most of the emails contain the same terms and you want to stand apart from them. Break the monotony by keeping the email conversational and casual. Don’t have to be formal and robotic. - Srivaradha Vanamamalai A

  2. Try mentioning any reviews you received from your customers in your mail. As, this gives a broader understanding to the prospects on what your customers like about you and how they use your product. - Shreya Sinha 

The best outbound email templates - just for you

As promised, here are the best outbound emails used by top leaders like Drift, Vidyard, etc. 

1. Drift: 

Hi {{firstname}},

Drift is the world’s leading conversational marketing & sales platform.
And what that really means is we can help you generate more leads and book more
qualified sales meetings in real-time - even when your sales team is sleeping.

I’d love to send you a personalized video to show you how exactly Drift might look on
your website (and how it will create a fast lane for your best leads).

Can I show you?

<insert picture>

2. Grow: 

Hey {{firstname}},

I saw {{company}} on the Inc 5000. With a growth rate of {{custom4}}%, you're clearly
doing something right over there.

With such rapid growth comes new and exciting challenges and decisions. Do you ever
struggle to make quick decisions based on highly relevant data?

Grow makes it simple to connect and automatically pull data from sources like
{{custom3}} into a customizable dashboard. I'd love for you to see how Grow
could add value to {{company}} as you continue to expand.

Do you have 10 minutes to chat in the next few days? 

<customised dashboard image> 

3. CloudApp:

Hi {{firstname}},

If you’re like most customer experience pros, you’re doing everything you can to help
your team clearly answer customer questions and help them be successful.

I wanted to introduce you to CloudApp, an app that makes it easy to capture what’s
happening on your screen and share that into Zendesk (with our native integration),
Slack, email, etc.

Being able to show vs tell can help increase CSAT and reduce time to close tickets.

Would you be open to a quick 5-10 min call to tell you more?

4. Hubspot: 

Hi {{firstname}},

You recently visited our website and expressed interest in some of HubSpot’s content. 
Since we haven’t had a chance to connect live, is there a good time for you to speak?

I wanted to spend about 10 minutes on the phone learning more about you and your firm
to determine whether you might be a good fit for our partner program for marketing agencies.

What does your schedule look like?


5. Vidyard: 

Hey {{firstname}},

Given your role Digital role with {{company}}, I wanted to connect with you about my
experience on your website.

As I was going through your site, it was great to see so many amazing videos because
they're much easier to engage with than white papers and other written forms of content.

I did however, note some areas of potential improvement, specifically from a user
experience and demand generation lens. In lieu of that, I made you a video walkthrough
of my experience on your website. Have a look:

<insert video>

I hope you find my insights valuable and if you're interested in discussing them further,
I'm more than happy to chat some time this week.

Best regards,


Want more templates and a deeper insight into sales sequences? Well, you’re in luck! Our recent Ebook covers the best sales sequences used by companies like Vidyard, Drift, Hubspot, G2, Chillipier and 25 other top sales platforms. Get your Ebook now!

And, if you'd like a free trial to explore Outplay's multi-channel sales engagement platform, we got your back - click here to create more opportunities!

Niharika Ayyagari