In sales, it’s only natural that we’re using email to set up calls, demos, and appointments. When I consult for my clients, tweaking their email copy is something we spend a ton of time on. The importance of email subject lines is well documented.Email subject lines are critical in order to ensure your message actually gets read.
But what about the other end of the email. That’s where you find the second most crucial bit – the call to action.
What is an Email Call to Action?
A call to action in a sales email is a short, simple phrase that usually appears at the end of your message. It should ask the other person to do something that moves the deal forward. It could be to book a meeting or to subscribe to get regular updates. What’s important is that they do something to remain engaged.
In fact, you could argue that the call to action is the metric for success in a sales email. Because a sales email is only completely successful if the prospect actually does what you asked them to do in the call to action.
Calls to action don’t just occur at the end of cold emails to prospects. You should include one at the end of every email, at every stage of the deal, because unless they’ve actually handed over the cash, there’s always something else you want the other person to do.
Good sales email calls to action share several traits:
- They’re clear
- They’re unique
- They ask the other person to do something
- They only ask for one thing.
- That thing is easy to do.
- If the prospect does it, you have a good reason to talk to them again.
Construct Your Email Around Your Call To Action
If the point of your email is to get an answer to your call to action, then the rest of the email should be constructed to get the prospect to do just that. So what is involved in making that happen. Here are some good rules about writing a great email.
1. Have a great subject line
We said this before but it bears repeating. Emails without great subject lines don’t get read.
You can’t personalize every email all the time. But personalize as much as you can, to tailor the ask to your prospect.
3. Make your email simple to understand
You can’t introduce complexity if you want a subject to hit Reply. They’re going to spend no more than a minute on your email. Make it count.
4. Keep your email short
Same as above. You don’t have long, so get to the point. Less than 5 sentences is ideal.
5. Ask simple questions about your prospect
You need to engage your prospect and show them you’re offering something of value. Ask questions they need answers to, and suggest that maybe you can provide them.
6. Show clearly why your call to action would be of benefit
Again, unless you’re offering value to your prospect, they won’t respond. What are you offering them that’s of value? Why should they write back?
7. End with an explicit ask
Finally, we get to the nub of the thing. You want them to book a meeting? Ask them to book a meeting.
What Makes a Good Call to Action?
Good calls to action come in many forms, but it’s very likely that you’re asking them to read a paper, book a meeting, or have a demo. If so, ideally you want to offer a calendar link and remove every bit of stress and difficulty from their end of the process.
You may also want to offer them a simple choice, although this has pros and cons. A certain number of people, when faced with a choice between two options, will pick neither.
On the other hand, offering people a choice can be a powerful way to reframe the situation for the prospect. You don’t want to be seen to be pushing them, so if you offer a choice between several options, all of which are good for you, you let them retain the power while still doing what you want.
Offering a choice of options is good for some prospects and bad for others. The best thing to do is to test this and see what behaviour it induces in your target market.
Another option is to ask for an opinion or information – something which allows the prospect to easily demonstrate their expertise and knowledge. This can be particularly effective if you’re able to offer something in exchange – benchmarking information, for example.
23 Call to Action Examples For You to Use TODAY
Here are 23 simple email call-to-action examples that will help you get your prospects to respond.
Setting the next meeting
1. What will it take to get 25 minutes on your calendar next week?
2. Can you or someone on your team jump on a quick 14 minute call this week to explore?
I always like to pick random numbers that are slightly smaller than normal. In these examples it feels like you’re using up an efficiently small amount of their time. And once again, you’re inviting a decision maker to delegate rather than refuse.
Putting the ball in their court
3. What are the next steps on your end?
This one is best used slightly further into the sales process, and engages the prospect on the best way to move forward.
4. My CEO is riding me pretty hard in regards to our partnership. What should I tell him?
This could work where you’ve got a good personal relationship but the deal is stalling because of other factors. With a bit of luck, social obligation will get your prospect off the fence and moving again.
5. I’m excited! What else can I do to make this happen?
This is more open-ended. You’d have to be fairly confident that there was something they would ask for. If the prospect just said “Nothing” you are left in the difficult situation where it’s up to them to reestablish contact.
Giving them a nudge
6. Just to confirm. Will your next action be [XYZ] or [XYZ]?
You’ve placed the onus on them to take the next action. We’re no longer discussing whether they’re going to do something. We’re discussing what it is they’re going to do. Which is great.
7. What did you think of the [XYZ] I sent over?
8. I realize you are swamped… should I chat with someone else on your team?
This can be an effective tactic. If a senior decision-maker is too busy, and you can persuade them to delegate to another team member, that team member is likely to feel compelled to show their boss they can get the deal done. With a bit of luck you can build an ally and stop being stalled in your contact’s inbox.
9. Would you be interested if I sent you our latest research paper on [XYZ]/a free trial version
One for early in the process. And hey, they could say no. But at least you’re offering them concrete value, for free. That ought to stand some chance of getting them engaged.
10. Just to confirm your remaining action item is [XYZ]. Is that correct?
11. All you need to do is [XYZ] and we are set. When can you get that done please?
The above two could be kind of brusque. But it depends on the prospect. Maybe they’re a no-nonsense kind of person. And once again, it focuses them on what they have to do next to keep the deal moving.
Following up after radio silence
12. Are you still interested in [XYZ]?
13. Sorry did I do something wrong or are you just super busy?
14. Does teaming up with us make ANY sense for [COMPANY]?
These are rather last ditch calls to action. But sometimes, you need to know if the deal is still moving. If it’s a shot duck, then you ought to find out as quickly as possible and then move on.
Caveat: Don’t use on a more responsive lead, otherwise you might sound desperate.
15. Just to confirm we are waiting on [XYZ]?
Use this one with your direct point of contact if there is another decision maker in the picture, and they need their input before the process can move forward.
Setting a timeframe
16. Please let me know by [DATE + 3 DAYS] if you are ready to [XYZ].
This is a nice straightforward call to action. You want something. You’ve set a timeframe. You’re asking them to do it.
17. Will you please email me on [DATE + 3 DAYS] to confirm [XYZ]?
18. I will send you a calendar invite/reminder about finalizing that paperwork on [DATE + 3 DAYS]. Sound good?
These are variations, but often used when the deal stalls and they promise they’ll get back to you in a week. These keep the deal moving.
Wrapping up and assuming the sale
19. Whose name should I put on the paperwork?
This assumes that you’re there already. There are no further objections and you’re crossing the Ts now. With luck, it’ll massage away last minute objections.
20. I’m eager to make this process super easy for you. What can I do to wrap things up smoothly on your end?
21. [NAME], what do you need from me to get this done?
22. Will this work for you?
23. What else do you need in order to make this work for you?
Again, all variations on the same theme. All of them place the onus on the prospect to explain why the deal is going to stall, and find solutions.
Use these CTA’s to push opportunities from middle-of-funnel (MOFU) to bottom-of-funnel (BOFU). Simple calls-to-action keep the prospect engaged and keep you top of mind.
A killer use case for these CTA’s is in your automated outbound emails.
Email Call To Action Example Combined With Automated Drip Outreach Sequence
In this example, I combined a CTA with the Predictable Revenue Cold Calling 2.0 approach. By clearly asking Brad if he or someone else can jump on a call I give myself 2 opportunities for a small win.
Either Brad will be willing to do a quick call or he will pass the buck to another teammate (referral).
Just like with the Cold Calling 2.0 referral approach it is a very easy action for Brad to just pass me on to a teammate. And that is exactly what he does.
The best place to insert these CTAs is at the end of your email. As a rule of thumb if your email does not end with a CTA you are doing something wrong.
Putting the CTA at the end of the email makes it very clear to the recipient what exactly their next action is.
Selling via email is like squirrel feeding – focus on getting a nibble.
Keep the messages bite-sized. Focus on easy wins like getting the emails opened and responded to. Save your novel for your best selling sales book 😉
Editor’s Note: Guest post by Matt Smith and Aaron Ross best selling author of Predictable Revenue, and creator of The Predictable Revenue Bundle.