Here's How You can Craft an Email That People Actually Reply to

Master the art of crafting compelling cold emails with proven tips and AI assistance, ensuring higher response rates and successful communication strategies!

·5 min. read
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I've been in sales for some time and I've carved my niche in closing deals over email since 2017. My portfolio has seen thousands in sales, tackled through cold emails alone, both in my full-time role and my own marketing firm which I set up recently.

My record sale was to someone I'd never met or spoken to outside of emails – $15,000 from a simple email dialogue. That was a shocker as much as it was a thrill, especially since it meant a nice commission for me.

Over time, I've sharpened my email selling tactics, which I've found quite successful, despite the growing suspicion around email as an effective sales tool. Many complain about emails landing in spam, not getting replies, or considering email outdated. But from what I've seen when you hit the right notes, emails are a power player in making connections.

The trick lies in crafting emails that get answered.

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I'll explain how to write an email that boosts your chances of a reply, whether you're reaching out to potential clients or job recruiters.

The nuts and bolts of an email serve particular ends. A well-constructed email has its components in sync to ultimately invite a response.

Here's what each part aims for:

  1. Subject line — To make the recipient click to open.
  2. Email body — To engage them enough to read through.
  3. Call to action (CTA) — To guide them on what to do next.
  4. The email itself — To kickstart a dialogue.

Let's zone in.

Now, being creative, and having to think about every single thing on this checklist can be difficult and time-consuming. This is where I let AI help me. I use Merlin AI’s email writer to help me get all the above items in much less time.

All you need to do is write a prompt telling Merlin exactly what you want the email to look like and be about, with complete context, and it’ll do it for you!

Here’s an example. Here we are giving Merlin the instructions for a general update email.

Screenshot 2023-12-04 024218.png

Here is the output:

Screenshot 2023-12-04 024300.png

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The Sole Role of the Subject Line

Before hashing out our email content, we need to grasp the importance of the subject line.

  • It's not dramatic to say a strong subject line can make or prevent a sale.
  • Its sole mission is to propel your recipient to open the email. That's all there is to it.
  • If your subject line reeks of spam, the chance to make an impression is already lost.

What makes an ideal subject line?

It's subjective, but here's what's worked for me:

  • Brevity is key — Keep it to a bare 2-3 words max.
  • Use their name — It adds a crucial personal touch more on that soon.
  • Frame it as a question — It makes it seem like you need them, prompting them to open it.
  • Steer clear of 'spammy' words — Terms like 'Offer', 'Discount', and 'Free' trigger spam alerts.
  • Be human — A deliberate typo can signal this isn't mass mail; a real person sent it.

Take this example: I emailed a potential client, employing their first name and a question. The read receipt shows they opened it, which means my subject line did its job.

In contrast, my inbox is blind to emails with 'discount' in the subject — an instant red flag for spam.

Successful subject lines I've used:

  • Quick question
  • just curious
  • Michael — tried reaching you
  • Josh - quick Facebook question
  • Brian?

Experiment with your subject lines until you strike gold.

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The Email Body:

1. Brevity Wins

It's harder to make a short speech than a long one, and the same goes for emails.

The first email should only tease a conversation, not unload everything about you or what you're offering. A lengthy email will likely be ignored — nobody has time for that.

My first boss drilled the importance of concise emails into me, despite the painstaking process.

Shorter emails are, ultimately:

  1. Quicker to scan
  2. Simpler to get
  3. Easier to reply to
  4. Respect your reader's time. It's a cold email; they didn't ask for it.

2. A Clear Call To Action

Emails without a call to action leave readers at a dead end.

A CTA prompts your reader toward the next step, whether that's to provide more information, set up a call, share pricing details, or suggest a time for a follow-up.

Stick to one CTA to keep things clear.

3. Personal Touch Matters

Just like we turn when our name is called out, a personalized email draws attention to instinct.

Always aim for a personal connection — use their first name, and gather it if you must. Getting their name wrong is not an option.

Tailoring your email shows you've done your homework and aren’t just blasting out mass emails.

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4. The 'PS' Effect

My secret weapon is the 'PS' at the email's end, adding a personal tidbit left out of the main body.

People often read the PS, and a personalized one can significantly increase your response chances. The PS trick isn't confined to emails either; it's versatile.

Here's what to remember when crafting that initial cold email:

  • A subject line's purpose is to get the email opened — nothing more.
  • The email body should be concise.
  • There must be one call to action.
  • Personalize the email as much as you can.
  • Leverage a tailored PS.

Hopefully, these insights help bump up your cold email replies.


1. How do personalized emails boost response rates?

Personalized emails, beyond using the recipient's name, tailor content to match interests, creating a stronger connection and significantly improving response rates.

2. Why prioritize brevity in cold emails?

Brevity in cold emails respects the recipient's time, making messages quicker to scan, easier to comprehend, and more likely to elicit a response.

3. How does AI, like Merlin AI's email writer, impact email campaigns?

AI tools, such as Merlin AI's email writer, save time by generating contextually relevant and creative content, enhancing efficiency, and contributing to the success of email campaigns.

Experience the full potential of ChatGPT with Merlin

Kalpna Thakur

Kalpna Thakur

Our marketing powerhouse, crafts innovative solutions for every growth challenge - all while keeping the fun in our team!

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