4 Sales Email Templates that Won’t Land in Spam

A sales email that lands in spam gives you zero chances of a sale.

But in reality, there are two spam filters you need to watch out for: the email provider’s filter and the recipient’s filter for anything that looks and feels like spam.

Keep reading for quick tips on avoiding both types of spam filters, plus four sales email templates that will help you not only land in the inbox but also drive opens and clicks.

How to Avoid Spam Filters

Even if you’re using a proven sales email template, you can land in spam if you haven’t fixed a few technical issues on the back end. Here are six simple actions you can take to make sure your emails land in the inbox.

1. Set up your SPF and DKIM records

If you don’t do anything else to avoid spam filters, make sure you do this. When you set up your SPF and DKIM records, email providers will recognize your email and IP address, making it more likely your emails get delivered.

According to Google, new accounts that send emails to personal Gmail accounts must set up either SPF or DKIM. The company randomly checks on emails from new senders to verify they’re authenticated, and messages without at least one of these authentication methods are rejected or marked as spam.

This rule is a strong signal that Google is cracking down on spam.Currently, it applies to emails sent to personal Gmail accounts, but it’s only a matter of time before it applies to business accounts as well.

If you’ve never heard of SPF or DKIM records, here’s what you need to know.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication protocol that helps prevent email spoofing. When you set up SPF records, email providers know which IP addresses are authorized to send email on behalf of your domain. This can keep spammers from being able to send spam from your domain, damaging your reputation and getting your emails blocked or filtered.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is another email authentication protocol that protects against email spoofing. It adds a digital signature to your emails that proves they came from your domain.

Note: Setting up these records can be a bit technical. If you don’t have access to your domain’s Admin console, ask IT for help.

2. Warm up your inbox

Inbox warming allows you to establish a positive reputation with email providers. It’s a two- to three-week process of gradually increasing your email sending volume so email providers trust you.

Why is this necessary? Email providers look at the engagement rate of your previous emails to decide whether you’re a spam risk. If you’re sending from a new email address with no engagement history, they’re much more likely to assume you are.

Nothing technical is needed here. Just don’t try to blast hundreds of emails on Day 1 of a new email address. Time is your friend.

3. Build a better list

Both spam filters and humans judge an email by its relevance to the recipient. If your message isn’t a good fit, you’re much more likely to land in spam.

That’s why it’s important to only target people who fit your ideal customer profile. And if you can personalize your message, all the better.

4. Personalize your emails

Personalization isn’t just about adding people’s names in the salutation and subject line. If you take the time to research your recipients, you can mention relevant details about their organization or personal interests.

Personalization makes a cold email look like it was written just for them. It signals to the recipient that you understand their needs and interests, and that builds trust.

5. Avoid using spam trigger words

Spammers tend to use specific words to get people to open and click on their emails. Unfortunately, they’re the same words or phrases you might use in an innocuous sales email.

To avoid triggering spam filters, do your best to avoid spam-triggering words. Use this list by Active Campaign to know what to avoid.

When in doubt, remember, don’t write emails that sound like an infomercial. Instead, write as if the recipient is a friend. You’d never try to “hard sell” a friend. Don’t try to “hard sell” your prospect either.

6. Don’t use tracking links or pixels

Spam filters are programmed to look for anything that might be suspicious or potentially harmful. Because spammers often use tracking links and pixels to hide malicious code or to trick people into clicking on dangerous links, even innocuous tracking links can land you in the spam folder.

Now that you know the back-end actions that will help you avoid the spam filter, let’s look at ways to improve the email itself.

How to Craft Effective Sales Emails

Luckily, the same tactics that keep you out of spam will also help you get your emails opened and read.

I compared the sales emails in my spam folder with the emails in my inbox that I either engaged with or took seriously. Based on what I learned, I developed four rules for crafting engaging sales emails.

Rule #1: Keep it short and to the point.

Long emails won’t necessarily trigger the spam filter, but they do raise the odds of landing in spam. Many of the sales emails in my spam folder were unnecessarily long, filled with trigger words and phrases. Meanwhile, the sales emails in my inbox that got my attention were often less than 100 words.

When you’re trying to connect with people who don’t know who you are, you need to earn the right to have a lengthy conversation. The best way to do that is to respect their time.

Give them only as much information as they need and let them ask for more.

Rule #2: Don’t be salesy.

The intent of a sales email is to discover whether the recipient is interested in your offer — not to actually make the offer. Stirring their curiosity works far better than overloading them with features and benefits.

Like this: We are a Merger and Acquisitions firm looking to buy digital marketing agencies that are currently generating at least 30K per month. Just wanted to see if you would be interested in selling your business at this time.”

Not this: “…You can make it super-simple for them to raise their hand, say, ‘okay, let’s talk’ without requiring them to even pull their cell phone from their pocket… thanks to ABC.

“ABC is a software widget that sits on your site, ready and waiting to capture any visitor’s Name, Email address and Phone Number. It lets you know immediately – so you can talk to that lead immediately… without delay… BEFORE they head for those hills.

“CLICK HERE [link] to try out a Live Demo with Web Visitors Into Leads now to see exactly how it works.

“Now it’s also true that when reaching out to hot leads, you MUST act fast – the difference between contacting someone within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes later is huge – like 100 times better!

“That’s what makes our new X feature so powerful…

Rule #3: Focus on what they get, not what you do.

No one cares about you, your business, or your mission. Not really. They’re interested in achieving their own goals. So make that the focus of your email.

Like this: “We are looking to work with a couple of Public Speakers who are interested in a free article placement in New York Weekly.”

Not this: “I wanted to take a moment to share with you about the writing services offered by ABC. Our team of experienced writers can create content that is both engaging and informative for your website, helping to inform your customers and drive traffic to your site.

“Price: $10 for a 1500-1700 words article”

Rule #4: Don’t presume you know what they want.

You don’t know what the recipient wants or needs, so don’t pretend you do.

Like this: “Looks like you provide X at ABC Company. Would it be okay to learn more about how you handle Y and if you see any gaps in that process?”

Not this: I represent ABC and believe we’d be a great fit for your X. [Insert all the details] I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.”

Sales Email Templates

We’ve reviewed the things that trigger the spam filter, and we’ve covered a few of the “rules” for effectively avoiding spam. Now let’s look at some sales email templates that have been proven to land in the inbox and actually work.

Template #1, by Samantha McKenna: SMYKM

Samantha McKenna is CEO of #samsales Consulting, brand ambassador for LinkedIn, and a skilled connector. She’s broken 13 sales records and believes that great sales are rooted in exceptional manners.

When writing sales email sequences, Samantha focuses on earning the right to pitch. It’s all about “show me you know me,” her trademark approach to sales — and it works. In fact, she’s found that it averages a 43% open rate.


The SMYKM Template


The subject line is the most important part of the email – it is what determines if the email goes directly to the trash or not. All cold emails must have personalization (or smykm: “Show me you know me”) on the individual, company, or buyer persona in the SUB to pique interest and get past a prospect’s internal “sales SPAM” filter.

Hi, {{NAME}}!

We have yet to be properly introduced, but my name is {{SENDER}} and I am part of the team at {{COMPANY}}.

This first sentence is what appears in the preview text of the inbox – it determines if the email gets read. If an email goes straight into the sales pitch, it runs the risk of getting sent to the spam or trash folder or is simply ignored.

{{SMYKM}} If personalization (smykm) is used in the SUB, then the email must connect the dots here as to why it was mentioned. This personalization also shows that the email was not mass-produced and earns the sender the right to pitch.

The real reason for my outreach, however, is to chat about [topic/challenge].

This is your transition sentence from the personalization to the pitch 

{{PERSONA-BASED VALUE PROP}} Describe the challenge for that persona and how your product can uniquely solve it.

{{FORTHCOMING OBJECTION}} What is the most likely reason they would say “no”? Address that objection here.

Any interest in learning more?




The Email In Full

SUB: Dave Phillips + LinkedIn + #samsales

Hi Missy!

We have yet to be properly introduced but I’m Sam McKenna and am the CEO of #samsales. In small world fashion, I came across your profile when seeing something your brother Dave had recently posted on LinkedIn – he was my client at LinkedIn during his time at Sprint. Please give him my best!

The real reason for my outreach however is to chat about LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I suspect like many leaders, you have loads of licenses and would love to see your teams use the tech more as well as maximize how it’s utilized to sell.

That’s precisely what we do at #samsales. While you may already have an LI CSM, our training is different in that it not only teaches you how to use the platform to sell, but also weave in our popular sales nav hacks that made me a 13-time sales record-breaker.

If you’re up for a chat about this and to hear more, I’d be happy to send an invite along accordingly.



Template #2, by Dan McDermott: Conversation Joiner

Vouris helps B2B SaaS companies build repeatable sales processes, and cold emails are a big part of what they do — in fact, they’ve tested different approaches with over 50 growth-stage companies.

One of their favorite frameworks is the “Conversation Joiner” angle. It works great when you’re targeting people who are active on LinkedIn.

Here’s the idea in a nutshell: Instead of racking your brain for an incredible hook, just engage with your prospect’s social activity first. Then, send them an email referencing your engagement.

Here’s what it looks like as a template:


The Conversation Joiner Template

Hi {{NAME}},

{{Reference the engagement}} This could be a comment, a post, a picture, or something else. Just make sure it’s relevant to your business. Bonus points if the prospect is expressing a strong opinion!

{{Add your opinion}} Add your own perspective, briefly. This will help create a natural conversation instead of the usual salesy pitch slap. 

{{Mention your results}} This will add proof, build trust, and focus the message around a specific solution you offer.

{{Close with a soft CTA}} Don’t try to go for the sale here. Instead, just start a conversation! Make it easy for the prospect to reply.

{{Your Name}}


The Email in Full

Hi Laura,

I noticed we both commented on Andy’s LinkedIn post about late payments.

I’m with you, it’s frustrating – I spent 3 years running a solo consultancy and also had to constantly chase after clients with bills.

That’s actually why I started PayNow. Since 2019, we’ve helped 800+ SaaS companies recover over $50 million in lapsed payments, automatically.

Worth a chat?

– Jill

Template #3, by Morgan Ingram: Conversation Starter

Morgan is a 4x LinkedIn Top Sales Voice. Driven by the belief that traditional outbound sales and marketing methods are no longer effective, he’s spearheading a movement toward content-driven conversations that spark revenue.

His template is just a simple question, so you can get through the spam filter. Then, once you get the conversation going, you can write longer, more detailed responses. It works well because it’s a one-liner that stands out in a noisy inbox.


The Conversation Starter Template

Hi {{first_name}},

We hear this from clients all the time – “{{a statement about what they want}}, but they don’t know where to start.” Do you experience this?

{{List some of the challenges they might be facing}} This shows that you understand the problem, building their confidence that you have the solution.

{{Your Name}}


The Email in Full

Hi Andrew,

We hear this from clients all the time – “Our reps should be leveraging LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator more to book meetings, but they don’t know where to start.” Do you experience this?


Template #4, by me, Kathryn Aragon: Full Transparency

My template not only avoids the spam filter, it earned a response by the OG of sales coaches, Michael Oliver, founder of Natural Sales. Like every other business owner and professional, he gets hundreds of cold emails. And like the rest of us, he rarely responds.

Here’s what he told me about my template, “I get so many bad emails. When I read yours, I said to myself, ‘There may be something here.’”

This template takes a no-games approach that builds trust quickly, so people are willing to talk to you — assuming of course, they’re interested in the solution you’re offering.


The Full Transparency Template

Hey {{NAME}},

Have you struggled to {{what they’re trying to do/achieve}}?

What if you could {{the number-one benefit they’ll get from working with you}}?

Our {{product/service name}} is {{enticing description}}, while still giving you {{the outcome they care about}}.

Interested in knowing more? Just hit reply and we can explore whether it’s a good fit for you.

{{Your sign-off}}

{{Your Name}}

As you can see, I don’t tease or cajole the recipient. My goal is to get a call with people who might actually close, so I’m fully transparent about what I’m offering.


The Email in Full

Hey Sally,

Are you struggling to keep your hard-won customers?

What if you could lower churn enough to exponentially improve revenue and growth?

Our MORE™ Churn Protection Strategy gives you three complete churn-prevention engines that drive user adoption, mastery, and loyalty.

Interested in knowing MORE? Just hit reply and we can explore whether it’s a good fit for you.


Kathryn Aragon

Get Your Email Game On

To send sales emails that get seen and engaged with, you need to avoid looking like spam to both email providers and humans.

Start by setting up your inbox correctly. Then try the sales email templates above to craft emails that actually get opened and clicked.

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