Most every salesperson needs to write a sales or marketing email from time to time. Most think mainly about the message they want to convey, and that’s great! But by spending a little more time to cover all your bases in properly structuring an effective sales email you can assure your MSP sales emails get consistently better results. Here’s how!

Howard M. Cohen

AUTHOR: Howard M. Cohen

Try a little experiment with me. Pull out the last sales email or letter you sent and read it. Now, honestly, nobody else is here with us, how effective and impactful do you feel it is?

Okay. Now delete the first paragraph and read it again.

If you’re like most people, it’s very likely you found your own message much more impactful the second time. Why? Mainly because we’ve all been taught to start out everything by introducing ourselves. There’s nothing very compelling about that, and there really shouldn’t be. It’s an introduction. Pleasant. Simple. Courteous. And contributes absolutely nothing to your message.

When you removed it, you started your second paragraph talking about what you really wanted to talk about. What your addressee needs and wants to know about your IT services, or at least what you want to sell. Much more interesting.

Anatomy of an effective sales message

There is a fairly formal and consistent structure you can use when building a sales email or letter that has been proven over time to be far more effective than what we have been taught we should write in a letter. The underlying truth is that there is writing, and then there is persuasive writing. They are two different things, and the rules are simply not the same. Let’s dissect the sales message:

The Header

The header of an email, how it is listed in the recipient’s inbox, is the first tool available to you, and it has a very simple but crucial job: to get the reader to open the email.

You’ve done it yourself every day. You don’t know the sender and the subject line tells you little or nothing, so you skip that email. You file it or discard it. Most people will open an email if they know the sender, or think they do. This is why so many companies use names like “Columbia.” They leverage each other’s unaided name recognition. In other words, readers find the name familiar because they’ve seen it so often. This may get them to take a look inside. If they know the sender’s name or at least think they do, you’ve still got one shot left.

The subject line is the most powerful opportunity for your MSP message to convince the reader your email is worth opening.

The subject line is the most powerful opportunity for your MSP message to convince the reader your email is worth opening. A subject line like “Great Opportunity” is just too transparent, too common. You need to say something that is provocative, enticing, and irresistible if you can come up with it. You need to assure them there’s value in waiting for them in your message. This is it. The moment of truth. If you’re not compelling here everything else you’ve written is wasted because it isn’t getting read.

If the reader does recognize your name, or your subject line intrigues them enough to get them to open your email, that’s great. But you’re still not home free.

The Hook

The very first sentence of the very first paragraph of your message is the maker-breaker. It’s called the “hook” and it needs to accomplish a few important things:

>> It must convey that your MSP clearly knows, understands, and appreciates the reader’s predicament, pain, or problem.

>> It must raise that predicament, pain, or problem to the surface of the reader’s consciousness preferably enough to put a knot in their stomach.

>> It must convince the reader that your managed services message is at least worth scanning, if not reading end-to-end.

Note that the hook isn’t necessarily expected to do all the heavy lifting of getting the reader to read all the content. The hook is successful if the reader next scans the headings for the first few paragraphs.

The Headings

If the header and the hook have done their job, the reader is more enthusiastic about reading how your MSP solves their problem. Before they eat the whole meal, they want to sample the courses. This is why your headings must all be carefully crafted to capture their attention. Each one should call out the high value of the information in the following paragraphs.

The First Paragraph – Drive home the challenge

The entire first paragraph is all about the reader and the challenge confronting them. You must describe the challenge and the value available to the reader if that challenge can be met. Not your solution. Just the problem.

The Second Paragraph – Give evidence that your MSP solves their problems

Remember how that second paragraph made a very powerful opening when you removed your own first paragraph. That’s because you probably described solving the reader’s problem. That’s the function of the second paragraph. This is where you present clear evidence that you not only know and understand the challenge but also that your managed services have what it takes to solve it.

Subsequent Paragraphs – Emphasize your MSP’s value to their business

No matter how many more paragraphs you have, they should all be focused on highlighting and emphasizing the high value available to the reader from your services to their challenge. Don’t get lost in how your solution does what it does. Focus instead on the value it produces, and do so in the context and the language of the customer. Write with your ear in the language your customer uses and is most comfortable with.

Final Paragraph – The call-to-action (CTA)

Now that your reader’s head is spinning with the value your MSP provides, it’s time to make it as easy as possible for them to take the next step to obtain that value. Keep it simple. Give them just one action to take. Click a link. Make a call. Simply reply to the email. Nothing fancy. Do you want to offer them further reading material? Sure. Nurture marketing always includes a high-value asset the reader can obtain for free. But whatever you do, make it easy for them to take that next step.

make it as easy as possible for them to take the next step to obtain your MSP’s value

Let us know how it goes!

The secret to great writing is all in fine-tuning. The editorial team here at ModernMSP would love to hear from you. How are your messages landing? Are you getting the results you want? What are some techniques you’ve tried that have worked well for you? Words have great power. How are you using them to increase your sales?

Your peers would love to hear from you in the Modern MSP Facebook Group.

About the author

Senior Resultant Howard M. Cohen is a 35+ year executive veteran of the Information Technology industry, an authorized CompTIA instructor, and a regular contributor to many IT industry publications. After 35 years as an IT industry executive, Howard has been writing for and about the channel since 2009.

He has served on many vendor advisory panels including the Apple, Compaq, HP, IBM, and NEC Service Advisory Councils. He has also served on the Ingram Micro Service Network board and as a U.S. Board member of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners. 

Howard is a well-known frequent speaker at IT industry events including Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (now Inspire), Citrix Synergy/Summit, ConnectWise IT Nation, ChannelPro Forums, Cloud Partners Summit, MicroCorp One-On-One, and CompTIA ChannelCon. 

Howard refers to himself as a “Senior Resultant” because he has always understood that we are all measured only by our results. Connect with Howard at and review his portfolio at