“Subject: ABC Company Improves Operational ROI

Dear Mr. Jones,
I am writing you today to share with you an opportunity to improve your business.
Our company has 73 experts dedicated to you, and we feel that our service will be great for your business.
Please let me know if I can be of help.

Sincerely,

Bill Bradley”

This is an example of a terrible prospecting email. Sadly, this isn't an outlier, as most emails written by sales people are completely ineffective.

Related: 7 Myths of Email Marketing (Infographic)

However, after spending several years testing various technique with other experts and clients, I have developed five strategies for crafting emails that are sure to grab a prospect’s attention:

1. Hyper-target. If you are sending generic emails, you are not only wasting your time but potentially hurting your chances of doing business with certain prospects. Prospects are very savvy about deciphering between a template and an email that was crafted specifically for them. From now on, spend some time dropping in specific information about your prospect and his company. Even though this will take more time, it will increase your response rate many times over. Think of this in terms of a prospecting call: The more a prospect feels that you know his situation, the more likely he is to listen, or, in this case, read.

Related: Survey: Email Is 40 Times More Effective Than Facebook and Twitter

2. Use an informal tone. For some unclear reason, sales people have a tendency to write prospecting emails with a very formal tone. This "voice" will usually cause your prospect to immediately shut down. Just like a super enthusiastic tone on the phone is a dead giveaway that you are a salesperson, the formal tone in an email is a sure sign you are looking to sell something.

Instead, craft emails with a causal tone, as if you know the prospect and are speaking directly to her. Use the prospect’s first name in your salutation and just talk. Of course, don’t go overboard by starting emails with “Wassup!” Just be genuine and convey only what the prospect needs to hear to get a response.

3. Stop selling. Have you ever purchased something directly from a prospecting email? Of course not. It is time to clarify your goal in sending a prospecting email. Too often, these messages try to pitch a specific product or service with the hope of selling. However, your prospect will never buy from you based on that initial email. The only purpose of a prospecting email is to get some kind of response. Before crafting each email, clarify what your goal is and how each word contributes to accomplishing that goal. If a particular sentence sounds "salesy" to you, either change it or remove the sentence altogether.

4. Be concise. If there is one thing that your prospect does not want, it is more work. The second a prospect feels that you are making him work to understand your point, he will delete your message. Emails are not meant to educate the prospect: They are not meant to build a relationship. And they are certainly are not meant to sell anything. The only purpose of a prospecting email is to elicit a response. Therefore, any excess information in your email that does not support this intention is actually hurting you. Keep it concise and get immediately to the point. Write emails that are very brief, focus minimally on your company and include only essential information that will get the prospect to hit the reply button.

5. Engage.  Prospecting emails typically close with some version of, “Let me know if I can be of help to you.” This is never going to elicit a response. To engage your prospect, think about what kind of value you can offer that person that would cause him to hit the reply button. An effective prospecting email might mention that you wanted to send over a white paper, book or sample. In that case, you might close the email with, “What’s the best mailing address to send our materials along to?” This engaging hook is very easy to respond to and offers the person something of value.Also, don’t make the person respond to some long open-ended question. Keep it simple.

Related: The Generic Email Newsletter Needs to Die