Almost every marketer has been there at one point or another — seeing an email that they’ve toiled over get fewer responses than if they’d stood outside the recipient’s business with a boombox, rockin’ an 80s track.

If this sounds like you, don’t get discouraged. You may simply need to adjust your approach to get the results you want.

Gone are the days when you could use a generic email template and achieve your goals. If you really want responses, you need to be creative, be personal, and get the recipient’s attention.

And while your mileage may vary on what consistently works to get more engagement, you can rest assured that some of these creative takes on sales emails will definitely boost your email effectiveness.

The “Conversation-Starter” Email

This email is more of a long game than some marketing techniques. Instead of introducing the company or even a product, focus on the recipient. Draw connections between the recipient and what’s being sold, but don’t mention the product directly. Within the email, also include a few questions about the recipient.

The goal here is to begin a conversation by establishing knowledge and trust before starting the sales pitch. Once that dialogue is underway, bring up the product or service naturally to make the recipient more likely to buy.

The “Quick Question” Email

As an experiment, author Shane Snow sent 1,000 cold emails to prominent business leaders as a means of finding out what worked and what didn’t when it comes to sending unsolicited emails. One major takeaway from the experiment is that a short, slightly vague subject (such as “Quick Question”) is more likely to get an open than something more specific or sales-oriented.

The content of the emails didn’t matter quite as much in the context of Snow’s experiment. Still, getting that open is the first hurdle in the way of a sale, so learning how to get the most out of your subject line will get your better-tuned messages in front of your intended recipients.

The “Pet Frog” Email

If you can’t get through to your recipients using normal tactics, try offering them a frog. That may sound absurd, but that’s kind of the point; when used at appropriate times, humor (including funny pictures, comics, videos, and even absurdist humor) can open doors for your sales message that other methods couldn’t touch.

This isn’t just speculation, either.

Experiments to test this theory have included individuals in “buyer” and “seller” roles trying to negotiate sales. For a portion of the transactions, the seller would jokingly offer a pet frog to sweeten the deal. Almost without fail, those sellers ended up negotiating higher prices than those who did not use humor. You can use the same principle in sales emails, breaking down walls with humor to get the reaction you want.

The “Moody” Email

Somewhere along the way, you were probably taught to keep correspondence relatively neutral in tone. Confidence and friendliness are fine, but it’s not great for too much emotion to show through.

The only problem with this advice is that it’s pretty… wrong.

Studies show that emails with slight to moderate positive or negative wording are 10% to 15% more likely to get responses than those with neutral wording.

Just make sure not to overdo it; engagement rates start falling again once the bias goes beyond what seems like normal wording.

The “Social Connection” Email

While this won’t work in all situations, if your sales team is negotiating long-term B2B connections, then you can use email and professional social media to help cement a bond with buyers. In fact, these emails don’t push the sale at all. Instead, they focus on the seller getting to know the buyer before they ever start talking sales.

These emails are more personal and simply make a request for a connect on LinkedIn or other professional social media.

This email should focus on the fact that both your company and the potential buyer’s company are in the same industry and at most should express a desire to possibly do business in the future. Even if the buyer doesn’t agree, they’ll likely respond to say so and open that door to conversation.

The “Last-Ditch Honesty” Email

This email is intended as a final attempt to get a response after previous email efforts have failed. Instead of pushing yet another sales angle, focus more on a kind of brutal honesty. Acknowledge that your sales pitches haven’t appealed to the recipient and ask if there’s anything that you can offer.

If the buyer simply isn’t interested, they may not respond at all. If that happens, you haven’t lost anything. There’s a good chance that you’ll receive some form of communication, though, and that can start a conversation that will convert to a sale at some point in the future.

Rounding Out the Perfect Email

Regardless of the email strategy you use, there are a few statistics you can use to your advantage to maximize your chances of getting a response. The first thing you should look at is your message’s length. Attention spans are short, and statistics show that the most effective sales emails are between 50 and 125 words long (that’s only a few sentences!).

Timing is important, too. Research shows that the best times to send sales emails are between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. or between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Choosing a strategy, keeping the word count in check, and picking the ideal time to send your message off can all work together to seal the deal and get you the responses you need.