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11 Strong Ways to Start an Email

From adding bullet points to using personalized media, here are 11 answers to the question, "What are some powerful ways for someone to start an email and capture the attention of audiences?"

  • Start Off With Bullet Points

  • Stress Your Product Solution and Value Upfront

  • Incorporate Social Proof

  • Use an Appropriate and Effective Tone

  • Involve a Personal Story

  • Create Curiosity

  • Send an "Accidental" Discount Code

  • Be Straightforward With Your Reason for Outreach

  • Challenge Your Readers

  • Avoid Attempting to Sound Smart

  • Try Adding Personalized Media

Start Off With Bullet Points

As a CEO of a business, I get hundreds of email pitches each week. I just got an email a few months ago that was the best pitch and got my attention.

An excellent subject will help your email get opened, but key bullet points will get the reader's attention. You have about 5 seconds of opening an email to grab someone's attention before the email gets deleted.

The tactic used was to first say “Hi” and then have 3-4 bulleted, brief points right away. This was all I read, but it was enough to get my attention and continue reading. I ended up working with the other business that pitched the idea. I have now used this tactic with pretty outstanding success when cold reaching out to people.

Evan McCarthy, President & CEO, SportingSmiles

Stress Your Product Solution and Value Upfront

The best way to capture audiences is to deliver value upfront. The quicker audiences understand what your brand can offer to their lives, the more likely they will consider your product. Start right in the first sentence with how your product might change consumers’ lives. We don’t hide how effectively our product can diagnose and treat customers’ skin issues because consumers are already craving these solutions for their problems. For the easiest of all your conversions, you must only convince a customer to browse your products. Don’t waste their time with fluff or long introductions. Get right into the solutions you offer.

Guna Kakulapati, Co-Founder & CEO, CureSkin

Incorporate Social Proof

One of the most persuasive tools at your disposal is social proof‌, and there are many methods to show this.

Telling a narrative is the most effective method. Give an example of how your help assisted one of your clients to succeed. Involvement with your company resulted in John dropping 20 pounds, right? Did your mentoring benefit Mary in getting a higher-paying job? When you counsel a business, how can you help them increase their online sales? When you have success, don't be bashful about telling people about it. After all, they might just be the key to your future growth.

Edward Mellett, Co-Founder, Wikijob

Use an Appropriate and Effective Tone

Emailing individuals follows the same rule of speaking to them in the manner they prefer to be addressed. Use a tone that will appeal to your receiver when writing your email.

Emailing can only be used when first developing a relationship. Even so, analyzing their writing and tone on their social media accounts should help you gain some valuable insights. What emojis should you use? Should you avoid using exclamation points? How about vulgar language?

When used appropriately, these can strengthen your connection to your recipient. However, if they misjudge your email’s tone, it will almost certainly be deleted. In your initial emails, please avoid extremes while subtly changing your language to correspond with their communication style.

Axel Hernborg, Founder & CEO,

Involve a Personal Story

Start your emails with a personal story and it to the overall goal of your message. Humans are hard-wired for stories, which makes them a great way to capture your audience's attention. But the power of the story isn't limited to capturing attention. A brilliant story will also deliver the message you want to deliver to your audience better than simply telling them that lesson. Storytellers have used fables and allegories for millennia to deliver messages because the lessons from stories stick. For example, if you hear "the tortoise and the hare," you automatically think "slow and steady wins the race."

Use the power of story in your emails, and you'll have an engaged audience that remembers your message.

Create Curiosity

One powerful way to start an email and capture the attention of audiences is to use a question or statement that creates curiosity. For example, you could begin your email with "Have you ever wondered why XYZ happens?" or "Wouldn't it be amazing if XYZ was possible?"

This type of opening line will grab the reader's attention and entice them to continue reading. The idea is to create a sense of intrigue, so be sure to pick an interesting question or statement that applies to the content you are going to discuss in the email.

If you draw in your readers with a thought-provoking question or statement, then you will have successfully caught their attention and made them more likely to read the rest of your message.

Erik Emanuelli, Problogger & Internet Marketer,

Send an "Accidental" Discount Code

For a direct-to-consumer email list, sending an "accidental" email sharing an internal discount code works great. A "Re: Fwd: Discount you requested" subject line will have high open rates, and they feel they need to use the code immediately; otherwise, the mistake could be spotted, and the code could be reversed. Follow up with an apology email a few minutes later, explaining the email was an accident but will remain live for 24 hours if they want to go crazy and make use of it.

Be Straightforward With Your Reason for Outreach

Start emails off with a bang by leading with the reason for your outreach. A straightforward yet underrated strategy, you'll not only stand out in a crowded inbox, but it will also serve as a hook to keep them reading—and move closer to a call to action.

In a digital world where email spam is on the rise, and attention spans are shrinking, you likely have a split second to make an impression. Get to the point and the email opens—and audience engagement will follow.

Monica Thysell, Director of Product Marketing, OnPay

Challenge Your Readers

To start an email with a bang and capture the attention of your audience, why not try writing something unexpected? A good email opener can make all the difference in getting people interested in what you have to say.

You don't need to be overly creative or dramatic—just think of something that will catch your readers' attention and make them want to read on.

For example, you could start your email by asking an intriguing question or posing a challenge to your readers. You can also use humor to add interest and personality to your email opener.

No matter what approach you take, make sure it reflects the tone of the email and resonates with the audience you're trying to reach. With a creative email opener, you will start off your email on the right foot and capture the attention of your readers from the get-go.

Avoid Attempting to Sound Smart

To lose email subscribers (and, by extension, sales) is ‌as simple as trying to sound too intelligent in one's email communications.

Forget the complicated vocabulary and overly long sentences your ninth-grade English instructor insisted upon unless your target audience is composed entirely of college professors.

If you want to connect with your target demographic and convert them into paying customers, you need to write as if you were chatting with an old friend.

You would use informal language when describing something to a friend, right? Now imagine that your audience feels the same way. Just be yourself and talk about your experiences and knowledge in a way that makes you more approachable. Trust in your brand can then be cultivated.

Zephyr Chan, Founder & Growth Marketer, Living The Good Life

Try Adding Personalized Media

With the number of spam emails we receive, which are largely automated, it is more important than ever to personalize your emails. But adding some personalization doesn't go far enough if you want your email to stand out from the hundreds of emails someone will receive. To separate yourself from the crowd, add different types of media—mainly images and videos. Memes are a light, fun distraction that many will appreciate, and video personalized for the recipient will draw attention.


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