“I hope this email finds you well” and 6 other terrible opening lines (and what to do instead). - SizzleForce, Inc.

“I hope this email finds you well” and 6 other terrible opening lines (and what to do instead).

You must be exhausted because you’ve been running through my mind all day.

Got your attention didn’t we? Is this SizzleForce blog trying to ask you on a date? 

No. 

But we are talking about cliche openers, bad one-liners, and terrible marketing pick-up lines, so to speak. But don’t worry if you’ve used them before in your email correspondence. We’re going to tell you how to fix them. 

And now that you’ve been warned, use them at your peril. 

Ready to get started? 

Email opening lines that are worse than a bad pick-up line.

 “I hope this email finds you well.”

As opposed to what? They hoped this email found you wallowing in the depths of despair? 

This email opener is almost as bad as a fake smile. 

Giphy of a woman saying “It’s a fake smile, it’s dead behind the eyes.”

If you want to use an opening line that sorta uses this approach, go back to the problem that led this person to subscribe to your list in the first place. Show that you DO care about them and DO hope they are doing well. 

Did they download your tax preparation checklist? Say, “How is tax season treating you?” Did they request your guide to potty training their puppy? Ask how Fido is doing. 

You get the idea. 

“My name is…”

It’s nice to introduce yourself and all, but this isn’t very catchy. Unless your name is Inigo Montoya, Dwayne Johnson, or Tom Hanks, people probably don’t care. It’s a painful truth, we know.  

So you’re going to have to find another way to hook them. Stating your name isn’t going to do it, folks. 

Inigo Montoya quotes the famous “Princess Bride” line.

Go back to how you connected with this subscriber in the first place. Starting a sentence with “You” is a lot more interesting. What’s something you know they did? Something you know they need? A problem you know they need help solving? 

Start there. 

“I work for… ”

Unless you say, “I work for the IRS, and we need to talk about your business receipts,” this one isn’t going grab anyone’s attention. The odds are this person doesn’t know you or your position in the company, and they probably don’t care (with all due respect). 

Your lead-in needs to get straight to the point (and we’re guessing the point of your email isn’t letting the reader know your name and title). Write with your reader in mind. Think about the problem you will solve for them and how it benefits them to read your email and get right to telling them about those benefits.  

“An important message from…”

This is exactly the kind of opening that will take your reader back to the old days, and not in a good way. You know, a time when TV show hosts used to say things like,  “We’ll return to the regularly scheduled programming soon, but first, an important message from our sponsors!” 

Cue, commercial. You don’t want your email to sound like an opener for a commercial. 

Portlandia meme, “We’re not going to commercial break.”

Nor do you want it to sound legalistic, which is the other problem with this opener. All it takes is one look at Google’s predictive text to see the pitfalls. Type in “An important message from…” and here’s what it spits out… 

Google predictive text results for “an important message from.”

Unless you work for Medicare of the Victorian Government or something else very official and executive, steer clear of this email opening line. 

“Hi there,”

You might be wondering what is wrong with something so inane as “Hi there.” 

Actually, this one isn’t so bad, with one caveat. Do not use this opener unless you have a first name to go before that comma! Otherwise, it screams of a generic opening line and the fact that you didn’t go to the effort of using their first name. The less personal, the less likely they are to read the rest of the email, and the more boilerplate it will feel. 

“I would like to speak with you…”

While this one oozes with email etiquette, the problem with this email introduction is that, again, it focuses on the writer and what they want. It uses the word “I,” which is usually a bad idea in an opener (remember, the beginning of your email needs to be about your reader as fast as possible), and then it goes as far as to say what THEY want from YOU. 

“Mozart in the Jungle” meme states, “We need to talk.”

Unless this line finishes with a legitimate offer of a million dollars, e.g., “I would like to speak with you about this million dollars I want to give you tomorrow, when are you free for lunch?” your reader probably doesn’t care what you want to speak to them about. (And if that is your offer, please tell us because we want to subscribe to your list, please.)

If you DO go with this opener, make sure the second half of that sentence is chock full of a benefit to them; otherwise, you’ll lose them quickly. 

“Happy Monday!” (Or Tuesday, or Wednesday…)

We’re all about simple email intros. But while this email greeting isn’t exactly as bad as “I hope this email finds you well,” it isn’t exactly the best either. It oozes with friendliness and a casual approach, and there’s something to be said for that. The main problem with this opener is that, by now, it has been used a gajillion times, which puts this opener squarely in the cliche phrases territory. And the cliche territory is somewhere you want to avoid at all costs.

Instead, try playing with holidays and special occasions that speak to your niche. This is an art form all its own. “Happy National Chocolate-Covered Cherry” day is sure to be a hit for subscribers to an artisan chocolate maker’s newsletter. And think of all the things you could do with “National Break Up With Your Carrier Day.”

Need More Marketing Help?

Writing marketing or business emails that get opened is no easy task. If you’d like to up your email marketing game and learn alongside other small business owners just like yourself, check out our Small Business Marketing Challenge Facebook group! We support each other through all the thousands of things that go into running a successful business (from email marketing to social media and beyond!) and find ways to have fun along the way. 

Check it out; it’s a phenomenal place for meeting other people who want to help and learn from each other!

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