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The 10 Worst Email Opening Lines

By Mark Gibson on Wed, Jun 17, 2015

Topics: B2B selling

To reach new B2B Buyers and connect via email is a low probability game, but the marginal cost of sending email is close to zero, so don't expect volume to decline.

Email is a science, with every element from the senders name to the signature analyzed and dissected for optimal performance. If you want to read the current research, follow this link to directly read the 2014 report.

This article is about the opening sentence and will be of interest to sales and marketing professionals.

SPAM filters are proving to be very effective in keeping an ever building wave of unsolicited and unwanted email out of the Inbox.


But plenty of unsolicited email still gets through. I get well over 100 emails per day and in the morning will quickly scan my inbox for anything personal or from known contacts. I set aside anything I need to come back and read and then quickly scan and delete any junk.

We have developed pattern recognition skills that enable us to instantly recognize SPAM, weak sales pitches and phishing.

It takes less than two seconds to recognize a pattern and another second to delete the offending email.

Here are 10 that got through this week - do you recognize many of the opening lines? Please add any bad openings you would like to highlight and I will add to this list.

The 10 Worst Email Openings this Week

1. The Familiar Millennial

"Hey Mark,
 I came across your site through our mutual"

2. The Spray and Pray

Would you be interested in ERP Users contact information of C-level" 

3. The Reach Out

"Hi Mark,
I read your profile on LinkedIn and wanted to reach out..."

4. The Linkedin Fail

"Hi Mark,
I see you are connected with (insert name) and I'm wondering if....."

5. The SEO

I was surfing through your website and realized that despite having a good design"

6. The Phishing Trip

Welcome to Paypal

"Dear customer,

We were unable to process your most recent payment. Did you recently change your bank, phone number or credit card?"

7. The Hail Mary

Attn:  Sir
Apologies for the manner at which i am approaching you. My name is Mr Ronald Anthony, a Fund Manager

8. The Hope You are Well

Hello  ,
Hope you are doing well,

9. The Completely Lost

Hi Sir/Madam, 

I am Gaurav, Executive with a reputed software Development organization in online Search Marketing field. 

10. The Wrong Language



Opening Sentence Tips to Get Your Email Read 

Here's the first line of a 300 character email I am planning to send to opted-in marketing executives.

"<first name>, most marketing executives treat sales and marketing content as tactical and not a business asset... do you?

The goal of this email is to build trust with my target audience and to become a useful resource on sales and marketing content.

The goal of my opening sentence is to get the reader to read the second sentence.

In my example, I'm sending this to marketing executives.

  1. The reader really does care about sales and marketing content!
  2. It's personalized - (there are pro's and cons in personalization, CTR is higher, but so is likelihood of being tagged as SPAM. I prefer to keep name personalization out of the subject line and use it in the opening and body of the email. If you have behavioral information that you can use to make it personal, use it.)
  3. The opening line relates to the target audience and an issue they care about....not your offering
  4. Make it personal with "you" language
  5. Ask a question to engage the reader 

What other opening line tips can you suggest? 

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