Message & Media: 61 (More) Copy Starters for Letter and Email Openers
Are you ever stumped for starters when it comes to writing that all-important first sentence in an email or direct mail letter?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here’s how I know: Three years ago, I wrote “48 Idea-Starters for Letter and Email Openers” and it continues to be one of my most widely read columns from the 17 years I’ve written for Target Marketing.
I also did a follow-up webinar on the same topic that drew more than 1,000 registrations (This webinar is still available online, so check it out for free!). As you can see, you’re not alone in your concern about how to write openers that reel in more readers.
As writers, we know the opening sentence can be both a hot spot and a rough spot. It’s a hot spot because it’s where a scanner’s eye lands first when looking for the answer to: “What’s in it for me if I keep reading?”
It’s also a rough spot for writers because of the pressure we put on ourselves to get the opener right. And get it right the first time. Whether it’s one word or 10, we can stare at a piece of paper or computer screen for hours waiting for those quintessentially perfect one to 10 words to appear. And often it doesn’t happen, making the pressure build up.
So, the next time you’re stumped for an email or direct mail letter starter, try one of these. I’m adding 61 more opener ideas to my original list 48 — that’s a grand total of 109!
You’ll see that some are quirky, some colloquial. Some are more appropriate for digital than traditional ink-on-paper communications. And not all are appropriate for every audience (see No. 60 and No. 61.)
You’ll also quickly notice most have a conversational tone, focus on YOU-the-reader and invite readership by using engaging words (see No. 11 and No. 17).