7 Best and Worst Cold Email Opening Lines

What is the main purpose of a cold email? To generate leads? To raise awareness about the company? To convert? For most B2B companies, all the things mentioned above are equally important. But in order to serve its purpose, a cold email needs to make it to the inbox, grab the prospect’s attention, and be opened and replied to. 

As for the last steps, did you know that people spend 74% of their time looking at the top two screenfuls of content before making their decision about it? This means that when opening a new email, your prospect dedicates most of their time reading the greeting part and email opening line and just skims through the rest of the email until the very end. If there is nothing worth paying attention to in the first sentence, they won’t carry on with sending a reply but simply delete it forever from their inbox.

If you want your cold emails to achieve the desired results, make sure to improve your email starters. To inspire you, we have prepared some tips on how to write the best cold email opening lines, complemented with the seven worst sales email opening lines you should stop using immediately.

7 Best Email Openers

Here are the seven best strategies from CIENCE on writing the email opening sentences. Adopt them to your business needs to increase the efficiency of cold email campaigns. 

1. Start with a strong greeting.

A good email always begins with an appropriate greeting. By simply adding “Hey, [Name]” to the top of your email you can increase the response rate by almost 35%. It's a huge mistake if your email campaigns are lacking this essential element. However, choosing the right greeting isn’t that simple: The phrase “Hey, [Name]” might seem too informal and disrespectful, while “Dear [Name]” might be considered too official and pretentious. Therefore, make your decision about which greeting to use based on your business model and tone of voice. 

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2. Offer value to your prospect. 

You have more chances for the prospect to read your email if it starts with a real value-adding proposition that appeals to their interest. Before sending a cold email, spend some time analyzing the company you are writing to and offer something that your product can help to achieve. A simple example of such a cold email opening line can be: 

“I have analyzed your company’s [possible problem] and I believe I can help you solve this challenge with our newest development.”

3. Use a link to someone you both know. 

If you are one of many salespeople in your team, there are not many chances that your prospect has ever heard your name. However, mentioning a trustworthy person you have in common on your LinkedIn profile, for example, might increase the chances that your prospect will pay attention to your words. In this situation, keep the email opening sentence simple: 

“Our mutual friend [name] has recommended contacting you.”

4. Appeal to prospect’s achievements.

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Your prospects, same as all people in the world, like to be liked. Try to boost their confidence with a short compliment regarding their personal or career achievements. This way, they will know that you are not just another robotic cold emailing sales representative but a person who is truly interested in building business relationships. A simple phrase like “Congratulations on your recent promotion!” will do the trick. 

5. Mention a common background. 

People tend to trust more to those with whom they have some connection. Highlighting that you are both fans of the Yankees or you've grown up in the same city might be a good idea for an email opener: 

“So nice to connect with the former [your common University Name] alumni. Which year are you from?”

6. Make a joke. 

There is no better email opening sentence than a good joke. It’s original, simple, and definitely grabs attention. The hardest part of using a joke as a sales opening line is that it's quite a challenge to find a transition from the actual joke to discussing business. Here is a suggestion:

“You can do it! Friday is just around the next corner. But for now, let’s talk about business.”

7. Ask a direct question. 

Your prospects receive dozens of cold emails daily. Skimming through each and every one of them requires a lot of time and effort. To respect each other’s interests, in some cases, the best business email opening line is to ask what you want directly. A good question email opener can be:

“Would you like to increase your ROI by XX%?”

Worst Email Starters 

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To make sure you apply the strategies for a good business email opening line correctly, you also need to get rid of the most cliché and boring email starters that are still used by so many companies. If you find these phrases in your cold email templates, don’t hesitate to cut them out forever and substitute them with more up-to-date openers. 

1. Let me introduce myself. 

This phrase sounds way too official and has been extremely overused. Your prospect doesn’t have time for you to introduce yourself just because there are dozens of others waiting to be introduced as well.

2. I hope this email finds you well.

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Just don’t. This formal email opening line is a very weak ice breaker. Moreover, by using this phrase, you are letting your prospect know that they are not someone special for your business but just another email you do not really care about. So why should they care then?  

3. I am sorry to disturb you. 

Why should you be sorry if the purpose of your email is to solve your prospect's needs? It is mutually beneficial if your business dialogue continues. If it is not the case, then don’t write to this prospect at all.

4. I saw your page and decided to reach out. 

This is a very vague email opening sentence which doesn’t make your message any stronger. Your prospect already knows that you are reaching out to them to make a connection. Just be more precise about how this connection might benefit both of you right away. 

5. Did you know that [random fact]? 

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This email opening line has been extremely overused for decades. It is time to let it go. It is not funny anymore, and the facts keep repeating over and over again.

6. Did you enjoy your weekend? 

Overall, this business email opening isn’t too bad. However, it might be accused of being overly informal especially when you are targeting certain industries. To avoid this, better appeal to some recent events or commonly known holidays.

7. Would you be interested in [your services]? 

Naturally, your prospect’s first reaction to this question will be “No, thank you.” And why shouldn’t it be? Especially if you are working for a small company with a large competition pool? Better not to ask such generic questions at all to avoid negative answers.

Improve Your Sales Email Opening Lines

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Cold emailing is a tricky outbound channel to master. It requires deep knowledge about how to write a good cold email template, when to send it to increase the chances of getting a reply, how to send it and not get trapped in the spam folder, and so on. Writing a strong email opening line is just the starting point of a good email template. The examples of best and worst email starters can help you define what you are doing wrong and how to make your emails sound more appealing to your audience. Experiment with the best email openers for your business and find the most successful way to reach out to your prospects. 

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