What is the best way to start an email?
It is a simple enough question, but at a time when each point swing in response rate is scrutinized, finding the best way to start an email is a worthwhile endeavor. This is because email is still one of the most common forms of business communication and an effective way to make contact. And it doesn’t only apply to external communications.
Although email was not truly designed for internal communication and collaboration, teams within an organization still use email extensively. Alternatively, using Gmail with Gmelius brings groups together by changing the direct channel design of email into a collaborative solution. Whether these teams are within or outside of the organization, starting an email the right way will increase engagement levels.
Get it right and you will start experiencing higher than usual open rates, even for the coldest of emails. But! You still have to compete with the 128.8 emails a business receives on an average day. And the best way of doing that is by giving your email the right start.
After you master the art of starting an email, you can create shareable email templates using Gmelius to make sure your team follows the same protocol. Well-crafted templates will guide everyone in your organization on a path to writing emails with a better chance of reaching their destination successfully.
Part Science, Part Art, and Part Witchcraft
All kidding aside, the difficulty in trying to figure out how to start an email has proven to be a challenge. If you are writing to a complete stranger, the task becomes that much harder.
The good news is we now live in a time where every action can be analyzed to find the best path forward. And this is no different for email openings.
At Gmelius, we’ve analyzed hundreds of thousands of emails and we’ve found simple openings had the highest response rates. Ironically enough, in cases where you don’t know the person, such as cold emails - casual works better than formal. And this brings us to our main question. How to start an email?
Formal and Informal
As mentioned above, email is not as formal as traditional letters, but it can be if you are sending a professional email. So, the first step in writing an email is whether you want it to be formal or informal. This gives you latitude in the approach you can take to address the recipient.
If this is the first contact, consider the person, their position, and the industry they are in. With LinkedIn and other social media channels, you can easily find out information which will guide you to find the best approach.
The time you invest in finding out more about your prospect will give your email relevant context and personalization the recipient will appreciate.
Without exception, begin your initial email with a salutation. If you don’t include a salutation, you are leaving a lot of room for interpretation. And in all likelihood, it won’t be positive.
Start with “Hello” followed by the person’s name. Email personalization is very important and it shows you took the time to write the person directly. The reply rate of personalized emails can be twice as high, so it is a good practice to take on.
Once the conversation moves forward, you can say “Hi” or “Hey”. That is not to say you can’t start with these openings. If you are comfortable using them and you feel the person won’t mind, by all means do it.
When an email conversation is ongoing, salutations are not necessary for each correspondence. For the vast majority of individuals and organizations today, this has become the accepted practice.
Let's not forget email is a communication tool. If you don't know how you should address the person you are corresponding with, ask them. This will get rid of any confusion and put you both on the same page without wasting time or feeling uncomfortable.
Email has been around since the 1970s, and by now there is a consensus it is a more relaxed form of communication. But this doesn’t apply to everyone, which is why knowing your audience is so important.
Know Your Audience
When you write an email, keep your audience in mind. No matter how much data and research says it should be done a certain way if it doesn’t apply to your recipient it has no value.
Find out who they are, how they expect to be spoken to, and what they care about. This will help you adjust your tone to effectively communicate and get your message across. And if you answer these questions, you can write an email with relevant information they will want to know and read.
Writing an email is not hard. The difficulty is getting noticed in the avalanche of emails a person receives every day. This has complicated a seemingly simple task.
The takeaway is to always use a salutation and conversational tone unless you know for sure the recipient prefers a formal email. These practices cannot guarantee your email will get opened, but they will improve your chances.
Using tools to monitor how your email is performing, however, will let you engage your recipient with informed actions instead of blindly bombarding them with countless emails. The ability to track your emails will avoid this counterproductive practice.
Track Your Emails
Sunsetting Email Tracking
Email tracking has been discontinued and is not available for new Gmelius users due to new data protection laws (e.g., GDPR). You can learn more about the reasons behind this decision here.
Getting a notification when someone reads your emails will open new levels of engagement. This is not a traditional Gmail read receipt which requires the recipient to respond and approve your tracking request.
The technology Gmelius uses to track emails works in the background to instantly send you a message when the email is open. The activity report within your Gmelius dashboard will show a rich set of data, by team member, including per-recipient tracking when emailing multiple contacts in CC.
Imagine the leverage of knowing who opened your email, when, exactly where they were when they did, and even whether or not they clicked on any of your links.
With this information, you can improve the next phase of your engagement. You can focus your efforts on the people who have opened your email with a different strategy, while retargeting those that didn’t. Each phase of your email outreach can be shared and assigned to relevant team members to clarify accountability.
By combining a good start to emails with Gmelius features such as templates to ensure future emails will have the same quality, and smart email tracking - your emails will perform better than ever.