Copy Starters: 48+ Ideas for Letter & Email Openers


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  • Thank Thorin, Target Marketing, ACT-ON (sponsor) and Title comes from TM column I wrote almost 2 years ago (48 +)Herschell Gordon Lewis -Article almost 20 years ago (Known as the Godfather of Direct Marketing and Gore) … Dan Kennedy, Donna Baier SteinWho’s Mailing What!
  • Not subject line, not a snippet or pre-header or OE teaser
  • B to b, b to c, NFP
  • Bill Jayme, one of the 20th century’s greatest copywritersNotice the word you appears in both within the first 5 words
  • Cheating a bit. But it’s a great example …Denny Hatch is one of the all-time great story-tellers.Whether he’s writing his column or direct response advertising, he loves and tells a great story.This one is from last week’s Today @ Target enewsletter.
  • Generated an estimated $2 billion revenueRan continuously for 28 yearsWritten by Martin Conroy in 1975 … ran until 2003. He died in 2006.The letter goes on to note that they worked at the same company, but one man was a low-level manager and the other was president. Though the letter does not specifically state it, it implies the more successful man subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. It is widely considered a classic soft sell advertisement.
  • Another recent email found in the Who’s Mailing What! Email and direct mail library
  • Copy Starters: 48+ Ideas for Letter & Email Openers

    1. 1. Copy Starters: 48+ Ideas for Letter & Email Openers email: twitter: @pfwriter blog: WordChocolate (by Pat Friesen)
    2. 2. lead = lede = opener enticing scanners to keep reading
    3. 3. Biggest Tip of the Day: Don’t wait for a flash of brilliance. Start writing. Then look for your lede buried in the 2nd or 3rd paragraph.
    5. 5. Ask a question What if _____…? Did you know that…? Have you ever wished for …? Are you paying too much? Do you make these mistakes?
    6. 6. Make sure your question connects with your audience: Are you tired of office politics, corporate ladders with limited opportunities, and demanding responsibilities that go unrewarded?
    7. 7. Bill Jayme classic questions: Psychology Today: Do you close the bathroom door even when you’re the only one home? Bon Voyage: How much extra should you tip when you’re planning to pocket the ashtray?
    8. 8. Ask for help I need your help. I’m writing to ask your help in … Your opinions matter.
    9. 9. Medical practice letter opener: Dear Mrs. Smith, Would you do me a favor? It only takes a few minutes. Please answer the questions in the enclosed patient survey. Your opinions and answers will help me and my staff as we ….
    10. 10. Establish rapport Thank you. We’ve missed you. If you’re like me … Because you are a _______… Our records show it’s time to ____ your ____. Thank you for your _______.
    11. 11. Power of a single word Maddening! That’s what I think about … Thanks. I appreciate the way you’ve … Whew. It’s been a tough year, but you’ve … Oops! Thank you for your patience while … Shhhh! This is your invitation to a private …
    12. 12. Extend an invitation You are invited …. This is your private invitation to … It’s my privilege to invite you to …
    13. 13. Retail store email opener: Fred, you’re invited to the GRAND OPENING of Smithville’s first automotive supermarket –in progress right now. We’re just around the corner from you.
    14. 14. Flatter. Compliment. Reward. Surprise. Congratulations! You’re a rare bird. A customer who deserves … Because you’re ____ , you’re eligible to ____. You’re important to us. You’ve been name Honorary Employee for the month of _____ which means you _____ You have a free gift waiting for you … Because of your loyalty …
    15. 15. Because …
    16. 16. News/Urgency You have ___ days left to pick up the phone or go online to … This is your last chance. For the first time, you can … Good news! We’ve got some good and bad news. The bad news is _____. But here’s the good part … This will be short, sweet and full of good news for you and your family.
    17. 17. Tell a story It’s early morning. You unlock the door to your business and the first thing you see is … You’re in trouble. And so am I. Here’s why.
    18. 18. Share a testimonial or quote
    19. 19. Warn or remind According to ____, two-thirds of those with your job title will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Don’t wait until the last minute! Order your _______ now and we’ll take care of all the details – including the gift box and enclosure card.
    20. 20. Problem-Solution
    21. 21. Open with the offer I know it’s hard to believe … but I really do want you to wear-test our clothes—FREE for 14 days—as though they were your own.
    22. 22. More ideas As you know … Believe it or not … If you like ____, you’ll love ____. I’ll get right to the point. You may wonder why … If you are a ____, then you can ____ I’ve enclosed …
    23. 23. Engaging openers = Easy to scan      Make them short & easy to scan; 1 ½ lines or less. Keep the first paragraph short; 3 lines or less. Use words that are short; 75%-80% should be 5 characters or less. Use the word you; it speaks directly to your scanner/reader. Set up or pay off WWIFM?
    24. 24. For starters … • • • • • • • Just start writing Ask a question Ask for help Establish rapport Single-word starters Extend an invitation Flatter. Compliment. Reward. Surprise • • • • • • • • Because … News/Urgency Tell a story Share a testimonial or quote Warn or remind Problem-solution Offer openers I’ve enclosed ++++++
    25. 25. Questions? email: twitter: @pfwriter blog: WordChocolate (by Pat Friesen) 913.341.1211