Some say the most important part of an email is the subject line. And it makes sense; It’s the first thing people see in their inbox.
But what about the text beside the subject line?
AKA the preview text.
Isn’t that just as important?
According to a poll we conducted on LinkedIn, 34% of voters agree that it’s (almost) as important as the subject line.
You see, in sales, preview text is essentially the first line of your cold email. And it will show up in your recipient’s inbox, giving them a little sneak peek as to what to expect.
Do NOT waste the opportunity to pique their interest.
In this post, we provide 11 of the best cold email opening lines that will help you hook your reader and encourage them to read your entire email.
Tips for writing the best cold email opening lines
In this video with our very own SDR Manager, Jack Wauson, he talks about the importance of cold email first lines and the framework you should use to draft them.
Here’s a quick overview of what he says:
- Don’t waste your cold email opening line (it’s precious real estate).
- Avoid generic intros and pleasantries (more on that later).
- Make the reason you’re reaching out clear right away.
- Bring your observations about the account into the first lines.
P.S. Here’s the webinar that Jack and Jason Bay did on cold email tactics to boost replies.
11 best cold email opening lines to hook the reader
Here are 11 of the best cold email opening lines we put together. Some were borrowed from our own SDR team, and some were borrowed from our fave sales pros on LinkedIn.
Observation-based opening lines
Making your first line just for your reader shows them that you’ve done your homework and they’re not part of a mass email. Start with an observation you’ve made like:
"Saw your post on multi-channel outreach on LinkedIn and you’re spot on when you say it’s one of the most crucial steps in sales."
Pro tip: Using a sales engagement platform that lets you cutomize your sequences can help you achieve this (more on that later).
Compliment-based opening lines
Who doesn't like a nice word about themselves? Starting your email with a compliment can make your reader feel good. You could say:
"Your podcast on [topic] was fantastic. The part about [specific section] got me thinking [XYZ]"
Educational opening lines
These lines present intriguing information relevant to the recipient's industry or interests. For instance:
"Integrating AI in sales strategies can lead to XX% increase in close rates. That’s huge.”
Fun fact: Mixmax has exciting new AI functionality coming soon, starting with an AI writing assistant that will help you compose personalized emails in your sequences.
LinkedIn profile opening lines
Using something you've learned from a person's LinkedIn profile can show them you've done your research. Here's an example of how you can do it (borrowed from Kyle Coleman):
Source: Kyle Coleman’s LinkedIn post
Warning: Do NOT use a generic opening line like “I saw your LinkedIn profile and wanted to reach out.” That tells your prospect, “I did a general keyword search on Sales Nav and your profile was among the hundreds of results that matched. You’re now part of a mass email sequence. I haven’t actually researched you at all.” (Kyle Coleman)
Recent blog post opening lines
Engage with content the recipient has produced or shared. For instance:
"Your recent blog post on the future of SaaS was very interesting, especially the section on AI integration."
Problem call-out opening lines
Address a challenge or problem the recipient's company may have recently faced. For example:
"I noticed in your quarterly report that lead conversion has been a challenge. It's a common issue many companies in [their industry] face."
New initiative opening lines
When someone starts a new project or launches a new initiative, they're likely very excited and invested in it, and there’s buzz about it online. Referencing this in your opening line can show that you're keeping up with their work. For example (borrowed from Jason Bay):
Ex-customer opening lines
Refer to a common connection, especially if that connection involves a successful past relationship. For instance:
"I worked closely with Samantha when she was at ABC Corp, helping their team streamline their sales process. Seeing that she's now part of your team made me wonder if XYZ Co. might be facing similar challenges."
Relevant achievement opening lines
When a person or a team reaches a milestone or wins an award, it's a big deal. Acknowledging this in your email shows you value their success and can set a positive tone. Here's how you might do it:
"Congrats on your team's recent [type of award] award. Achievements like these are not easy to come by in [industry]!"
Event-based opening lines
Citing a recent event your recipient is hosting can establish common ground. It shows you've done your homework and share similar interests. Here's an example (borrowed from Will Aitken from Lavender):
Source: Will Aitken's LinkedIn post
Referencing CEO interview opening lines
Mentioning an interview or public statement made by the company's CEO can show that you understand their business goals and culture. Here's an example:
"Just listened to [their CEO’s name]’s recent interview about prioritizing data security. It’s a huge concern in the [industry] right now.”
Sales email opening lines to avoid
We showed you sales email opening line best practices. But what about things you should absolutely stay away from?
Here are examples of cold email first lines to avoid using:
- “Hi my name is…”
- “I work for ABC Company and I’m the…
- “Hope you’re doing well.”
- “Hope this emails finds you well.”
- “Hope you’re having a good week so far.”
- “I’m reaching out because…”
- “I know you’re busy but…”
- “Sorry to bother you…”
- “Just following up…”
- “Haven’t heard back from you…”
- “Just bumping this up…”
- "Wondering if you got my last 200 emails..."
All of these sales email opening lines are wasting precious real estate. They don’t add value at all. And people’s mental spam filters are activated when they see these.
What we’re saying is, avoid pleasantries and annoying follow-up opening lines. Just by implementing that, you'll be way ahead of the curve.
Personalizing cold email opening lines in email sequences
If you’re using a sales engagement platform like Mixmax, then you’ll be able to easily customize opening lines in sequences for specific recipients.
And look, we’re not saying personalization at scale (as in for 300 recipients at a time) is possible. That’s unrealistic.
But when you’re emailing a big account, you should take the time to personalize your outreach.
Here’s what that looks like in Mixmax:
Mixmax lets you personalize sequences for individual recipients so you can really make it count when it matters most.
We showed you the best cold email opening lines that hook the reader.
Here are the key takeaways from this post:
- It's a team effort: Both the subject line and the opening line work together to grab attention.
- Best opening line types: We explored several types, including observation-based, compliment-based, educational, LinkedIn profile-based, recent blog post, problem call-out, new initiative, ex-customer, relevant achievement, event-based, and CEO interview references. These types of cold email first lines show the recipient that you’ve done your homework.
- What to avoid: We listed lines that could make readers lose interest. They don't add any value and make your email feel less unique.
- The power of personalization: Tailoring your emails, especially for big accounts, can have a huge impact on email engagement and reply rates (like, up to 250%, according to Lavender).
Keep in mind that every email is a new chance to connect with someone. Now you have some handy tools to make those first words count. Try experimenting with these opening lines in your next cold emails, and see what happens.
And if you're ready to take your emails to a whole new level and personalize your sequences, give Mixmax a try for free.