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How to start an email (Formally and informally)

Learn how to start an email formally and informally.

You should start an email by addressing its recipient by name. Use a greeting with an appropriate formality level. Then, go straight to the point and mention the message’s purpose. Once you’ve done that, write the rest of your email. You’ll learn more tips on the following topics.

The importance of starting an email well

The average office worker receives 121 emails daily. You need to understand that you’re fighting for their attention. So, a strong opening is necessary to hook them. Without one, nobody will read your newsletter or email marketing campaigns.

Knowing your audience is the first step to understanding how to start an email. You’ll determine the appropriate formality level you can use based on it. The following topics will give you more insights into how to open an email formally and informally.

How to formally start an email

Depending on your demographic, you may opt to be formal. If that’s your chosen approach, read how to pursue it:

  1. Use a professional email.

Create a professional email address for your business if you don’t have one. Using one will make you seem more authoritative, which is critical, regardless of whether you’re aiming for a formal or an informal tone in your message.

Read more: to get more tips, read How to Create an Email Account.

  1. Start with an appropriate greeting.

The safest approach is to open your webmail with “Dear.’” Avoid using “to whom it may concern.” It sounds very impersonal, which can backfire, especially if you’re trying to get sales from your emails.

  1. Use the recipient’s last name.

Avoid generic introductions like “Dear customer.” If you know the person’s last name, use it. For example, “Dear Mr. Johnson.” Doing so will help create trust, which may translate into sales.

Read more: another way to boost sales is by ensuring your website is easy to use. So, read How to Improve Your Website User Experience.

  1. Go straight to the point.

After addressing your email’s recipient, it’s time for you to share why you’re contacting them. Be brief. People are busy. They will tune out and close your message if you take too long to make your point. Respect their time.

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How to informally start an email

Depending on your target audience, a more informal approach would resonate better with them. So, read below how to start an email informally.

  1. Use a greeting

The first step is the same as how to start an email formally, but with a difference. Instead of using “Dear,” you can opt for something more casual, like “Hello” or “Hey.”

  1. Mention the person’s first name.

Using someone’s last name in an informal setting may seem awkward. It’s best to use the recipient’s first name instead. If you don’t know, you can say “Hello” or “Hey.” Don’t use something like “to whom it may concern.” It’s very impersonal.

  1. Connect with your audience.

It would be best if you got to your point as soon as possible. But you can add a short sentence to connect with your message’s recipient.

For example:

“Hey Adrian,

I hope you’re not tired from celebrating Barcelona’s win last night. To keep the good times coming, here are some offers.”

If you’re automating your emails and sending them to a large audience, as would be the case in a newsletter, it becomes more challenging to create a personalized sentence as you need to know each person’s tastes. You could conduct market research to find any similarities.

How to start an email to a stranger

You may need to send marketing emails to someone who isn’t in your address book. For example, suppose you’re trying to establish a business partnership. You should proceed a little differently. The rules you’ve learned still apply. But you should also follow a few others:

  1. Introduce yourself.

Explain to the recipient who you are. Tell them about your business, preferably with measurable achievements that make you stand out, like selling 150,000 cakes in 2022. Ensure the message’s recipient will want to know more about you.

  1. Give a compliment.

Now, focus on what makes the email recipient unique. Focus on an accomplishment of theirs or something that makes their businesses stand out. Try to use something you can connect with why you’re contacting them.

  1. Explain why you’re reaching out.

Now, tell the recipient why you’re contacting them. For example, if you’re pursuing a B2B partnership, give them an overview of your plan and try to schedule a meeting to discuss it further.

All these steps have a similarity: they should be brief. Regardless of your email’s purpose, respect people’s time. Try to use only a sentence or two to introduce yourself, for example. The recipient will appreciate that you respect their time.