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Chris Hardy is a full-time content marketer running several niche blogs and a growing YouTube channel. A teacher at heart, Chris spent 10+ years as a professional dance and English teacher before diving into the world of online business where he made a name for himself on YouTube exposing "make money" scams.

Are your open rates in the single digits? Maybe you’re luckier with your results, but you know they could be even better?

In this article, you'll learn a simple strategy that can help massively increase your email open rates.

But first, let’s take a look at why open rates are so important in the first place.

According to recent research, email is still one of the best channels for ROI, with an average return of $44 for every dollar spent. And that number is only going to go up more and more.

If you want to make the most out of your email campaigns, it’s important to focus on boosting your open rates. And that’s where the “first line” strategy comes in.

What is the “First Line” Strategy and how does it work?

The “First Line” email Strategy is a simple way to make sure more of your emails are read and is based on the idea that people are more likely to read an email if they see that it’s relevant to them.

Subject lines with the person's name are often enough to get them to open, but if the first few lines look like a pitch or “value-take” people are quick to close the email. The subject gets your email opened, but it doesn't necessarily mean anyone will read it.

You need both.

In a nutshell, the first line method is to include a personalised first line in the body of the email that speaks to the recipient. This strategy can be used for any type of email, whether you’re trying to sell something, build a relationship, or just stay in touch with someone. The important thing is to make sure your subject line is attention-grabbing and relevant to the recipient.

Why is the First Line Strategy so effective?

The First Line email strategy is all about starting your message with a line that will grab your reader's attention and make them want to read more.

In Dale Carnegie's book, How to win friends and influence people, he wrote:

“A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

This means, that people like it when others know/remember their name. But building upon that, people like it when you take an interest in them or talk about things that have something to do with them directly.

Once you've got their attention, the rest of your email can be devoted to delivering your key message. The first line is there to ensure this happens. The idea is to start your email with a bang, and there's no better bang than a personal one that shows you actually care and did your homework.

How can you use the First Line Strategy to increase your email open rates?

The First Line Strategy is a simple but effective way to increase the response rates of your emails. The key is to make sure that the first line of your email is personalised and specific.

Some examples of emails for contrast...

Bad (the obvious mail-merge that could apply to anyone. Zero use of names or personalisation in general)

Hi there,

My name is Chris - I wanted to reach out to you and tell you about our email services that I think can really help your business...

OK (Somewhat personalised but could apply to anybody with savvy use of a mail-merge)

Hi Joe,

I'm emailing you because I'm a really big fan of "Joe's repairs," and wanted to tell you about our email services...

Good (Impossible to mail-merge as the example is too specific. Very personalised)

Hi Joe,

Loved your article the other day on how to spot a dodgy repair shop. I've actually faced points 2 and 4 and it's a pity I didn't find your article sooner.

Anyway, I wanted to reach out and...

Another (Again, extremely specific. You've made an effort to find out about them)

Hi Joe,

Congratulations on winning the 2022 best repair shop award. That shot of you with the trophy and the red tie is a solid addition to your Instagram. Very suave!

I just wanted to reach out and...

Why Personalisation is SO important

While some of you might be thinking personalisation requires too much effort, don't succumb to your biases.

How many emails you send out are not as directly correlated to the rate of responses as you might think, and responses are what you should be measuring, not how many addresses you have.

Personalisation simply gets more open rates due to the fact that people have automatically nurtured a filter when it comes to mail-merge emails that have no thought behind them. It's a lot similar to how we are now more accustomed to scrolling over ads on Instagram or Twitter.

When something is trying to take something from us, we are very quick to simply not even see it. Personalisation is also double-powerful simply because nobody else does it.

Imagine scrolling through social media and an ad called to you directly, "Hey Joe, nice job on the prize-winning last month!" - You'd not only not scroll over it, but likely stare for a moment in amazement at how such a thing is possible.

The truth is, we love ourselves. So anything addressing us in a personalised and complimentary way makes us stop and take notice.

Another thing to take into consideration

Personalising an email and writing an effective first line requires more than just finding an event or article in someone's life and commenting on it.

While you're looking into the person you want to email and work with, really make an effort to get to know who they are. If your goal is to develop a relationship, this is going to be invaluable.

You should actually care about who they are.

It sounds like stalking to some of you, I'm sure. But, rather than think of this process negatively, you can frame it as, "The more I learn about this person, the more I am able to help them and in a way that they want to be helped."

During this kind of lead research, you will pick up things like the kind of person they are and the type of language they may use. Are they fun-loving or serious? The answers to these questions you'll also need to incorporate into your communication style in your email.

It might seem fun to tell a cheeky joke and act in a familiar way, but some people prefer to keep things pragmatic and business-like. If this article is to teach you anything, it's that emailing is not a one-size-fits-all process.

Final thoughts on using the First Line Strategy to improve your email open rates

The First Line Strategy is a great way to improve your email open rates. By starting your email with a personalised message, you can capture the attention of your readers and encourage them to read on.

In addition, by combining it with other hard and fast rules like keeping your email short and to the point, you can ensure that your readers will actually read the message rather than simply skim through it.

By following these simple tips, you can dramatically improve your email open rates and ensure that your messages are read by your target audience.

And paired with a right tool, you can be sure your emails' performance will skyrocket! Check out our list of the best Gmail CRM systems ASAP!

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