19 Ways on How to Start an Email (Examples w/ Templates)

If there’s any good that the global pandemic has done, it has made the world a more connected place.

2021 has seen the rise of the work-at-home workforce, and along with that, the rise of virtual communication.

Online video meetings became the norm. Slack became the most used app on our phones, and paperwork was completely and perhaps irrevocably shifted to excel sheets and Google Sheets.

But amid all these new ways of communicating, what probably did not lose its former status as one of the most professional and effective ways of virtual communication is electronic mail, better known as e-mail.

Good Ol’ Email

As a literature student, I have always been smitten by the written word. And it is a lesser-known and even lesser-acknowledged fact that people who love to read want to write. They want to be heard and seen, and felt through writing.

If you do not agree with me, just look at the captions and posts people put up on social media. Who would have thought there were poets and writers among us had we not been exposed to social media platforms!

So, when I did not get to be a writer but got into the strange world of online projects and eventually into management, I thought my only chance to prove my flair for writing was through email.

I was wrong, but I was right.

I’ll explain the paradox, but let me first state what went wrong with my concept of email writing.

An email is:

  • Not a letter like we used to send in the good old postal days.
  • Not anything closely related to the formal letter writing they taught us at school.
  • Definitely not as simple and straightforward as a telephone call to get your message through the first time.

What is a Proper Professional Email?

A professional email is an electronic medium where we send formal letters electronically to our clients, team members, seniors, and other professionals associated with our work.

We use formal emails to communicate with vendors and virtual teams of our clients and sometimes of our clients’ clients.

A professional email is one that dominates the workplace as the one major way of communicating within and among team members.

The 3 marks of a great email are in a proper format, formal tone, and brevity (FTB). Remember this code the next time you start composing an email.

Let us see how these 3 aspects are important for a great email :

  1. Proper format: A professional email follows the format of a salutation, introduction of self or purpose, main content, and then a proper signoff with an email signature. If you find yourself thinking out loud, “don’t all emails follow that?” Take a look at some of the emails you have sent to members of your family who are close to you.
  2. Formal tone: The one major aspect that a professional email must always have is a formal tone.
    A lot of people get it wrong here. A formal tone is not to be identified with a strict tone or even a serious tone. A formal tone is just formal without sounding too friendly, too emotional, too serious, or too funny. A formal tone is what you would maintain with a respected school senior or an older neighbor.
  3. Brevity: The mark of a good professional email is its brevity. Professional emails are to the point. However, do not consider brevity as opposed to an explanation owed. If you need to explain a product to a client, you must explain it fully. The explanation should, however, be to the point. Superfluity should be avoided unless you want to stress something over and over to help realize its importance.


Email writing is an art. It can be mastered. You can teach yourself to write emails that get answered and acknowledged almost every time.

And one of the better ways to make sure that your emails are being opened and read is to make sure that it has the following features :

  • Your email has a subject line. I have seen people sending emails without a subject line. If we could apply the term turn-off to email reading, this would be the number one turn-off.
  • Your email is addressed to the recipient properly. You can prefer addressing by first name or last name. You can prefer a Hi or a Hello or a Dear. Unless you are communicating regularly on an email chain, almost regularly, addressing is important.
  • Your email has a good start. This is one of the most important parts of making sure that your message is read and opened. ‘A good beginning is half the battle won’ applies just as well to an email as to almost everything else on this earth.

In the next section, I will provide you with 19 ways to start an email that are foolproof, no-fail, amazing ways to get people to read and respond to your emails.

To make sure that you are using these starting lines properly, I have also given examples of scenarios that go best with these starting lines. Let’s get now to the exciting part.

19 Ways to Start an Email

Before we dive into the ways to start an email, let us understand why the start of an email is so important.

The first 3 things noticeable in an email are the sender’s name, subject, and snippet of the email’s opening line. Here’s how an email in Gmail looks:


In Microsoft Outlook, it looks something like this:


On Yahoo, it looks like this. I did not use Yahoo after my long-back created account was deleted by Yahoo. So I created one to show you how emails look here.


In all 3 images, you will notice that apart from the sender’s name and the subject of the email, the first 8 – 15 words of the email (including the salutation) show up in the email snippet.

We can roughly liken this snippet to the meta description of a page in Google.

Just like the snippet in Google search results gives us an idea of what the page includes, the snippet of the first few words of your email should interest the recipient (if you are sending a sales email) or give your recipient an idea of what is about to follow.

Specifically for a sales email, these snippets MATTER. A better comparison would be that of YouTube ads. Just like advertisers have 5 seconds to grab your attention, to watch the full advertisement and get excited about wanting to buy the product, your email snippet has only a few words to hold your recipient’s attention.

With YouTube, you have the visuals to help with the audio or written content of the ad, and with your email snippet, your subject line can be the ‘make-it-or-mar-it’ factor.

However, unlike a google search result snippet, which has the sole purpose of explaining, in short, what the page is about, an email snippet might not always need to explain what’s going to follow.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of writing well and putting your message across as clearly as possible.

I can probably go on with my similes, but it’s time to put forward the information you are here for – the 19 Ways to Start an Email in 2021.

P.S. – I have used fictional names for the recipient and my real name for the sender.



Hi Ashley,
My name is Rima, and I got your contact details from ……..

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • A sales email where you are reaching out to a client. 
  • A client that your team has worked with before, and you are following up for the first time.

Why does this opening line work?

  1. This simple-looking line can do wonders because your name catches the attention of the recipient.
  2. The snippet can get the recipient to open up the email to see who the sender got the contact details from. 



Hi Ashley,
Do you think we can meet sometime this week on Zoom? Do let me know!

Additionally, I would like to ……

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • A prospective client with whom you have had a few email exchanges already.
  • A prospective client who you are following up with after a gap of a week or so.
  • A client you would like to explain the project details to, because emails are way too much writing and sometimes calls solve purposes much, much faster. 
  • To a team member who’s not so explanatory about working on emails.

Why does this opening line work?

  1. It is short, crisp, and to the point. The recipient immediately knows that you are up for a virtual meet. 
  2. It can get your clients excited about starting their new project with you.
  3. Your recipient is finally relieved to hear that there will be no more emails back and forth.



Hello Ashley,
Apologies! Your last email got buried in my inbox pile.

Would you still be interested…..

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • You have not followed up with your client for a long time. A really long time.
  • A team member’s email you forgot to respond to.

Why does this opening line work?

  1. It is sincere and happens with almost everyone who keeps receiving emails regularly. 
  2. It is a short and crisp line to avoid the long story of why you couldn’t respond on time because of so-and-so reasons. 


Dear Ashley,
Many thanks for the response.

Please find the information below…

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • You are acknowledging receipt of a response. 
  • A general opening statement for almost any kind of email exchange. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. It is a simple gesture of thanking and then getting straight into the more important information. 



Hi Ashley,
Hope this email finds you well. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • Any and every scenario you can think of, except perhaps condolence emails. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. What could be a better line than wishing well for someone’s health?



Dear Ashley,
The invoice for the 2nd part of the project is attached along with this email.
For any assistance, please feel free to write to me. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • When sending an invoice.
  • When re-sending an invoice that has not been paid yet. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. Seeing the word ‘invoice’ in the snippet acts as the call to action button for payment. 
  2. This is a polite yet straightforward way of saying that it’s time to pay for using the services. 


Hello Ashley,
I was wondering if you got my last email/ my last few emails. If not, here is what I sent –
<copy the last email>

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • When you have not received a response from a client for some time. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. It is a polite way of following up with someone who has not been responding. 
  2. Because it is better than something like “Please respond to my last email.”



Hi Ashley,
Hope you have had a nice weekend gone by. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • Monday emails of all kinds. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. I have had my emails answered to this opening line where people responded to how their weekend went and if it was a good or a not-so-good one. This simple line can open up more personal conversations, which are a great way to bond.  
  2. It is a generic line and sweet.


19-ways-to-start-an email-way9

Hi Ashley,
Sorry if I am intruding on a busy day/week for you, but I really need this information to get the project started. Do you think you can….

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • To a very busy client who is infrequent in responding to emails.
  • When you have already sent 3 follow-up emails, and there has been no response to those. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. This line is an empathic one – we all have been dead busy at times when it is a fortnight of super important work, and responding to any other email looks like a waste of time. This line can help you get noticed and trigger a response from the recipient. 
  2. We are still polite with this 4th attempt at getting a response, and the recipient might just be kind enough to respond. 


19-ways-to-start-an email-way10

Hi Ashley,
I absolutely loved your article on <xyz topic>! What a power-packed post!

Speaking about your account with us….

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • A new client with whom you have started working recently. 
  • A blogger client. 
  • A client who is active on social media. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. It is genuine and a great way to get to know your client better. 
  2. Reading blog posts or social media posts can educate you much faster about what your clients’ business is about.  


Hi Ashley,
It is nice to be writing to you again. Hope you have been well all this while 🙂

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • You are connecting with a client after a hiatus. 
  • You are connecting with a team member after a long time.

Why does this opening line work?

  1. Simple and a great way to reconnect after a gap.



Hi Ashley,
Sorry for the unsolicited introduction email, but I think our services are what you have been looking for. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • Sales emails to people who are not on your contact list. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. This line worked when I once tried email marketing (not bulk emailing) to unsolicited prospects. I had a response rate of more than 50% on this.
  2. Polite enough for people not to report your email as spam. 


Hi Ashley,
Thank you for contacting us. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • To clients who have reached out to you first. 
  • To anybody who has reached out to you for an inquiry. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. It acknowledges the effort of reaching out proactively. 
  2. The simple, unassuming line to respond to an inquiry. 



Hi Ashley,
Thank you for your email reminder. Much appreciated! 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • When you are the client, and you have been reminded of sending some piece of information. 
  • To a team member who reminds you of a deadline or information pending from your end. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. Nice way to appreciate the time taken by the other person to remind you of your side of the work. 
  2. Polite yet terse saves time. 


Hi Ashley,
It is just a gentle reminder that we are awaiting your confirmation on the template design to start with the development. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • You are awaiting confirmation to start with the next phase of your work. You can replace the words ‘templates’ and ‘development’ with what your industry-specific terms are. 
  • Sending a reminder.

Why does this opening line work?

  1. It is super polite and has a good success rate of evoking a response.



Hi Ashley,
How are you? Hope well. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • Any, and every kind of email – work updates, payment reminders, writing after a long time, etc. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. Probably the most asked question worldwide – “How are you?” is one of the most well-meaning questions you can start any conversation with. 


Hi there,
I would love to explore opportunities to work together. How best can we collaborate?

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • Exploring services of a company. 
  • Reaching out for collaboration in terms of sales-related tasks.

Why does this opening line work?

  1. This is a great line to show your interest in the services of the company. 
  2. For social media collaborations, paid partnerships, this is a great way to express interest. 



Hi there,
Quick question – are you accepting guest posts? 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • Asking for information that is mutually beneficial to both parties but has a chance of going unanswered.
  • For sales emails. Just replace the content after ‘Quick question’ with what you want to ask. 
  • For service or product-related queries.

Why does this opening line work?

  1. It gets seen right in the snippet.
  2. Short and terse, and can be responded with a quick Yes/No or Not now, thereby having a higher response rate. 



Hi Ashley,
Hope this has been a good week so far. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • You are writing in the middle of the week, say, on Wednesday or Thursday. 
  • It can be used in regular and not-so-regular email exchanges. 

Why does this opening line work?

  1. Pretty similar to lines like ‘how are you’ and ‘hope you are well.’ However, it can evoke some natural responses from the recipient where they can write to you if something extraordinary has happened. 


Hi Ashley,
Hope you are having a great day. 

Scenarios where you can use this opening line:

  • Regular updates. 
  • Every kind of email – be it payment, sales, or reminder emails.

Why does this opening line work?

  1. A well-meaning line and works well for regular communications.

A little about salutations

Should I write Hi or Hello?

If you think that people are fussy about whether you write a Hi in place of a Hello or that they might get offended for calling them dear – you’re probably wrong.

Most people are not bothered by the differences between Hi or a Hello.

Is writing Dear [Name] alright in professional emails?

It should be absolutely alright! I personally like it when people write Dear as it is an endearing term, and a little affection virtually never did anyone any harm.

Is writing Hey [Name] too casual?

Well, perhaps it is more casual than a Hello. Again, most people are okay with salutations as long as you write the correct spelling of their names.

Should I address by First Name or something like Mr. and Last Name?

Both should work well. Though culturally some countries prefer first names and some others prefer a more formal way of writing like  Mr./Mrs/Ms. and the Last Name, virtually people are a lot more tolerant to either first or last names as long as the email is polite and courteous.

If there’s a middle name, should I include that with the first name when addressing it?

Ideally, no. If you are writing to a certain Ashley Renee Graham, refrain from using ‘Hi Ashley Renee” in your salutation.

Should I use Hi there or something more formal like ‘To Whom It May Concern” where I do not know the name to address?

‘Hi, there’ is much, much better.

Before we conclude, let’s quickly see some red flags when it comes to opening lines. Please try avoiding using these as your opening sentences in emails, however short you are of time.

  • Please reply to my last email.
    Use instead: Could you get the time to go through the last email I sent?
  • Direct questions that sound more like interrogation: Did you check the last email? When are you going to reply? When can we talk about business?
  • Having a signature opening sentence – this just doesn’t work with opening lines. You’ll end up sounding robotic and uninspired with life in general. Imagine writing “Hope you are well” to every email you send throughout the year. Make your emails more real and human.
  • Trying too hard – no, you don’t need to write a new kind of opening line in every email. That’s way too much customization, not worth the time needed for it.

To end, I’ll go back to the paradox. Email is not literature but has literature of its own. I was right that I could develop my writing skills but was wrong in equaling the genre of email writing with any other kind of writing.

When you write, write in a conversational way. Make it look like you are speaking to them.

Be in the habit of regular reading and get your vocabulary to a point where you know how to converse with the right words and phrases.

You may also like to read our guide on how to write landing page copy that converts.

Did you like our tips?

Have they helped you?

Do let me know.

And if you have some interesting opening lines that are an ice-breaker, send those to us in the comments.

Share on:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *