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Opening Sentences

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  Opening Sentences that Sell

Dit is een artikel afkomstig van de site Helaas is deze site verdwenen. Het artikel bevat een uitgebreide handleiding met daarin het doel van een goede opening, diverse schrijftechnieken en voorbeelden van goede openingszinnen.

Opening Sentences that Sell
Georgina Laidlaw

Ok, now that we've written our headline, let's develop the opening paragraph for our email communication.

As you'll recall, we're writing an email to a targeted audience -- customers of health club -- to sell them the spammiest product of all -- herbal Viagra. As we saw last week, to break through the email clutter and get a recipient's attention for a product like this is difficult -- but it can be done.

Today, we'll write our opening paragraph. To kick off, let's look at what we'll have to achieve with our opener. Then we'll look at some opening paragraphs from a few spam emails that have arrived in my inbox recently, and see what we think of them. Using the information we glean from this, we'll write our opener.

The Challenge: Usage Situation

The situation in which our user finds themselves when they open our email will be critical to how they receive the correspondence. The recipients might receive the email at work, at home, on their pda -- anywhere. A business-oriented mailer might be more convinced that their mailing list contained largely work email addresses, but could have either work or recreational addresses on their list.

This means that recipients could be under any number of pressures while they're wading through their inbox and (hopefully) reading the email:

  • they might be about to go into an important meeting with their boss

  • they could be researching late at night

  • they might be emailing a friend

  • they might be grocery shopping online

While we don't know what they'll be doing, we can be fairly sure that at least some recipients are likely to be multi-tasking online (as many people do when reading email).

This means one thing: our email opener has to have considerable power, and a giant hook, if it is to take the reader's attention away from everything else they're engaged with at that moment.

The power comes from the language we'll use and the structure of the communication itself.

The size and impact of the hook will depend on the benefit we base the communication upon, and how well we communicate the importance of this benefit to the clients.

Let's Try Some Spam

Let's look at a few openers from some spam I've received recently, and see how they shape up against the power and hook requirements we talked about above.


Would you spend $60 per month to receive a Guaranteed Residual Income of $1,000.00-$6,000.00 in seven short months?

If you ever wanted to generate TRULY PASSIVE Income without alot of hype, your time has come!

You are one of a select few people receiving this email. THIS OFFER WILL NOT LAST!

The first thing that appears in this email is the code at the top -- not a great way to kick off an email from the reader's point of view. And I don't know about you, but I had to read the opening sentence more than once before I grasped it:

  • I'm not familiar with the term 'residual income' so this was a stumbling block.

  • The presentation of the figures, with all those zeros, might be designed to make it look like a lot of money, but again it stops the eye and slows down comprehension.

  • Use of the word 'seven' instead of the figure '7' again slows down the communication.

I'm bored with this email by the end of the first sentence, not to mention annoyed by its typos.

So what might a better message be? What about:

Invest in your future!

Spend $60 a month and enjoy returns of $1000 to $6000 in just 7 months.

Smoother, sharper, and a lot more powerful. Next: a Viagra spam!


RealViagra Without A Doctor's Appointment
Fill Out Our Simple Online Form
Our Doctor's Will Approve You In Minutes!
Receive Your Prescription In 24 Hours By Fed Ex
Other Prescriptions Are Available

Again, more typos (I think we can safely make 'spellcheck' a golden rule of promotional email). This email also starts with an ID code which doesn't exactly inspire reader confidence.

The bullet point form of this email makes it easier to comprehend, but at the same time, the fact that each point is written in 'Title Case' negates the impact of this style.

But look at the message. The 'benefit' is the order process: 'Avoid embarrassing doctor's appointments!' boasts the email a little later. While this may not appeal to our health-conscious recipients, it might appeal to a different target audience.

The message is clear, and well-communicated, but the maintenance of brand integrity (which will want to ensure) is obviously not a priority with this email.

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