The Art of Email Greeting

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’ve received an email from us. Maybe you signed up for our newsletter, maybe you got a coupon, or you just want to let us know you’re visiting. Either way, you got the message — and our sincerest thanks for reading!

Before we move on, a little side note: this article is geared towards marketers, copywriters, and journalists who want to write about the email greeting trend. For beginners, check out the list of the top email marketing tools below.

Why Are Email Greeting Preferences Changing?

As the name would suggest, email greetings are used to greet a new email subscriber. If you’ve ever opened an email and begun reading it without being directed to do so by a hyperlinked subject line or bold text, you might have witnessed what we mean by “ambient greetings.”

Traditional subject lines like “New Subscriber,” “Terms and Conditions,” and “Privacy Policy” are still popular but not as effective as they used to be. Why? First, they’re becoming more commonplace. Second, people are reading email less. Finally, people are sharing emails more. If you want to get a sense of the last point, take a look at the shift that happened after Twitter launched its own email service in 2017.

With Twitter’s email service, anyone can send a personalized message to an individual subscriber by typing in a message and hitting send. In fact, the service is so easy to use that it encourages people to hit the send button without first reading a bland subject line or going through a confirmation email.

As the chart above shows, the send rates for messages with a greeting increased by 21% after Twitter launched its email service. Even more impressively, the average revenue per email increased by 45% after the launch of Twitter’s email service. In other words, brands and businesses are realizing the value of a well-written and personalized email greeting — and they’re acting on it.

The Rising Popularity of Email Greeting

While the art of email greeting has existed since the earliest days of mass email, the practice has been on the decline for years. Traditional subject lines like “New Subscriber,” “Terms and Conditions,” and “Privacy Policy” work just fine in the age of ambient greetings. They’re concise, easy to understand, and they get the point across without resorting to flashy frills or an exclamation point here and there.

However, despite the best intentions of marketers and brands, email greetings are experiencing a bit of a revival. Just look at the evolution of the email greeting below.

The image on the left is a traditional email greeting from 2014, and the image on the right is an example of a modern email greeting from 2020.

Traditional Email Greetings From 2014

The practice of writing a traditional email greeting goes back several years. It was originally used to craft a personal note to an individual subscriber after they’d signed up for an email newsletter or engaged with the brand via social media. The content of the email was usually focused on how they could improve their life or business.

For example, if you run a gym, you might want to write an email to new subscribers to tell them what you have to offer. Traditional email greetings were popularized by services like Aweber, but they weren’t without their downsides. First, they were generally text-based and, as a result, weren’t very engaging. Second, they were difficult to craft for bulk email programs. Third, they were difficult to measure. Finally, they assumed that the reader would either read or ignore the email.

Why Should You Update Your Email Greeting?

If you have an email program that sends out dozens or even hundreds of emails a day, it’s important to keep your audience engaged and interested in your content. One of the simplest ways to do this is with an email greeting. Even if your email looks exactly the same as everyone else’s, as long as you put a little effort into your greeting, it will make a significant difference.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is completely optional. As a marketer, you have a range of options available to you when it comes to crafting an email greeting. You don’t have to use any of these options, but you should feel free to experiment with different formats and methods to see which one resonates with your audience the most.

Which Email Greeting Option Should You Try First?

Now that you have an idea of what email greetings are and how they work, let’s discuss which option you should try first.

The easiest and the most basic option is a text-based one. All you need is a simple “Hello,” “Hey,” or “@namehere,” depending on which one you prefer. If you want to get even more creative, you can experiment with different fonts and maybe throw in a short quote or a joke. But keep the bulk of your message serious and straightforward.

We recommend trying out text-based greetings first. As we discussed above, they’re easy to craft and have the least amount of frills and gimmicks. If you do decide that you want to go with a more personalized or unique approach, you can always come back and try out the other options.

What If Your Text-Based Email Greeting Isn’t Working?

If you tried out a text-based email greeting and it just isn’t cutting it, there are a few things you can do.

You can start by upping the ante with an even more personalized and unique approach. Perhaps you can try out a different line or call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your text. Also, you can add a little flair by using different fonts or colors for the CTA but try to keep it simple and easy to understand. If you’ve gone this far and the CTA still isn’t working, you can either tweak it a bit or try a different approach entirely.

More Personalized But Unique Approach

If you’re feeling creative, you can take the basic text-based email greeting and add a little extra flair. As we mentioned above, you can use a different CTA, experiment with different fonts and colors, or add a picture of yourself or someone you know. But because you’re adding so much more personality, you need to make sure that the people you’re sending it to actually appreciate it. Otherwise, it could come off as tacky or obnoxious. Just make sure that your jokes and references are actually funny or that your photos are relevant to what you’re trying to get across.

When Should You Send Out Your Personalized Email Greeting?

The best time to send out a personalized email greeting is after you’ve had some interaction with the subscriber. This could be via email, social media, or even a survey or quick win quiz that you sent out to gather feedback or to thank volunteers who took the time to fill out your survey. Ideally, you want to send it out after the last interaction you had with the subscriber.

If you don’t already have a system in place to track client or customer feedback or if you just want to supercharge your email marketing program, you can use a tool like Surveymonkey to create a quick survey that will pop up after someone subscribes to your email list. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there too.

How Can You Measure the Success of Your Email Greeting?

One of the great things about text-based email greetings is that they’re pretty easy to measure. You can simply look at the success of your CTA to get an idea of whether or not your email greeting was successful. For example, if you use a call-to-action (CTA) that sends users to a landing page, you can track how many of those users ended up converting into paying customers and how much revenue you’re generating.

If you go the personalized route, it’s even easier to measure. You can use a tool like Mixpanel to track the success of your CTA. Just look at which paths to take to get to the end result you want—in this case, a new customer. You can also use tools like Google Analytics to track the success of your website.

The Future of Email Greeting

At this point, it’s clear that brands want to experiment with different approaches when it comes to email greetings. Whether you choose to go completely text based or go for a more personalized and unique approach, as long as you take the time to find what works best for your audience, you’ll be able to engage with them better and grow your business.

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