Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association


Letter openings
by Ray Jutkins

101 "Interesting" Ways to start your Direct Mail

Starting to write anything is tough.

Starting direct mail letters can be more than can be horrible!

I know. I write a lot of them.

The opening line is so, so critical.

Good friend Phil Slater, Manager of the Direct Marketing Centres that operate as a part of New Zealand Post, put together his list of favorite direct mail letter openings. That got me watching my mail box.

I've selected 101 "interesting" openings from the wide variety of direct mail arriving on my desk.

Before I begin, a couple of thoughts:

... the opening paragraph should be short... keep it to 11 words. And absolutely no more than 17!

When you follow this simple principle, you'll be more likely to be read. And understood.

...the second paragraph is equally important... a max of 50 words. If you get your reader to read 50 words, you will get them to read 500.

Slip them into your message with short opening paragraphs. is my list of 101 "interesting" direct mail openings:

  1. As a member in good standing...
  2. You may now enjoy...
  3. How much time and effort do you spend on...
  4. Ask 10 people what _____ means to them, and....
  5. I'm writing to tell you about...
  6. I know _____ will build your business.
  7. Next week is the last week for you to receive...
  8. There's one reason for accepting...
  9. Would answers to any of these questions...
  10. How to fight the high cost of ____
  11. This letter is going to be short and to the point.
  12. It's true: _______ helped me...
  13. The first time I used ____ I earned (learned, saved, made, enjoyed, ... ) _________
  14. ______ is a proven resource for raising money.
  15. This report will update you on....
  16. There are few sights more beautiful than a ...
  17. Before you read another word...please take a moment to look at ___________
  18. If you love _____, this is for you: _______
  19. Just like stop signs, fire hydrants, watermelons, cherries, and hearts, this touch of red instantly identifies...
  20. I'm pleased to inform you of a very special offer reserved in your name.
  21. I'm pleased to inform you of ....
  22. If you're like me, you have less time than ever!
  23. If you're like me, you have . . .
  24. What do you do when you need . . .
  25. On Thursday, April 6 an important event will take place.
  26. Thank you for placing your trust in us.
  27. It is my privilege to invite you to . . .
  28. We agree that . . .
  29. Your interest in .... reveals something important about you: ________________________
  30. Stop for a moment!
  31. Do these situations sound familiar: _____________
  32. If it hasn't happened to you yet, it will!
  33. The Chairman of the Board asked...
  34. I invite you to accept membership in...
  35. Last week something happened to affect your business.
  36. If you've put off ______, now is the time.
  37. When the government shows up at your office, what will you do?
  38. You have 5 minutes to convince the Board they should say "Yes!".
  39. As you can imagine...
  40. It is my personal pleasure to ...
  42. Beginning May 1 . . .
  43. WELCOME!
  44. Your work is vitally important!
  45. You've been selected to receive...
  46. As a member of . . .
  47. You are cordially invited to...
  48. We're pleased to offer you...
  49. I'm pleased to offer you...
  50. I never thought of our industry as a political target.
  51. If you find the art of personal self-improvement (fill-in your service here) useful, you'll be fascinated by this story.
  52. This is your invitation to become a member of ...
  53. I'm writing you today as a mother (or father).
  54. I'm writing you today as a friend.
  55. As you're reading this letter, the anti-forces are...
  56. People take their chances when they go out these days.
  57. When we checked our records, we hadn't received your reply.
  58. There are a dozen good reasons I could give you for ...
  59. You'd think that after all the years we've spent working with ...
  60. I tried to call you the other day about.
  61. I'm writing to you because this news can make a difference.
  62. You really can live the life of your dreams.
  63. Imagine inner peace. Joy. Harmony.
  64. Imagine. . .
  65. _______ is now available to meet your needs.
  66. Please let me tell you quickly about ...
  67. I know we'd miss you. I'd like to think there's a chance you might miss us.
  68. Have you been invited recently to participate in ...
  69. Exciting? Sure it is!
  70. This is a difficult letter for me to write.
  71. You can actually save money on ...
  72. It's a real pleasure to invite you...
  73. Are you dissatisfied?
  74. Are you disappointed?
  75. Your clients look to you for...
  76. A few weeks ago I sent you...
  77. The marketplace is as tough as it has ever been.
  78. There's a very good reason when someone like you has earned the right to ______
  79. Do you want to _____?
  80. You're constantly trying to . . .
  81. Okay, I know you get a lot of letters that promise you a bundle...and then ask you to sign your life away in return. This letter is different.
  82. This letter is different.
  83. This is the last time I will be able to write you.
  84. Would you like to save _____?
  85. We're pleased to tell you as a good customer of ______ you are regarded as someone special.
  86. Has this ever happened to you? ________________
  87. Over a million people can't be wrong!
  88. First, you have to have a dream.
  89. How would you like to be featured in ....
  90. How would you like to have your pet featured in ...
  91. Good News!
  92. Your name appears on a list of ______
  93. When you ordered ______ 7 years ago, you joined our family.
  94. They say everybody likes to talk about the weather...but nobody ever does anything about it. Not so here!
  95. You're a very busy person, so I'll be brief.
  96. Prepare yourself for more than a few pleasant surprises.
  97. Have you ever wasted valuable time giving your pitch to the wrong person?
  98. I want to give you, absolutely FREE!, _________
  99. Here's your chance to grab ( to enjoy, to earn, to make, to save, to learn, to gain, to win, to buy, to _____)
  100. If you love _____, you'll love ____!
  101. Thank you!
  102. I can't imagine anyone not taking advantage of this risk-free opportunity.
  103. It happens a lot.
  104. Now you can discover the critical facts and key issues...
  105. Now you can discover ...
  106. Seeing is believing
  107. If you've never studied a Picasso - up close...why not make this your year to do it?
  108. You read about it. Now do something about it.

About Ray Jutkins, October 3rd, 1936 — January 6th, 2005. Ray was one of the NMOA’s most generous contributors. Over the years Ray supplied the NMOA with hundreds of tips and articles for members. This is just one of many. Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa. Keep an eye out for more of Ray’s marketing tips and how-to articles in the pages of Direct Marketing Digest and the article archive on the NMOA website.


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