How to start an email to a company to catch their attention

Updated on August 8, 2023
How to start an email to a company to catch their attention

Wondering how to start off an email to a company in order to catch their attention but appear competent at the same time?

I bet that you are eager to step up your netiquette game.

Well, here is what I have noticed over the past 10 years or so of handling online communication as part of my job.

The best way to start an email to a company is with a very precise subject line, followed by an informal greeting such as “Hi”, “Hey,” or “Hello” and a short explanation about the nature of your inquiry. This formula has never failed me!

And here’s the thing, I always intuitively felt that informal greetings just sound a lot better in online communication and produce better results compared to the good old “Dear” and “Greetings.”

But then I stumbled upon some resources that actually back up this notion.

So it is understandable if you feel a little uneasy approaching a company by email out of nowhere (with an informal greeting at that), especially if you have never done it before.

You might be feeling like an impostor, thinking that your inquiry will be ignored or, even worse, frowned upon.

And what if even the very way you wrote the email is judged?

Hey, no worries! Let me tell you that I’ve approached hundreds of companies by email.

So I will give you my best tips and tricks on how to start a formal email to a company in a way that increases your chances of getting a reply.

How to start an email to a company with no name

How to start an email to a company with no name

So, you have to send an email to a company. But there’s just one problem.

You have no name of a person to address. You have no idea who is going to open your email.

Well, let me tell you that this is not a problem at all. It is not a big deal. Companies these days receive a lot of emails with all sorts of inquiries. They’ve seen it all.

The company representative who will open your email will appreciate it a lot more if it is concise, precise, and to the point. The accepted formalities come second.

Here are a few tips on how to start an email to a company you don't know when you don’t have a person’s name to address:

  • Make sure your subject line is short and to the point.
  • As a greeting, use a casual “Hello,” or “Hi.”
  • Briefly introduce yourself and who/what you represent in the email opening sentence.
  • Then state your business in one or two sentences but don’t go into too much detail.

Another thing I like to do is to use the company’s name in the greeting. For example, “Hello Tesla,” or “Hi Apple.” Personally, I think it is cute but at the same time, it is polite and respectful. 

However, you don’t have to add the company’s name if you feel awkward about it or if you think that it would be inappropriate.

How to start an email to a company example draft

To: company@idon’tknow
Subject: A few questions about your product/service [short and precise]

Hello, / Hello [add company name],

I am [your name] and I represent [company/organization]. [introduction]

We have a few questions about your product/service because we are interested. [stating your business]

I hope it is fine with you if we ask them here…

What makes this email writing approach effective

Effective email writing

As you can see, all it takes is a few simple lines and you are providing the person on the other side with all the information they need. 

There is no need for overly dramatic formalities, comprehensive introductions, and detailed explanations. The tone remains formal and respectful, yet it is relaxed and predisposing.

In my experience, I have found out that this is the best way to start emails to companies and grab their attention because the short precise sentences and the relaxed confident tone hint toward authoritativeness.

This approach has never failed me. You can use this method when you apply for volunteering through email as well.

Informal email greetings are better – here’s why!

This data analysis of more than 300,000 messages reveals that informal sounding greetings such as “Hey”, “Hello”, and “Hi” have a significantly higher response rate compared to greetings that are accepted as formal, such as “Greetings” and “Dear.”

So what is going on here?

I am neither a trained psychologist nor linguist but, from what I understand, it's about context.

Formal greetings put everything that follows in a tone of voice that is colder, more distant. It’s almost as if the people who are in communication don’t really like each other.

At the same time, informal greetings are used to express familiarity and shared understanding. Which gives people warm fuzzy feelings.

And this is a great advantage to have when you hope for the best possible outcome from your online communications.

The power of "because" and "you"

Also, I always make sure to use the word “because” and give a good reason for my inquiry because a famous Harvard research from 1978 by Ellen Langer suggests that it is incredibly persuasive.

Another word I make sure to use is “you” because it is very attention-grabbing.

And here’s how to end an email to a company to get a reply

Data analysis of 350,000 email threads suggests that the best way to end an email to a company is by expressing gratitude. Email closing words such as “thanks in advance”, “thanks”, and “thank you” are more likely to elicit a response compared to “kind regards”, “best regards”, and “regards.”

Some concluding thoughts...

What we can learn from these examples is this: as professionals, we constantly strive for higher sophistication but even the intricacies of formal interactions are dictated by our most basic human needs.

So I tell you this – in a world that wants you to be formal, be friendly!

Key takeways

  • Start your emails to companies with informal sounding greetings like "Hi" and "Hello" because they increase your chances of a response.
  • To compose your emails, stick to short and to-the-point sentences that clearly state your business.
  • Use persuasive and attention-grabbing words such as "you" and "because."
  • Always finish your emails by expressing gratitute. Use "thanks in advance" and "thank you."
Written by:
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galin office topics square
co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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