Try this

“That’s because it IS simple, you idiot.”

He was getting wound up now. I didn’t want to push it, but, then again, I still didn’t believe it was as easy as he was making it out to be.

“I’m sorry, but there has to be more to it than that… there just has to.”

He let out an angry sigh and slumped in his chair. I looked at my watch – 22:31. It was getting late.

“… let’s try it one more time, shall we…?”

– – –

The only reason some things are complicated is because we’re the ones making them that way.

For example, we know that to lose weight, we need to eat less and move more, right? 

Pretty simple.

That’s why there are no overweight people on the planet any more – the idea of “eat less and move more” is just sooooo simple to understand…

(It’s also why it’s practically impossible to find a diet book or piece of exercise equipment for sale on Amazon)

… “eat less and move more” works – we don’t need anything else.

It IS that simple… but it ISN’T that simple.

We still use complex apps to calculate our macros… strap electrodes to our freshly-shaved chests to ensure we’re sweating our nuts off in the right “zone”… and we still down precisely 3.3827 litres of goat urine, because an Argentinian Medical Journal said it was better at breaking down fat than emu pee.

Writing emails is like this. It seems easy – you just sit down and write… right?

Trouble is, even if you have a topic you want to talk about – something you know you’re audience is going to eat up – you’ve still got to sit down and start the damn thing.

You still have to go into battle with the taunting blinking cursor and its tag-team partner – the blank screen of death!

How do you write a great opening sentence… one that’s compelling for your reader, but also allows you to effortlessly create your masterpiece by launching you into the elusive “Flow” state?

Would it be handy to have a quick tip or idea you can use to hook your readers in – in a way that doesn’t make them feel cheated, like when they clicked on that “You won’t believe what Julio Iglesias looks like NOW!” article?

(Besides, you WOULD totally believe it… the man is 76 years old!)

Good news! There IS a top-secret technique, and, even better, you don’t need to shell out on a Masterclass with Steven Spielberg to learn it.

Want to know what it is?

Let’s get back to the dialogue…

– – – 

“Right… OK… Let me get this straight… You’re saying I don’t have to start at the beginning of a story when writing an email?”

“No. If you want to hook your reader in, start somewhere near the middle.”

“But won’t that be confusing?”

“That’s the point.”

“To confuse them?”

“No – to draw them in. You’ve got to make them want to know what’s going on.”

“…and you can do that just by starting in the middle? Are you sure? It sounds a bit too simple…”

“That’s because it IS simple, you idiot.”

He was getting wound up now. I didn’t want to push it, but, then again, I still didn’t believe it was as easy as he was making it out to be.

“I’m sorry, but there has to be more to it than that… there just has to.”

He let out an angry sigh and slumped in his chair. I looked at my watch – 22:31. It was getting late.

“… let’s try it one more time, shall we…?”

“OK, so you’re saying that if I begin my emails halfway into the action, instead of at the beginning, it’ll create an… what did you call it again?”

“An ‘Open-Loop’”.

“Yeah… an open-loop. So, if I start my email there… in the middle… when the action’s already kicked off, it’ll grab my reader’s attention…?”

“Yeah, they’ll be like, ‘what the hell’s going on?’ … they’ll start to imagine what you could be talking about… they’ll try to fill in the blanks – like a puzzle. An open-loop creates questions, and questions need…?”

“ANSWERS! Gotcha! So they stick around to answer their questions and, to do that, they need to read the whole email.”

“You know…”, he said, relaxing back in his chair as a grin appeared on his face, “… I think we’ll make an emailer out of you yet…”.

I let out a nervous laugh. Now was probably not the time to tell him I’d forgotten my Mailchimp password…

John