Want to know a secret?
Nobody can resist a secret. Were you ever left out when your friends were telling secrets when you were a kid? Weren't you dying to know? This one's a winner.
You'll never guess what happened after my last e-mail.
This works best when followed by a sentence that personalizes it for the recipient. The first sentence of the email could read "... I didn't get to meet you. I'm glad I get to now."
You'll swear by me, not at me.
Members we surveyed reported humor as their best technique for getting e-mail opened. However what you find funny might not make somebody else laugh, so run it past a friend first. You have to funny, not whiny and not obnoxious.
We have something in common.
The best approach is to personalize the e-mail with details out of the member's profile. This shows that you cared enough to read the profile and make an effort. A weaker version of this is to say that the thing you have in common is your desire to meet someone online, and then to talk quite frankly about your experience doing this. Most people appreciate honesty. Another version of this is: "We have a friend in common-each other" (which, strictly speaking, isn't a logical statement, but when you're trying to start a conversation, who's counting?)
Your screen name rhymes with _____!
For instance, if someone's screen name is Paulb, you might say "your screen name rhymes with date me" or if your screen name was TrueDish, you might says "your screen name rhymes with my wish." An alternate version of this is to say something off the wall, but engaging, for names that have no rhymes like "your screen name reminds me of my second grade teacher." And in the e-mail... "Were you Mrs. Scary Orange at Pearson Elementary in 1985?" And then go on to be funny.