November 8, 2021 | 5-minute read (812 words)
When meeting someone in person, introducing yourself and creating a positive impression is simple. You smile, say your name and possibly shake hands, although the latter practice has fallen from favor during the pandemic.
But email introductions are a different story, since you must ensure that your message first gets opened. That means your email needs to stand out from the dozens of other messages in the recipient’s inbox. Further, your email needs to persuade the recipient to respond.
Whether you're composing an introductory email to potential clients, business partners or investors, here are seven recommendations to follow for salespeople, entrepreneurs and business executives alike.
Create an enticing subject line
Since this is your first email to the recipient, you must work to pique their interest. Make your subject line brief and sweet to entice them to open it. A concise subject line also lends itself to being read on a mobile device. Stay away from using all capital letters or a bland subject line like “Hello.”
Pointers for an eye-catching subject line:
- Mention a mutual acquaintance, if applicable.
- Mention something you have in common, such as a college you both attended.
- Include your company name.
- Propose getting together.
- Show you like their work, such as by naming a blog they wrote.
Customize your greeting
The purpose of your email is to establish a relationship with the recipient, and your welcome should reflect that. While the conventional "Dear" is good if you're writing to someone in a government or a formal business setting such as banking, "Hi" or "Hello" is more appropriate for casual circumstances or less-formal industries, such as media or tourism. Avoid using generic terms such as "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern.”
When it comes to the salutation, it is generally preferable to use a first name only. Using both the first and last name can seem unduly formal. Take care to spell their name correctly, and do not use nicknames.
Create relevancy by focusing on the recipient to further encourage them to read your email. Even a simple phrase such as "I like the job you've done" will demonstrate that you've done your homework.
Introduce yourself only after complimenting the recipient. Be concise about who you are and why you are emailing them. Emphasize how doing business with you could benefit them, and let them know how you got their email address.
Make a solid call to action
Now that you’ve informed the recipient what you want, provide a clear call to action. If you would like to meet with them, for example, provide a link to your calendar app so they can check your availability and book a time slot. And don’t forget that a polite tone will get better results than a demanding one.
Thank the recipient and sign off
The most effective introductory emails are short, sweet and straight-to-the-point. Superfluous or excessive information reduces the likelihood your recipient will read the email. It can also divert their attention away from what you intended to convey.
Without providing any further information, express thanks and signing off with your name, company name and contact information. Use a polite, basic closing phrase such as "Thank you in advance," "Thank you so much," or "Thank you so much for your time."
An error-free email is much more likely to leave a lasting impression. Before you hit the send button, be sure to reread your email. Carefully review it for grammar and spelling mistakes. You might consider enlisting a trustworthy buddy to look it over as well.
Before you officially send the email, first send it to yourself to test how it appears when opened.
If you don’t receive a reply, send a follow-up email that the recipient is less likely to disregard. Just because someone didn't respond to your initial email doesn't mean they aren't interested or that they will take offense if you email them again.
While it may be challenging to strike a balance between being helpful and being annoying in a follow-up email, the following guidelines can keep you on track:
Remember that no matter what you do, you will probably encounter some people who refuse to respond to your email, and it could be for any number of reasons. If you do not get a response after sending a follow-up email, consider giving them a call or sending them snail mail.
Keep your eye on the invisible line between being persistent and being pushy. If you feel that you've done your best to get a response to no avail, move on. In the long run, doing so will preserve your reputation.
- Present solutions for potential weaknesses in their business.
- Provide actionable advice.
- Mention an article they've published, and ask a question about it.
- Disseminate industry-related news.
- Invite them to a future event.