4.5-minute read (950 words)
Introducing yourself to someone and making an impression when meeting in person is easy — you smile, tell them your name and shake their hand. It’s a different ballgame when it comes introducing yourself via email. Not only do you have to make sure that they open your email, you also have to stand out among the hundreds of emails in their inbox and convince them that a response to you will be rewarding.
Writing an introductory email can be pretty nerve-racking because there’s a lot of pressure to get the wording right. So whether you are writing to potential investors, business partners or would-be customers, here are seven tips on how you as a business owner or a salesperson can introduce yourself via email.
Write a Gripping Subject Line
This is your first email to someone, so piquing their curiosity is key; because unlike getting an email from someone they know, there's no guarantee that the recipient will open — let alone read — yours, unless it catches their attention.
So compel them to open your email by keeping your subject line short and concise. This will also allow them to read it on a mobile device. Be specific and fascinating at the same time. And to ensure your email doesn’t land up in their spam/junk folder, don’t ever use a generic line such as “Hello,” or write in all caps.
These tips could help you catch their attention.
- Mention a mutual acquaintance if there is one
- Bring up things you have in common with the recipient, like a college you both attended
- Include your company name
- Suggest meeting up
- Show that you admire their work; for example, mention a blog that they write
Personalize Your Greeting
The goal here is to build a connection with the recipient of your email, and your greeting should reflect the same. So, while using the traditional “Dear” is fine if you’re writing to someone from the government or a formal industry such as finance, leading with “Hi” or “Hello” is more suitable for casual situations or less-formal industries such as media or travel. Also, avoid generic phrases like “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.”
As for the salutation, you should ideally use their first name — using both first and last name can sound a bit stiff. Ensure that you spell it correctly, and don’t use nicknames.
First, establish relevance by focusing on the recipient, as this will give them a reason to keep reading your email. Even a generic line like “I admire the work you’ve done” will show them that you’ve done your research.
After complimenting them, introduce yourself. Be clear and succinct about who you are and why you are emailing them — emphasize how they can benefit from doing business with you. Don’t forget to mention how you acquired their email address.
Provide a Call to Action
Now that you’ve let them know what you want, it’s time to be explicit and include a clear Call to Action (CTA). Your CTA should be specific and brief. For example, if you’d like to set up a meeting with them, include a link to your calendar app, so they can see when you're available and accordingly book a time. In addition, always use a polite tone — it will get you further than a demanding one.
Thank Them and Sign Off
The best emails are those that are short, sweet and to the point. Unnecessary or excess information can often lower the probability of the recipient actually reading the email. It can also distract them from what actually matters.
On that note, without giving any more information, send your email by showing them gratitude and then signing off with your name, company details and contact information. You can use such basic phrases as “Thanks in advance,” “Thanks so much” or “Thank you so much for your time.”
An error-free email is more likely to make a lasting impression. So, before hitting the send button, read and then reread your email. Review it for any grammatical or spelling errors. You could also ask a trusted friend to review the email for you.
Then, before sending the email to the intended recipient, send it to yourself first to see what it looks like when opened.
In the situation where you don’t get a response, send a follow-up email that the recipient will be less likely to ignore — if someone doesn’t reply to the first email, it doesn’t mean that they’re not interested or they’ll get offended if you write to them again.
While a follow-up email can be tricky to balance being helpful and being annoying, these tips should help you open the correct lines of communication:
- Highlight weaknesses in their business and present them with solutions
- Offer actionable advice
- Mention an article they’ve written and ask a question about it
- Share relevant industry news or articles
- Invite them to an upcoming event
Do remember that sometimes, no matter what you do, there will be those who will not respond to your email for a number of reasons. If, even after sending a follow-up email, you don’t hear from them, try giving them a call if you have their phone number, or use a different tactic to get their attention like sending them snail mail.
The line between being persistent and pushy can be tricky. So if you feel like you've given it your all to get a response from someone but still haven’t gotten it, move on. Eventually, that will be better for your reputation.