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Tips for Writing an Introduction Email
by Startacus Admin
Email is one of the easiest forms of communication. It’s quick and it affords you a degree of informality that a written letter does not, and it can be sent to multiple recipients at once. It is this ease of use that belies the complexities of a well-written email. If you’re writing an introduction email to a potential client or a follow up after meeting them, there’s a good chance that others are writing similar emails to the same person. Yours needs to stand out and grab their attention from amid the slush pile. So here are some tips to help it do just that.
Don’t blanket email
Yes, that little bcc field is tempting, but don’t fall into its trap. You might think you’re being clever and making your email sound personalised when, in fact, it’s going to ten other people, but you aren’t fooling anyone. Take your cue from authors looking for an agent. What is the one thing they are told from every direction? ‘Do not carbon copy your query letter – they can tell!’
Yes, perhaps you have fifty potential clients or investors and it’s going to be a lot of work, but: A) Don’t they deserve that bit of effort? B) Isn’t it better to spend some time on a personalised email that is vastly superior to a generic one that you can send to everyone at once? Those are rhetorical questions, because…yes.
Introducing yourself is all well and good, but if you can get a mutual contact to introduce you, you’ll immediately have an advantage. Of course, this request has its own criteria to fulfil. The better this contact knows you, the less you’ll have to do to convince them to make the introduction, but you’ll still need to put in the effort to explain why you think the intended recipient will benefit from the introduction (if it can also benefit the mutual contact, even better). Don’t ask for the introduction until you have done the research that you’ll need to have done to speak to the potential client; you can then use this research to persuade the contact that they won’t regret introducing you. You could even draft part of the email for your contact to forward on, so they don’t have to spend too much of their own time writing out reasons the recipient will benefit.
Being introduced gives you an advantage because the recipient is more likely to pay attention to someone they already know. While knowing your own value is a good thing, people still trust claims made about you more than those made by you, so the mutual contact saying that you’re good at what you do and what you did to help them will make more of an impact. Even the simple fact that someone else is taking the time to introduce you will have a positive effect.
Yes, we know you’re connecting by sending an email, but does your email connect with its recipient? By immediately making a personal connection with whomever you’re writing to, you make them more likely to at least continue reading. Apart from anything else, it already shows that you have done the above and spent a little time writing an email to them, not to everyone.
Even if your opening is nothing more than stating when and where you met them, who recommended them, or where you came across their name, it creates a small connection, a reference point, that engages the recipient somewhat and encourages them to read on.
Next, secure their interest by briefly explaining what you do and how that relates to them – why they need your service or product (or why it’s the business they want to invest in). Ideally, this should again be personalised rather than ‘everyone needs high quality drone technology, right?’ Something better might be, ‘You mentioned in your blog that you have had DDOS attacks on your site’, and go on to explain how your security services could put a stop to that if they are still in need.
Perhaps your mutual contact mentioned a need that the recipient has (make sure said contact won’t get into trouble for having told you this!), perhaps you read something on their blog, perhaps they mentioned it when you spoke to them in person (why didn’t you bring up your product/service at the time?!), or perhaps your product or service is simply relevant to their own business. Put simply, the more specific and personalised you can be about how your business relates to theirs, the better. If possible, mention a client or two for whom you recently solved a similar problem.
Of course, another way of connecting personally is if you’re able to mention an uncommon commonality. Don’t stalk the recipient, but if you see on their LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter profile that they enjoy rock climbing, and you do too (best not to lie), say so. For example, if their profile picture is of them climbing a mountain you recognise, being able to say ‘Is that X? I climbed that last month’ will instantly connect you to the person and give them more reason to respond.
Call to action
End your email by inviting them to contact you by phone or email to discuss your proposal further or for you to answer any questions they may have. Invite them to have a look at your website for, perhaps, testimonials. Be proactive and offer to give them a call next Tuesday morning. Even if they don’t want you to call, they may feel compelled to reply to your email to ensure that you don’t!
Keep it simple, stupid
Don’t go on and on; say no more than you need to. Remember, the recipient probably receives a fair bit of correspondence every day, possibly in the same vein as your email, so don’t annoy and/or bore them by rambling. Make your points as succinctly as you can and move on to the next.
Don’t contrive to be professional and formal. Don’t be too informal either, but striking a balance between formal and informal will make reading more pleasant, help to make you more personable, and fit with both recipients that prefer to communicate formally and those who prefer more informal conversations.
Choose a pleasing but simple font and format your email properly. And lastly, proofread!
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