When you introduce yourself in person, you have the chance to smile, give a firm handshake, and make yourself memorable. This is a lot more difficult over email when you need to find a way to make your professional email stand out amongst the many emails your recipient receives every day. Whether you’re writing about a job interview, asking for advice, or seeking to build a business relationship, take a look at these tips here to get your introductory email just right.
One simple email has a lot to it. There’s the subject line, the greeting, the introduction, the request, and the sign-off too. Instead of getting caught up in all the parts, start here with our tips on how to introduce yourself in an email.
Start with the Subject Line
Let’s face it: you’ve likely trashed many emails without even reading them. Your recipient has too. They can’t read every email, so they have to decide which ones are worth clicking on based on the subject lines. Before you work on the text of the email, think about what subject line will catch your recipient’s attention. Be specific and concise.
Make sure that your recipient can figure out what the email is about at a glance, and that they know exactly why you’re writing. Don’t write in all caps though, or with something too generic that might be taken as spam.
For a good subject line for your introduction, think about a meeting place, a mutual acquaintance, your company, or your reason for emailing, like a job you’re applying for. If you’re still having trouble, phrasing the subject line as a question is a viable strategy too.
If possible, attempt to address your email to a person instead of a generic business email. This allows you to tailor your email a little more towards someone rather than feeling as if it will go off into cyberspace without a specific recipient. If you’re not sure who you’re talking to, look up the contact on LinkedIn or Facebook.
The greeting is such a small part of the email, yet it’s very important. The greeting you choose in a professional email makes a difference and should be tailored depending on the recipient. If you’re emailing a professional business or about a job interview, something more formal like “dear” may be best. More informal emails might be okay with a more casual greeting, but remember to include the person’s name too.
When using a person’s name, try only to use the first name. This will help you sound more relaxed and less robotic. Remember to double check this, especially if it’s an uncommon name and you don’t want to spell it wrong.
Don’t address someone with Mr./Mrs./Ms. Either, since this will make you seem younger, an avoid generic lines like “To Whom It May Concern.” You want to make it clear that you’ve done your research and know who you’re speaking to.
At the very beginning, clarify who you are. Your email introduction should include details which are relevant to your recipient and which they will immediately care about. Be careful not to waste potential clients’ time with information that doesn’t have anything to do with their business or your reason for emailing.
For instance, a superhero story wouldn’t normally be relevant, but maybe if you’re emailing a company dealing with superhero merchandise, it might work.
For your opening line then, make the line about your recipient in some way. Instead of saying something like “We’ve never met before, but…” or “My name is…” try something asking about something your recipient has done recently.
People usually like talking about themselves and are more likely to keep reading if you can make your email relevant to them.
Having trouble getting started? Consider mentioning a common connection. This gives your recipient someone to connect you with that they already know and a better reason to reply to your email specifically. A referral is a great way to get yourself noticed right away.
This referral can come from a simple mutual acquaintance, someone you had lunch with, or even from a mutual friend on social media. It’s as easy as mentioning that maybe you were discussing the topic with this mutual friend the other day, or that they gave you the suggestion to contact the recipient. Don’t be too heavy-handed about it, but a short referral will go a long way.
In the course of your introduction letter, it’s much better to suggest something or ask a question instead of making a demand. Phrase your request as a question, stipulating that you don’t expect them to do it and that it’s only “if time permits.” Be polite. Ask questions. This practice will get you a lot farther than making the person feel obligated to help someone they don’t know.
Why Are You Emailing?
When you are asking what you want, be explicit and clear on what the benefit is for the business or individual. They’ll want to know why your email is relevant to them quickly, instead of combing through your text to find out why they should respond. This is especially important if you’re cold emailing.
For instance, you might start with an introduction line about the recipient and lead into how that relates to what you need. Think of something like: “I see you’ve worked with such and such before. I’m also working with such and such, and was wondering…” This is of course very generic, but the key is making your explanation are relevant as possible to help the recipient feel special. Even if you are emailing many people at once, you don’t want them to feel that way.
People are more likely to respond if they’re getting something in return for helping, or if the request isn’t too big that it sounds needy or excessive. You can lead into your request in a way that will let your recipient connect the dots without it sounding awkward or forced, and add in an authentic compliment to grease the wheels.
You can perhaps suggest something which may be helpful to them or offer to introduce them to someone that can help them too. This will make them feel more like they’re getting a benefit from talking to you. Do be careful not to go overboard though.
Remember that this introduction should be short and to the point, so don’t give out too many compliments or benefits without asking about your request.
Keep it Short
While you may be tempted to introduce yourself and add in a lot of detail about what you’re doing, people only have a limited amount of time. Your recipient may scroll through their emails quickly when they have time, and when they see a really long one, their eyes will just glaze over right away.
That’s why you want your message to stay short; keep it contained to two or three paragraphs at most, with only a few sentences in each paragraph. Get them to the point of your email quickly, tell them briefly your reason, and keep it short enough that they’ll likely read the entire email and message you back.
A good strategy is perhaps to introduce yourself in the first paragraph, put your request in the third, and thank the recipient for their consideration in the third.
Use a simple font when you’re working. Stick with the usual types like Calibri, Times New Roman, or Arial, and a common font size like 11 or 12. Make sure that whoever you’re sending an email to can easily read your email without having to squint at the size or trying to pick out what the actual words say. The more work they have to put into reading your email the less likely they are actually to read through the entire email and respond to it. It’s good to stick to the same email template.
Call to Action
Before you close off your email, provide a call to action for them to latch onto. Again, don’t phrase it as a demand, but more as a suggestion. If you want a meeting, perhaps suggest which times might work for you and keep your schedule a little more open to accommodate them. If you want them to review something you’ve written, include your attachment right away so that they don’t need to send an email asking for it specifically.
Phrase your call to action as a question asking if it would be possible for your request to be done and making sure that they don’t feel obligated to help you. Try to stay somewhere in between polite and confident.
Avoid phrases like “I know you’re busy…” which will make it seem like you’re desperate and make the request seem so complicated that it would take a lot of effort for your recipient to respond.
Your closing just as important as the introduction. You want to end off your email with something short and professional that will be in some way memorable, and that will make your gratitude clear. Emails that end with some form of “thank you” will be more likely to get a high response rate.
Again, however, don’t go overboard with your thanks. You want to end off with something that’s concise and to the point. More extra details or unnecessary information will lessen the likelihood that your recipient will respond, especially if the extra details distract your recipient from the actual purpose you were emailing about.
Depending on the size of your request, you can go with “thanks,” “thank you,” or “thank you so much.”
Add Your Signature
You’ll want to make it easy for your recipient to get in contact with you when they’re done reading. Include your name at the bottom of course, but be sure that your email address and phone number is there too. They won’t have to guess that a reply email will work, and if they prefer phone calls, will have the ability to get into contact with you that way too.
You can also include your physical address if they’re meant to mail you something.
Before you send out that email, make sure that you proofread it. You don’t want all the hard work that went into your email introduction to go to waste because of a glaring spelling issue or some kind of awkward grammar mistake.
Use spell check before you click send, and read over the email a few times. That first impression is important, and a reader will be less likely to respond if they think you sent it without thinking or reading it over.
You may also want to send yourself a text message. Send it to yourself to see how you receive it and how it reads outside of the draft section of your email. After the test, it’s not a bad idea to Bcc: Yourself too. This way, you’ll see the record of you sending it, and can refer back to the email you sent for any future communication.
You’ve done all this work and your email introducing yourself is perfect. But what happens if you don’t get a response? Well, it’s not a bad idea to try a follow-up that they won’t be able to ignore.
Try to include something in your follow-up which they will have to answer, like advice, tips on mutual interest, or a relevant news article. You can also respond to a social media message of theirs to spark their interest.
There’s a lot that goes into an introductory email. You want to present yourself as professional while giving your recipient a reason to email you back with all the other emails they likely have in their inbox. To set yourself apart from the pack, check out these tips on how to introduce yourself in an email.
These tips can help you nail that email introduction. Hopefully, it will entice your recipient both to read and respond to the product of your hard work. For more information about email marketing tools, read our articles on Drip or Constant Contact.