A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Networking Emails that People Can’t Ignore
The professional world is changing rapidly before our very eyes. Telephones are no longer the only way to get in touch with colleagues or a potential boss. Your social media posts are now one of the major tools that hiring managers can use to decide if you are a right fit for their organization or not. Most importantly, you no longer have to rely on knowing the right people to grow your professional network. The Internet has made all these changes – and more – possible.
If you want to find a new job or accelerate your career, then the first thing you need to do is network. Just how important relationships are is one of the only things that has remained constant, even with the Internet revolution that is currently taking place. Various online tools have made it easier to expand your reach beyond your usual contact list. That does not mean that reaching out to people you do not know in a professional context has become any easier.
Whether you want to start a conversation with an HR executive or other people in your field, online networking can be tricky and get awkward really fast. Pushing through your discomfort could open up a whole new world of success for you. Networking is still one of the top reasons why top marketers perform better than everyone else on the team, people get the jobs they want, and entrepreneurs get their startups up and running.
How, then, can you start building these vital relationships? It would be great if they just formed out of thin air, but that is not how the world works. Networking – and doing it well – is your only answer.
With that in mind, you could start your efforts on a professional platform like LinkedIn. The truth is that most LinkedIn In-Mails just get deleted before they are even opened. You could try to connect on Twitter, but that is just too crowded and impersonal to be effective. Similarly, networking events are also too overcrowded and expensive. What about a cold call? I don’t think we have much to say about that one!
What is the Best Channel for Networking?
Therefore, where does that leave you? The truth of the matters is that emails are your best bet. Email is still the most effective way to reach out to new people and network. Studies show that more than 91 percent of all professionals start off each day by checking their inboxes. This number is far higher than any other channel.
The problem is that most people simply do not know how to write a networking email. In fact, they do it so badly that such “cold” emails are usually sent to trash even before they are opened. Why is that the case? If you are reading this post, you might be one of those people trying – and failing – to do networking right.
The reality is that it is harder to reach out to new people through cold email than any other means. This is because of the fact that the recipient does not know you. To make it worse, email does not allow for the kind of real time feedback. So, you would not be able to tweak your approach and make it more suitable for different prospects. As a result, most networking emails flop miserably.
Keep in mind that we are not talking about those sales emails that marketers tend to send in bulk. This article will focus on those networking emails that are sent to a specific person in order to start a meaningful conversation
Networking Email Guides
With all that said, do you want to take your networking to the next level? Before getting into that, you need to know what common mistakes you could be making and how to correct them. Specifically, we will cover the following topics:
3 Steps that will help you write Great Networking Emails
While it is true that email is one of the most effective ways to network, it has gotten quite a bit controversial over recent years. This is simply because networking emails have been painted with the same brush as particularly aggressive sales emails and – even worse – spam. Unfortunately, you will have to fight against these negative perceptions as you begin your own networking. Lucky for you, we will show you how to do this.
If you are to establish a meaningful relationship with a contact, it will require a bit more effort than just a single email. That is why we have prepared this step-by-step guide to help improve your chances of success. It is important to note that this guide is designed to help you nurture strong one-on-one professional relationships, not to blast hundreds of emails to a bunch of poor business people.
This guide is divided into three main steps as follows:
1. Find their email address (or score an introduction)
Before you even think about sending your first networking email, the first step should be research. It might seem a little obvious, but you would be surprised at just how many people blow right past this crucial step.
If you take the time to do a little basic research on the person you want to email, it could mean the difference between success or failure. Little details like their history, interests, professional challenges and even style of communication could help you create an email that is irresistible.
Not only will this approach improve your chances of getting a response, it will also set the right tone for the rest of your communications. The first thing you should do is to try and find anyone who can introduce you to the desired contact.
In case you do not have a mutual connection, find the correct email address for whoever you want to contact. Never, ever use a generic address like ContactName@CompanyName.com. Use this helpful trick to find the email address of anyone you want to contact.
2. Discover where they go online
Thoroughly research where your contact goes while they are online. Do they like Twitter or Facebook? Does the contact prefer to spend time on their own blog or browse through profiles on LinkedIn? This information will help you get further insights into your contact.
You can use free email productivity tools like Sidekick to find this information. All you have to do us type in the contact’s email address and a pop up will direct you to their different social profiles.
You can also go a little deeper through Google using search combinations like:
- Author + First Name + Last Name: This will give you various sites where the contact has published any articles.
- First Name + Last Name + Blog/Website: This combination will help you find out if the contact has a live blog or website online.
3. Identify their interests
Once you know where your contact “lives” online, you will be able to look through various profiles, tweets, and posts. This will help you understand what their professional and personal interests are. It will also give you a sense of the challenges that they may be facing.
Subject Line for Networking Emails
As you read through all these tips and tricks, remember one simple rule: if the recipient does not open your email, there is zero chance of them getting back to you. That is a bit obvious, right? It only goes to highlight just how important it is to make the right first impression.
This is also why this small but vital chunk of the email deserves its own section. Here are some of the top rules to remember when writing networking email subject line:
1. Create some curiosity
One of the most successful viral content sites analyzed a number of their most successful headlines. Through this, they found that every single headline created something known as the “curiosity gap.”
You can also apply this principle to your subject lines for networking emails. You have to make it interesting without giving away everything that is in the message. You cannot be very specific, but neither can you be too vague. Sounds easy, right?
With practice, striking this delicate balance will become second nature for you. Make sure that the subject line is still relevant to what your email is about. You must avoid making the recipient feel like you have pulled a bait and switch on them.
2. Keep it natural
Remember how we pointed out how awkward it can be to get in touch with people who do not know you? Well, you have to ensure that none of that stiffness translates to your messages.
People generally like opening emails that sound like they came from someone they have a close relationship with. Most people tend to act differently for people they do not know yet. This is the wrong move for you.
Instead, write networking email subject lines like those you would send to someone you know well.
3. Keep it brief
If you are doing your own research, you are likely to find some very contrary data on whether or not the length of your subject lines matter. Do not be fooled. The emergence of the mobile phone has completely destroyed most of the findings of these conflicting studies.
Let us do an experiment right now. Take out your cell phone and see how emails look like on the device. You might have noticed that the longer subject lines are cut off. This means that a lot of valuable information – which could help make recipients choose to open your emails – gets lost on that first screen.
Make sure to keep the second rule in mind: would you send it to your friends? If you would never use full-sentence email headers with your friends, why do it with prospects. Apply this thinking to your networking email subject lines and you will be set.
Here are just a few examples of the different subject lines you can use at various stages of the networking process:
- a) The Connect
- (Name of Mutual Contact)
Tip: Mention any mutual contact that you both have to provide some of the necessary intrigue to reel in the contact.
- Your tweet on Networking
Tip: This shows that you are interested in what the recipient is doing and they will want to know your thoughts on it.
- You were impressive
Tip: Using power words like this will stroke the recipient’s ego and leave them wanting to know more.
- b) The Ask
- I can’t believe that Detroit game…
Tip: Relating to the recipient’s personal interest provides an easy connection point for the both of you.
- Free drinks?
Tip: Everyone loves free food or drinks. Use this opening only when you are offering to meet over a great meal.
- My favorites
Tip: This subject line keeps up with the theme of “short and sweet.” It will intrigue the recipient enough to open the email.
- c) Follow Up
- Recovered from (Conference name)?
Tip: People keep track of things from the most recent event that they attend. Therefore, they are more likely to take a peek at emails that are related to it.
- Great branding tips
Tip: Reference a project that the recipient is working on or has mentioned.
- Vacation destination
Tip: Keep it short and highlight a trip that the recipient may have taken recently.
Networking Email Samples
Below are a few networking email samples that you can use for the different networking stages:
Networking Email Template 1
Hey (Contact Name),
I loved your post on (specific post title). I shared it with two other friends who have been facing the same challenges, and they just told me they would subscribe to your blog immediately.
Your writing has been very influential on my own work.
I recently read two other amazing posts on (specific topic) that I thought you might be interested in. (Name the specific posts and add the relevant hyperlinks).
I hope you enjoy!
(Your Title and Company Name).
This networking email sample works because of a couple of reasons. First, it is very specific and points out to particular examples that are relevant to the email. It also adds value by showing that you shared the recipient’s work with other people.
This email also flatters the recipient’s ego, which is always a good thing. Lastly, it is also very helpful and shares a few high-quality posts that are related to the recipient’s interests.
Networking Email Template 2
Hi (Contact Name),
I noticed that you recently launched a great new version of your website. I thought you might like some general feedback:
- Feedback 1
- Feedback 2
- Feedback 3
I hope that these ideas are helpful. I have a few more ideas for you but wanted to keep this email short. Just let me know if you are interested in hearing them.
This email hits all the right notes: it adds value, uses a great hook to engage the recipient in further conversation, and shows that you care about their time. Furthermore, it also uses bullet points to make the information even more digestible.
Networking Email Sample 3
Let’s talk expansion
Hi (Contact Name),
I hope you found the links in my last email helpful.
We are also currently in the process of building a growth team too. I am trying to get insights from others who have gone through the same challenges too.
Would you be available for a 10-minute call? I have supplied the questions I am exploring below. I would also be happy to tell you about the other perspectives that I have found. How about:
- Next Tuesday at 3 pm, 3.30pm, or 4 pm?
- Next Wednesday at 4 pm, 4.30pm, or 5 pm?
In case none of these times work, name a time and I will make it work.
- Question 1
- Question 2
- Question 3
This email works before it establishes a prior relationship with the recipient easily and naturally. The body of the message itself is kept short but very specific. This is great because your goal should always be reducing the amount of work recipients have to do to engage with you. It also makes the recipient feel that having a conversation with you will be worth it.
Networking Email Sample 4
Lunch on me!
Hi (Contact Name),
I have just started looking for a new job in (specific field, such as marketing).
Can I buy you lunch at (name a spot that is close to their office) on (mention a couple of dates that are at least two weeks out)?
I would love to hear your thoughts on:
- Question 1
- Question 2
- Question 3
I would greatly appreciate it.
The Follow Up
Networking Email Sample 5
Catch the big game?
Hi (Contact Name)
I saw that overtime win by (relevant team) over (relevant team) last weekend. It was unbelievable! Did you get a chance to watch the game?
Thanks again for the advice you gave me a couple of weeks ago. It was very helpful.
I remember you mentioning that you were looking for (specific position). I recently met (relevant name) who leads the local (relevant organization) and knows a lot of great (specific position) in the area. I think he/she could be very helpful in your search.
Are you interested in a small lunch with you, (relevant name), and I? How about (a spot close to their office) at (specific time) in two weeks’ time. I will organize.
This follow-up networking email works because of a couple of reasons. It starts off by appreciating the recipient and mentioning a personal interest of theirs. It also adds value by offering to connect them to people that they actually need.
This shows that you are stepping up the game and can actually be a valuable contact. Lastly, it makes it easier for the recipient to accept the invitation. They do not have to do anything else other than literally showing up for the meeting and grub.
Networking Email Sample 6
Networking Email Sample 7 – After Conference Follow Up
My favorite book
Hi (Contact Name),
It was such a pleasure meeting you at the (specific conference/event).
I remember that you were talking about how you had a huge marketing (for example) project coming up. I just sent you the eBook version of my favorite sales and marketing book (mention specific book). I hope that it is helpful.
By the way, have you ever thought about using our product for your sales and marketing efforts? If so, I would love to hear any tough feedback. I have compiled a couple of specific questions for you below.
Is there anything I can help with?
This email is a double win because it is helpful while giving the recipient a relevant gift. Pure genius! It also offers specific references and offers specific steps that they can take next. Lastly, the email shows you how to start with a small ask that can potentially lead to a bigger ask or sale, instead of jumping in with the huge ask right off the bat.
Tools to Improve your Networking Emails
Roojet is one of the best ways to find and add prospects to your email list. This tool makes the whole process simple and easy, which can shave off a lot of time and effort for you.
Roojet allows you to find prospects’ emails either in bulk or one by one. Once you find the email addresses you want, Roojet also lets you add them to your campaign with one click. Apart from that, you can also automate your follow up process and track your success throughout the process
We have already mentioned Sidekick a couple of times in this post. That is because it a truly awesome and must-have tool for anyone who uses email to network.
This tool helps you find anyone’s email address and social profiles easily. It helps you set schedules when every email can be sent at the optimal times. Lastly, Sidekick helps you see if a recipient had clicked on or opened your email.
It is a fact of life that people respond in different ways to various communication styles. Crystal makes it easier to identify which style you should use. It does this by making very accurate judgment calls on which communication style you should use. This knowledge, in turn, helps you craft networking emails that work.
Social media is so dynamic today that it has become very hard to manually keep up with news from your networks. Newsle eases this process by automatically sending you notifications when anyone from your social networks appears on the news.
This is a tool specifically designed for the real pros. HubSpot CRM automatically logs and organizes any networking email. It even goes a step further to set up your messages according to the main networking stages. This ability helps you to keep track of the work that you have already done, and how much further you still have to go.
Why do networking emails matter?
This is a pretty simple question to answer. Networking emails are vital tools that help you create meaningful relationships.
One of the only things that has remained the same in today’s changing professional landscape is the importance of relationships.
Using these tips and tools, you can now start creating networking emails that will blow the socks off any potential contact and help you create meaningful relationships that will serve you both for years to come.