Likely being your first method of contact, Introductory Emails play a major roll in reaching out to contacts in order to begin the "sales process." This is true whether you're selling an actual product, or whether you're selling yourself (Not yourself yourself, but your brand). We sometimes have the impression that Introductory Emails are always deleted and we decide to spend our time trying other methods. The truth is that a well crafted introductory email is often the best method to reach people. Remember, we're all busy and many of us are on the move.
We're not saying you're going to have success with every email, but the return on investment for the time it takes to send out a quick email can be huge. Think about how much time it takes to go through your call-planning sheet, build up the courage to pick up the phone, call the switchboard, be put on hold, then transferred to voice-mail where you leave a message that is (unfortunately) likely to never be returned.
The problem with Introductory Emails is that they litter all of our Junk Mail, SPAM, and Deleted folders. So how do you create one that will stand out from the crowd and get you that all-important reply? Make sure your email arrives and is opened, then follow steps below to make sure your Introductory Email is noticed.
Make it Relevant, Make it Personal.
All the other elements really take a back seat to Relevance and Personalization. Our fingers hover over the delete button, looking for the first sign of an non-personal bulk-SPAM message. Thanks to crafty people, using someone's first name in the "Hi ..." is no longer enough to show the recipient that the email is personalized. Using their name again in the body of the email or better yet, talking about their project or company tells them that the email is personal. Talking about their company or project also has the added benefit of telling them the email is relevant to them and that you aren't just shotgun-blasting emails out.
Did you know that an individual Banana Fruit is also called a "finger?" Now you can call the doctor and tell them you have yellow fingers. Great hey?
Talk about yourself
It's an introduction, so make sure to tell them who you are and why your company is relevant to them. Sending a link to a page with customers you've worked with or testimonials is a great way to introduce yourself and show that you're relevant at the same time. The best part is that if the recipient is interested, they can click it and get all the information they need, but you didn't have to build out your email to get the information in there.
Keep it Short
As a best practice we also suggest keeping emails short and to the point, remembering always to come across as friendly. Keeping emails short tells the recipient you respect their time, but it also encourages you to get to the point quickly and gives you a better chance that they will read far enough to actually get to your point. You might find long emails work in your industry, that's great, we just tend to prefer things shorter.
Have a point
Before you send out your beautifully-crafted email, make sure that you have a clear call to action or some kind of next step. Ask for a quick reply, or let them know to expect a call. Your approach will differ depending on your industry and personal style, but make sure there is some kind of call to action.
Keep in mind that Introductory Emails can be similar to cold-calling when it comes to the numbers game. You'll have some people that won't respond or won't be interested, but you'll also have people that are interested and do respond. Do you love cold-calling and have tried-and-true success with it? that's great! But if you find yourself stuck in voice-mail jail, try to supplement your efforts with an introductory email. It may end up being your "get out of jail free card."