Making a first impression is key. Key to start off on the right foot, key to projecting the correct image of yourself and key to setting the tone for the relationship.
The same goes around in your email interactions. Whether you introduce yourself to someone you never met (cold email), introduce yourself following a short acquaintance or as a response to an intro mail by a 3rd party, you should dedicate a few moments to leave a mark.
Set the tone:
First, you need to decide what persona of yours you’d like to show. Many people believe there’s only a single, “true” version of themselves. Mmmm…. Nope. They are wrong. You have as many personas and faces as the amount of people you interact with. Just think of how your grandmother thinks of you as opposed to your next door neighbour (not to mention your MD. Speaking of which who is she to call me a hypochondriac??).
To simplify a complex matter, there are 4 key personas you should consider:
The bestie – this persona is effective, easy to implement and fun to use. Everybody likes a smiling face, so keep your email light hearted and personal. Leave formalities behind, start with “Hi” and end with “Cheers”. Add a joke or a compliment before you get to the point. If you use a signature, use a profile picture where you smile in an outdoorsy environment, add an app to your signature to show your latest Facebook status or add a button to allow people to schedule a meeting with you. Just note that if in real life you aren’t light hearted, but present yourself as one, it might affect cause a dissonance in the long run. To sum up, if you are a fun guy – this might be your best bet!
The meticulous expert – oozing professionalism, lots of attention to detail and strict business approach. People appreciate a pro and this is certainly a good approach. “Dear Mrs.” and “Yours truly” your emails and carefully choose your words, you don’t wanna come out as an amateur. Before you get to the reason for which you emailed, a short professional compliment, might be in order. In your email signature, add your profile picture with a black tie and suit, or use your company’s logo, add a social icon to your state of the art Linkedin profile and links to your personal branded webpage. Just be careful not to come across as too intimidating. Coming across as a Pro is never a bad idea.
Your Average Joe – not too friendly yet not too hard core, the middle ground is not too bad. If you feel uncomfortable being too strict, but don’t want to leave a too loose impression, this might be the road for you. Your sign off of choice would probably be “Kind regards” and you’ll probably start with “Dear John” and omit the “Mr.”. A few words that remind the recipient the context or where you’ve met, will definitely help. Your signature will probably include your company logo, with a dash of color coming from your Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin social icons. As an email app you might choose a disclaimer or a “don’t print this email” green footer. A word of advice, nothing’s wrong with the mid road, just try to keep it a bit more interesting to keep your recipient interested in learning more.
The minimalist – sometimes less is more. Leaving an air of mystery, if done intelligently, might go a long way. Start with “Hello”, get straight to the point, and add with a clear call to action. Sign off with “Best” (“wishes”? “Regards”? Who knows? You are a man of mystery!) and include a minimal yet effective signature – your contact details, and an icon that will lead them to your site, to schedule a meeting or to direct them to your professional webpage. Just don’t forget to make your offer intriguing, because it’s much easier to ignore a minimal emal than, for example, a friendly one.
Don’t forget to follow up:
A single email is nice, a relationship is super. It’s best if you can build up your connection with the recipient step by step. That way, you’ll get optimal results. However, time is always short, so you can’t always build a long lasting connection with any recipient. The next base alternative is to follow up. Follow up? Yep. The chances of getting reply will increase dramatically if you send killer follow up emails. You can read some good advice here.
Get to know them:
Think about it for a second. What’s everybody’s favorite subject? Kittens in wearing funny hats. What’s everybody’s second favorite subject? Themselves!
To help someone open up and be receptive to what you have to tell them, a thoughtful question or compliment might do the trick. “First, let me compliment about your “10 rules to date my hamster” blog post – you nailed it.” can do a better job than you think. In our Google anything world getting to know someone is as easy as it gets. A simple google search can reveal a lot about a person but you can take it to the next level with addons like Rapportive or Clearbit – simply compose an email, and they’ll analyze the recipient’s email address and come back with all the info you can get about the person you are about to email. This can be used to easily personalize the email you are about to send.
Your Personal WebPage:
Your company website is awesome. You might even appear in the “about us” page, and you probably have a LinkedIn profile which is a must. But… is it really about…you? Well, the short answer is “No”. the longer answer is “Not” and the longest answer is “Not at all”.
You are much more than your job title and a few words about your education. A personal website lets you show exactly that. For example, did you know that our accountant is an amateuer photographer? Our legal adviser is also a photographer, while our SEO specialist has a great eye for photography. Well, even if you are not a photographer (you really should consider it though) having your own personal website will show a more 3D version of yourself. Your hobbies, beliefs, favorite music or sports team is a great ice breaker and could serve as a terrific business tool for that exact reason. It can also be a lead generation machine for your side hustle.
You should definitely have a clear link to your website in your email signature. That way, every email you send to introduce yourself can have a formidable companion – your personal Webpage to do the job for you. There are many website and webpage solutions, but my favorite is WiseIntro. Why? Because I work there, duuuh. Oh, and it’s also designed for freelancers or micro businesses, so it’s as simple to use as possible. Oh #2, it integrates with Instagram / Pinterest so I can share my art, with YouTube, so I can share my favorite bands (White Stripes, Gorillaz, the hanson brothers). Oh #3, you should definitely create yours now and tell them Darth Vader sent you.
So what have we learnt?
I don’t know what you’ve learnt. Did you even read it the whole way through or did you just skip to the summary? Did you pay attention or did you check your Facebook notifications while at it?
What I learnt (since I didn’t give it a thorough thought before this post) is that in order to properly introduce yourself in an email, you definitely should :
- Think about the recipient. What’s the best approach to get their attention
- Choose your persona. Should you be friendly or cold as steel professional?
- Follow up on your intro email
- think about the other side and make it personal
- Make your WebPage very accessible, like in the signature example below (don’t have a WebPage? Seriously? Get one right away)