Networking

Do’s & Don’ts of E-Mail Etiquette

emailetiquetteSending cold e-mails can be a daunting task. What subject line do you use? What if they don’t read the e-mail? What if they think I’m crazy?  Did I include a signature? There are a thousand and one questions that could be going through your head, but if you take the time to properly prepare, you can confidently send cold e-mails and know you sent the best, thoroughly planned and prepared e-mail they’ve probably ever seen!

DO: Your Research

Research is the first step in sending an e-mail to someone you don’t know. If you aren’t familiar with this person, then get familiar. Visit their websites, look at social media profiles, and read any other information you can find on them. Don’t ask questions that an easily be found in a Google search. Sending e-mails that show that you have not done your research are insulting and more than likely won’t grant you a response, at least not the one you were hoping for.

DON’T: CC or BCC

One thing I don’t recommend to anyone is using the CC or even the BCC feature to e-mail multiple people the same general, impersonal e-mail. You can’t personally address the person by their name, or add that little note about their early beginnings in Oklahoma, where you were born and raised. It’ll show the research you did, and give you a personal connection.

 DO: Start with a Greeting

Many of these people are getting thousands of e-mails a week from people who want something from them. The least you could do is wish them Good Morning or Good Afternoon. Let them know you hope their day is off to a good start, and even let them know how much you admire their work and respect their craft. This sets the tone and opens them up to reading and receiving the rest of your e-mail.

DON’T: Beat Around the Bush

You’ve gotten their attention, now what are you going to do with it? Do not use that e-mail to ask them how they got started, or how they can help you. Instead, briefly let them know what you have to offer them.  Let them know that you have skills to bring to the table. Not only give you the opportunity to ask all those “What do I need to do to get there” questions, but will make a person be more inclined to help you.

DO: End With a Proper Signature

Now you’ve done the hard point, do not ruin this well written e-mail by hitting send end with “Sent from my iPhone” as the closing.  Take the time to write an actual signature. That means at least a first and last name, maybe a phone number, and definitely a website if you have one.  And don’t forget the thank you!

And there you have it, quick and easy steps to sending more professional e-mails.  And don’t think these suggestions should be exclusive to cold e-mails.  Make these steps a habit in all of your e-mails to build an image of professionalism throughout your entire network.

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