Making the first step in communications with a potential client can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. You want to make sure you start off on the right foot, but you also don’t want to seem too eager or overbearing.
As much as we would all love to have things happen perfectly according to plan, the reality is that there are many variables at play when establishing business relationships.
When it comes to starting an email and making that all-important first impression, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
How to Start an Email?
While it may be tempting to jump right into the body of your email, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of the subject line.
That’s the actual starting point of your message, and it’s the first thing that recipients will see when they receive your email.
You want to make sure your subject line is clear, concise, and catches the reader’s attention.
It should be specific enough that recipients know what the email is about, but not so long that it gets cut off in their inbox. In general, aim for around 50 characters or less.
Once you’ve figured out the most suitable subject line, you can move on to the actual opening of your email.
The best way to start an email depends on the context and relationship between you and the recipient.
How to Start an Email Professionally
In the white-collar world, things tend to be a bit more formal, especially if you’re emailing someone for the first time.
Some of the classic greetings – such as ‘Dear Mr./Mrs. Smith’ or ‘Greetings’ – have long been considered appropriate for use in business correspondence.
If you want to establish a more casual tone from the get-go, you can use a less formal greeting, such as ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello.’ Just keep in mind that the level of formality should match the subject matter of your email.
You don’t want to come across as too casual if you’re emailing someone about a sensitive or serious topic.
Avoid using stuffy or outdated language in your email opening. Not only will it make you sound old-fashioned, but it could also give the impression that you’re not keeping up with current trends.
Instead of using terms like ‘perchance,’ go for something more simple and straightforward like ‘maybe’ or ‘possibly.’
You should also steer clear of impersonal greetings and passive constructions. Using phrases like ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘This email is regarding’ will make you sound cold and distant.
It’s always best to address the recipient by name, if possible.
Smart Ways to Start an Email
Apart from the greeting itself and the subject line of your email, there are a few other things you can do to make a lasting impression right off the bat.
Sure, anyone can start an email with the same ol’ ‘I hope you’re doing well.’ But if you want to stand out, it’s worth putting in a bit of extra effort.
Making the first move by reaching out to a potential client can be a bit scary.
After all, you don’t want to come across as presumptuous or pushy. One way to ease into the conversation is by introducing yourself when you start the email.
After all, people are more likely to jump into business with someone they feel they know, rather than a complete stranger.
This will give you enough traction for recipients to want to learn more about you and your services.
Consider the Buyer’s Journey
This refers to the process that potential customers go through when making a purchase, from becoming aware of their need for a product or service to taking action toward getting it.
Some individuals do research on their own and then come to a decision independently while others seek guidance from friends, family, or experts.
Keep this in mind when you’re crafting your email, as it will give you a better sense of what needs to be included. If your recipient is at the beginning stages of their buyer’s journey, they may not be familiar with your brand or what you have to offer.
Avoid making assumptions and provide enough information so that they can make an informed decision.
On the other hand, if they’re further along in their journey and know exactly what they need, then you can focus on how you can meet their specific needs.
Once the consideration stage is complete and recipients have decided to go ahead with a purchase, it’s simply a matter of giving them a call-to-action (CTA) that makes it easy for them to take the next step.
State Your Purpose Upfront
When it comes to writing the body of your email, always remember to put the most important information at the beginning.
Recipients will likely skim through your message, looking for the highlights, so make sure the key points are front and center.
If you beat around the bush or try to be too clever with your words, you run the risk of losing recipients’ attention before you even get to the good stuff.
So state your purpose upfront, and then provide additional details later on.
Include Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition is a statement that outlines the unique benefit that your product or service offers. It’s what sets you apart from the competition and it’s an essential part of any sales message.
And let’s be real, if anyone is going to part with their hard-earned cash, they need to know what’s in it for them. It’s a transaction – you give them something worth their while, and they become your paying customer.
How to End an Email
When all is said and done, it’s time to bring your email to a close. Signing off is just as important as how you started the message, with the added bonus of giving you one last chance to establish a good rapport.
Thank the recipient for taking the time to read your email, and let them know that you look forward to hearing from them soon.
Ending on a positive note will encourage them to get back to you and continue the conversation.