Master the Art of the Cold Email

Seven tips for emailing someone you’ve never met.

From Geneva Vanderzeil on A Pair and A Spare:
Master the Art of the Cold Email


1. Keep it short

Rather than writing a long, detailed email, keep this one as short and general as possible, and include links to relevant things you want to reference. You want to spark someone’s interest with a simple, thought-provoking email and then follow up with all the details once they’ve emailed you back.

2. Use their name—and get it right

When you’re sifting through 50 new emails and someone you’ve never met gets your name wrong, you’re likely to delete it. Watch out for any spelling mistakes, and, if you’re sending lots of emails at once, make sure you don’t send an email to the wrong person.

3. Do your research

Make sure you know exactly who the person is that you’re contacting. Where are they located? What exactly do they do? If this info is hard to track down, just make sure you don’t assume anything in your email (for example, don’t say “I hope you’re enjoying this sunny New York weather we’re having!”, only to find out they live in San Francisco).

4. Make a personal connection

The trouble with email is that it’s easy to feel like there’s a robot on the other end, so people don’t necessarily feel compelled to respond. Establish a personal connection by looking through their social feeds for common ground. For example, say: “I saw you were recently in Tuscany and thought your photos were lovely—I went a few years ago and loved Florence and I can’t wait to go back.”

5. Flatter a little

Be kind and genuine and tell people honestly how much you appreciate what they do. This will brighten someone’s day and create goodwill, and chances are they’ll reply to you.

6. Follow up

It’s not unusual not to get a reply the first time—people tend not to prioritize emails from strangers. A quick, polite follow-up after the first email will often help to get a response.

7. Set up a call or meeting

Don’t be scared to set up a phone call or meet-up once you make contact. It’s amazing how much of a difference putting a voice (or a face) to a name can make in furthering your relationship.