By Rob Hellmann, GetFive Certified Coach
It’s a cold fact that you don’t know if many of the cold emails and cover letters you send to people are even read by the recipient. Perhaps the email subject line doesn’t resonate, or the content is too dense, boring, or seemingly pointless to engage the reader. Whatever the case, many have found that following these 10 rules has dramatically improved their email response rates.
1. Make your letter scannable
People don’t have time to read letters from strangers. Use short paragraphs and bullet points, and put key phrases in bold or underline them. This will make it easy for busy people to get the point of your email.
2. Default to using email
Don’t waste time buying stamps and sending snail mail. Always make the first introduction and subsequent correspondences by email.
3. Include everything in the body of the email
Many people aren’t comfortable opening email attachments, especially from strangers.
4. Write an engaging subject line
The more specific and relevant the subject line, the more likely your email will be read. Some good examples include:
- Your article about Database Marketing in Adweek
- Referred by Susan Smith, re: Latin American expansion
- Open to discussing fundraising at Ivy University?
5. Make sure your email address is professional
6. Focus on them
Your email should be focused on solving the recipient’s problems and issues. Avoid sounding insecure or groveling. Be confident and show them that the meeting you’re proposing will be mutually beneficial.
7. Tell them your purpose early on
State the reason you’re reaching out to them in paragraph one; otherwise, your letter may not be read all the way through.
8. Include your pitch
Summarize your background in one or two sentences, link it to how you can help them, and then share some relevant background highlights by including a few bulleted accomplishments. A powerful pitch in your email can really help get the reader interested in meeting with you.
9. End with a clear call to action
Don’t leave off with any ambiguity. Be direct and ask them to set up a time to meet.
10. Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes
Even if you’re a master of the English language, have someone else proofread your email before you send it, or put it aside for a day or two and then read it over again.
Robert Hellmann has been a career and executive coach with GetFive since 2003. He is the author of the book Your Social Media Job Search.