How to Introduce Yourself in an Email
It cannot be overstated how critical it is to learn what goes into introducing yourself over email effectively. Email is the most important communications platform used by modern business. Being able to introduce yourself digitally is just as important as it is in person. Many professionals receive hundreds of emails a day. That's why it is important that the emails you send leave a positive first impression on any recipient.
It is also important to note that professional emails represent the company you work for. From the language you use to the tone of the message; they all work together to form a representation of how your business operates.
Just as in real-life, a poor first impression over email can sour any professional relationship. For example, an email greeting that has no introduction before the recipient’s name (i.e. starting an email with “James,” as opposed to “Hi James,”) can come across as confrontational. However, starting an email with no introduction at all is just plain rude.
The reality is that we don’t speak like this in real life, so why is it acceptable to do so in written form? That’s why learning how to introduce yourself in an email is so important. Doing so will provide a positive first impression and represent your company in the best possible light.
How to Introduce Yourself in an Email – Required Elements
Write a strong subject line
The subject line of an email is the first thing a recipient sees. However, it is often not thought about until after a message is written. For your email to be seen, your subject line must stand out and catch the recipient’s attention immediately.
The key to a good subject line is to quickly and descriptively summarize the nature of your email in as few words as possible. This will ideally be between 30-50 characters, making it legible on mobile devices.
It’s also important not to use a misleading subject line. You will really annoy people if it doesn’t specifically relate to the email content. Also, don’t write in all caps or be overly generic as your email might be mistaken for spam.
Choose an appropriate email greeting
Your relationship with the recipient will inform what sort of email greeting you will use. This includes the language tone and level of formality. Personalization is always preferable in an email as you are looking to make a connection with the recipient.
However, when using someone’s full name, make sure you double-check the spelling. If you’re not sure how to spell a name, go for a more generic greeting.
When emailing someone for the first time, it is best to use a formal greeting. This shows courtesy and respect. However, some industries such as technology often use more casual greetings. At the end of the day, consider the context of the email and choose the email salutation you think is appropriate.
Casual email greetings
- Hi [Name],
- Hello [Name],
- Hi there,
- Hi everyone,
- Hi team,
- Hello all,
- Hello everyone,
You should actively avoid using overly casual email greetings like “Hey” or “Yo”, regardless of industry. This is a business email and should be treated as such. You have no prior relationship with this person, so you should avoid using overly familiar language.
Formal email greetings
- Dear [Name],
- Good morning/afternoon/evening [Name],
- Dear [Job Title],
It is not recommended to use either “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” as you automatically assume the recipient’s gender. You may cause offence by not using someone’s preferred gender pronoun. If you don’t know how the person identifies, use their full name or a more general greeting.
It is also best to avoid using “To Whom It May Concern”. You are essentially telling the recipient that you don’t know who they are, therefore the email doesn’t concern them. The message then becomes TOO formal and generic. You've shown the recipient that you have not gone to the effort of finding out who they are.
Set the scene with the introduction
This is where the recipient will decide whether they will continue to read your email. You introduce yourself and let them know what the purpose of your email is. The language used should be direct and professional, yet friendly at the same time.
The recipient has to have a reason to read your email. You need to address them directly, so they feel that the email has relevance to them. This will make them feel more important and encourage engagement.
Also, word your email in the second person by saying “you” rather than “we”. This will help to create an emotional connection with the recipient, showcasing how the email is relevant to them.
Start the message by focusing on the recipient. Even writing something as simple as “I hope this email finds you well” or “Hope you're having a great week” can make the recipient much more receptive to your email. By taking the time to engage the recipient directly, it gives them more of an incentive to read your email.
You shouldn’t start with either of the following:
- “You don’t know me, but…”
- “My name is [NAME] and I’m a…”
Using either of these email openers makes the message about you. You’re essentially inviting the recipient to disengage with what you’re saying and delete your message.
Explain your reason for the email
An email must have a goal or a desired action you want the recipient to take. Otherwise, the message won’t make sense. Your email needs to clearly state who you, what the email is about, and what you’re expecting from it
Let the recipient know exactly why you’re emailing them. You may have a mutual connection that wanted to introduce you; you might be applying for a new job; you might be requesting a meeting. Whatever the goal is, you need to say what it is directly. You can provide more detail in follow-up emails, but in this case, you just need to get the recipient’s attention.
Make your email content clear and concise. You have to get to the point immediately. People often skim read emails so that they get the gist of what it is about. Don’t be afraid to use formatting like bullet points and paragraphs to space out the content so that it’s easier to read.
Provide a clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your email closing should highlight what you want the recipient to do with this email. This should be as specific as possible and polite in tone. Only include one CTA though. Using too many will simply invite confusion and ensure no action is taken.
Saying something like “Let me know if you have 10 minutes for a quick phone call” or “Please provide any feedback on this proposal” invites the recipient to make the next move. You’re giving them an avenue to interact with you further, making it their decision if they want to do so or not.
Use a professional email sign-off
When closing your email, make sure that you thank the recipient for their time. You can even mention that you are looking forward to their reply. This offers a higher chance that your email will be responded to.
Finally, bookend the message with an appropriate email sign-off and include a professional email signature with your contact details. Having your email signature automatically added to your message means this doesn’t get missed.
Proofread before sending
Before you send your email, make sure you thoroughly proofread the message. Does it make sense? Are there lots of spelling and grammatical errors? Is the purpose of the email clear?
Sending an error-free email will leave a much more positive impression with a recipient. If you want to make sure your message is perfect, send a test email to yourself or ask someone else to review it for you. Don’t just rely on a spell checker as these often miss common errors, e.g. writing “your” instead of “you’re”.
Learning how to introduce yourself in an email can seem tricky at first. There are many different variables you need to consider, and you only get one chance to make a good first impression. However, by being methodical in your approach, you can easily learn how to do this. All you need to do is the following:
- Entice the recipient to open your email with strong subject line
- Use an appropriate email greeting
- Get to the point quickly – don’t write reams of text
- Provide a clear CTA that encourages further action
- Close the email in a professional manner
- Proofread the content before sending
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