How to Introduce Yourself in an Email [7 Easy Steps]
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It cannot be overstated how critical it is to learn how to introduce yourself in an email effectively. 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.
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 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.
Required elements to introduce yourself in an email effectively
1. Use a strong email subject line
The subject line of an email is the first thing a recipient sees when you introduce yourself in an email. However, it is often not thought about until after a message is written. For your introductory 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.
2. 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 use more casual greetings. At the end of the day, consider the context of the email and choose the salutation you think is appropriate.
It is not recommended to use either “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” in an introductory email as you automatically assume the recipient’s gender. 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” when you introduce yourself in an email. You are essentially telling the recipient that you don’t know who they are. 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.
3. 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” can make the recipient much more receptive to your email. 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 introductory email openers makes the message about you. You’re essentially inviting the recipient to disengage with what you’re saying and delete your message.
4. 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.
Let the recipient know exactly why you’re emailing them. You may have a mutual connection; 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 introductory email content clear and concise. 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.
5. Provide a clear call-to-action
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 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.
6. Use a professional closing
When closing your introduction email, make sure you thank the recipient for their time. You can even mention that you are looking forward to their reply.
Finally, bookend the message with an appropriate email sign-off and include a professional email signature with your contact information. This should include your full name, job title, phone number and email address. Having your email signature automatically added to your message means this doesn’t get missed.
7. Proofread before sending
Before you send your introductory email, make sure you thoroughly proofread and spell check the message. 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”.
Writing an introduction 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, you can easily learn how to introduce yourself in an email effectively.
All you need to do is:
Entice the recipient to open your introductory 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, preferably with an email signature
Proofread the content before sending