Writing an introductory email to a stranger is easy.

But writing an introductory email to a stranger that gets a response? Not so easy.

The typical professional gets so many messages on a daily basis it's a feat if they even open yours — let alone reply.

Luckily, at HubSpot, we know a lot about writing effective emails. Here are our best tips for introducing yourself over email.

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1. Write a compelling subject line.

Persuade your recipient to open your email with a compelling subject line. Piquing their curiosity is key; unlike a message from someone whose name they recognize, there's no guarantee they'll read yours unless it grabs their attention.

Take a look at the subject lines that have convinced HubSpotters to click. And take a look at a few of the best subject lines we've seen here:

Networking subject lines:

  • "Coffee on me?"
  • "Can I buy you lunch?"
  • "No such thing as a free lunch (until now?)"
  • "Long-time [listener, reader, fan], first-time emailer"

Sales subject lines:

  • "Do you have an online course for [book]?"
  • "40% growth in 3 months — wow"
  • "Have you considered Pinterest ads?"
  • "Hello from [company]"

Job search subject lines:

  • "Curious what working at [company] is like"
  • "Are you looking for a [job title]?"
  • "Saw [company's] hiring a [job title]"

Creating an interesting subject line is the most important aspect of getting a prospect to engage. If it’s something you wouldn’t want to read, chances are, the prospect won’t open it either.

2. Tailor your greeting to the industry and situation.

It might be one word, but the greeting you opt for makes a difference. If you're emailing someone in a conservative industry, like finance or government, go with the traditional "Dear." If you're emailing someone in a more relaxed industry, such as tech, media, travel, or fashion, use "Hi," "Hello," or even "Hey."

Picking a greeting they're familiar with shows you've done your research.

As for the second part of the salutation: Their name. I recommend referring to them by first name. These days, that's the norm across industries.

Steer clear of "[First name] [Last name]", which sounds stilted and robotic, and "Mr./Mrs./Ms. [Last name]", which makes you seem young.

3. Make your first line about them.

The opening line is one of the most important parts of an introduction email. Here's where you try to establish relevance. If you succeed, you give your recipient a reason to keep reading.

Even though your first instinct is probably saying something about you — such as "My name is X and I'm reaching out because …" — this will quickly cause their eyes to glaze over.

Here are some equally bad first sentences:

  • "We've never met, but …"
  • "You don't know me, but …"
  • "I'm a complete stranger, but …"

Never highlight the fact you're a stranger — it's like telling your recipient your email will probably be irrelevant.

Instead, you want to lead with something about them. After all, most people like talking about themselves more than any other topic.

HubSpotters loved these openers:

  • "I noticed you manage one of the software teams at HubSpot."
  • "Just saw your post at the HubSpot blog about organizing a content calendar in terms of topic clusters."
  • "Have you ever thought about turning your book into an online course? Or creating an online course based on the same topic as your book?"
  • "I'm inspired by the work you've done, not to mention your unique career."
  • "I've never learned so much from a single piece of content."

LinkedIn is an excellent resource for researching your prospects. There you can view their accomplishments, any articles they’ve published and often a link to their personal website if they have one. Additionally you can view any connections you have in common and use that as an entry point.

Want more inspiration for your salutation? Check out these email opening lines and greetings that put "Hi, my name is" to shame.

introductory email template: compelling first line

4. Explain why you're reaching out.

Now that you've stimulated their interest and genuinely complimented them, it's time to connect the dots.

For example, let's say you're hoping to set up a networking meeting so you can learn more about their role (and potentially get a job referral).

If your first line is "You've done an impressive job at [company] building [X strategy] and revamping [Y program]", your second line might be, "I'm considering a career in [person's field] and would love to buy you coffee so I can learn more about it from an expert."

Or perhaps your goal is booking a sales call. Your first line might be "I see you host several campus events per year," and your second could be "I work with companies like Facebook and Google to help promote their college recruitment events."

The key is making your explanation as relevant to your recipient as possible. You want them to feel special — not like one person on a list of 100 that you're emailing. Always make sure you're writing sales emails prospect's actually want to read using this five-step process.

introductory email template: first line about recipient

5. Provide value for them.

Before you ask for anything, you need to provide value. Thanks to the principle of reciprocity, receiving value makes people want to return the favor.

In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini describes a study in which an unknowing test subject received a can of soda from the researcher. The soda cost $0.50.

Later, the same researcher asked the participant to buy $5 worth of raffle tickets. Agreement rates were much higher than for participants who didn't get any soda.

A thoughtful, authentic compliment can definitely provide value, so if you've already said something nice in your first few lines, you don't necessarily need to do more. However, it doesn't hurt to go a little further. Here are some ideas:

  • Review their book on Amazon, Goodreads, etc., and share the link
  • Recommend an article they might find helpful
  • Suggest a useful app or tool
  • Offer to introduce them to someone who they'd benefit from knowing
  • Use data to demonstrate how your product could benefit them

If you are selling a product or service, it doesn’t hurt to use data to make the case for why the prospect should consider your services. What successful outcome do you provide? More traffic? More conversions? Increased Engagement? Whatever the benefit may be, provide proof by including a case study or other data that backs up your claims.

6. Include a call-to-action.

The final piece of the puzzle? Your call-to-action (CTA). Remove as much friction from your ask as possible; if you want them to meet with you, for example, provide a link to your meetings tool so they can instantly see when you're both available and book a time. Or if you want them to review a post you've written, include the attachment so they can immediately read it.

Take a look at these sample lines:

  • "Would you be willing to comment on the LinkedIn post I wrote? It would be great to have your unique perspective (and hopefully get some discussion going)."
  • "If you're thinking about how Greener could apply the concepts in the guide, I have some ideas I'd love to share. Here's the link to my calendar: [Link]."
  • "Are you open to answering a few questions about your experience working at HubSpot? Happy to chat over phone or email, whatever's more convenient."

Try to strike a balance between polite and confident. Phrases like, "I know you're busy, but …", "I'd normally never ask, however …", "You probably don't have time, so …", "It would mean the world to me …" and "I'll be forever in your debt if …" make you seem desperate — and suggest your recipient would be massively inconveniencing themselves by saying yes.

Because you're reaching out to a stranger, your request shouldn't be that excessive or unreasonable. If it is, that's a completely separate issue. Don't hurt your chances of a "yes" by sounding insecure.

introductory email example

7. Say "thanks" and sign off.

No need to write anything more. The best emails are short, sweet, and concise. After all, extra information or unnecessary details lessen the probability your recipient will actually read the email — they'll be too put off by its length. You also run the risk of distracting them from what actually matters.

With that in mind, say "thanks," "thank you," or "thanks so much" (depending on the size of your request), and add your name. Looking for more sign-off ideas? Try one of these powerful email closing lines that'll intrigue your recipients and prompt responses.

8. Follow up with them.

If you send this incredible introduction email and the unthinkable happens (i.e., they don't respond) send a follow-up email they won't be able to ignore. Here are a few things to try:

  1. Send them actionable advice.
  2. Send a how-to guide and offer to follow up in person.
  3. Share weaknesses in their business and solutions you've identified.
  4. Share relevant industry articles/news.
  5. Respond to a social media message, then follow up with more.
  6. Reference a blog they wrote and ask a question about it.
  7. Invite them to an upcoming event.
  8. Bring up a pain point your buyers face and present a solution.

Want more tips on great follow-up? Here's a guide to sending a follow-up email after no response. And if you're looking for more email tips, check out these less pushy alternatives to "As Soon As Possible."

how to write an introductory email checklist

Introduction Email Sample

We've covered what you should include in your introduction communication, now let's see what that looks like in practice. The sample below is an introduction email my colleague received from a business development rep.

This note is simple and to the point. It tells the recipient why the rep reached out and the value they can provide right at the beginning. Additionally, they make it easy for the recipient to take the next steps by adding a calendar link.

Introduction Email Template

Now that you have all the building blocks, let's see each section in action working together as a full introduction email.

How to Introduce Yourself as a Personal Referral

Why This Template Works

The subject line grabs the reader’s attention right away by mentioning a persuasive 40% growth. Then the writer explains that they were speaking to a colleague they have in common and explains the value she can provide with proof illustrated in the case study included.

How to Introduce Yourself to a Group or Business

Maybe you just started a new job or joined a different team, and you need to introduce yourself to a group of people. Use this template to create your email introduction.

Why This Template Works

In the email above, the sender starts things off on the right foot by acknowledging all of the accomplishments and hard work the team has put in. Additionally, she adds that she is excited to work with them and makes it easy for her team to reach out. It’s a simple introduction that sets the tone for the team.

"By way of introduction" is a phrase that can be used when introducing a new person. And below we'll take a look at the best way to introduce others via email.

How to Introduce Someone via Email

If you have a contact who would benefit from connecting with a friend or colleague of yours, use this template to introduce them via email. Include reasoning for the introduction and make sure the connection will be valuable for both individuals.

Why This Template Works

This template works because it succinctly explains the reasoning for the introduction, giving a bit of background on what each person specializes in. It then makes it easy for the two to connect on their own by copying the contact on the email.

How to Introduce Yourself to a Recruiter/Hiring Manager

Sure, you might spend hours polishing your resume and cover letter for a job — but do you give the submission email any love before hitting send?

When recruiters are sorting through applications, you want to do everything you can to stand out. The first step is sending a thoughtful introduction email. Don't write a novel, but do write a friendly and professional "Hello" note.

In the example below, I state the reason for my email, share no more than one sentence explaining why I'd be a good fit for the role, and offer to provide more information upon request.

It's concise and gives my application a little extra shine.

Why This Template Works

This template shows that the candidate is not only interested in the role, but excited about it. They offer a bit of background about why they would be a good fit, and keeps the relationship open by offering to provide additional materials.

How to Introduce Yourself to an Executive

Getting a response from a CEO or executive is tough. But your introduction can make all the difference. Remember a few things when crafting your email.

First, make your ask gentle and advice-driven. Executives are great with people and usually love helping others. Open your email with a request for information or advice, instead of a request to sell.

Another great tip: compose your email to them on your phone. Executives are busy and often check emails while they're on the go. Compose your email on the phone, to make sure you're providing them with a good reader experience.

And don't forget to put your email signature to work.

Why This Template Works

This short note gets to the point about why the executive is being contacted (for their rebrand expertise) and also discloses the time commitment. Asking for such a short time frame of 10 to 15 minutes makes it more likely that the executive will say yes to the call.

How to Introduce Yourself to a Gatekeeper

Never underestimate the gatekeeper. Set yourself apart by offering to help them before you help yourself. In the example below, the writer provides value to the gatekeeper and explains that they want to "earn" the introduction to the recipient's boss.

Why This Template Works

Rather than simply asking to speak to the recipient's boss, the writer opts instead to first provide value. How? By offering to decrease their hiring time and offering a top candidate for their open marketing role. It puts the ball in the recipient's court. If he likes the candidate and find value in the offer, they can make the introduction. If not, they can move along without commitment.

How to Distinguish Between a Professional and Casual Introduction

The email you send to a former colleague making an introduction on a contact’s behalf is going to have a different tone than an email sent to a LinkedIn connection you’re hoping to convert into a customer.

When sending an introductory email to a professional contact (such as a LinkedIn connection), you want to ensure you state how you are connected, and why you’re contacting them. As you are first approaching a new contact, keep your email concise so they can quickly decide if and how to respond. You’ll want to provide just enough information to prompt next steps.

For example, if you want to reach out to someone you are familiar with from LinkedIn, here’s a seamless introduction.

Why This Template Works

The sender quickly explains how they met the recipient and also acknowledges that they have been following their work via LinkedIn. They also explain how they've gotten value from strategies shared. The knowledge of the recipient's expertise helps to make the pitch to collaborate on content seamless.

When sending a casual email to a previous contact you are getting back in touch with, or for an informational meeting, your message can have a more relaxed tone. Here’s an example:

Why This Template Works

Since the sender and recipient already know each other, this introduction takes a more casual tone. It’s concise and explains why the two should meet — so that new contact can get insight into the certification course recipient took. Just like an earlier example, the sender copies the appropriate contact so that they can connect.

Send Introductions Prospects Can't Ignore

Introduction emails don't have to be awkward or unreliable. Follow this formula, and your introduction emails will go over like a charm.

sales email templates

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Originally published Jun 29, 2022 8:00:00 AM, updated June 29 2022

Topics:

Sales Emails Email Tracking Software