How to Write an Effective Networking Email (Tips & Templates)

How to Write an Effective Networking Email (Tips & Templates)

Many successful entrepreneurs can recall a time when they took a leap and went out of their way to network. They can pinpoint a networking email or call to a complete stranger that led to much more than they imagined.

Take billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban for example. Here’s how he approached networking as a 22-year-old bank employee:

“I used to send notes to the CEO of the bank. I once cut out a magazine story about how corporations could save money by withholding Social Security and sent it to him. He sent me a thank-you letter back.”

But it didn’t end there. Cuban explained, “I started something called the ‘Rookie Club.’ I’d invite senior executives to a happy hour to talk to a group of younger employees in their 20s like me.”

This story doesn’t quite end how you’d imagine. His boss was so threatened by this approach that Cuban decided to leave that job and move to Dallas. Many businesses and a $4.7 billion net worth later, it’s clear that Cuban’s drive to network with others would take him places.

Literally and figuratively. He never stopped making connections, but he did realize that job wasn’t for him.

Similarly, you never know what one email can do for your career.

When you write networking emails, you open the door to a conversation, a job referral, a major sale, professional contacts, investors, and so much more. If you want to achieve your definition of success, you must put yourself out there.

Long story short, be like Mark Cuban: Send that networking email.

Here are seven tips to help you do it right.

1. Grab their attention with the subject line

There’s no way you can make meaningful professional connections through email without nailing down your subject line first. Email inboxes today are essentially endless pits of despair, where even well-intentioned, personalized emails might never see the light of day.

In order to cut through the clutter and get the recipient's attention, your subject line needs to:

  • Be short and to the point – Stay within 36-50 characters.
  • Address your recipient – Personalize your message to their name or business.
  • Demonstrate value – Why should they open it?
  • Arouse curiosity – Leave a little unsaid, so they’ll want to read more.

Here are a few examples of networking email subject lines you can use:

  • Hey {{first_name}}
  • {{first_name}}, let’s connect
  • {{common_connection}} said we should connect
  • Available for a chat?

Need more help writing your subject line? Check out this post.

2. Introduce yourself

Once you’ve given them a reason to open in your subject line, make it clear who you are and why you’re reaching out.

The recipient might skim the email for your organization’s name or job title to better understand the request. Make it clear so they don’t have to work hard to understand the context.

If you received their email from a mutual contact, include that in your first sentence. Or maybe you met at a networking event. Whatever those personal connections are, include them in your introduction.

Shared professional connections can help establish rapport, so mentioning a mutual contact’s name could make them pause and read the rest of your message.

3. Make it personal

Personalized emails don’t just show your audience that you’ve made an effort. They’re also proven to be effective at improving open and reply rates.

Studies show that emails with personalized subject lines get 50% higher open rates. Additionally, adding multiple personalization fields to your email can improve reply rates by up to 142%.

Address your recipient and their business by name in your email to show that you’ve done your research and are sending this email specifically to them.

You can mention something you admire about their work. Are you reaching out for a content collaboration? Mention a blog post you read of theirs and why it stood out to you. If you admire their career or what they’ve accomplished, let them know.

It’s likely that someone you look up to has also sent similar messages earlier in their career. Maybe they still do. Showing genuine interest in a conversation or connection with them can make your message more relatable.

You don’t need to go overboard with the compliments, but establishing that personalized connection can resonate with them better than a bulleted list of facts.

Emails with personalized subject lines get higher open rates

4. Show value by offering something with every ask

In any relationship, you should first give before you ask. The same is true for networking.

In your email, make it immediately clear that this opportunity will benefit your recipient, too. That way, it’s an easy decision to say yes.

If you’re unsure how best to do this, you can always offer to help them in return. If you’re making a specific request, offer to do the same for them.

Here are a few examples:

  • Asking for career advice – If you’re looking to network and get career advice, offer to do the same for one of their more junior team members. Maybe you’re contacting a CEO about their leadership skills but know they have an intern or a new hire you could advise or mentor.
  • Looking to get a backlink for your website – If you’re asking for a link to a blog post you wrote, can you offer to mention them or their business in an upcoming article you’re writing? Or, can you share their content from your social channels in exchange for contributing a quote to an ebook you’re writing?
  • Need feedback on your business idea or performance – If you want feedback on your business or to hear their advice, see if you can offer them something you’re good at in exchange for their time and experience. Your expertise and skills might be helpful depending on their current challenges.

If there’s no directly related offer you can make, amp up your appreciation and gratitude. Let them know that you understand their time is valuable, but that you would really appreciate the opportunity.

The more value you can provide and the more sincere you can be in your offer, the better your chances are of making an impression.

5. Keep it short

If your email ends up being more than a couple of brief paragraphs, grab your metaphorical red pen and start crossing out words.

Most people don’t have the time or patience to read through long emails. When your recipient is already busy, a short, direct email shows that you respect their time. If you want them to read the whole email, the rule is the shorter, the better.

If it helps, you can start by writing down everything you need to say. Then, edit your email until you’re left with five or six key sentences. If there are things you absolutely need to say, dedicate that to a second email.

Since you’ll likely send multiple messages before getting a reply, split up your key points across emails — starting with your most important ones.

6. Always proofread your email

We can’t emphasize this enough: Proofread your emails — especially names. No matter what.

Nothing kills a networking email faster than calling your recipient “Marissa” instead of “Maria.” You’ve ruined your first impression and might have inadvertently sent your networking email straight into the trash.

Take a few extra minutes and check your spelling and grammar before hitting the send button. Pull up their LinkedIn profile one more time for an extra check.

Tools like Grammarly make it easy to proofread within a Google Doc. Or, you can copy and paste your text right into the free app.

7. Use networking email templates

If this all feels overwhelming at first, don’t sweat it. Hunter offers networking email templates you can easily add to your outreach campaigns.

Simply visit the Networking section on Hunter Templates, find a template you like, and then click the Save in my templates button.

The template will be available for you to access right from your Hunter dashboard.

Networking email template

Starting with a template can speed up the process so you can spend more time researching the recipient and personalizing your request. You don’t have to start with a blank email whenever you want to reach out to someone.

Templates not only save you time, but they also allow you to make changes and see how they affect your results. When you tailor your template to the recipient, you can also try out new subject lines or sign-offs until you’ve perfected your networking email.

Each email you send gives you more data to work from in the future. You might start with a series of four emails but realize you get the most replies after the third.

Or you might find a winning subject line that gets much higher open rates than the rest. The more emails you send, the better emails you’ll write because you’ll have data to inform your decisions.

Here are a few networking email templates to get you started:

Reaching out to you via [[name]]

Ideas on [[topic]]

Looking to exchange ideas with a fellow small business owner

Get results with your next networking email

There you have it: we went over the 7 top tips on how to write a networking email. Let’s recap:

  1. Start by writing an attention-grabbing subject line
  2. Then, provide context with your name and title
  3. Make sure to personalize your email
  4. Show the recipient what they’ll get out of networking
  5. Keep it brief
  6. Proofread, proofread, proofread
  7. Use a networking email template to speed up the process

Follow these tips, and you’ll have no problems writing an effective networking email.

While you’re here, check out these blog posts to help you get more out of your outreach campaigns:

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Gia Bellamy
Gia Bellamy

Content marketer and senior copywriter connecting brands with their audiences. Experience in B2B, tech, health care and consumer marketing.