Like a lot of people, I get a lot of emails. That number grows exponentially if you’re a business owner. Partnership inquiries, job inquiries, internship inquiries, and more. While I am positive there are other people who get far more email than I do, it still takes time out of my already busy day to sift through.
My inbox is sacred. If you’ve somehow made it into my email inbox and you’re not a client or friend or someone I have some sort of business or personal relationship with, the chances of me replying drop dramatically. It may not be the most polite thing in the world but life is short - I’d rather be living it than sitting there responding to every single email that comes in.
Do you really want to get my attention? Here’s what not to do.
Misspell my name or my company name
Seriously, my name is on the web quite a bit. And its all of five letters long. And if you’ve been to our website, then our company name and how it’s spelled should be ridiculously obvious. It takes less than five minutes to figure this out. If you manage to mangle either, your email is likely going into the bin. Attention to detail, especially if you’re looking for a job opportunity, matters.
Using “Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”
I’m no spring chicken, but I’m no “madam” either. I get that you want to be polite, but that doesn’t mean you need to be so formal. Relax. It’s just email! So, do some research on who you should address the email to. Still not sure? Then just skip the formal salutation and go with something more business casual. Again, attention to detail matters!
Tell them why they seemed like a good person or company to reach out to. Otherwise, your email may end up in the trash.
Using “Hi Guys”
Yes, I know that “guys” is used on the regular in a genderless manner. I even do that… with my friends and even sometimes when addressing multiple people in a work message. While the previous “sir or madam” was too formal, this is just a tad too informal for us if we've never met. Put a little more effort into it.
“Your company seems great…” and then it’s all about you
This one really makes me roll my eyes. I get you’re trying to build your business or network or whatever. But if all you can muster up is “your company seems great”, your email needs work. Why does my company “seem” great? How did you learn about my company? What do you know about us? Answering even one of those questions shows that you did your homework and actually read, well, something. That counts for more than you might realize.
Send a generic email that you’ve sent to every other company or business owner
I get it, you’re trying to reach as many companies or people as possible in the shortest amount of time to increase the odds of a response. The problem is that every single email is virtually the same: a greeting, some boilerplate text about yourself, and your closing. Nothing changes from email to email except maybe the subject line, greeting, and in some rare cases, the company name. There is literally nothing personal about this type of email. If it’s a job opportunity you’re seeking, why are you reaching out to me or my company specifically? If it’s a partnership, why do you think we’d be a good fit? If it’s something else, well, why me, why us?
Before you hit send...
Remember, although it’s not super formal, a person’s email inbox is personal. And for some of us, it’s sacred. If you want a reply, do some research and personalize your message. Don’t make it about all about you. Tell the recipient why you’re reaching out. That is, tell them why they seemed like a good person or company to reach out to. Otherwise, your email may end up in the trash.