6 STRATEGIES FOR A SUCCESSFUL FIRST-CONTACT EMAIL
by Sara Galluccio
A few weeks ago I was looking for other translators’ cooperation for a project regarding some sort of joint work I had in mind. After some time surfing the web I found the ones I liked the most and tried to reach them via email. Since I had chosen my recipients carefully, my aim was to attract their attention and, possibly, get a positive answer. I just didn’t want to send random emails, as I thought that would lower my chances to be seriously considered from the ones I was interested in.
In my previous job I happened to receive emails from wannabe suppliers advertising their goods or services: I clearly remember that the ones that sounded too generical and impersonal, rather than making me curious, somehow bothered me. In the end, the point was: if you really want to work with me, why don’t you spend a few minutes trying to catch my attention?
It is obviously a quick and easy solution to prepare a single email and send it out to different people or companies. But it’s not THE solution, and might prove self-defeating instead.
So let’s go through some strategies to introduce ourselves in a professional way and increase our chances to reach our goal:
As a recipient, would you appreciate an email that is clearly sent to tons of addressees – sometimes even in blank copy! – and so generical to sound almost like mere advertising? Newsletters have a different netiquette and it’s ok to send them to multiple recipients. But for a first contact email, aimed at finding new clients or fellow workers, that might not be the right approach.
It is perfectly fine to dash off an outline of our message: it helps saving time and, above all, lowers the risk to forget some piece of information here and there. We can consider preparing a short note where we explain who we are, what we do, our strengths and so on.
Once our basis is ready, let’s try not to thwart our efforts falling into the copy-and-paste temptation: we’d better have a look to see if all the info provided are interesting to that single recipient and, if necessary, adjust our contents by highlighting some experiences or even deleting others, depending on the interests and needs of the addressee.
If we are really interested in the person(s) we’re trying to reach, we should spend some time on their website to go into the details of what they do, the services or products they provide, and show them that we can really suit their needs. It’s not hard to make them understand that our email wasn’t randomly sent: we just need to mention their name in our greetings (no “Dear Sirs” allowed!), refer to something we’ve found on their website or to some special part of their work, to make them understand we really know what it is about. They’ll probably appreciate the fact that we were really looking for them, and they won’t feel like “just one of the recipients”.
While trying not to sound like spam, once our text is ready, it is advisable to find a subject that is short and easy, but attractive at the same time. A few words, when well-chosen, are more than enough: “Collaboration proposal” or “Contact request for a possible collaboration” are just two examples. The important thing is to excite curiosity without promising too much – which may lower our trustworthiness.
We should never forget that style and form are also extremely important, especially if we are writing in our mother tongue, which we are expected to have a perfect command of. Interesting contents will not survive a very bad language, full of grammar mistakes, misprints, and so on. We are professionals, and we must be able to introduce ourselves as such. Also, pay attention not to misspell the client (or Company’s) name. Contrary to what it may seem, it is not a detail at all!
What about you? Have you got any special trick to impress your readers and catch their attention? Feel free to share it below!
Sara Galluccio - Editorial translator from English and Spanish into Italian, tireless reader, newbie to blogging. Fond of travelling, nature, sport, food and wine. A real animal lover and in a weird relationship with technology, she hates wasting time and can’t wait for teleporting to be part of her everyday life. The World of her dreams is based on the respectfulness of all the living creatures inhabiting it.
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." Nelson Mandela