a) the address
google, rapportive + mailtester to make sure you are on the right track with the email address.
b) subject line:
the purported research is mixed on subject lines but, for your purposes (i.e. 1:1 emails) the subject lines can afford to be longer:
but you have to think about how the email will be consumed -- let's assume the email will be consumed on a small form-factor device (it probably will
). In that case, the visible character limit for the subject line imposed by the device + email app will be probably 70--80 characters (72 for my android). So there's no point sending me a subject line with more than 72 characters -- i think approx. 50 characters work best because it will also allow for some preview text from the message body depending on which app the reader consumes the email on.
c) the subject line needs to be personalized
if at all possible, the subject lines should include the name of a common friend, a referrer. Maybe it's a call out on something they wrote or penned -- whatever it is, the subject line needs to be the motivation for them to open. Brahm Kiran SIngh: fmr google engineer looking to network" may also work. know thy audience!
d) the content
create some templates with different elements to test but keep in mind what recent research has shown to be true. i think the inside sales 2.0 tactics
are very valid for cold emails of all types -- the basics elements (and there isn't much more than the basic elements so don't spend too much time on inside sales 2.0) is to
i) write a very short email looking for a referral (a lot of people love connecting you -- it's easy, if you are high caliber then it reflects well on them, they feel good about themselves)
ii) now that you have a referral, you sort of flip an outside cold sales process into an inside sales process
iii) keep the email succinct and easy to consume:
iv) make it about them -- it's not about what you want. it's about why they would want to help/buy/invest. paint their picture in your email.
e) track yourself
Tout and Yesware both serve this function well for email.
it may also be worthwhile putting proper structure around the process with some form of pipeline management -- Streak
works great for something like this where you are herding a fairly finite number of contacts through a process.
the day and time of sending emails (or tweets) is very important -- early morning or late evening on workdays is best. try to do it when they are online and receptive to ad-hoc communication (i.e. when they are unlikely to have meetings or be in their daily commute or be with family or eating)
the biggest factor in networking success is still going to be the relevance -- was there a referrer? do you fill a need that they have?