Image Credit: Peterson 2017
When you see someone who has a great personal brand online, wouldn’t you like to be friends with them or have the chance to be mentored by them? First, you need to be able to establish a connection and it’s been said that “cold call email is still one of the most effective ways to present yourself to targeted audience.” (Lambourne 2017). How do you turn those cold call emails into warm leads? You need to be creative and be mindful of the frequency and how you approach the person through your email.
Here is a list of what might help you network effectively with emails.
Determine your networking objective.
What exactly is your objective for reaching out to your targeted person? Is it realistic? If you’re asking somebody you don’t know to read your article and edit it for you, that’s unrealistic. It would help if you identify your specific expectations and goals. A better objective is maybe you want to expand your network, or want to learn more about something specific in the industry. When your goals for needing a mentor is clear, this will also help you determine if you are reaching out to the right person to help you reach your desired outcome (Quast 2017).
Offer an authentic praise.
Do research on your target mentor. At least read everything the first 3 pages of Google says about them and think about where you can offer an authentic praise. It would help build a foundation if you identify reasons that piqued your interest about them. Why you are interested about their work? Be specific and honest. This would help differentiate you from the other emails they receive.
Warm up the leads by engaging on social media for a few weeks.
Simply said, you don’t just appear in their lives out of nowhere. Use social media to make yourself known to them. Like their tweets, retweet them, comment on their blog post and Instagram, LinkedIn status update, etc. Share their articles, blogs, or business. A helpful guide to start an interaction is by asking insightful follow-up questions on their blogs. What has been the most successful for me is a minimum warming up time of 2 weeks. You want to be sincere in your approaches and genuinely befriend them and promote their content. Even after your first cold email, you should continue to interact with their social media platforms.
Write a catchy non-spammy email subject line.
We all know that the subject line is the first thing we reads. Thus, you need to make it catchy to urge them to open the email and read further. In an article published in The Muse, it was said that it would help if you “reference something she doesn’t see every day in their inbox.”
Examples are: Include an obscure work or blog post your targeted recipient did (“Inspired By Your Research on XYZ”) or name-drop the person who gave you his/her email in the subject line (“From ABC’s Friend”). Do only the second option if you know your contact have a good and positive relationship with your targeted lead (Ford 2017).
Lastly, make sure you don’t include any spam words in the email subject. Hubspot has published a list of spam trigger words that will land your email in the spam folder forever. And attachments are a major no-no because emails with attachments are more likely to end up in spam.
Make your first sentence engaging and keep the first email short.
Remember that although they clicked open your email, they can still hit that back button and forget your email. Thus, make sure your first sentence sustains that interest and engage them to read the rest of your email. Keep in mind that your targeted mentor is a busy person so keep your email short and direct.
Let them know how you found them.
If you have not done this in the subject line, make sure you include this information in the first paragraph of your email. If the person doesn’t know who you are, explain how you came across them to avoid seeming creepy. It’s better to be clear that they don’t know you, than to imply that they do.
Offer something of value first.
In your first email, you should always offer value first and don’t ask for anything in return. Forbes writer Kathy Caprino suggests, “Give and give more. Tweet out their posts, comment in a positive way on their blogs, share their updates, start a discussion on LinkedIn drawing on their post, refer new clients or business to them, etc” (Caprino 2017). She added, “Offer your unique voice, perspectives, experiences, and resources to further the action and conversation that these influencers have sparked. Understand that you are able to be of service to them, and go out and do it.” This basically means making them see that you are worth their second look and consideration.
Example values you can offer include:
- referral of new client or business
- relevant language skills
- knowledge in a particular industry, geography or culture
- free content they might like such as blogs, articles, videos or resources
- opportunities for funding or investment
- willingness to volunteer
- copy writing, photography, video production, graphic design, accounting, law etc. skills and free advice
- share any existing relationships with the press
What are some valuable things you can offer to your contacts? Share in the comments below.
Position yourself as a humble learner.
Ask for advice. Tell them you want to learn from them. Positioning yourself to be a humble person who is a good listener will get you a long way. As shared in the Forbes article, “If you were inundated with requests for help every day, what type of person would you choose to assist and why? Go out and become that person that others would love to support and nurture” (Caprino 2017).
It’s important to ask advice on a specific issue instead of general questions. For example, instead of asking “How can I get a job in the media industry?”, you can ask, “What often-missing skill sets do you think are valuable for media interns to have at your company?” Another example is instead of asking “Should I get a MBA?” is “What has been most valuable thing for you when you studied your MBA at your university?”
End the email with one easy call-to-action.
A call to action is an action you would like the recipient to do. Often times, it is an expectation for them to answer your question. Other times, it maybe to take up your offer of value. For every email, there should be one clear call-to-action so the recipient knows what is expected in a response to you. It should be focused on the value you provide. The call-to-action should never be selling anything or requesting the recipient to check out your website or follow you on social media.
Make it easy for them to find you and follow up.
Give your targeted mentor the chance to know more about you. The bottom of your email should also have all your contact details and links so they can find out more about you. This will help him decide whether or not he is indeed a good fit for you before deciding to be your mentor.
Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up.
Now that you’re done with the first step of engaging your targeted mentor, make sure you follow up with them to be able to finally close the deal. Be careful, though, that you don’t come across as annoying. Do your follow-up calls according to their preference on time and day.
In his article, Alan Henry shares, “You can take a load off of their plate by mapping out when you should talk and you’ll be in touch, especially if you just need advice from time to time. Whatever you agree to, make sure you follow-up, meet when you say you’re going to, and drop them a line from time to time just to check in.”
Conclusion – Rejection is just proof that you are trying and will eventually succeed.
Bear in mind that not everyone you send a cold email to will reply. There’s no reason to be disheartened. If the person do end up helping you in some way, make sure you thank them, and keep them updated on your progress in your career.
Caprino, Kathy. “How To Find A Great Mentor — First, Don’t Ever Ask A Stranger.” Forbes. 14 Sept. 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/09/21/how-to-find-a-great-mentor-first-dont-ever-ask-a-stranger/2/#73d4bf5329dd. Accessed 03 Feb. 2017.
“Finding a Mentor: How to reach out to people you admire.” Levo League. Levo League, 27 Sept. 2012. https://www.levo.com/posts/finding-a-mentor-how-to-reach-out-to-people-you-admire. Accessed 18 Feb. 2017.
Ford, Molly. “Be My Mentor? Craft the Perfect Email to Someone You Admire.” Search Jobs, Career Advice and Company Profiles at The Muse. N.p., 06 Feb. 2013. https://www.themuse.com/advice/be-my-mentor-craft-the-perfect-email-to-someone-you-admire. Accessed 3 Feb. 2017.
Henry, Alan. “How Do I Ask Someone to Be My Mentor?” Lifehacker, 25 Aug. 2014. http://lifehacker.com/how-do-i-ask-someone-to-be-my-mentor-1626463146. Accessed 03 Feb. 2017.
“How to get the attention of your favorite expert (new detailed post).” I Will Teach You To Be Rich. N.p., 23 Sept. 2013. http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/how-to-get-the-attention-of-your-favorite-expert-new-detailed-post/. Accessed 18 Feb. 2017.
Hyatt, Michael. “How to Find a Mentor to Help You Go Further, Faster.” Michael Hyatt. N.p., n.d. https://michaelhyatt.com/find-mentor.html. Accessed 03 Feb. 2017.
Lambourne, Michael . “How to Cold Call Email (That Generate Leads!).” LeadFuze. N.p., 04 Oct. 2016. https://www.leadfuze.com/how-to-cold-call-email/. Accessed 03 Feb. 2017.
Max, Tucker. “Tucker Max.” Tucker Max. N.p., 01 Mar. 2014. http://tuckermax.me/the-right-wrong-way-to-ask-for-a-job-or-a-mentor/. Accessed 18 Feb. 2017.
Murcherson, Royce. “Mina Khan (Author of Wildfire).” Pinterest. N.p., 04 May 2015. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/95349717087488679/. Accessed 06 Feb. 2017.
Peterson, Joel . “Finding a Great Mentor – 10 Things to Look for.” LinkedIn. N.p., 29 Dec. 2014. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/finding-great-mentor-what-look-joel-peterson. Accessed 3 Feb. 2017.
Quast, Lisa. “Finding A Mentor Is Easier Than You Think.” Forbes, 06 Jan. 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2014/01/06/finding-a-mentor-is-easier-than-you-think/#7f09f22b3c7a. Accessed 03 Feb. 2017.
Wilson, Pamela . “How to Write a Winning First Sentence.” Convince&Convert. N.p., Oct. 2016. http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/how-to-write-a-first-sentence/. Accessed 03 Feb. 2017.
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