How To Create Better Relationships Via Email

Creating relationships virtually is a crucial skill in an increasingly remote workplace. Learn how to network and gain connections through email in this article.

Traditionally networking has happened in person, and while social media (namely LinkedIn) has helped some people improve their online networking skills, most people are still falling short. And as more companies opt to keep workers remote, learning to network digitally will be an essential skill. 

Learning to network online can lead to a wider range of connections and opportunities than making connections in person.  Keep reading to learn why email networking is essential and how to network via email. 

Why should you network via email? 

With so many new digital communication platforms, it might seem like email is becoming outdated, but email is still a top communication tool for many professionals. While many social media platforms have become a common place to communicate with others, and apps like WhatsApp and Messenger are popular, email is still the best place to send a professional message. 

Nearly everyone has an email address, and over 97% of Americans with emails check them at least once daily. That is significantly more often than social media sites. Plus, networking over email means you can connect with people worldwide, breaking down the physical barrier that prevents many networking opportunities.

How to network via email

While networking through email might seem difficult, it is actually one of the easiest ways to start networking and stay connected. Writing a quick email means networking can take a lot less time than traditional in-person networking.  

To get started on your email networking, find a couple of contacts you are interested in getting to know or some old connections that you may have lost touch with, and draft an email with the tips below. 

Learn how to network through email

How to write a networking email to someone you know

1. Ask about them

If you are reaching out to someone you already know, use what you know about them to open your email. Ask how their family member is doing, or congratulate them on that promotion. Always start by showing true interest in them. 

2. Remind them of what you do 

Unless you know this person very well, they likely don’t remember everything about you. So offer a quick reminder of who you are and what you do, and mention any updates since you last met.

3. Make your ask

Once you have caught up, it’s time to make your ask. Always keep your ask simple to begin with and avoid forcing a “yes.” 

How to write a cold email for networking

1. Tell them why you want to get to know them 

It might seem counterintuitive not to include an introduction first, but the best way to grab their attention is to start talking about them first. You chose to reach out to this person for a reason. Are they an expert in their field, or do they have experience in a role you are interested in? Share with them why you want to get to know them and what about them that you admire. 

2. Introduce yourself

Not that you have caught their attention, it’s time to tell them who you are and what you do. This quick overview should only take two to three sentences. 

3. Mention any similarities

Unfortunately, you aren’t always guaranteed to get a response when you send a cold email, but one way to increase the odds is by finding common ground. Did you attend the same college, live in the same city, or work at the same company? Use any common ground as a starting point for your connection. 

4. Offer Help

Give them a reason to respond. How can you assist them? Do you have a connection that might be beneficial to them? We all have value to offer, so present your value to them no matter how small. 

Offer your help o boost networking relationships

5. Include an email signature

When you network in person, one of the first things you might do is exchange business cards. When you use email to network, you should still be sharing your contact information, website details, and anything else you might want them to know. The best way to do that is to include an email signature that links to a digital business card

We recommend using HiHello, the #1 rated digital business card app. With HiHello, you can choose from multiple email signature designs for free!

Use an email signature to create better relationships via email

6. Follow-up

If you don’t get a response right away, don’t start worrying just yet. After a week or two has passed and you haven’t heard anything, try sending a follow-up. While you don’t want to pester anyone, a repeated effort shows your interest in getting to know them.

Not hearing back via email right away isn’t always so bad. Maybe they don’t have the time to get back to you right now, or they don’t have anything to offer at the moment. That is why it is so important to include your email signature because not only can they save your contact information, but they will also be able to close the loop by sending their contact information back to you. Now you’ll both have each other’s contact information right in your address books

7. Get to know each other

This can be a slow back-and-forth process over email, and it can be tempting to skip and go straight to the ask, but this step is crucial to the networking process. The best networking connections, and the ones most willing to offer support, are always the strongest relationships. And the best way to form a strong networking relationship is by getting to know each other. 

Spend time getting to know each other before asking for anything

8. Ask for help or advice 

Once the foundation of your networking relationship is established, it’s time to make the ask. Always start small with your first ask. Begin by requesting advice or information first before jumping to asking favors.

How to maintain relationships via email

One of the biggest benefits of networking through email is that it doesn’t require an immense time commitment. But, no matter how you communicate with a networking connection, you’ll have to ensure you maintain the relationship. 

1. Set reminders

Use reminders to reach out to connections between two and four times each year with a quick check-in email. Regularly reaching out is essential to a strong networking relationship and to keep you at the top of their mind. 

2. Circle back around

Now that you’ve had a conversation or two with this person, use those previous conversations as a starting point for your future outreach. Ask for an update on that new job they just started, or ask how their family is doing.

3. Keep it brief

A short outreach email is a perfect way to maintain and grow a networking relationship without putting too much pressure on either party to have a full conversation. Try asking a quick question and offer a short update about yourself.

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