Have you ever found yourself thinking you should probably reach out to someone, but you just don’t know what to say?
Maybe the relationship has been damaged, or it’s been so long it feels awkward. So, you skip it. You tell yourself that’s okay. Next time!
After all, keeping up with your network, especially meaningful connections, is hard work, right?
You’re not alone in thinking that. But sending a successful outreach email doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think.
We’ve solved the problem with the 5 Freebies: 5 simple concepts you can use to easily reach out to anyone at any time—so you can spend more time building relationships and less time stressing about what to say.
More Than Just Reading: The Pragmatics
The following information empowers you to act upon the ideas within rather than just skimming through and moving on.
To that end, we’ve built-in outreach email exercises for you to complete throughout. Each should take you no more than 4-7 minutes.
Commit to this time, and your outreach email results could be game-changing! Don’t move on to the next section until you complete each outreach email exercise.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4-5 names of contacts you would like to reach out to but haven’t.
- Your email open and ready.
- A willingness to commit to deepening your relationships.
- (Optional) A fantastic EM you can dictate this work to.
At the end of most Freebies below, you’ll find a template, some examples, and instructions to pick a name from your list to send the template to.
Once each message is drafted, you can move on to the next Freebie.
The goal is that by the end of this, you’ll have 4-5 outreach emails drafted that will help you deepen or rebuild relationships with people who are important to you.
Outreach Email Freebie #1 – The Classic
Starting with the most obvious choice first. If you can’t think of anything else, this makes a good fallback.
You’ll find the other ones are much more personalized and will add more value to an inbox. But when they don’t apply, this will.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. If it’s been a while since you’ve interacted with someone, use the following:
A Simple but Effective Example
I was thinking of you this morning, and it made me realize it’s been a while.
I’d love to get a ping from you and hear what’s happening in your world. Can’t wait to hear from you!”
Alternate ending: “I’d love to grab coffee soon!” (When it becomes safe to do so)
But use this first outreach email method sparingly. Once you do, you typically can’t send it again, at least not for several months, if you want to avoid looking junior.
Outreach Email Freebie #2 – Surprise Gratitude
This may be one of our favorite forms of outreach and potentially one of the most powerful of the Freebies.
After all, giving genuine thanks is one of the best things you can do to strengthen a relationship.
So, one of the most effective emails you can send is an unexpected Thank You for something they did in the past.
Since we are so good at thanking people in the moment and moving on, this will almost always come as a surprise, making it more impactful.
It doesn’t have to be anything huge they did. The smaller and more unexpected, the better.
This outreach email will catch them off guard and make their day.
An Easy Template
I wanted to write you to simply tell you thank you!
This afternoon, I was thinking about the last year, and it came to mind that I never clearly said thank you for all the advice you have given me and our company over the years.
You know you have made a huge impact, and I am glad to have you as a friend.”
Which name on your list could you reach out to and offer a Thank You? (Mark it down).
For example, you could send an outreach email saying thanks for:
- A piece of advice they gave you.
- An introduction they made on your behalf.
- Or a favor they did for you and may have forgotten about.
Outreach Email Freebie #3 – The Franklin Effect
Many think the best way to build relationships is to do someone a favor. But due to what’s commonly called the Ben Franklin effect, the opposite is true: the best way to deepen a relationship is to ask for a favor.
We’ll spare you a deep dive into the neuroscience, but it’s due to cognitive dissonance. Put simply, people do favors for people they like.
Therefore, if someone does you a favor, their brain will tell them they like you.
Hot tip: Make the request in your outreach email so small the other person can’t help but reply.
But it must be genuine. If it’s not something you truly need, you’re just wasting their time and your own.
And, when asking for someone’s time, don’t ask for more than 20 minutes as a general Freebie rule.
A Quick and Simple Favor
I am wondering if you are willing to help me.
I joined Acme Company a few months back and am now in the process of having to build a team.
Do you know anyone who I could talk to about how to make great hiring choices?”
Pick a second name on your list to ask a favor from, for example:
- Ask for advice on a specific topic (people love feeling like an expert).
- A book/blog/podcast recommendation.
- A vacation destination they loved.
Outreach Email Freebie #4 – Seeking Forgiveness
This is perhaps the most challenging forms of outreach. Apologizing can be difficult …
To make this outreach email easier, focus on apologizing for super minor slights or mistakes.
It’s better if it’s not even remembered and didn’t cause any harm or damage.
This is just supposed to be a quick touch point as part of your outreach email, not to make amends for a major wrongdoing.
Combine this with the “It’s Been A while Ping” if you can’t think of anything else.
Apologizing for it being so long since you interacted elevates Freebie #1 and allows you to incorporate #4 without having done something that caused harm.
A Clear and Caring Apology
You know, I just realized I never really apologized for not having responded to your request to chat a while back.
I do care about you, and the only excuse I have is that life has gotten in my way.
Let me know if you have time soon, and I’d love to make it up to you.”
You know the drill: pick a new name on your list, and get apologizing. It can be:
- An email you never responded to.
- A small favor you never did.
- A missed birthday you didn’t send a message for (even if you normally don’t).
Outreach Email Freebie #5 – Positive Alacrity
For those of you familiar with our work, you may have heard the term Positive Alacrity (the art of delivering micro experiences that have a profoundly uplifting impact).
The rule here is when you think something positive that you genuinely believe, voice it.
Within the 5 outreach email Freebies, this means sending a quick and unexpected message to someone highlighting something positive you genuinely appreciate.
You’re not thanking them for anything. This should be more personal things about them that you happen to notice.
A Sample of Positive Alacrity in Action
I was reading a recent blog post that you wrote (yours is one of the few blogs I consistently read), and I realized this is because you have a knack for taking complex ideas and simplifying them to the point where I can implement them.
I’ve never met someone who has the ability teach to in this way so effectively. I just wanted to say I really, really appreciate that.”
Now pick the next/last name on your list and think of something like:
- Their nature is always volunteering.
- Consistently being in an uplifting mood.
- Willingness to help, etc.
You should now have four or five names on your list that you’ve matched to one of the Freebies above.
If there’s a name you can’t match to a good one, you can even use “The Classic.”
Using the Freebies for the Greatest Effect
Using any of these outreach emails is nearly guaranteed to bring a smile to someone’s face and potentially reignite a conversation and deepen a relationship.
But here are some good tips to make sure you get the full benefits of these outreach email methods:
- Be specific. If you’re thanking someone, don’t just thank them for “all the ways” they’ve helped you in your career. Single out a piece of advice that stuck out – even better if you can share the results or how this advice has helped you!
- Mix and match. Try combining 2 or 3 of the Freebies into a single email. It’s more effective than using them alone. Apologize for it being so long since you last connected (The Apology Email) and say you’d love to catch up soon (the “It’s Been A While Ping”), then thank them for a specific piece of advice they gave you that helped you (The Thank You).
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to use the outreach email Freebies as long as it’s authentic and genuine.
But if you’d like some inspiration, we’ve created a handy reference PDF that you can download here: