Networking has been the bread and butter of many marketers out there. Throughout history, networking has been limited to special events that were organized mostly by big companies. They had a significant influence on who is going to show up at those events and what was going to be the main subject of the event. However, with the rise of the internet, networking has entered a whole new dimension. In short - it became viral. With the growth of the popularization of LinkedIn, networking became a must, especially in the B2B market.
As it usually happens when a social media platform lives to see a significant spike in popularity, many new changes are opening up for both marketers and potential clients. However, with more people, you are bound to have more competition and finding qualified leads, and customers can even prove to be harder than before.
That being said, if you take some time aside to learn more about networking and its best practices, you will have everything you need to know to create a networking email template that specifically tailored to what you needed from this process in the first place.
What is networking?
In essence, networking represents a transfer of ideas and information between two or more people that have similar if not the same professional interests. There are several types of networking, but in general, it is considered as a professional and social gathering in an informal background setting. The name “networking” came from computer networking, which represents multiple devices that are connected to the same network, to share information and resources efficiently.
While virtually every person in the world can gain numerous benefits if they start utilizing networking, the main one is to develop your career. Professionals who decide to network usually focus on acquiring new acquaintances. This, in turn, allows them not only to find new prospecting opportunities but also to gain knowledge about new trends in their industry.
Even though networking is considered a social way of obtaining new leads and new info on industry trends, you don’t have to be the most outgoing person ever to start networking with people. You can take a serious, multi-step approach to networking. This means to start with people you already know or work with, and it is probably the best way to kick-start your networking efforts.
Who can benefit from networking?
A lot of potential customers do not post that they are looking for a solution publicly, but are focusing on word of mouth. This is especially true for more complex, senior leads, and here lies all the value of networking. That being said, even if they publicly post their woes, it definitely wouldn’t hurt if somebody who already works at that firm recommends you and your solution to their boss.
Networking is no different from any other social behavior, which means that there are some guidelines or even rules that you should follow to achieve the best possible results. Those rules and guidelines are:
Don’t be pushy towards the lead
The first impression plays a vital role
Be prepared to both give and take information
Do your research
These “rules” are actually more like guidelines for proper networking behavior. As in any social situation, the first impression you leave on someone is going to play a really important part. That is why it is important to stay sharp and focused when meeting someone for the first time, whether it’s live or online.
However, being sharp and focused doesn’t mean that you should be aggressive or overzealous. You shouldn’t push too hard and pester the lead right from the get-go. It is better to offer something first, instead of asking for something.
Some people tend to have a more casual approach to networking, as they do have a more relaxed way of handling other social situations, as well. Networking is primarily used to get new opportunities and nurture relationships. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to be well prepared for that first meeting with the person(s) that you are going to network with.
Another thing that you should try to do is get out of your comfort zone. What this means is that you should try to connect and network with people that are currently outside of your existing network. In addition to that, you should also remember to be patient - something that’s perhaps easier said than done, especially when you are actively and urgently looking for work.
What are the different types of networking?
In essence, we can differentiate two distinct networking types - Business Networking and Online Networking. Granted, both are often used combined, but there are some cases where you would be better off with using just one.
In business networking, companies often decide to build relationships and start networking with companies and individuals that they wish to begin conducting business at a later date. Establishing rapport and ensuring that they are perceived as a trusted and knowledgeable source of information is the main goal behind business networking.
What makes business networking successful and different from other types of connecting with professionals from your industry is the fact that with this, you will be able to gain insider knowledge that is not readily available for the general public.
Even though traditional means of networking are still very much present, the simple fact is that, with the internet, you can connect to a much larger audience and much faster, too.
LinkedIn is the most popular online platform for networking, by far. It is a great virtual space, where people can share and engage with other professionals just about anything they want to. Although, it is the best practice to keep the content you are sharing on point and relevant to the industry that you are operating in.
If you decide to use LinkedIn (or any other social platform) for creating a B2B pipeline, you can’t go wrong here. There have been many pipelines made solely through social networking platforms. LinkedIn is the largest one and the one that is the most popular, too.
However, there are other valuable social networking platforms that you can use. They are niched down to appeal to a specific demographic group. On the other hand, we have other platforms that have different quirks. For example, MeetUp encourages people to meet offline, which is rather unique, as they are encouraging visitors to leave their website and meet offline!
No matter which platform you decide to use if you choose to start networking you’ll be taking the first step towards building meaningful relationships that will create a customer base that will keep you in business for the time to come.
How to start networking?
The first step in creating a stellar networking base is to start building your network. To some, this might be a bit scary at first, especially if you are not precisely the life of the party. However, while you will have to pay special attention to how you are going about building a professional network, it’s not as hard as it may sound at first.
You should always keep track of who you are contacting and try to remember any conversations you might’ve had. After all, it doesn’t do you any good if you build up a decent networking base and then forget all about it. You should also try to stay in contact with the people you are networking with, even if you are not looking for anything quite specific.
Besides networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, an excellent place to start building your networking base would be various conferences and networking events. Those conferences and events can be both online and offline. In any case, they are a good starting point for you to gain some valuable contacts.
Image source: Resume Worded
If you are going to an offline event, it is a good idea to bring your email list template and try to get more leads in the pipeline. Granted, you shouldn’t blatantly pursue just anyone who you think might be your next lead. But reaching out to companies that could be an excellent fit for you is not something that you should shy away from.
You should also try to be proactive. What this means is that you shouldn’t wait for leads to come to you. Most companies are not even aware that the solution to their problem exists. That is why reaching out and putting your solution out this will be the first step towards a successful lead generation strategy.
In addition to that, you should also look to do the following things before you start working on networking:
Prepare a list of email addresses
Ensure the templates are optimized for maximum email deliverability
Networking email template tips and tricks
In order to get the most out of your networking efforts, we have prepared a few of the tried and tested ways you can employ to enhance your networking. While the bulk of the work you will have to do is actually interacting and socializing with other people, there are some steps you can take that will ensure that you are not only sounding professional but also acting like one, too. Those steps are:
Do the research
Be clear and concise
Think about logistics
As we briefly mentioned above, the first step in creating a networking base is to prospect the contacts that are of interest to you. Chances are that you are already doing that, even if you haven’t thought about it. The reason behind this is that you are surely already following the leaders of your preferred industry and possibly wondering how they got to be the leaders they are today. Well, one thing they surely did was do a thorough research of their potential networking base.
Granted, they did not do this for each and every person they connected with, but for those that could easily be deemed as high-priority targets, it’s simply a must. Before you actually reach out to those people, you should take some time aside to truly learn what they are actually doing and grasp all the processes of that role that could be deemed as demanding. If you do this, you will be making sure that you are:
Leaving a great first impression
Showing them that you took the time to learn more about them
Having enough knowledge about a subject to talk naturally about complex issues and processes
Similar to writing, you should look to keep your messages short and concise. This way, you will ensure that you are not overwhelming your peers with an abundance of information. While information is definitely not something bad, if you provide too much of it on a subject that may or may not interest your networking target, you risk losing them right at the start. There’s plenty of room for that later on when you’ve actually set up a call or a meeting. That being said, you should look to include some details that could spark some interest from the other person. However, you should be clear about what you really want, just remember - don't be too aggressive or too boring.
Here are a couple of examples of short but sweet networking emails.
Classic networking email
My name is [X] and I run [X company]. We are currently working on [project], and since you’re an expert in [topic] it would be great to learn from you.
Please let me know if you’re free in the next few weeks for a cup of coffee or lunch.
Thank you email after a meeting
Thank you again for taking the time to talk to me about [X]. I truly appreciate your advice on [Y].
Just as you suggested, I reached out to [person], and I’m meeting them next week to discuss the project.
I hope that your big presentation goes great! It sounds amazing and I’m sure you’ll impress your team.
Thank you again for taking the time out of your busy schedule.
Logistics are something that you should definitely keep an eye out for. Ideally, you would be looking to connect with people from the same city as you. This is quite dependant on what goals you hope to achieve with your networking efforts and whether you are primarily working online or offline. The logistics are also rather important if you are planning to meet that person offline, as it would be very hard to meet in person someone from Europe if you are living in another continent. The goal of this is to make the potential meeting between you and the other person as painless as possible, meaning with as little hassle as possible.
Remember, those contacts from your brand new network are doing something that could potentially help you a lot along the way. The least you can do (besides picking up the bill, if the meeting is offline) is to send a thank-you note. This note should be customized as much as possible, but people have been known not to shy from using networking email templates. However, if you decide to set up a proper automatic email response as a thank you note, nobody would think that’s a bad thing.
The pros and cons of using a cold email networking template?
You can reach more people
You don't sound that personal
You can have a strategy in place
You can tweak the template
Sure, some people are really against using a cold email networking template, but it is almost inevitable in modern business practices. Granted, you might lose a bit on how personal the messages you are sending are, but you will be able to gain a lot more in terms of how many people you reach. However, if you’re using a tool such as Anyleads’ Automated Email software, you can have more options for personalization, and truly make your automated emails stand out.
What to avoid in your networking email templates?
We’ve mentioned what you should look to do when you start creating your networking base, but we haven’t really touched upon what you shouldn’t do. While every industry and every person differs from one another, there are some basics that you should definitely avoid doing, in order to not only be professional but also to be someone who others will be pleased to communicate and collaborate with. Here are those things:
Don’t be too aggressive
Don't be overly demanding
We’ve already talked about the fact that you should take it easy - don’t push too hard to get what you want, even if you are kind of in a tight spot. Additionally, you should never assume something that you are not sure about a person. For example, you may see that one of your acquaintances is well connected with one or more of the industry leaders from your preferred industry. Logically, you’d want to exploit the fact that you know a person that can get you connected with those leaders.
That being said, you don’t want to rush and send a message asking your acquaintance to make the introduction or ask around. Instead, take some time, start with a small ask and get in touch with your acquaintance. After you’ve done that and (re)established rapport, you can move on to actually getting the introduction to the people that have picked your interest.
What to remember when creating a networking email template?
There are a couple of things you should remember when creating a new networking email template. This is also valid if you are tweaking an existing template. You might feel like free-flowing is the best way to go but in reality, you should employ some of the advice found here. If you wish to sound professional and, ultimately, get the results that you want, you should pay attention to:
Having a stellar networking email subject line
Calling out any similarities between you and the person you are contacting
Telling them something that you admire about them
Telling them how you can help them
Asking for help or advice
Starting off easy
Having a breathtaking subject line is definitely a must. The main reason behind this is that it’s the first thing someone will see and it will greatly affect your email open rate. If you follow this up by stating something they will surely know about, while at the same time pointing that out as a similarity, you will be sure to create a connection between you and the person you are trying to reach. This is essential for making the first contact and leaving a great impression at the same time.
If you follow this up (in a separate email or even in the same one) with the reason why it would be good to establish rapport, you’ve done most of the work you had to do. You can do this fairly easily, by asking for a piece of advice or a really small “ask” from that person, which should be followed or preceded by stating what you could do for them, as well. It wouldn’t hurt if you point out something that you admire about the person or their company, but remember not to go overboard with this and end up sounding just plain cheesy.
One of the things you should keep in mind is that you can use the majority of the template you create for networking for other processes. An email newsletter template will have a lot of similarities with some of the templates that you will need for your networking efforts.
Networking is definitely something that is here to stay and with modern technologies, it is available to a lot more people than it was, just a decade ago. While this is a form of social interaction that may baffle all the introverts out there, with the use of the internet, even they can start utilizing this nifty tool into a powerful mechanism for an email marketing strategy that would rock the boat.