(Photo by Attribution Engine user Farzad Nazifi, used under a Creative Commons license)
Here’s a bone for the liberal arts–minded among us in the startup world: writing good emails is a seriously important part of business.
Venture capitalist Shaun Abrahamson, of Urban Us, broke it down for us in a Medium post last week, Founder Emails, a subject with which he is no doubt deeply experienced. Last week we covered his fund’s new cohort of nine urban tech startups, chosen in conjunction with Urban-X, the Greenpoint accelerator.
“Early stage startup email is not like your current email,” Abrahamson writes. Email “can impact your ability to find early customers and investors.”
I think it is now accurate to simply say "email" when people ask me what I do.
— Shaun Abrahamson 🐿 (@shaunabe) April 8, 2015
Here are some of our favorite of Abrahamson’s tips, summarized:
- You have to respond reasonably quickly, even if it’s to say you’ll respond more fully later. Response lag time correlates to your priority level in people’s heads and everyone wants to be a priority.
- If you’re making an intro for someone, consider checking with the other person if they don’t mind getting the intro. It can put people in awkward situations if they really have no interest in talking to the other party.
- Scheduling tools like Calendly are good because they cut down on back and forth emails.
- Assume the person you’re sending the email to isn’t the only one who will see it. Whether it’s forwarded around the office, hacked, or, in the case of public officials, FOIA’d, write with that in mind.
- Send follow-ups with your progress, preferably with concrete metrics. People like to read along to a story and feel like they’re part of it.