The pandemic made clear the importance of a new approach to networking: email. It can be a useful tool when used correctly. The Business 2 Community website offers these tips:
Do your homework. Before reaching out to a potential networking contact, find out as much as you can about them. Where do they work? What’s their job title? Where else have they worked? Where did they go to school? Look for anything you have in common that you can use as a connection.
Write a good subject line. This is the first thing your contact will see, and it determines whether he or she will even open your email. Make it concise and engaging. Catch the reader’s eye in a few words with something like, “A friend of Jack Smith” or “I enjoyed your article.”
Establish a common ground. Highlight something you share early on. It could be your industry, your college or grad school, a mutual acquaintance—anything that makes the other person see you’re not just targeting him or her at random.
Build trust. People are suspicious. A good way to build trust is to spotlight your professional credentials—your employer, projects you've worked on, awards you've won, or degrees you've earned. Don't brag. Your goal is to give the person an idea of who you are so he or she can decide whether to listen to you.
Make things simple. If you're looking for a meeting, give them a choice of time and plenty of opportunity to respond. Start out small - ask for a few minutes of time or one piece of advice, not a commitment to mentor or a graduate-level seminar on the person's expertise.
Follow up. If they don't respond, follow up once, but don't be a pest. If they do answer, be sure to thank them and accommodate their needs. Courtesy is the key to establishing a warm, long-lasting relationship.