Email 101 for Startups

A collection of email etiquette tips and examples for the Fast Track Malmö spring batch 2016

Fast Track Malmö is a startup accelerator in Malmö, Sweden. The 2016 spring batch of was selected from over 250 applications and has startups within AI, edtech, bitcoin, data analytics and sales.

The inspiration and some material to this post came from 500 Startups, The Family, Techstars (do more faster), The Mom Test, Roy Bahat, Hunter Walk and a few more.

1. Respond quickly

  • Respond to important emails within a few hours (so you can have a conversation during the day)
  • Respond to all emails within 24 hours.
  • If you need more time, give a partial response and let them know you will get back.

2. Write short emails

  • Write short emails. Write short emails. Write short emails.
  • Use the “3 or 5 sentence rule”, particularly to people you don’t know personally and have not contacted before. http://three.sentenc.es/ — this will force you to be clear and concise.
  • Use the subject line, 3–7 words descriptive and concise.
  • Use plain text emails, avoid formatting, fonts, colors.
Write short emails, get awesome answers (credits: @brissmyr)

3. Fix your e-mail identity

  • Setup your domain and make sure you email from it
  • Setup founders@example.com
  • Make sure you have a gravatar connected to your email so your profile image shows in rapportative and other email clients.

4. Use the email footer

  • Add a link to you site and perhaps twitter/angel.co account, always be driving traffic.
  • Add tracking with UTM parameters in the HTML link or using URL redirect if you do plain text email
  • Add your one-liner to help people remember who you are
Best,
Joel Larsson
http://fasttrackmalmo.com/ - Top Nordic Startup Accelerator

5. How to write emails

  • Ask only one question and put it last in your email
  • If you really need to have more than one thing, then by god number them 1, 2, 3 so you can avoid inline answers
  • Make the question easy to respond to. When asking for a meeting, suggest a few meeting times.
  • A good structure for emails when asking for a commitment is described in The Mom Test is vision, framing, weakness, pedestal, the ask

6. Inbox Control

To answer all emails quickly, you need good a good email inbox process. Use GTD or anything that keeps your inbox clean.

  • Regularly unsubscribe to mailing lists and drip-mails you don’t read.
  • Sweep the inbox often, read & archive non-important emails
  • Try to touch email only once. (archive, reply or add to todo)
  • Don’t use your inbox as a todo list
  • Have scheduled email time 2–3 times per day so you always respond to important emails quickly.

7. Introductions

  • When asking for an introduction, make it easy for the connector.
    (See example below)
  • Put the introducer on BCC after the intro
  • When you are introduced, always loop back to the connector and say thanks and update on the outcome.
  • When you introduce people, realize that people read how you describe them very well, so add some positive angle.

Example: Intro

Hi Joel,
I’d like you to meet Paul Smith, the CEO of Ignite. Ignite is a UK based pre-seed accelerator based in Newcastle but with additional operations now opening up in London and Manchester, making them the biggest pre-seed accelerator group over here.
@Paul, please meet Joel Larsson from Minc, an incubator in Malmö, Sweden. They are currently working to raise the fund to start their first regional accelerator covering the Copenhagen and Malmö region. Joel has eyes on all the startup goings on in Southern Sweden and Copenhagen, from incubators to meetups. Given you’ll be over there at some point soon, I thought I would connect you so you can grab coffee//beer at some point and swap notes.
@Joel, you would be wise to tap Paul for info on starting an accelerator — he’s been around the block with this a fair few times now and I’m sure has much salient advice to share.

Example: Answer an introduction

From: Joel Larsson
To: Kajsa Bengtsson
Bcc: Eva Tkavc
Thanks for the intro Eva (bcc)
Hi Kajsa,

Example: Ask for intro

Hi Sofia,
Nice meeting you at the #MalmoStartups event last Thursday!
I would like to get in touch with Sean Percival from 500 Startups and I noticed you two where connected. They have recently started to focus on the Nordics and I would love to invite him to our Demo Day, a perfect opportunity to meet some of the best early stage startups in the Nordics.
Below is a quick blurb you can use:
Fast Track Malmö is a startup accelerator in Malmö, Sweden. The 2016 spring batch of was selected from over 250 applications and has startups within AI, edtech, bitcoin, data analytics.
More information about the current batch can be found here http://fasttrackmalmo.com/spring-batch-2016 and for more news check http://twitter.com/fasttrackmalmo and http://angel.co/fasttrackmalmo
Best,
Joel

Example: Forwardable Intro email


Subject: Fast Track Malmö Intro to 500 Startups
Hi Petra,
I think Sean Percival and 500 Startups would be perfect investor to invite to our Demo Day with Fast Track Malmö in April. Their early stage Nordics Fund would be a good fit for the startups and the distribution focus would add a lot of value.
Here’s a bit more about us:
Fast Track Malmö is the leading startup accelerator in the Nordics, with 250+ applications from around the world. The current batch has startups within AI, edtech, bitcoin, data analytics and sales.
More information about the current batch can be found here http://fasttrackmalmo.com/spring-batch-2016 and for more news check http://twitter.com/fasttrackmalmo and http://angel.co/fasttrackmalmo
The Demo Day will be in April and have 20+ startups pitching, with top early stage VC and angel investors in the audience.
I'd love to connect to Sean and invite him to Malmö.
Best, Joel

Follow Fast Track Malmö on TwitterAngel.co