How to Type Up a Coffee Chat Email
Let's have a cuppa virtually
Published: January 29, 2023
Imagine sharing a steaming cup of coffee with a big business owner who is about to give you a large lucrative deal! You both are talking about your personal life, found a mutual friend to chat about, and are just basically networking.
This is how most people build relationships - they find common ground or a relevant topic, choose something to eat or drink, and coordinate in person for a quick meeting.
Or is that the way things used to be done?
Now, busy professionals are all over the world and many of them hate the commute to basically anywhere (in fact, don't we all?). That's why now people usually speak with professional connections on a virtual coffee date.
So whether you are sending an invite to a networking event or multiple networking emails, want to discuss job opportunities, or want to build rapport with a complete stranger who can be beneficial for your career, you are likely to ask for a coffee meeting - and usually a virtual one.
However, what does a virtual coffee meeting invite entail? How do you write one?
Networking email subject lines
Okay, so you want to connect with professional contacts or a stranger to discuss a job role, have a quick conversation on a particular topic, or need industry tips after attending a certain event.
What should your subject line be for such a networking conversation?
Have you seen the LinkedIn invites you get?
Those subjects are a good way to grab someone's attention. Hey [name], I would like to connect! However, you can always get a bit more specific.
Mention a company name or prospect name
Write down what you are interested in talking about
Mention the event name you met them at
You can also mention a mutual contact's name or send a simple request for someone to be added to your professional network. Here are a few sample networking email subject lines:
Hey [name] I met you at [specific event].
I enjoyed your article on [topic], can we chat?
Can you provide tips on [topic] over a virtual coffee meeting?
I love your recently published book, would love to discuss all the details.
Hey, I know you through [mutual connection], a meeting would be greatly appreciated.
Your networking email subject line should mention a few key things like the person you want to address, the topic, or something that you both would be mutually interested in.
So, if you have your networking email subject line down, now you need to craft the actual email.
What's the best way to ask for virtual coffee meetings?
Writing networking emails
You can't just reach out to a complete stranger and ask them to have coffee with you (even if it is virtual). You need to know a few personal details, so before you draft the cold email, it is best to finish your research.
Your research can start from your prospect's LinkedIn profile. You can learn a little more about their company, see if you both have any mutual contacts, and also confirm the person's job title. Some people hate it if you don't know their position and role in a company.
Now, let's start writing the email.
#1 Mention things that are similar
Everyone loves to connect with people who are similar with them in some ways. Therefore, you can start your email by greeting your prospect and then telling them what you both have in common.
It can be a mutual connection (someone you both know or have met), a mutual interest or topic, or an event you both attended or plan to attend. There can be other similarities too, but it is important to mention what you both have in common and why it would be great to push your relationship further with this person.
For example: I have read your recent book on AI and its effect on content marketing, and as a content marketer, I find the arguments you made highly relevant and intriguing.
#2 Praise a little
No one likes it if you really butter them up unnecessarily but it is okay to lay on the praise a little - but ensure that it sounds sincere. Tell them what you like about their work, expertise, connections, or what you thought of your prospect when you heard him/her speaking at a conference.
The examples can be endless.
Regardless of why you are sending the networking email, say something positive about the receiver to spread a cheerful aura.
For example: Your content sounded so positive and was very easy to digest. I understood the points you made easily and agreed with so many of them.
#3 Ask for something
Now you need to tell your recipient why you are reaching out to him/her and what would you like in return. Perhaps you would like to discuss a new job, would like them to read a blog post or give a quote for a blog post, or maybe you would just like some advice related to a certain business or career move.
Tell the recipient what you require of them and why you want to network with them. However, it is not necessary you want something from them, you may want to offer something to them instead.
It would also be nice to mention a timeframe so your recipient knows when you require their assistance or response.
You may want to write something like this:
For example: I would really appreciate it if we could have a quick chat about your ideas regarding AI this week or next week. We can connect virtually over a coffee!
#4 Offer something in return
While all your networking emails do not have to have all of the components mentioned, it is a good idea to mention what you can offer the recipient in return. A give-and-take relationship is better than one where you are only asking for help.
For example, you can tell your recipient that you can discuss software solutions that can help them in their work or you have some feedback or freelance opportunities that they may be interested in in the future.
Anything that you would like to offer in return, even if it is in the future, this is the time to do it.
For example: I have written a short review on your book and would love for you to see it and provide feedback!
#5 Close cordially
Close the email politely by saying Thank you and also telling them that you will anticipate a response. You can say something like "Looking forward to hearing back from you soon." Close the email cordially and on a positive, energy-filled note.
Here is an email template for a networking cold email:
I wanted to reach out because I have recently bought a copy of your book about the economic situation of the United Kingdom and find your predictions for the future intriguing.
I am a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde and your book really gave me in-depth material about my hypothesis and there are several chapters in your book that resonate with what I am also testing in my research.
I notice that you attend several networking events that I do as well, but as you might be very preoccupied during those sessions, I was wondering if we could have a quick chat over a virtual coffee?
You can find my blog here and it has many readers that would be interested in your book. I would be delighted to write a review for you after our chat.
Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you!
Now, you must remember that a cold email is exactly that,"cold" and you have to inject a lot of warmth in it with your words. However, no matter how much warmth you inject, you still may not get a response immediately and you may need to send a follow up email.
Here is how to do follow ups.
Writing a Follow Up Email
The subject lines for a networking follow up email should be simple and to the point. Say something like, "Just wanted to make sure you received my email" or "Just a soft reminder for my request to connect".
Make sure you do not badger the recipient or make him/her feel guilty for not replying. Your follow ups should also be personalized emails and you should politely say something like this:
I wrote to you a few days ago with a request to connect. Just making sure my email did not end up in your spam folder.
Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you!
There is no need to tell them that you are sure they are busy or you have been waiting for a response. If you have a timeframe in mind, you can say, I would appreciate if you could respond by [date] as it'll make [X] easier.
Speaking of landing in spam, if you are going to be sending many cold emails, it is a good idea to warm up your email domain and ensure you land in the Priority Inbox. Pribox helps with that with very affordable packages.
From the subject line to the body copy and the follow up, you need to be highly strategic when planning your networking email campaigns. If you play it well, you will have a large network and you will be drinking a lot of coffee while on Zoom or Google Meet. By the way, the meeting is virtual (not coffee!).
Reach more customers with your cold emails