The previously mentioned 3-B plan is great advice when emailing busy people, but that might not be enough when you are making a digital "cold call". Iris Shoor successfully got through to several busy people to show her startup, including meetings at Twitter, LinkedIn and Github.
The format of her email is a great template to follow the next time you have to message a busy person. It follows some of the advice we have shared nefore about keeping emails brief, organised and on-topic, but Shoor breaks down the message into three parts:
Why and how I can help you: Busy people aren't going to be interested in meeting you if you don't have anything to offer in return. By giving something to them up front, you get their attention. Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank says it can be something as simple as sharing what you've learned from your experiences — but make sure you offer them an incentive first. And make this the lengthiest part of your email.
Why I am writing to you: State your purpose for mailing clearly and concisely. Don't muck about; you aren't the first cold call they are getting. Brevity is your friend here.
Why now? And what do I want?: This is the point where you clearly tell the person what you expect from them. AppSumo founder Noah Kagan advises that the more precise you are, the better. In fact, you can even suggest a meeting time instead of leaving an open-ended date for the recipient to fix.
Shoor's post has several other insights into the art of sending a cold email and is worth reading in full.