If you were looking for an answer to how to request a meeting via email, I have an interesting internal case study to show you.

Cold emails represent an amazing way to build relationships with people who have never heard of you before.

In this article, you'll get an exclusive insight in an experiment I've run in order to meet with people working in Marketing & Growth, in top startups in Paris.

When I say top startups, I'm referring to the fact that these businesses together raised $200+ million in funding. 😎

The reason why I wanted to run this campaign in the first place was to understand the different processes they've all used to grow to that level.

Regardless of the business you're in, you should always look to connect with different people. Many of them have the same job description as you or work in a similar industry, so you can definitely learn a thing or two.

But for now, let's get back to our main story... starting with the results!


cold emails for networking - lemlist campaign

As you can see, this campaign was a real success as I was able to have lunch with more than 10 people.

Because I'm a giver, let's have a look at the step by step process.

Step 1: Defining the target and finding email addresses

Defining the target
As always, the first step of any outreach campaign is to define the main goal and your target audience.

If you're still struggling in figuring out who's your target audience, make sure to have a look at our buyer persona article where I give tips and examples on how to create one.

In my case, the goal of this campaign was pretty clear. I wanted to meet with people who operated in Growth or Marketing departments at some of the best startup companies in Paris.

I've prioritized those who have raised at least a Series A in order to learn as much as I could about what was working for them and what wasn't.

Finding data
I made a list of all startups who have raised money in France using Crunchbase and LinkedIn.

Once I was on their LinkedIn profile, I used a mix of different techniques to find their email address. If you're not familiar with these techniques, I've detailed them all in an article that teaches you how to find anyone's email address by name.

Step 2: Writing cold emails for networking

After you narrow down your target audience (as explained in Step 1), writing different messages becomes much easier when you know who you'll be talking to.

Since it was not a sales sequence, I've decided to create a 3-step sequence instead of the usual drill.

The usual drill for me is to schedule at least five follow-up emails, as this has proven to be one of the most critical components when doing cold email outreach.

Networking email 1
For every step, you'll notice one thing I always prefer to do: A/B Testing.

A/B testing means that half of the audience I'm reaching out to will receive version A, while others get the B version. By doing so, I'm able to check what message or subject line perform performs better and then re-use it for future campaigns.

If you're not familiar with lemlist, then this template might look a bit weird. But worry not my friend, as lemlist creates dynamic images and personalizes them based on the person you're reaching out to.

cold emails for networking

In the case above, we insert a dynamic screenshot of their website simply based on his or email address. In other words, there's no need to actually take the screenshot yourself as lemlist does it auto-magically. 🎉

We've also decided to add the "for you {{firstName}}" to add some more personalization to it and drive clicks.

Here's how the networking cold email looked when it arrived in their inbox.

networking email template

And here's the template translated to English:

Hey {{firstName}},

I was checking your linkedIn profile and I thought I would reach out with a quick video for a change 😊


You can also click here 😇

So, what do you think? Are you up for it?

As you can see, the template is very casual as my goal was to have people clicking on the video to watch it. Adding those intriguing questions at the end of the email is another great way to increase the click rate by the way.

Recommended read: Coffee meeting cold email template

Indeed, people tend to wonder why I'm asking "Are you up for it?" hence they want to discover what's in the video.

The second part of the funnel was another gem of lemlist... dynamic landing pages.

Being able to easily create dynamic personalized landing pages... so when people would click on the video frame, they would be redirected to a landing page that will be personalized just for them... was a game changer.

lemlist dynamic landing pages

As you can see, the landing page also contains my calendar so people could book lunch dates with me with just a few clicks. ❤

A friction-free experience that's scalable and super easy to set up.️

Results of the first email in this sequence:
Template A:
Open rate: 86%
Click rate: 76%
Reply rate: 30%

Template B:
Open rate: 100%
Click rate: 70%
Reply rate: 20%

Even though the number of people I reached out to was not statistically significant, there are 3 learnings here:

1) The more targeted your subject line is, the better. Here, I was clearly messaging a Head of Growth, hence using the terminology "Growth" associated with something casual such as lunch was a hit!

2) The higher the click rate, the higher the response rate. The more people actually see your face and consume your messaging, the higher the response rate will be.

3) Adding a video (clickable image) inside an email is a clear game changer if you're trying to increase your click rate.

Using humor in your networking email follow-up

As you've seen in the first email, we love personalized images at lemlist. And the reason we love them is that they work. 😇

In the follow-up, I'm using humor to connect with people.

A lot of people think that this is a childish move and that it won't work. Especially if they have, as they say, a more serious B2B target audience.

My honest opinion is that everyone likes to laugh no matter what. And when it comes to it, I'd rather do business with people who have a sense of humor!

In this follow-up template, the personalized image included a profile picture of the person I was reaching out. Plus, his or her skills were automatically taken from their LinkedIn profile.

Check it out...

cold emails for networking

Adding someone's profile picture in an email might look creepy and that's actually why I used a WANTED poster, to make it come as funny.

cold emails for networking

Here is the template translated in English:

Subject A: Is that you on that poster?
Subject B: Looking good on that poster!

I was checking growth talents in Paris and I came across this poster... Pretty dope!


Well ok... I admit that I've used my advanced design skill to create this poster myself 😇

I hope that it made you smile, and if yes, I'd love to invite you for a lunch or a coffee so we can discuss about our challenges.

What do you think?

Results for networking email follow-up:
Template A:
Open rate: 60%
Click rate: NA
Reply rate: 15%

Template B:
Open rate: 87%
Click rate: NA
Reply rate: 15%

A nice learning here is that you'll see that the more your message is about the person you're reaching out to, the better the outcome is going to be.

Here, the subject line B is a compliment to the person I'm reaching out to, while subject line A is a simple interrogation.

Networking email follow-up no.2

Some people prefer tea, but most people love to drink hot beverages during breaks.

It's a common thing we all share.

Leveraging a common human behavior in your email outreach is what makes building relationships with people you don't know much easier.

cold emails for networking

Adding a custom variable with the name of the person on the cup is key to add more personalization to the template.

cold emails for networking

Here is the template translated in English:

Subject A: Coffee?
Subject B: Growth Coffee?

Hey {{firstName}},

I know that going out for a lunch might be a bit too time consuming so I contacted your team to know your favorite beverage (I know it might sound creepy but I did it for the love of coffee!)

So here I am with your favorite triple, Venti, half sweet caramel Macchiatto  😇


Let me know what's the best time for me to bring it to you so we can have a chat about growth 😇

P.S: This is my last email

Results for the networking email follow-up no.2:
Template A:
Open rate: 75%
Click rate: NA
Reply rate: 20%

Template B:
Open rate: 55%
Click rate: NA
Reply rate: 40%

Another interesting lesson here!

The subject line "Coffee?" is a pretty well-known and here we can see that we're getting a 75% open rate which is pretty high.

However, the reply rate is lower compared to the other email template.

One of the reasons might be that the subject line was deceptive.

Indeed, with the subject line "Coffee?", it's not possible to know for sure that it's coming from the same sequence. However, with "growth coffee?" it's much easier to recall that this is me following up another time.

Hence the lower open rate, but higher reply rate because it was less deceptive.

Obviously, to be 100% sure about what I'm stating I should test it on a larger scale but you get the general point.

Bottom line

When writing a networking email to a stranger, it's important to remember that your success rate will depend on a few things:

  • Have you targeted the right people?
  • Is your approach personalized enough?
  • Are you following-up in a meaningful way?

Don't forget that the whole point here is to expand your circle and build a relationship with others. Your messaging needs to leave that impression, preferably in a fun and engaging way.

For this outreach campaign, I've leveraged the power of personalized cold emails and dynamic landing pages of our own tool. The funnel consisted of a 3-step sequence + that dynamic landing page in the first step.

In case you're thinking to create something similar, I'd like to invite you to come test lemlist and play with all these features for free.

Start your free trial

Other email outreach use cases you might like: