Writing an e-mail is more complicated than it would appear. You’ve got to get your message across clearly and quickly, but that’s the easy part. The tricky part is how to break the ice, reach out to someone who, before seeing your e-mail in their Inbox, didn’t know you existed. It’s not as simple as extending a hand and saying your name. There is an etiquette, a form to doing it online. Here are three ways to introduce yourself via e-mail.

1. Make Connections

If your e-mail is business or professional in nature, it’s important to establish shared networks fast. People in the corporate world don’t have much time for chit-chat, so you’ve got to make the connections for them. Don’t assume they’ll know who you are as soon as they open your e-mail: remind them how, when and where you met without delving into all the details. A simple “We met at John Doe’s office last week” should be enough to trigger a memory, not a full-on recollection.

Similarly, if you have a mutual contact, name-drop that person to further consolidate your relationship to the person you are e-mail. Say that Mrs. Doe suggested you e-mail the person you’re currently e-mailing, or that you got their e-mail address from Mr. Smith at Mr. Black’s booth at the job fair yesterday. Subtly emphasizing how connected you are will make for an impressive first impression. The recipient of your e-mail will know that you run with good company, and that whatever you have to say is worth their time and attention.

2. Use A Good Subject Line

The subject line is the most important element of any e-mail. It’s as good as the expression on your face if you introduced yourself to someone in person. Are you smiling? Do you look bored? The impression you make with your face is the same as the impression you make with your subject line. Even if the content of your e-mail is great, the first thing your recipient will actually see is your subject line. And if your subject line is off, then so is the rest of your e-mail.

What makes a good subject line? The best subject lines are specific, they identify yourself, and they’re short. “Adam Jensen, touching bases after our April 25th meeting” says who you are, how you know this person, and what the e-mail is about – all in less than 10 words.

3. Get To The Point

As stated above, business people are busy people, so don’t spend too much time going on and on about how you know someone who knows someone who met someone who knows the recipient of your e-mail. Once you make your connection, end your introductory paragraph with a line stating the reasons behind your e-mail. Then, expound and expand on that idea in the following paragraph. This will make the reading of your e-mail flow logically and naturally, as opposed to one train of thought crashing into a wall, and another emerging out of the blue.