Can you fathom living in a time where emails didn’t exist? You would have to patiently bide time while your letter got delivered by a pigeon. And let’s not forget how long it would take to receive a response. Hope may be a thing with feathers, but pigeons don’t have jetpacks.
While emails have made it convenient and instantaneous to send your message across the world, things are not always rosy. Let’s take follow-ups, for instance.
We know we speak for the general public when we say follow-up emails make us cringe, particularly since we need to send an email to someone who hasn’t previously show any interest in responding to us.
We know the wait can get uncomfortable, but trust us, it isn’t all bad.
You probably might want to write a follow-up email to:
- Finalize a meeting
- Check the service status
- Send an update or a reminder
- Partner with a blogger, influencer, etc.,
If you struggle with follow-ups, trust us, you’re not alone. In fact, a study has shown that about 70% of salespeople give up if they don’t get a response to their first email.
You might feel like you’re bothering someone who isn’t interested and think it’s better to keep it that way. But consider these stats:
- In an outreach case study, it was found that about 50% of responses occur because of follow-up emails
- 92% of salespeople stop after four follow-ups, but about 80% of prospects say no four times before saying yes.
- An Iko System research showed an 18% response rate on their first email, and 13% on their fourth email.
- A comparable Yesware study found a 30% response rate to their first email and a 14% response rate to their fourth.
Think about it, how often have you received a message or an email only to forget it until you saw it a few days later? Similarly, your outreach email recipients can fail to notice it or even forget to respond to your email, though they had planned to.
Inboxes get full, distractions are aplenty, and people often receive too many emails in a day that they forget most of them and let them slide.
Hence, you must follow-up on your outreach emails. There’s no point investing all that time and effort if the trash folder is the final destination. Follow-ups are where meetings get scheduled, deals get sealed, and products get sold. It is the only way to keep you in the minds of your prospects.
Now that you know how essential follow-ups are, set aside that uneasiness and get to it.
Are you contemplating how to write a follow-up email that achieves this goal? In this article, we’ll discuss critical steps on how to write the right follow-up email that’ll help you improve your open rates and conversions.
The best way to formulate a follow-up email
Even after years of working with email outreach, it’s a sad reality that most emails are (let’s face it) boring.
Most follow-up emails are written with the purpose of “checking-in” or “following-up.” Though there’s nothing wrong with that, why do they have to be mundane and boring?
Most senders consider follow-ups as just another activity to tick off their lists. What they don’t get is that follow-ups are opportunities to reach their prospects to act and react.
Email follow-ups are a great way to remind your prospect of previous emails while signifying urgency, clarifying your offer, and showing how much you value them.
The art of mastering follow-up emails is to put yourself in the shoes of the recipient. It may take you some time and effort, but it’ll be worth every second of it.
In this article, we have covered the main steps of an email follow-up – from setting up a comprehensive plan to unique sampling approaches that can be modified.
Let’s get started now.
Step 1: Define your objective
You know who your prospects are; you’ve probably met them, spoken to them on the phone, or emailed them — and now it’s time to send that dreaded follow-up email. Before you start writing your email, you need to identify and clarify your primary goal.
It could be sales, conversion, brand awareness, or even building a better relationship with your recipient. Whatever your goal might be, commit to achieving it by including a strong call-to-action.
The four common objectives of a follow-up email are:
1. Need for information
Usually, after an initial conversation with a prospect, do you feel like you may have forgotten something? After all, you are human, and you may have missed out on asking for some additional information from them.
Your email’s purpose may be to clarify the information about their business and pain points, update the offer status, or finalize whether the sale has gone through.
By explicitly stating the information you require, you can provide the receiver with clear directions on what information you need and ensure that it proceeds seamlessly.
2. Request for meeting
Whether it is to sell a product or service, ask for help, or brainstorm, follow-up emails are the perfect chance to request that meeting or conversation. In your email, you can provide information about what you want to discuss and how it will benefit you both. Let’s be honest; we are all looking for mutual benefits.
To simplify things further, you can add a link to the meeting to add it to their calendar.
3. Catch up
You may have just received some big news about your prospect or their company; maybe you read their newsletter or want their feedback on some products or services. Be what it may, it would be a great idea to catch up with them and discuss what has happened, especially if it’s been a while.
Consider this, your prospect has now entered a new business venture, and you are confident that they will need your products and services, and so, you want to make the perfect pitch. But if you are unable to be in constant touch with them, a follow-up email can help in perfecting that pitch. Make sure to clearly mention what you’re planning to catch up in your email to avoid sounding ambiguous or vague. Just as importantly, make sure your recipient feels valued.
4. Thank you
We all like to be appreciated, and saying ‘Thank you’ can go a long way. While this follow-up email doesn’t prompt a response, it makes your recipients feel appreciated. Gratitude is an excellent professional trait, and people will start to view your brand more favorably. As a result, they may look forward to doing business with you again in the future or recommend your brand to a colleague or friend.
‘Thank you’ follow-up emails are usually sent to
- Provide a referral.
- Offer reviews or testimonials.
- Sign a deal.
- Schedule a meeting
Once you have defined your intent, it becomes easier to chart your follow-up emails. This way, you can integrate your CTA in a way that your recipients can easily recognize. This involves responding to the information requested, scheduling meetings, or only catching up.
Through identifying and explaining your objective in your follow-up email, you can provide your recipients with a professional-sounding message and a CTA that gets them to act quickly by creating true value.
Step 2: Set the context
How many emails do you think an employee sends out every day (on average)?
Is it 10? Nope.
How about 20? Nope.
Research studies have found that, on average, an office worker sends our 28 to 40 emails per day.
Yet many of these emails never get the recipient’s attention or remain in their inbox, only to reach their final destination, the ominous trash can.
So, with the large number of emails that people receive these days, it is crucial to establish a personal connection, an identifier, or a common interest that draws the attention of the recipient and will help them remember you.
Hence, setting the context is extremely important, especially if this is your first follow-up email, or it’s been a while since you last sent them an email or even if you don’t have a close relationship with the email recipient.
By providing context and reminding them of your initial conversation, you can help jog their memory and make it easier for them to respond. Don’t ramble on through the email without clarifying your stance. The last thing you want to do is confuse the recipient. In such a case, the trash can will be all your follow-up email will see.
Here are a few examples of effective email openers that you can use to provide context
Effective email openers
- We met at [Name of Event or Location] last week
- After you spoke at the [Name of Event], I was inspired to
- Our friend, [Mutual Friend’s Name], recommended that I contact you
- The last time we connected, we spoke about [Topic]
Don’t limit yourself to these email openers, as long as you clarify what you’re looking to discuss while setting the right context..
Step 3: Establish the purpose
Clearly state the intent of your follow-up email. You should be straightforward — this will prevent you from appearing spammy, untrustworthy, or ambiguous.
E.g., you wouldn’t just say, “I’d like to get some coffee and talk about what you’re doing.” Instead, you can phrase it as, “I’d like to have some coffee and hear more about which tools best help you reach your targets.”
By being specific, your contacts will feel you’re not wasting their time, which will make them more likely to respond to you.
Here are a few effective examples of how you can express intent in a follow-up email:
Popular ways to articulate a purpose
- I want to invite you to join me at [Name of Event], and I think it will benefit [Company Name].
- As discussed earlier, here is the [insert link] developer, which I think could help you with your new website.
- It would be great to hear more about [the subject] as I’m working on something similar for [Company Name].
Step 4: Define prospect action
Leave the ball in the court of your prospect. You do this by asking them when, how, and where you can meet them. Remember, letting them decide may sound like a good idea, but it also brings in uncertainty. Sometimes, the prospect doesn’t meet with you owing to this detail.
State the day and the time you would like to meet. Check your schedule and let them know when you’re free so they can choose an appropriate time.
Instead of asking them when they would be available, say, “I’m free from 8 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday and when they would like to meet.
Or if you’re acquainted with the prospect’s schedule, you can simply say: “Can we meet on Friday, 5 pm? If not, please propose a suitable time.”
As the day and time have been fixed, it offers clarity. Your prospect no longer feels burdened by the decision and will let you know when they are available.
Step 5: Sending a follow-up email
Now you’ve written the follow-up email — the objective is clear, you’ve set the context, the purpose is clear, and you’ve chosen a suitable subject line (if any). Now comes the last step, when do you send it?
Based on your situation, you need to deliver your follow-up at a time that ensures that your message remains relevant to your recipients, will be opened, and will get responses.
Below are some timeframes that have worked well for employees in world-class organizations while sending follow-up emails:
- Within 24 Hours: You can send a ’thank you‘ follow-up email after meetings, seminars, events, or other special occasions that merit urgent gratitude.
- Within 48 Hours: After submitting essential documents (like a job application or deadline report) or any follow-up, that cannot wait a few weeks.
- Within 1-2 Weeks: Following up on the requested meeting, or after no regarding a job offer or email.
- Every 3 months: To catch up with a previous connection, inquire if anything has improved about them or their business, or hear about recent changes in their professional or personal life (depending on the relationship).
And with these five steps, you will now know how to write a robust and relevant follow-up email that is bound that get the attention of your recipients.
It will also significantly increase the odds of getting the responses you’re looking for.
Follow-up emails are robust tools to convert leads, bring new customers, establish strong relationships, and close deals. The trick here is getting your email recipients to open your email and respond to it.
Think of your follow-up email’s essential features to make sure it eye-catching, exciting, and valuable to your recipients — give them a reason to reply and get in touch with you. Use the five golden steps to formulate an email that has an objective, sets the context, has an intent, and a clear subject line (if you want to add one). And finally, decide when is the best time to send your email. Once that is done, all you need to do is kick back and relax. The ball is now is in your recipient’s court.