How to Perfect Your Follow-Up Emails

There’s something you need to know about crafting the perfect follow-up email. Ready? One email isn’t going to cut it.

I know this to be the case. In May 2017, my company used several follow-up tactics to generate an 85 percent open rate and 45 percent reply rate for one of our clients. We’ve used the same strategies to schedule more than 25,000 client sales meetings.

Email might not be new, but it’s still one of the main forms of communication in the business world. By 2021, in fact, an estimated 4.1 billion people will use email, and they’ll send about 319.6 billion business and consumer emails.

And that’s not limited to members of older generations: Adestra’s 2016 Consumer Adoption & Usage Study identified that 73 percent of Millennials prefer business communication to happen through email.

Want to reach potential leads quickly and effectively? Meet them where they are: in their inboxes.

How to Nail Your Follow-Up

When it comes to reaching customers, email has the benefit of bringing in fewer false-positive leads. On a cold call, someone might agree to a meeting or more information just to get off the phone. But email allows potential leads to be more direct with you in their responses: If they aren’t interested, you’ll know.

Another benefit? Email marketing is saturated with weak attempts to draw attention, so a good email can really rise above the noise.

If you want to start getting more responses from engaged targets, consider these three tips for crafting successful follow-up emails:

1. Two words: “Any thoughts?”

A follow-up email doesn’t have to be fancy. You’ve communicated your best ideas in your first email. Instead, use your follow-up to ask, “Any thoughts?” The question injects a bit of confusion — the good kind — into the conversation. It makes the recipient think, “Thoughts? Did I miss something?” It also implies that you think the information was valuable to them, which is why you anticipated — and are requesting — a response.

This easy method means they’re more likely to take a look at your first email again. Maybe they didn’t take a good look the first time, or maybe they were busy with something else. Now, you’ve secured a second chance with only two simple words. You can even add, “Sent from mobile” to the bottom of your signature to make the email look more casual.

All told, it looks like this:

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
[Your name]

Sent from mobile

2. Respond to unsubscribe requests with, “I thought I had the right contact.”

Modern email users are savvy. No matter how well-crafted your pitch is, they can often tell they’ve been put on a list. Some of them might respond asking to be removed. Admittedly, those emails usually look like this: “STOP SENDING ME THESE [expletive] EMAILS or I’m gonna …” You get the picture.

It’s not a great feeling because if you’re a good marketer, you won’t want to come off as a bother. If you find yourself getting one of those emails or realize you’ve been emailing someone totally outside your target audience, respond with humanity.

Try an email like this one:

[Prospect’s name],

I try to research potential client lists so I’m contacting only people who could benefit from our [products/services]. When I initially sent you an email, I thought you were a great fit, but I might have been mistaken. If that’s true, I apologize. I’d appreciate if you could pass my email along to someone who is more involved with these decisions. On the other hand, if you are the right contact, would you have any time to talk with me?

It works because it’s apologetic, but not overly so. It articulates that you’ve done research to find the right people but acknowledges the possibility of a mistake. Write your own with the same touchstones, and you’ll be happy to see how often the chain continues to the correct contact.

3. Make responding easy with clear options.

I’ve always hated required essay responses when a multiple-choice question would have been fine. That’s because we’ve all got a limit to how much critical thought we can put into tasks every day.

Apply this idea to your call to action. If you’re asking for a novel-length response, you’re asking for too much. See if you can break your options down and offer simple choices.

Try something like this:

Hi, [Prospect’s name],

I know you’re busy, so I just wanted to quickly gauge your interest. Let me know which of these best applies, and we can move forward from there:
1. I’m not interested.
2. I’m really busy; please follow up in a month.
3. I’m interested, and I want to schedule a time to chat.

Thanks,
[Your name]

Avoid a “funny” fourth option like, “I’m lost and don’t know when I’ll be found.” You likely don’t know your prospect’s sense of humor, and it could make him or her less likely to respond if you end with a joke. Just keep it simple.

These three tactics have drastically improved response rates for my team’s clients. Spruce up your follow-up emails accordingly, and you, too, could enjoy a taste of sales success.

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This article was originally shared on Business2Community.com on 6/11/18.
Ryan Myers also contributed to this post.

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