You meet your prospect online or offline. You’d introduce yourself, make that small talk happen, and then wait for an opportunity to pitch. Learning the art of follow up emails will help get the deal over the line.
Savvy marketers would be subtle, of course. Some people and businesses do this exceptionally well. Is it art or attitude? Andy Paul of Salesforce blog takes a shot at trying to explain this, but we’d think that it’s an art that requires a certain kind of attitude.
Most business owners with an inclination to sell, professional sales people, jobseekers and pretty much everyone else have to follow up every once in a while. It’s about reminding your prospects or recipients that you exist. It’s about plugging into a routine drill to keep reminding others of the value proposition you have to offer.
Sending follow up messages has been happening forever, and it’ll continue to do so.
Here are a few examples of follow up emails that we created with a few hypothetical scenarios. The tone, attitude, and the soft-pitches: it’s all here:
How Long Should You Wait Before Following Up?
Remember that old dating rule of thumb – wait three days before calling to ask them out again? Well, while that rule should disappear from the dating scene in favor of quicker follow-up texts, it still applies to business email follow-ups.
Two to three days is actually a good amount of time to wait before making your first follow-up. It’s long enough to indicate that your prospect has missed responding back to your email, but not so long that you’re completely out of sight, out of mind.
If that first follow-up doesn’t tender a response, don’t give up. Statistics show that persistence pays when it comes to email follow-up. In fact, many prospects don’t say yes even on the second, third or fourth follow-ups.
Does that mean they’re a lost cause? Surprisingly, it doesn’t; research indicates that many prospects actually seal the deal after the sixth email in your follow-up chain.
Follow-Up Email Best Practices
Generally, a follow-up email should be concise and positive in tone. Focus on showing a different aspect of the product/service you provide, and, most importantly, how it benefits the prospect and solves a pain point.
Sometimes people don’t respond to your emails because they’re busy, they’ve forgotten or they didn’t see it the first time. Other times, they know when they’ve skipped responding to an email from you, or when they’ve decided to ghost you. Regardless, there’s no need for a passive-aggressive tone regarding their lack of follow-up; that approach isn’t beneficial to you or to them.
Instead, keep your tone helpful and upbeat. Telling them that you are “Just following up” indicates that they lapsed in their communications with you; saying you “Wanted to share about article about X (topic that relates to their business)” indicates that you’re interested in them and looking out for their best interests.
Don’t sound apologetic:
When you’re sending a follow-up, you should be doing it because you have something of value to say or share. If you don’t, you should reconsider sending the email.
If you do send it, there’s no need to include passive verbiage like, “I hope this is a good time,” or “Just checking in to see if you received my last email.”
Make your call to action clear:
Emails with a clear call to action perform better than those with multiple or ambiguous calls to action. Let the prospect know what step you’d like them to take, whether it’s downloading a case study, scheduling a follow-up call or setting up a demo.
What to Include in a Follow-Up Email
Writing a good follow-up email is about more than just reminding the prospect you exist. It’s about continuing to promote the correct message.
Your follow-up emails should provide context and value; in other words, they should remind your prospects what your product is and why your product matters.
We’ve put together a few examples of follow-up emails you can customize to fit your situation:
Reminder for an upcoming social event
We’d like to thank you for signing up for our upcoming event.
Your presence will make a difference. I know the kids will be so excited to see you there and to see how many people care about their futures.
I wanted to send you the directions to the venue and give you a little tip – parking is always crowded, but the lot on the west side of the building seems to be the most open.
If you have any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at XX XXXX XXX
Ready to spend the evening caring and sharing with you and all those wonderful families – see you soon!
Follow-up example for cold emails
I reached out recently with a web design and maintenance proposal. I am a big fan of your business and a frequent shopper on your ecommerce site, which gives me some valuable insight into the user experience when interacting with your business online.
My proposal shared some details about my experience but I wanted to also send you an example that could relate really well to your business. I worked with an online stationery store to update their site and make it easy to buy with one-touch purchases, which led to a 20% increase in online sales during the first quarter after the update.
I could see something like this working really well with your business too. Could I call you next week to discuss or send you some links to sites that I’ve built, along with success stories?
From a freelancer to a client
A few weeks ago, I sent in a query with a couple of feature article ideas to write for your magazine. As I mentioned earlier, I have my sources lined up for interviews and I already have my preliminary research ready.
I wanted to share that I have time available in my calendar for additional ideation or for getting started on an article, if that works for you. If you’d like to suggest alternative approaches to my topic or title suggestions, please let me know and I’ll gladly send some additional ideas.
Polite follow-up email
After our last conversation, I saw this article on LinkedIn regarding chatbots and their impact on the credit card industry. I am sharing the link (here) in hopes that we can continue our discussion on how our AI chat solution could similarly benefit your team, and solve some of the challenges faced by your chat representatives.
I’d be interested to hear what you think about the article – can we schedule a call to talk about it and about your business next week?
Follow-up email to client
It’s been really great to see the progress we’ve made on the capital campaign. With the numbers we’re seeing now, I think it’s worth looking at a few opportunities to supercharge our fundraising success rates.
When we last emailed, I mentioned the social media challenge I put together for another client. I wanted to share a link to their YouTube channel, where you can see the final recap of our efforts.
I’d love to talk more about implementing something similar for the Despereaux project. Can we discuss later this week?
Follow-up email after interview
Dear Mr. Dean,
I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with you this week. I enjoyed hearing about your company’s vision and know that I could contribute to your ongoing success.
In the interview, we briefly discussed your desire to improve your online presence. I wanted to share some stats (attached) about the website redesign I led while working for XYZ and how it benefited the company.
Can I follow up with you again next week to see if you’ve made a decision on the candidates?
Looking forward to talking soon,
Follow-up email after career fair
Dear Ms. Kelly,
A career fair is always so full of people, it can be hard to keep track of everyone you meet. However, your booth definitely stood out to me because of how friendly your team was, and because of how much I admire your company.
I am sure you received many business cards at the event; I wanted to make sure my information made it into your inbox as well. I’m including a copy of my resume and a link to my LinkedIn profile.
I’d appreciate the chance to connect with you in the future about career opportunities at your company. Would you be available for a short phone call or a cup of coffee?
Hope to talk soon,
In case you haven’t noticed, none of the emails are too wordy. You’d get right to the point. No extra words, no waffling, and absolutely no rushing your prospects, clients, or your recipients.
The charm of effective follow-up emails lies in brevity, personality, time and precision. Be sure your up to date on the best time to send an email as well. Of course, you could plug in your own style. Don’t forget A/B testing the follow-up email subject line.
When it comes to sending follow-up emails, don’t be afraid to show some personality. If you have a special email closing you like to use, like “Best” or “Warmly,” it can be a nice way to infuse a little personality into your email.
Be careful not to go overboard, though. A little quirkiness is fine; too much, and you run the risk of sounding unprofessional.
What’s your foolproof tip for creating follow-up emails that work? Feel free to share a success story here: