One of the huge aspects of modern sales and marketing is email outreach.
Many brands, small businesses, or service-based entrepreneurs are heavily based on this strategy for their lead generations and sales.
For others, either they haven’t accessed the right resources and talent to reap its benefits or they are unaware of its significance.
Sooner or later, email becomes the core part of marketing to drive heavy traffic, generate leads, communicate, brand, and generate sales.
So, you have sent the best cold email or opt-in emails you can possibly send, but even the best ones rarely hit a 40% response rate.
So the question arises, how do you reach the other 60%?
Rightly guessed! – You follow-up! Follow-up emails against the cold emails sent make it an effective strategy.
The most commonly done mistake by salespeople, marketing teams, and business owners is assuming that if they don’t win over a prospect with one email, it’s over! But that’s monumentally false.
Email communication is about building relationships either short-term or long-term so it needs to include multiple emails in the sequence, hence comes the follow-up emails.
Here you will learn how you can do follow-up emails to drive sales to your business.
When To Send A Follow-Up Email?
For Potential Sale
One of the prominent usages of follow-up emails is to convince people or check in with people on the potential sale.
It can be a post-sales-pitch follow-up email to make people onboard more convincing to do, which might include giving social proof, benefits of the products, assurances, etc.
In fact, most of the salespeople do not get conversion because they fail to follow up either strategically or at all.
Hardly it happens that people just buy things without giving a thought, they take some time to reevaluate or think.
This is the window for brands to follow up with potential customers and help them make this decision.
For Repeat Purchase
A customer once buying from you isn’t the full-stop for them, rather it is a new journey you and the customer can set together.
So, the goal for brands is to get repeat purchases from customers. That means you need to build a long-term relationship with them.
Follow-up emails are either sent post-purchase or start from even before their first purchase and seamlessly build communication throughout with multiple purchases.
Every time a customer buys from you, you start follow-up emails sending them various emails that are about helping them in using the product to product recommendations.
But, the center of attraction needs to always be the customer. Whether the products you recommend, the forum you give them or blogs and resources you suggest, all to help them in their journey.
After a Job Interview
Whether you applied for a job or hired people, follow-up emails are sent to get further updates from the other parties.
Follow-up emails help in building a chain of communication on a particular event, task or project across business, employees, clients, and customers.
Well, in a way, everyone has sent a bunch of follow-up emails in their life whenever they want to further get updates from someone.
A most common use is when you apply for a job interview, you send a follow-up email to find out whether you get it or not or just communicate further.
Similarly, as a business if you are hiring, you meet multiple people, give them offers or stay in communication and send them follow-up emails to get further updates.
It is commonly used to learn about any new information that needs to be shared from one party to another in this hiring or job-seeking process.
How To Create A Winning Follow-Up Emails?
Define Your Objective
Every email must have a specific objective under which the overall approach, copy and email design of it serves to.
Without a clear and well-defined objective, it doesn’t give a clear perspective on what exactly you are going to say to your subscribers or audiences.
You need to define your objective before even starting the follow-up email campaign. It is better to write your follow-up email campaign objectives.
If you are sending a series of follow-up emails, each email in the series must have a specific objective, and then overall, there will be a goal or purpose of the email series.
For example :
If you are sending follow-up emails to customers who bought from you earlier but haven’t checked your website or product for more than 90 days, then your object can be :
“ The Objective of the follow-up email is to re-target previous customers and to re-engage them, take them to the website for new products or offers for repeat purchase.”
Again, considering this objective if you’re sending a series of follow-up emails, here can be your different specific objectives for every email in the series –
Follow Up Email 1: Offering the previous customer to upgrade the product or giving them a heavy-discount offer to re-engage.
Follow Up Email 2 : If they do not re-engage by the offer and do not go to the website, you can send another exclusive heavy-discount offer, for the last time, maybe with a timer.
Follow Up Email 3: This email will be sent in the series for users who clicked through but didn’t complete their purchase. Give them more discounts, social proof, and highlight the benefits of the product.
Convey Your Objective To The Customers Clearly
As you define your objective before the campaign, it is even more important to convey it to your customer through the email itself.
It must be clear from the beginning, perhaps better through the subject line or email body’s first line, that is why you’re sending them this follow-up email.
Also, what specific response are you expecting from them? You need to specify what actions they need to take regarding this follow-up email.
Is it leaving a review of your product through the CTR link you’ve provided in the email. Or is it an upsell, you are offering for the product they just bought?
It gives clarity to your customers or prospects about why they received this email and also your intentions are set clearly through it as well.
State Your Purpose Clearly
It is important to clearly state your purpose in the follow-up email you are sending. Every follow-up email must demonstrate what exactly it is for.
You need to be very straightforward with your intention towards this email, and that needs to be stated clearly through the email body.
When you ensure this, you have less likely chances of sounding spammy, pushy, confusing, untrustworthy, and sale-sy.
If your emails clearly specify and that too in very detail what you are offering and what this email entails for them, they feel more confident about moving forward.
Also, there are higher chances of engagement. You can assume that this might just exclude the non-interested party right away but then, that’s great because they are not going to engage anyway.
But at the risk of being vague or just too ‘smart’ about bringing people in, without setting the right expectations only going to backfire.
Finding the Right Time For Follow-Up Email
Follow-up emails are all about timing. Just merely for the timing, your email can be a game-changer or just an annoying marketing gimmick for the customers.
If you do not know whether it is the right time to send the follow-up email or not, it won’t work. On the other hand, it can put you on the ‘list of annoying brands’ of the customers.
After that, it doesn’t matter how many emails you send, they will either train their mind to ignore your emails, or just passively open them, and worst, they might mark you as spam.
Most of the consumers anyway see these emails as not very important, and they are too busy to open, read or respond to it.
But if you send the follow-up email at the right time, it works like a charm!
If you send a follow-up email asking for a review for the product before the product is even delivered to them, then they are just going to ignore it.
In fact, it is better to send follow-up emails asking for a review after a few days of them using the product.
It can be after 2 or 3 days of them using the product, a minimum of 2 days, and then you can send a follow-up email that asks them about these questions :
- How much are they enjoying the product?
- If they need any assistance using it, send them link for tutorials & forum
- If they want to know more, you can redirect them to FAQ page
- You can suggest them recommended accessories or related products
- Can you give them a link to leave a positive review of the product?
- You can directly ask for their personal feedback through the email only.
All these can be different emails, perhaps in a series of emails but they need to have some gap and appropriate timing.
So, again you can send them emails like :
- On Day 1, send them an initial follow up: thank you email, purchase details
- On Day 2, send them 2nd follow-up: delivery details and how to track it
- On Day 7, send them 3rd follow-up: post-delivery- tutorial links, help, manual
- On Day 12, send them the 4th follow-up: leaving the review
- On Day 20, send them the 5th follow-up: similar products offer, recommendations
And so on. It depends upon how you set up your follow-up email series, its objective, type of the product, and other aspects of the campaign.
Bring Clarity To Your Emails
Follow-up emails already have higher chances to be ignored, not opened or not considered important enough to respond.
But this becomes even more tricky when your emails are confusing or simply too much to understand.
So, it becomes important for you to bring utter clarity in your emails about :
- What exactly is this email about?
- What are you offering or proposing?
- What’s in it for customers exactly?
- What are customers supposed to do right after reading this email?
The trickiest part is not making the customers feel that you have reached them again. Your copy needs to be clear and precise.
It needs to be effortless for them to understand your purpose. Also, make it short, quick and very personalized.
Educate them quickly about whatever you came to inform them, it can be about your new product line, a festival sale coming up in your store or any other detail.
The less time you will take of the customer, the more they will appreciate it, and will be more inclined to go through your CTA.
Give Them Context
Depending upon when you are sending them these follow-up emails, you need to start from the right context, so they can know where this comes from.
They need to have some reference about your last email, last interaction, or even the purchase they made from you.
Without giving them any context, even if you clarify your purpose, it won’t be relevant enough for them. Rather it can get confusing and with even the tiniest bit of effort required, they simply won’t engage.
So, make sure you start your email with the last interaction or last sent email, especially if you are sending an email after a long time.
However, you can also mention along the way in the email as well where required.
Context also helps build connections to your customers and personalize the conversations between brands and customers.
Personalize Your Emails
Just like other emails, your follow-up email also needs to be personalized. It increases the chances of your engagement and conversion.
Follow-up emails themselves aren’t easy to sell because users tend to not really expect it, especially post-purchase.
So, it is crucial to make it engaging and exciting for the customers. Give it some sense of meaning and personality.
This means you cannot just send direct recommendations right after selling something to your customer.
There needs to be a subtle conversational string of interactions through a series of follow-up emails where you begin by asking for assisting or helping them know the product.
Like always, it is crucial to add value and connect with customers on a personal level. Set up a journey in which they can expect you to be part of organically.
Personalization becomes very essential in these follow-up emails to build long-term relationships with customers, especially after post-purchase.
The aim of your follow-up email should not be to sell, rather to build relationships and that will eventually help you to get high engagement and repeat purchases eventually.
Your follow-up emails also need to be personalized on the basis of the data you collect from these customers such as :
- Their previous purchases
- Last interactions
- Behavior on website
- Buyer’s persona
You customize the copy of your follow-up email depending upon these factors for personalization.
Segmentation can be used to create different groups on the basis of these factors for sending more personalized follow-up emails.
Don’t Get All Stalky & Chasy
One of the common and grave mistakes done by marketers and business owners with their follow-up emails is they get all stalky and chassis with them.
In the pursuit of getting sales, rather than connecting with the customer on a more intrinsic level, they start over-chasing their customers.
Sending them too many follow-up emails or consistently trying them to buy from you again, makes you invisible to them.
The more you make them feel too crowded and chased by you, the less they will value you.
Certainly, your aim is to be memorable and keep sending emails to build a connection but the frequency, number of emails, time between sending emails and your approach needs to be strategized and regulated.
However, if you are not sending them links to purchase your product, it still makes sense to send one follow-up email every month.
The goal must be to play the long-term game. Invest in building a long-term relationship rather than short-term gimmicks for quick purchase.
Knowing When To Stop
Just like when to start sending follow-up emails, it is crucial to understand when to stop as well.
You have to understand that for most people, silence is their response to show that they are not interested.
So if you are not getting any response from like five consistent follow-up emails, it is a sign to not send another.
Rather you can focus your energy and effort towards someone elsewhere you can still get results.
Step-By-Step To Write A Follow-Up Email
Step 1 : Planning your Follow-Up Email Sequence Frame work
Planning the framework of your follow-up email sequence or campaign is the first thing you need to work on in order to write your follow-up emails.
First, you need to decide whether you want to send one follow-up email for a particular scenario. In this case, you can just create a template for a particular situation and just send them to bulk email contacts or specific segments of contacts.
Overall, you need to decide what sequence of emails you will send or your primary objective of the follow-up emails.
Step 2 : Set your objective For the Email
When you are sending a follow-up email to a prospect, you must have sent them a proposal email earlier, met with them, chatted with them online or had a phone conversation.
Considering the last interaction with the context in mind, you need to craft your email based on your end goal.
For that, you need to identify and note down the end goal or objective of this follow-up email that you’re sending.
By knowing the objective, you will be able to incorporate a strong call-to-action (CTA) making your recipients reach out to you back in order to achieve this end goal.
Your objective can be anything such as :
- Ice-breaking with the conversation
- Building a strong relationship
And so on. Basically, there are four primary or common types of objectives that are used in a follow-up email :
- Information Needed
- Meeting Request
- Thank You
Primary or Common Types Of Objectives For Follow-Up Emails
Such objectives are primarily used for lead generation and nurturing the lead that you’ve collected through cold calling, POS or any other medium.
It usually happens when you had an initial conversation with your lead, client, customer or prospect about something but later you realize that you forgot to ask something.
It can be a piece of information that you need to proceed with or some additional information in which you require their assistance.
So, for that, you need to ask your recipients about this piece of information. It can be their personal information that is required for some application or creating a profile.
It can also be something on which you just need to clarify on the deal you earlier made. It even can be a confirmation follow-up email to confirm the sales or deal.
This objective you set when you intend to pick the brain of your candidate, client, customer or prospect post your primary conversation.
It also can be about pitching a product or getting the required feedback from them. But for all those purposes, you are basically asking them for another meeting or a conversation.
It is not just a quick information email or feedback you want but a significant amount of their valuable time from the day.
You can also send meeting request follow-up email and post the conversation where you already dedicated the meeting, but here you will share more details.
This follow-up email also needs to specify what you are looking forward to discussing in this meeting and why it will be valuable for the recipients.
If it is a remote meeting, you can share the link of the meeting scheduler which they can add into their calendar adding time to it.
However, if time and day are already dedicated, you can share the link of the remote meeting room like zoom link or other conference software link.
If it is in physical space, you need to specify the address or the place whether it is in their office, yours or another working space.
As it sounds, the objective of this follow-up email will be to catch up with your previous client, customer or other professionals after a long time of no communication in-between.
It can be your earlier customer or someone you have connected with a while ago.
You might have heard some news about them or their company just now too, maybe congratulate them or help them depending upon the news.
Maybe it is a company that you had worked with in the past and now they are going through some financial crisis, so you are re-connecting with offering some warmth and help as well.
Or maybe you are just congratulating your old client or co-worker on their latest accomplishments.
Since you don’t know about them at the present state, so it is crucial to not guess and try to find out about relevant things as much as possible with your email.
This email is also your chance to know about any particular instance or updates right from them and gets more details.
Quite obvious with its name, this objective is simply to show gratitude to people, customers, prospects, clients, co-workers or other companies whenever required.
It can be after a customer buys your product or a client fixing a deal with you or even a company or co-worker helping you or collaborating with you.
A simple “Thank You” goes a long way, and it can have a huge impact in your business communication.
These follow-up emails do not warrant an immediate response from the recipients. It is more of a gesture as leaving the recipients with a positive feeling or impression about you.
It is professional courtesy to show gratitude in business, so people remember you down the road for any help you might need in the future.
A thank you email also can be sent to a customer who provided you with a referral recently. It also can be a customer who shared a positive review about your product or helped you complete a case study.
Deciding an objective shapes your email in a particular way to derive the maximum outcome. It helps you to customize the copy of the email and subject line accordingly.
Without determining the exact and specified objective of the follow-up email, their can be unpleasant consequences such as :
- Confused and over-stuffed email content
- Too much to read
- Not to-the-point
- Consuming a lot of time and energy of the recipient
- Recpients unable to figure out right away about your email purpose
- Not getting opened or read
- Ignored as sales/marketing email
Also, when you begin writing your follow-up email copy with a clear purpose in your mind, it becomes easy to incorporate the CTA in the most obvious way.
It makes recipient easy for the recipient to understand and act on it. In fact, if a recipient does not get the idea of what your email is all about right after opening your email, you probably are done.
Here’s a sample of how your email follow-up will look :
Gary, Today’s Meeting Was Great But Here’s Something I Forgot..
Thanks for taking the time to share some about BrandBoy along with all the goals you aim for and the challenges you’re facing now.
It was great meeting you!
If you would like to know about how other companies are coping with the same challenges as yours, I would be glad to schedule a call here.
We can also get more into your problems, challenges, and where I might be able to help you.
Are you available for a call next Thursday at 2 PM?
And, thanks again for meeting today, I look forward to hearing from you!
Step 3 : Open with Context Jogging their Memory
What do you need to understand is that you receive dozens of emails every day? Sometimes the number even goes to hundreds depending upon the recipients in two or three days.
So, what does that tell you? Well, it so much of emails are received every day, it is difficult to remember brand emails.
You need to check for what email is referred to when they send you follow-up. And if it doesn’t really concern you a lot, you just tend to ignore it which happens most of the time.
So, the emails you send out to your customers or prospects as follow-up must have some kind of identifier, a common interest, or some reference to the last message that provides context for your email.
This is very important when you open up your follow-up email. Without context, chances are, the recipient will ignore you.
So, always open your email with the context of the last conversation, interaction, or simply just what exactly this email is about.
Maybe, your recipient has signed up a form or fill out an application a few weeks away, and when you send them this follow-up email, they might ignore it because they won’t remember.
So, tell them why you are contacting them, this email is sent only because they have applied or filled a form of some sort or initiated a call or something.
The idea is to jog their memory before you move forward with your current proposition as, without it, your follow-up email won’t be relevant or effective at all.
Here are some contextual lines as email openers :
- Last time we spoke about.. [ topic] on ..[ medium (eg. call) ]
- We met last week at [ Name of Event/Location]
- I am reaching out because a month ago you have applied for [ topic/context]
- Our mutual friend [ Name of mutual friend] suggested me to reach out
- You have request for the call on our website [ name of the website] about [ topic]
Step 4: State Your Purpose Specifically & Clearly
Once you open with the context in your email follow-up, the very next thing you need to focus on which goes hand to hand with the context is your purpose for the email.
You need to clearly state your purpose for the follow-up email. Why are you sending them the email in the first place? What exactly is it about? And what value they will get from it.
It is important that you be straightforward with your intention for this conversation right off the bat and then moves on.
This will also prevent you from sounding too vague, untrustworthy, confusing, or at worst, spammy.
Setting your intention first in the email also prepares the reader for what is to come. More importantly, if done well, it hooks the reader to engage and stay on the email.
It is better to also be very specific and not be vague about what you exactly intend to do. If it is about the sale, tell them that. If it is about helping them, tell them that then.
Anything you say early in the email that doesn’t match the expectation of the recipient at the bottom of the email is going to backfire for you.
When you give them the ultimate level of specificity, you will assure them that you are not wasting anyone’s time, including yours.
Because even if you trick someone to engage with your email but if they are not inclined to buy or do not want that at the moment but they fall into it just because you make them believe otherwise, they are simply not going to.
In fact, it promotes a negative image of your brand. So make sure to clearly state your purpose in the most specifc manner right along with the context in your follow-up emails.
Easy Ways To State Purpose
- As per our last discussion, here is the [ software plan link] plan that suits your needs best with your budget for your project management.
- I want to invite you to join me at [ Name of the event]. I think this will be really helpful for you for what you do at [ their company name].
- I suspect that you might be struggling to use [ name of software/app]. Here are links for the tutorials to make things easy for you.
Step 5: Make it Easy For Them To Respond
You also need to make sure in this stage of your crafting the follow-up email that it is easy for them to respond.
Easier it will be for your recipients to respond, you are more likely to get a reply from them.
More confusing, tricky, hard, or complicated it will be to give any prompt reply from them or anything which needs them to reply in detail or with too much thinking, they will postpone.
The best way for you to make sure that they will respond or act on the CTA given is to make it as clear and precise as possible.
For example, if you are trying to arrange a meeting with a client, you can definitely ask them when they are free but that makes their response harder and indefinite.
So rather you just suggest a specific date and time along with the venue and give them the option to just say yes or no. If not, they themselves will give you another time.
So, rather saying: “Let me know when and where we should meet. “
You better suggest to them a specifc date and time by saying: “ Does 4 pm on Thursday work well for you next week?
Step 6 : Craft a Strong Follow-Up Email Subject Line
Follow-up emails have higher chances of not getting opened in the first place, far from getting engagement and click-throughs.
And this becomes even more true when you don’t have a strong follow-up email subject line to grab the attention of your recipients.
So, just as much it is important to create a curiosity-infused attention-grabber subject line for your primary conversations or cold emails, the same goes for follow-ups as well.
You cannot assume that once you have responded or even a regular conversation with a prospect or a customer, your follow-up emails will be opened.
As is established earlier, your recipients might be receiving tons of emails on a regular basis, so it is very easy for your follow-up email to get lost in the pile.
Not to forget, that even if they remember you, they might not want to open your email because they very much predict what it is about, more true for post-purchase emails.
So, how can you increase the likelihood of your emails being opened?
Well, just like any other email, you need to craft a subject line that is powerful, relevant, and contextual.
First of all, it is important that you write your subject line after writing the body of your follow-up email.
This way you can ensure that you are writing more relevant, eye-catching subjects and also make sure to match it with what you wrote in the body of the email.
Tips For Strong Follow-Up Subject Lines
- Make sure you are using specific numbers and figures. For exmaple instad of using ‘quick’, use a quntifiable number. Same goes for a deadline, amount or percentage.
- Create a sense of urgency in your subject lines by using ‘ tomorrow’. It tends to be opened 10% more than those which are without it.
- Make sure to put the some kind of context, reference and call back to your previous conversation in your subject line
- Infuse a value proposition in the subject line to appeal to them to open the email.
- You can also create a curiosity-infused email subject line to make them invested in the email.