Ask any business professional and they will tell you that one of the most important parts of maintaining a good business relationship is following up. This is just as important for existing customers as it is for making new sales. Making sure you have an effective follow-up email strategy is the key to tapping into the potential provided by this valuable tool.
Here are 5 tips for writing effective follow-up emails.
6 Follow-up Email Strategies to Consider
- How Many Follow-Up Emails to Send
- When to Send Follow-Up Emails
- Setting up Follow-Up Automation
- Utilizing an Omnichannel Approach
- Maintaining the Tone of the Email
1. How Many Follow-Up Emails to Send
Sending just one email is a folly too many people fall victim to. In fact, 80% of prospects will say no 4 times before they say yes. Furthermore, it is possible to have a 7% success rate on the 10th follow-up email. This kind of tenacity will depend on the reputation you are seeking to maintain as well as the sales numbers you deem appropriate for further exploration.
There are no hard and fast rules here, but as a general rule, you should try sending a minimum of five follow-up emails. The vast majority of companies give up after one or two follow-up emails. This leaves the potential for a ‘yes’ easier to obtain for those who decide to maintain engagement long after others have decided to pack it in.
2. When to Send Follow-Up Emails
Timing is everything in this arena. The initial email should be sent out the same day. Subsequent emails should include a respectable amount of time to lapse for the recipient to open the email and decide whether or not to respond. If you send too many follow-ups too quickly, the recipient will likely feel harassed and will hit the unsubscribe button.
The frequency of the emails should also get longer after each attempt so as not to appear to be pushy. A good rule is to send the second follow-up three days after the initial email. The third can come seven days after the initial email. This approach makes it possible for you to remain in the mind of the recipient without creating a negative impression.
3. Setting up Follow-Up Automation
As a marketer, you have a lot going on. The last thing you have time for is to keep track of who you need to send a follow-up email to and when. This is why many marketing professionals utilize an automated email follow-up tool. With this kind of tool, your follow-up emails take on a life of their own. Through automation, you simply set up the time schedule for emails to go out and the tool does the rest for you.
The follow-up tool not only makes it possible for you to create a timeline for the follow-ups but can provide you with valuable information. You are able to see when emails have been opened if they have been responded to, and what additional information has been provided. This wealth of information is an important part of further developing your email marketing strategy.
4. Utilizing an Omnichannel Approach
While the email marketing strategy is a highly effective one, it should not be the only avenue you are exploring. Keep in mind the vast majority of your potential clients utilize social media too. By engaging with them through social media as well as through emails, you have a better chance of creating a place in the forefront of their minds as a business they can trust.
Calling is another factor to consider in an Omnichannel approach. There is hardly anything more personal than a phone call. By speaking directly to the potential client, you put a very real personal touch on the sales strategy. Whether they pick up the phone and speak with you or listen to the voicemail, they are left with the impression they are being sought out personally, rather than just as another sales number.
5. Maintaining the Tone of the Email
Every email from the first email to the tenth follow-up email should be warm and inviting. There should never be a placating tone that belittles the recipient for not taking action. There are much better ways to engage than by intimidation. Instead, make sure the content adds value to the reader and makes them feel as if you have their best interests at heart.
Always include a Call to Action (CTA) in the emails. This can be anything from mentioning a call at a certain date and time to requesting the recipient to take a specific action. Regardless of the CTA you utilize, by ending the email this way you make it clear you are not finished.
6. When they do reply, make sure you respond quickly!
In the competitive world of sales, responding quickly to emails is key to success. It’s not rocket science if you think about it, really. Just put yourself in the customer’s shoes — would you be happy doing business with a company that takes ages to respond to your inquiries? Nope – you’d probably go elsewhere.
In fact, a study by Harvard Business Review reveals the hard facts: Respond FIRST = Close more deals! Respond in 1 hour, and you’re 7 times more successful than if you respond in 2 hours, and 60 times more successful than if you respond in 24 hours!
Crazily, the large majority of companies still take over 24 hours to respond.
So when you do have a lead, use a tool like timetoreply to make sure that your team replies to emails form leads fast.
timetoreply also allows you to identify any emails that still need to be replied to so you can rest assured that no emails from leads of customers will slip through the cracks unanswered.
These 5 strategies put you on the path to creating more effective follow-up emails. You will engage the potential client in a way that is more conducive to turning that non-response into a response. Further, this strategy maintains the ability to convert into a sale. Make sure to analyze your strategy to further tweak it and dial in the metrics offering you the best results.
Michael Habiger is a self-made marketing specialist, a frontier of data-driven business and marketing with over 6 years of professional experience. Currently, Head of Marketing at FollowUpFred.