Breaking down the anatomy of an impactful follow-up email

Follow-up email best practices

Following up is a tough task, isn’t it? But, it’s indispensable to seal the success of your business. Why? Running a business is as much about developing a peerless product or service as it is about gauging how your target audience is responding to it.

It is with respect to the latter that follow-up emails come in handy. Among other things, a follow-up email helps you collect information, seal your credibility, build relationships, and skyrocket your conversions. So, want to find out what makes a successful follow-up email? Read this.

Follow Up Email Best Practices We Swear By

A follow-up email has a complex anatomy. Go through the email best practices listed below to clearly wrap your head around it.

Be Clear About Your Objective

At the outset, it is critical to ensure that your follow-up email has a definite objective. If your readers are unable to understand why they have received your follow-up email, they will spare no moment to mark you as spam. Establishing the objective of your email is important, for it plays a role in shaping its CTA (call-to-action). Broadly, the following scenarios are what prompt businesses to send a follow-up email:

To ask for additional information:

You schedule an initial meeting with a prospective client. Over the ensuing conversation, you get to understand their buyer persona and estimate the expectations they harbour from your brand.

Excellent job. But what next?

Surely, this much is not enough for you to be able to deliver an optimal customer experience?

Now, what do you do to obtain this additional information?

You guessed it- send a follow-up email. Ask them precisely what problem statement they are looking to tackle with your offerings. No, this does not mean that you didn’t pay attention to them during your meeting. Rather, it showcases your desire to be transparent with them. And trust us, that will fetch you a lot of brownie points.

To schedule subsequent meetings:

As we just discussed, it is not humanly possible to glean every single bit of information from your clients. Once you gain clarity regarding their expectations and pain points, you need to explain to them how your products and services can align with their requirements.

And to discuss this, you need more meetings. Don’t just send them a follow-up email post your first meeting to request another. Go one step ahead and lay out the scope of these subsequent meetings as well. This way, your follow-ups will definitely elicit positive responses.

To obtain a status update:

No two customers are the same. While some will respond extremely enthusiastically to your communications, others will be, well, a touch absent. There will definitely be instances where a certain prospect will go cold all of a sudden, irrespective of how effective your previous meetings with them were.

To proceed further with such clients, you’d, logically, seek a status update from them. But how do you frame it? Do you just send them a simple, “Hello, when can I expect to hear from you next?”. Certainly not.

Tune your follow-ups to the tune of your most recent previous conversations. Tell them what you derived out of them and how you plan on building upon them in the future. This gives you a good shot at spurring them into action.

To thank them:

It is not necessary that all your follow-up emails be aimed at extracting a chunk of information from your clients. You can also use them to express your gratitude. Send a token of gratitude immediately after they have completed a purchase.

Thank them for participating in your survey. Or maybe tell them how much you appreciate them for providing you with a referral. Such follow-up emails go a long way towards strengthening customer relationships and improving your brand reputation.

Here are a few examples of follow-up emails that absolutely nailed their objective.

We want to hear from you! - Uber
We want to hear from you! – Uber – How was your airport experience? Source: Really Good Emails

Be Conscious Of Your Sending Frequency

Arguably, the trickiest part of formulating a follow-up strategy is determining the appropriate send time and frequency of your emails. The general consensus is that you should wait for at least 2-3 days before following up. However, this varies from situation to situation.

For instance, if you are trying to take a status update on a sales pitch, it is recommended you follow up within 48 hours. On the other hand, suppose your first email was a request for setting up a meeting. In that case, you should consider waiting for a week’s time before following up.

Don’t Lose Your Professionalism

If you want your follow-up strategy to be successful, you first need to arm yourself with dollops of patience and composure. We’ve said this above and we’ll say it yet again- following up isn’t easy. Not being able to gather responses from customers despite sending them umpteen messages is, understandably, frustrating.

But, come what way, never for a moment should you shun your professionalism and shoot passive-aggressive messages down your prospects’ inboxes. Sure, it might temporarily alleviate your irritation, but it will permanently tarnish your brand’s reputation in its wake.

Take our word for it. It’s never worth it. And never consider cutting ties with your unresponsive leads. Of course, you may not deal with them as actively as you would with more engaged customers, but persist with them nonetheless.

What Should You NOT Do While Writing Your Follow-Up Emails

  • Do not make your emails text-heavy. The best follow-ups are crisp and to the point. Follow-ups that appear as giant text monoliths will instantly put off your readers. Keep things simple and to the point. 
  • While it’s okay to include a few images to enhance the visual appeal of your follow-up emails, don’t go overboard. This is because an excess of visual elements will end up beefing up your email’s file size. That, in turn, will increase its loading time. And there’s perhaps no stronger cue for recipients to bounce from an email than one that takes forever to load. 
  • Avoid using generic CTAs like “Free Trial”, “Click Now”, “Contact Us”, and the like. Modern-day audiences know better than to engage with such phrases. If your CTA isn’t able to capture their curiosity and interest, you’re never going to be able to fetch their response to your follow-ups.
  • Don’t use the same content for all your follow-ups. That will just look plain silly, won’t it? With every subsequent follow-up you send, aim to give a different spin to your content as well. For instance, if in the first follow-up,  you are covering the points you discussed in your previous meeting, then in the second follow-up, talk about how you plan to solve the problem statements that were discussed. Sending redundant follow-ups to your customers will only cause them to be more ignorant of you.

Wrapping It Up

We understand that chalking out a follow-up strategy at first can seem a bit intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, there’s no looking back. We hope that the tips and tricks shared above will help smoothen your learning curve!

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