“Either you follow-up or you fold-up,” said Bernard Kelvin Clive.
As the global market dramatically grows more competitive, many strategies are being overlooked because of lack of time, perhaps. One such strategy that is slowly taking a backseat for brands is follow-ups.
Contrary to what many believe, follow-ups are among the most effective ways to generate leads. It is the follow-ups that help you thrive. Yet, 70% of salespeople move on if they don’t get a reply after sending their first cold email.
Calls, emails, or texts once missed are hardly ever responded to or returned. Don’t let this happen to your brand.
When you don’t follow up, you might be leaving profitable business on the table. You must understand, your prospect is being reached out to by plenty of your competitors in the market. One proper strategy can completely transform your business.
But if you don’t follow up, you fold up and lose out on opportunities.
Let’s take an example.
Imagine you’re a digital marketing agency, offering local SEO services. You send a cold email to small, homegrown businesses in your area. After not getting any response, you stop.
Now, a few of the business owners were searching for an agency like you but were busy when you sent an email. They might have seen it but didn’t get the time to respond. Or, your email was shoved down by tonnes of other emails that they receive in a day. If you don’t send another mail, that first cold email will lie in the email graveyard, not to be remembered ever.
When you follow up, you improve your recall value for your prospects.
According to this study, the response rate increases from 18% to 27% after the sixth follow-up email is sent.
Getting a response to the first email is often challenging. There could be many reasons that the prospect didn’t respond.
However, you wouldn’t know that if you don’t give it a try.
You need to be in the other 30% of the salespeople that don’t give up after the first no-reply cold email.
Make sure to have a strategy in place for your follow-ups to work. Don’t worry, I can help you with the same. Read on.
A lot of times you’ll be sending a follow-up because you didn’t get a response to your first cold email. However, you might use the same strategy to reconnect with your existing clients.
The most ideal time to send the first follow-up email is three business days after sending your cold email. Three days are sufficient to give them enough time to respond and not seem desperate, both at the same time.
Now, the best day to send your email depends on your specific audience. I know. Disappointing.
But the truth of the matter is that you will not find any hard and fast rules about when you should be sending out an email. However, you can identify and analyze the times that work the best for you. That’s the beauty of digital tools and other technological innovations.
If you’re wondering where you should start – the suggestion will always be to check out the strategies of other brands. You can search for the best days that are working well for other brands in your niche. Use that information and tweak it a little to fit your brand.
You can try different times around the same hours that others have already tested. This should give you a fair idea about where you can start.
For most, the biggest problem in sending a follow-up is that they don’t want to seem like a spammer.
You must understand that around 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”.
On average, you should be sending out six follow-up emails to your prospects. To avoid looking like a spammer, prolong the time before every follow-up that you send.
This will also help you give them more time to respond with every follow-up that you send.
If you’re wondering about the frequency that you should maintain, here’s how you can do it.
Follow up 1: On the third day
Follow up 2: On the seventh day
Follow up 3: On the twelfth day
Follow up 4: On the eighteenth day
Follow up 5: On the twenty-third day
Follow up 6: On the twenty-eighth day
Now, there is no definite rule that you have to follow the same routine. It all depends on who you are contacting.
For example, suppose you offer guest post service to the companies. You have crafted your email series well, showcasing how you will be a helping hand and share the burden of a company. For the same, you are trying to reach the CEO of a business via email, selling your services.
Now, the leaders are often incredibly busy. In this situation, you should give him or her more time in between follow-ups as compared to others in the hierarchy.
It pays to understand the right process of crafting an email and the follow-up series. In this section, we will discuss the important elements of an email, something that you can use generally as well. We will also discuss what your follow-up will talk about.
There are four things that should be written with proper care and attention:
35% of the recipients are known to open an email based on the subject line.
Do you still think writing two words in all lowercase will work?
Your subject line is the first interaction your prospect has with your email. Make sure it’s specific and compelling. Maintain this consistency in all your emails, whether it’s your first or sixth.
Your subject lines should showcase your intention in a simple manner.
Also, whenever possible, make it a point to add the receiver’s name. It adds that touch of personalization to your emails.
Here are a few great subject lines used by the leading names to entice their receivers:
“Your 7-figure plan goes bye-bye at midnight” by Digital Marketer
“Is this the hottest career in marketing?” by Digital Marketer?
“It’s not late to get started”
“Stop wasting money on ink” by HP.
“I forgot to mention..”
Once they’ve opened your email, thanks to your killer choice of the subject line, you need a show stopper.
The first line or the opening line determines whether your receiver will read further or they’ll get back to doing what they were. The more “just checking in emails” your prospect reads, the more frustrated they will get.
There are too many people trying to reach out to your prospects. You need an opening line for every email that will outshine others. When you write a follow-up, it needs to be of the same consistency as your first cold email.
This is because maybe your prospects are reading all your emails but just need a little more persuasion. You should not let your quality deteriorate.
You should try different approaches for your opening lines.
Let us take an example.
Suppose you are sending out your first email to the prospect. Instead of talking about yourself and your company, give the prospect all the limelight. You can maybe congratulate them on their new position in a company. Shift the focus to them.
Then, your first follow-up should be a modified version of your first email. You can ask about how they are liking the new job. Again, keeping it about them.
Make your second follow-up an experiment email. Try a different approach. This time, start by asking about their opinion on their competitor’s update, maybe.
Your every approach should revolve around your prospect.
Let’s step back. Establish your goal before moving forward with a follow-up strategy. It will make it easier for your to explain your intent of the communication.
Like we discussed before, your first follow-up should be just a modified version of your first email. We do this because we are not sure whether the prospect remembers you from the previous email or not.
Avoid making assumptions as much as possible when it comes to your prospect.
Your intent should explain the goal that you would’ve set earlier. It should be as short as possible.
A few ways to communicate your intent are:
I have a product that will be a perfect fit for you.
Does a free trial month interest you?
I would like to invite you to an event…
Having a well-structured and directed CTA improves the chances of your prospects replying to your emails.
You need to be very sure and specific when you are writing your call to action. Take the lead in your CTAs.
You can propose a date and a time slot for them to jump on a call with you. If you think they aren’t the right source of communication, you can ask them to share the details of the right person of contact.
You can also share a calendar link, an open-ended question, or a simple yes/no question for confirmation.
Make sure to have your CTAs aligned with every follow-up email that you send. Your email should create some urgency for them to reply.
Here are a few examples that you can use as your reference:
Are you available for a quick 10-minute call on September 3rd, 2021?
You can book a 10-minute call for the available slots. Here’s my calendar link.
Can you please put me in touch with the decision-maker?
Follow-up 1: A modified version of your first cold email. Use this email to convey the same message in a new format. You should send this mail in the same thread. In the initial few lines, let them know that you are contacting them again.
Follow-up 2: Tweak your email a bit. Talk about another benefit of your product or service. You can also use this step to address some other pain points of your prospect. Also, experiment with a different timeslot.
Follow-up 3: Make changes in your call-to-action. You can use any of the above-mentioned CTAs.
Follow-up 4: Take this moment to seek permission to follow up. You can ask them if it’s relevant to them or not. Or, if they could point you in the right direction. If they simply say no, cease your emails with that company.
Follow-up 5: Now, send another email thread. Make this thread about adding value to their lives. Share links to resources that are useful to them. The main idea is to just nurture those leads that have been filtered in the process.
Follow-up 6: This is a breakup email. Don’t sound disappointed. Don’t criticize them. Your CTA should just be a yes or a no. Maybe just a “Are you interested? Let me know.”
You want your follow-ups to be consistent with your first cold email as well as with each other.
Here are a few more best practices that you should keep in mind when creating your follow-up strategy:
You should make it a point to make the entire conversation about them. Do not start your emails with information about yourself or your brand. Instead, somewhere in the middle of the email, add how you can help them or how your product/service will be beneficial for them.
Everyone loves effort. When you personalize your outreach, it will show your efforts and make your prospects special. Talk about their company upgrades or congratulate them for their new wins. It aids in improving the success rate of your strategy.
Make sure you’re not just sticking to an email. Once your prospects respond, try to get them on a call. From there, shift to an in-person meeting. Take a step forward with every second conversation you have with your prospects.
It’s crucial that you define the next steps instead of leaving the email hanging with a ‘Talk soon!’. This way, you’re giving the prospect the authority to get back to you, which they might or might not. Ask them how long they need to consider your proposal.
No one has enough time on their hands, especially to read an email from a stranger. Keep your emails crisp and informative. Use the KISS approach – keep it short and sweet.
If you use industry jargon, you might confuse your prospects. You can’t assume that they know all the hi-tech phrases or words. Try to write your emails in a similar way you talk to your peers. Use layman’s language to put across how beneficial you will be for them.
You should know when is the right time to let go. If they’ve firmly said no, don’t try to push them further. Take them off the email list instantly. Just thank them and move on.
A follow-up strategy is among the most overlooked yet most helpful strategies that help businesses thrive. It surely takes effort, time, and persistence. However, if you don’t follow up, you wouldn’t know about all the opportunities that you are letting go of.
Make it a point to create an effective follow-up strategy, keeping all the points in mind. One thing that you must understand is that when it comes to strategy, be it any, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Keep monitoring your metrics and making the required changes in your campaigns to find what works for your brand.