Have you ever been asked to write a follow-up email? Does the thought make you feel a bit uneasy? It’s a rather common feeling. Most individuals feel that following up after being ignored the first time comes off as pushy, they clearly aren’t interested and poking the bear is only going to end badly for everyone.
And you’re not wrong. Very few prospects immediately answer in the affirmative to your very first email, let alone the next email or even the one after that. The key take away here is that they will “eventually”.
Most studies do tend to show a natural decline in response rate the farther down the line you go but there are quite a few interesting patterns. For instance, a study from Iko System a couple of years ago showed a large spike in responses (a whopping 27% as compared to a meagre 18% to the initial message) by the sixth message in the sequence. Now that isn’t a notice to start spamming everyone as many emails as possible, but it does show that perseverance pays off (and acts as a lovely segue into our next section).
To make a short answer even shorter, very soon. Most emails are interacted with very shortly after they are initially received. If the recipient intends on responding they are most likely going to do that around the same time that they see the email and have opened it. Which implies that if they don’t respond right away, chances are they don’t have any intention to any time soon.
But all hope is not lost. Follow-ups grant the prospects more opportunities to respond down the line, which is a point many sales representatives seem to miss. According to a Yesware client survey, 70%, the vast majority of sales agents, stop their email chains after the first message. The study goes on to say that there is still a 7% response rate as far back as the 10th follow-up. Out of context, a declining rate ending with 7% responses is nothing, but as a whole, that is quite a few potential responses you are giving up.
There aren’t any studies showing specifics on how quickly you should follow-up but a good rule of thumb is to double the amount of days you previous waited. So wait 2 or 3 days to send the first follow-up, then 5 or 6 for the next and so on and so forth. If you haven’t received a response after a month, send a small reminder once every other week to let them know that you still care (even if they don’t).
Having covered the importance of following up and more or less how long you should wait to start those follow-ups we should cover how your emails should actually look.
There are a few key facets of a solid follow-up email and I’ve gone ahead and broken them all down for you below, but before we dive into that there is one thing outside of the actual email chain you need to do:
Perhaps even more important than the email itself is that you go into your campaign messaging with a very clear idea of what you want to achieve through these emails. Whether it is gathering information, fostering partner relationships, arranging a meeting or closing a sale, make sure you know exactly what you want to get out of these emails before throwing some copy together and hoping for the best. Knowing where you want to go makes getting there a lot easier.
Now, on to the actual format.
Try to keep your follow-ups connected, sending various one-off emails will only confuse and frustrate your prospects. Even if they don’t remember any messages from you they are far more likely to respond positively to a follow-up if they have some context of what your email is about. A few solid options include, but are not limited to:
I hope this doesn’t come off as pushy, but I saw that you opened my previous email and was wondering if you had any thoughts about (Subject of original email)
Hi! Just following up and wanted to see if you were interested in (Subject of original email)
Once adding some context to the message remind them of what you want out of this interaction. No need to beat around the bush, as long as you got your point across in your main email message just tell them what you need.
We’ve just released the latest version of (Product) and I think it could have a huge impact and be quite beneficial to (prospects line of work or something more specific). Here is a link to a few articles outlining exactly what we can do for you if interested, but it would be great if we could hope on a call to discuss your current situation as to address more specifically how (Product) is the right fit for you.
Don’t leave everything up to the prospect to decide, give them something to immediately respond to by including a call to action. Leave a potential time for the call or meet up, or even a place. Think of cold emailing like online dating. Be assertive, women (and anonymous internet personalities) dig that.
How does 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday work for you?
Are you the right person to talk to about this? If I’m in the wrong place, could you point me in the right direction?
When all is said and done your follow-up should look a little something like this.
I hope this doesn’t come off as pushy, but I saw that you opened my previous email and was wondering if you had any thoughts about (Subject of original email). We’ve just released the latest version of (Product) and I think it could have a huge impact and be quite beneficial to (prospects line of work or something more specific). Here is a link to a few articles outlining exactly what we can do for you if interested, but it would be great if we could hope on a call to discuss your current situation as to address more specifically how (Product) is the right fit for you. How does 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday work for you?