The pandemic has revised several things in our day-to-day life. Right from shifting offline to online, we all have revamped the way we used to live. One such thing which has been altered is the way of communication.
Although business communication has several other channels to have formal communication, emails have been the most closely accepted channel over the years.
The drastic shift online has made us more dependent on email than ever, but the increase of dependence is not in proportion with our being accustomed to emails. This situation demands us to turn over a new leaf to gain maximum.
Even though emails have been widely used to communicate, we still face issues using this simple-looking yet complicated operating application. “How to follow up on an Email” remains one of the most asked questions during formal communication.
Why does taking a follow-up on emails looks challenging?
One way communication
Email incline more towards “one-way communication.” Now, what does it mean?
Well, one-way communication is a way of communicating where the sender sends the message, and the receiver receives it, but the feedback is not instant.
In emails, the communication is angled towards one-way communication as the feedback or email response on emails is delayed and sometimes even not received. This makes it challenging for one to communicate effectively on emails.
Since one can not track whether the receiver checks the mail, it is not sure that the email has been acknowledged. This makes it challenging for the sender to know if the message was delivered or not.
The follow-up mails can scale up the challenge because the sender needs to make sure that the follow-up mail includes the gist of the previous mail to ensure the relevance of the last mail was left unacknowledged by the receiver.
Email requires some action. It can be reading, filling, or sometimes visiting a profile. Since this action is time-consuming, people often turn a blind eye to the mail.
This makes the task more tedious, and hence people keep looking for innovations and better ideas every day to keep their receiver hooked.
What can be an Ideal Follow up Email Template
What can be the ideal way to follow up on emails you send? The answer to this question can be tricky. Ideally, there are numerous situations when it comes to email, and hence, there is no specific email template that one can fit in every situation.
But still, if the sender keeps a few things in mind before sending an email, the probability of email response gets higher resulting in a better conversion rate.
Before looking into the follow-up section, it is essential to look into a few of the terminologies and features email has for the facilitation of communication.
Jargons of an Email & their Implication
It is a one-line gist of the whole email. It describes the purpose of the email. The general behavior of the receiver suggests that people tend to decide if they want to check the mail or not merely by reading the subject lines.
A strong subject line provides an added value to the mail. It encourages the prospect to acknowledge the email in the first place duly.
Especially the sales emails sent for a service or product need to be addressed in a manner that evokes the sense of requirement or curiosity to read more. Subject lines serve this purpose in prospects’ inboxes.
It contains more details about the email after the subject line. Once you have persuaded the email recipient to open the email, further work of convincing them to act to call to action is done by the email body.
The opening line of an email should convey some context behind the mail. This provides an immediate value by establishing the relevance of the message.
Depending on the company’s target audience, people often have a tone of the message, which reflects a lot about the company. A few companies maintain a formal tone, whereas others may add a personal touch and keep a lively tone depending on their audience.
While we talk about the tone of the message, it is essential to remember the fine line between having an informal tone and overlooking the seriousness behind the message.
Often, an informal tone is mishandled to interfere with the motive behind the message. Hence, language and its delivery play a crucial role while addressing a prospect while emailing.
Other than tone, one must also ensure that the message in the email should be crisp and direct. People often deviate from paths while showcasing their flare in writing. This interrupts the motive and misses the target.
The closing of an email acts as a signboard. While subject line leads and email body explain, the closing of an email directs the target audience to make an action to the suggested call to action.
It is a general rule among the marketing team to add a call to action at the end of the mail to direct the prospect towards the service or the product pitched in the mail body.
It is usually added with messages such as “Hope to hear from you soon,” “Waiting for your response,” “Click on the link to know more,” and such.
A signature consists of the sender’s name, position, company’s name, and logo. The role of signature is to ensure all details of the sender at once, which serves two purposes:-
- Credibility – The name of an authorized person from a company establishes the credibility of the mail while increasing the chances of conversion.
- Brand Recall – The logo helps in brand recall. Every time the person sees the logo, it will connect to a previous encounter with the company (in this case, email). Regular logo use helps the customers or the mail receiver have a brand recall.
As mentioned earlier, the body of the email should be crisp and direct. The email attachment provides the extra details for the interested people who found the details helpful.
The attachment could be in the form of images, documents, or files. Sometimes the call-to-action is to go through the attachment for more information.
Types of Emails
Based on a prior relationship with the receiver, the mails have been divided into two types, namely Cold emails, and Warm emails. Let’s see what does it mean:-
Cold email Jargon is used in the language of marketing. An email is called cold email when sent to a prospect without prior contact with that person. You try to reach out to them without establishing any preliminary contact relation.
In this type of email, the receiver has no role in requesting or asking for any mail. The company voluntarily sends it.
In such emails, the chances of getting ignored are way higher than a warm email.
It is easier to communicate when the email type is warm email. At the same time, warm emails are sent at the recipient’s request. The receiver must likely have shown some interest in the product/service on any channel, be it website, blog, channel, etc.
The receiver is already interested, and some context of the product or service is already established.
Is it enough?
Having understood all the essential elements of an email, is it enough to approach a prospect?
Well, the answer to this is a “No.”
The work is often done after the initial email has been sent, but in reality, the real work begins here, “The follow-up!”
When you encounter following up with your prospect, especially after sending a cold email, one realizes that the first email was nowhere near a task compared to the follow-up.
How to Follow up on an Email
Before beginning with how to take follow up in email, knowing when do we need to take a follow-up is essential in the first place.
A follow-up is an email after no response to the previous email. It can be done to keep the person in touch, initiate meeting requests, or for feedback. It is essential to keep following up as the receiver considers this a positive gesture.
How do we Follow up?
There are several dilemmas in the sender’s mind before sending an email for the follow-up.
- What should be the ideal time for taking a follow-up?
- When should we do our first follow-up?
- How many times should we follow up?
- What should be the interval between the first follow-up and the second?
- How should the follow-ups be addressed depending on the varied situation?
- Can we have personalized follow-ups for a cold prospect?
- Shall we follow up after the service has been delivered?
Several questions can arise while taking a follow-up, but what should be the follow-up strategy? Let’s look at them one by one:-
- When should we do our first follow-up?
One should take their first follow-up in the initial days of sending the first message. Why? Because the chances of the receiver opening the first email are more than 91% on the very first day of receiving it.
So the possibility of them acknowledging your email is higher on the first day of sending it, and hence, a follow-up on the next day or maybe after 2 days can remind them of your first email.
The remaining 9% take a few days and can check their emails anytime within one week.
2. What should be the ideal time for taking a follow-up?
People tend to check their emails either during the morning hours or after their work for the day is completed. Hence, the time of the email should be in accordance with that.
But, as mentioned, there are different types of emails, and each demands a different kind of attention. Similarly, if the product is related to food, it will not follow the same time.
For example, you are a company that deals with online food delivery, and then your ideal time would be during breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner.
3. What should be the interval between the first and the second follow-up?
One should wait for the receiver to respond for a day or two before sending the follow-up email. One can even follow the same thread while taking the follow-up.
If changing the thread, the email’s subject line should clearly state the purpose. A bang on the subject line can boost the possibility of being seen by the receiver.
4. How many follow-ups should be taken?
To form a connection, the initial follow-ups are usually higher in number. For the first follow-ups, the number is significantly higher.
The difference is usually from two follow-ups a week up to two a fortnight next week, followed by 2 in a month and eventually once a month.
Follow-up emails from banks are seen to be sent on a specific date of the month. This is to ensure the availability of the company whenever the customer needs them.
Too many follow-ups or aggressive follow-ups are not welcomed by the receiver and are usually spam.
While sending a follow-up, the sender must target the pain point rather than becoming one. Hence, ensuring a polite follow-up email with a follow-up sequence in specific intervals to the right person is important to note while following up.
5. How should the follow-ups be addressed depending on the varied situation?
Not all mails can be sent with the same follow-up email template. Different situations ask for different responses. Several emails range from promotional, welcoming emails, surveys, announcements, offers.
The follow-up also depends on the previous message of the mail.
For example, after a meet, conference, or interaction, a “Thank-you” email should be sent as a follow-up. If applying for a Job, then sending follow-ups within 48hours becomes essential.
The follow-up message showcases your interest and vigilance while applying for a job. This helps in verifying if the previous email was delivered successfully. More follow-ups are required if the response for the job is not given even after a week.
6. Can we have personalized follow-ups for a cold prospect?
Along with having a personalized tone, one can even have a customized follow-up for the prospect company. It helps in making a better and closer relationship with the company/receiver as the special efforts add value to the email, which is reflected in the response of the email.
To give a personalized touch, people try to use the person’s name, address them directly, direct the mails towards mutual needs of both sender and receiver instead of making it all about “me.”
7. Shall we follow up after the service has been delivered?
One should feel free to follow up after delivering a service or product. Following up after delivering opens up scope for future relations.
A follow-up is essential for taking feedback, showing gratitude, entrusting for the product, showcase other products in similar lines.
It is always better to respond promptly before delivering, while delivering, and after delivering to the client. This step will open the door to future conversations and take the customer’s relationship in the right direction.
Follow-up emails hold power to convert a prospect, bring new businesses, develop a strong relationship, and deal closely with the client. A proper follow-up can convert an email into a quick call and follow up for a great meeting.
How can you make it relevant, eye-catching, and add value to the person receiving it? These are a few questions one needs to ask themselves before writing a follow-up email.
It becomes easy to create a follow-up email template with given leads for forming a follow-up email.
So, the next time you want to write a follow-up email, keep all these things in mind.
I hope this article is fruitful to you.