This article is brought by the guest author, Rohan Mendiratta.  

Rohan helps marketers with building an engaged audience and increasing their sales via SendX: Email Marketing Software.

This blog covers the different insights of sending follow up emails. We'll walk through the most common mistakes made by marketers in writing their follow-up emails. By the end of this blog, you'll learn about all the tips and examples to hone your follow-up skills.

You aren't alone, if the thoughts of writing follow-up emails make you a little uncomfortable. Our instincts tell us that people aren't interested in hearing from us, once we don't get a reply to our first email.

However, fostering healthy relationships with existing and potential clients is probably what sales and marketing is majorly focused on.

Yes, following up over email can be a mammoth and derailing task. It's only human to give up on something after several trials if you do not receive the desired response.

However, what if we told you 80% of prospects say 'no' four times before they ultimately say 'YES' to a follow-up email?

It might come as a shock, but it's true!

Luckily, writing great follow-up emails doesn't necessarily need to be rocket science. It is a matter of precision and smart content creation.

There are some common mistakes often made when writing follow-up emails. When done correctly, the chances of your conversions are bound to get higher.

We’re looking at some of these common mistakes made when writing follow-up emails, obtaining tips that can help you strengthen your email game!

The top 10 usage mistakes

Make sure your 'subject line' is catchy

Mistake: Using "follow-up" in the email subject line.

When writing a follow-up email, people tend to use the "follow-up" line in the subject of the emails. Yes, your email's subject line should undoubtedly define the email's purpose, but 'follow up on the previous email' or 'just following up'? Are you sure that this specific line is adding any value to your email?

Emails that include a weak subject line that doesn't add to the email's overall content or appeal have higher chances of getting ignored or, worse, getting spammed.

Therefore, you should always lay emphasis on the subject line of your emails. Instead of beginning with a weak sentence like following up or catching up, try using short, crisp sentences to compel the reader to engage further. Moreover, the subject line should be relevant to the topic or purpose of the email.

🔥 Tip: Before you write your next follow up email, ask yourself about the purpose of the email and the action you would like the readers to take.

Take inspiration from the below examples:

  • When you don't receive a reply: "I forgot to mention…"
  • When you want to re-engage after an event: "Let's take another look at it."

Sound like you know your prospect; keep it personalized!

Mistake: Sounding like an automated robot

It's a well-established fact that nobody likes templated replies that are monotonous. While your automated email templates might be in luck for once, keeping such a single tone in your follow up emails will only lead your prospects to monotony, making your contact's eyes flicking at the delete button.

Making your emails sound like an automated, robotic response is one of many easily avoidable email mistakes. To overcome the monotony, get to know a bit about your prospect and their business, try to induce personalization besides coming up with an engaging and humorous draft for your follow up email.

🔥 Tip: Be sure that you use neutral humor that isn't offensive or inappropriate. Using a funny, conversational tone within emails can make all the difference between getting a response and getting ghosted.

Take inspiration from the below examples:

  • Begin with the name of the prospect, "Hey Mark, remember….."
  • Induce change in tone by adding different views in the conversation.

Sending well-researched emails is the key

Mistake: Lack of proper research before sending emails.

Be it a follow-up or a cold email, doing some research on the potential business or leads gives a great insight into business minds. It is one of the best ways to improve conversions.

Instead of sending bulk/more messages to a prospect, try spending some time researching your follow up email strategy. If you received no response over your first reply, double-check personalization areas (prospect's name, address, or designation).

🔥 Tip: Don't be afraid to visit someone's LinkedIn profile, Twitter page, or website to secure required information.

Take inspiration from the below examples:

  • Try picking up your prospect's current profession.
  • Get their birthday/likes; interest can also be useful.

Structure is the key to a well-received follow-up email

Mistake: Not outlining the next steps while drafting the email.

Having a structured response for every message that goes down the email marketing funnel is essential. It saves you the trouble of having to come up with something in the process of conversion, taking away the warm lead.

Therefore, at the end of each step of the process, make sure that you keep your prospects informed about what they can expect next in the conversion sequence.

🔥 Tip: Have the next step planned out for each interaction during the sales process.

Communicate via channels that your prospects are on

Mistake: Reaching out to prospects in the way they don't prefer.

Reaching out to your client via a method they don't like is the worst follow-up mistake you can commit. This way, you are eliminating your chances of making a sale. To a prospect, this feels like their preference is not being valued.

However, before you reach such an awkward situation with a lead, you can save yourself by asking the prospect about their preferred follow up method.

🔥 Tip: Reach out to your prospect, only at the given time and over the shared communication channel.

Your communication should always be offered

Mistake: "Touching Base"

Every now and then, there are emails crossing our inboxes from sales executives who "just wanted to touch base," "are just checking in," or "circling back around." Let's make it clear; these emails are annoying at best. These phrases are only meaningless and don't add anything to the mail.

Instead of delivering emails with zero connection, try adding value to your emails. You could try understanding your prospect or at least try to get into a conversation with them.

🔥 Tip: Communicate less, but "only communicate" when you can add value.

Take inspiration from the below example:

  • Do you have any questions from our last interaction? If yes, reach out to know more.

Make sure you are following up the correct way

Mistake: Beating around the bush with a given topic.

As critical as it is to follow up, it's equally important to ensure that you are doing it right. Emails can easily get out of control, and most prospects don't have the patience to go through a 100-word email that could be summed up in 50 words. Lengthy emails take double efforts, from framing to reading.

To shorten your email, you need to lose all the usual formalities, Instead, start with your reason for writing. Moreover, make sure that your email is finished by the third paragraph, and only one paragraph should ever be more than one sentence.

Perhaps Shakespeare said it best: "Brevity is the soul of wit."

🔥 Tip: Say it out loud!

Take inspiration from the below examples:

  • Ditch formalities of "I hope you are doing well" or "I hope you're having a good day."
  • Stay focused on business.

Make sure that you have enough proof to leverage your email

Mistake: Failing to include social proof.

Do people trust your company? Are you the industrial leader you claim to be? Chances are, your prospect is never going to research the facts.

However, things might turn out to be different if you have enough proof to back your claims up. When you want to advertise your product over follow-up emails, don't run behind proving it with your words. Instead, tell people why you're worth their time. Provide them with proof!

🔥 Tip: Induce testimonials as a graphical highlight of your email.

Take inspiration from the below examples:

  • Use the banners of celebrities who have vouched for your product or service.
  • Highlight the numbers behind your customer base ("XX people have been a part of our company").

Follow up when your lead is hot

Mistake: Not following up on time.

Ironically, one of the most significant follow-up mistakes you can make is not following up in the initial stage. TOPO suggests that only 23.91% of sales emails are ever opened, in which most of them forget to reply to an open email. Prospects lead busy lives, similar to you and me.

It is essential to work on your hot lead when the time is right to cut through the noise. Try following up with your prospect over the first few days after the initial meeting. Moreover, you could also set reminders or schedule events with your potential client.

🔥 Tip: Follow up when the time is right and use scheduling tools available.

Does your email have a Call-to-action?

Mistake: Missing the CTA.

The last and most common mistake for a follow-up email is not including a call-to-action.

Yes, your prospects need to think about the actions on their own. Besides that, you should also be clear with what you would want the person to do after reading your email.

Would you like to hear from them? Would you like to appoint a meeting? Call back? Fill out a form? Be clear and specific about what you want. However, you don't need to dictate terms while placing your call-to-action. Polite follow-up works better.

🔥 Tip: While you are writing a CTA, make sure that it is short, crisp, and compelling to get attention. Moreover, it should match the flow of the email.

Take inspiration from the below example:

  • ".... please take some time out to fill up this form…"

Similar to the fact that you don't want your emails to hit the delete button, prospects don't want to waste their time or be pestered with unnecessary emails. It is indeed a challenging task to successfully follow up after making initial contact.

However, if you are organized with your plans, are a good listener, and have the concept clear, you're well on your way to a successful conversion.

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