February 06, 2017
You sent an important email out a day ago, it may have been to a hiring manager about the job you've applied for, or maybe it's to a client that's waffling on signing the deal you sent over to them. No matter what the circumstances, waiting for a response can often be torture and most of the time can slow down your day or decisions you need to make. This is where the follow up email comes into play.
I know, they're hard to write, they're hard to send and they're often easy to forget in the middle of a busy day. But when you finally remember that you needed a response, it may be too late and you'll end up wishing you had sent that follow-up email after all.
Instead of dragging your feet on sending out that quick email, we've got a few tips to help make the process a little less painful and instead help you build the follow-up strategy right into your day-to-day tasks without even thinking (or stressing) about it!
Knowing when to send your email out is key here and it could be a huge blocker when it comes to actually doing the deed. So, how long should you wait to send your follow-up email after not getting a response? We recommend trying a tool like Boomerang first as the best way to track who's responded and who might have fallen through the cracks. It allows you to schedule an email to be sent out or remind you if you never heard back from the contact you reached out to.
Once you put a system into place, we recommend waiting at least 48 hours from your original send time and then schedule out your follow-ups from there. Why don't we recommend sending out your email within 24 hours of the last one? Think about it, if your inbox is already overloaded or you're in the midst of a hectic day, chances are that the second email on the same day will fall through the cracks of that already chaotic day. Give your contacts a day or two as a chance to respond and possibly even think on the context of your original email and then shoot off your follow-up.
As we covered above, the chances that your initial email fell through the cracks of an already busy inbox is high, which means your initial message might not have made it across to your contact or they simply forgot. The best thing you can do for both yourself and your contact is to give some context.
Simply include a gentle reminder or brief recap of why you're reaching out. Ask yourself what your purpose is for sending the email and put the answer right there as the FIRST sentence you type out. Give your contact no chance of skimming over it or missing it in the body of a lengthy email.
Sum up your purpose and get to the point here. Dancing around the reason for your follow-up email can only run the risk of further confusing your contact and leaving you with no choice but to send yet another follow-up email. Make sure to reply to your original email in order to give your contact the full picture and sometimes proof that you did in fact send that first initial email!
Once you give context for the reason behind sending the follow up, you need to clearly state your ask and give them no room for ignoring your email. Are you looking for a decision to be made or an appointment to be set? Be clear that's what you're looking for and outright with your ask here.
So often we're guilty of sending emails where we're not clear with our ask or even worse, are timid in the asking and our contacts are left confused as to what the point of the email was to begin with. Go ahead, be straightforward and chances are, you'll be rewarded. The average 'office worker' gets at least 120 emails a day, don't risk your email getting lost in the crowd by sending an email without a clear request in the body. At that point, you might as well not even send the email in the first place...
Sometimes email isn't always the best option for connecting with this particular contact and they would prefer to discuss it over an other medium. Give them options to connect with you otherwise - but NOT as an out of answering what you need from them. Set a few times that you can connect over the phone and tell them to pick one if it's easier than having the conversation via email. Include your calendar scheduler if you have one to make it as simple as possible!
Again, it's key to not give them an out here, the whole point of sending your follow up email is to get a response, right? Use compelling words to generate some action out of your contacts and give them plenty of options for responding to you in the best form for them.
There's nothing to be afraid of here. We've been on both ends of the follow-up - and we're the experts on sending follow-up emails here! We get it, things fall through the cracks and more often than not, we're grateful when we get a follow-up email from a contact reminding us that they need a response.
As long as you're respectful, your follow-up won't go unnoticed... if anything, it'll garner the response you're looking for quickly and efficiently. While there's always that stigma of being annoyingly persistent when sending a follow-up, doing it the right way will probably garner more appreciation than anything else!