Emails are one of the most result-oriented and effective means of professional communication. In addition, emails are the best marketing tool: email marketing has proven to be an effective customer retention tool and it demonstrates the highest ROI. According to statistics, this method of marketing allows you to get a return of $44 from every dollar invested. Thus, there’s no surprise that email marketing is so popular among B2B businesses.
B2B sales cycles are different from those of B2C businesses. B2B companies cannot just display one ad on Facebook, re target viewers, and manufacture a $20,000 sale. The customer buying process may last for many months, and you have to manage customer relationships during this period. Here’s where email marketing distinguishes itself as the best channel to close sales.
Follow-Up Emails and When to Send Them
A follow-up email is a way to ask people if they’ve read your previous message. For example, follow-ups are used to get feedback, after various interviews and meetings, or in many other situations where you want your recipients to take a certain action.
However, writing a follow-up email may be uncomfortable. It would be logical to conclude that if someone hasn’t responded to our first email, they are not interested.
The truth is, such a hypothesis is often illegitimate. Usually, prospects don’t say “yes” to the first email yet are likely to correspond to another one.
As for the chances of getting a response to your consecutive emails, the situation is quite complicated. According to research, when recipients demonstrate an 18% response rate to the first request, their interest drops to 13% after the fourth email.
Nevertheless, a response rate of the sixth email may grow up to 27%. Another study shows that even when a response rate declines with each new email, 7% of recipients still respond even to the tenth email. Unfortunately, many marketers ignore these opportunities, which is a explanation why as much as 70% of email chains terminate after the first unanswered email.
While the purpose and effectiveness of follow-up emails are unquestionable, there is a common question about when exactly you need to send them. The answer is, as soon as possible. Most often, people reply the same day they receive an email.
Subsequently, if your email hasn’t been answered the same day, it’s safe to consider it unanswered. We recommend that you send your first follow-up in two or three days. Send your next follow-ups in 4, 7, and 14 days. After that, continue sending follow-ups once a month.
Tips on Writing a Follow-Up Email
1. Make sure you include a close in the first email.
Although so many people tend not to respond to the first email, you can alter this situation for the better if you include a proper close. For example, if you just substantiate that you’d like to hear back from your prospects, it won’t motivate them to actually take an action.
Your goal is to provide your recipients an opening to respond. End your email with a specific enquiry, and include a call to action so that their response will be actionable.
2. Mind the context Your main goal is to establish a strong mutual connection, and a personal note can make this task simpler.
The effectiveness of your follow-up emails will increase if you always include something related to the context of your conversation. We suggest that you add it at the very beginning of your emails.
Remind them what you’ve spoken about before, or why your prospects got interested in your product or service at all. Sometimes, openers like “last time we met...” or “last time we spoke...” can work wonders, making your emails more personal and immediately drawing your recipients’ attention.
3. Remind that you’re waiting for a response
As your project continues, you need your clients to engage in certain activities or to provide you with more information. Following up can benefit both you and your client, as you can avoid wasting time.
For example, start your email by addressing your recipient by their name, and remind that you’ve sent an email before. Quickly summarize the previous email, and tell that you’re waiting for a response.
Your request should be specific yet not too detailed, as the recipient is able to check the details in the previous email. You should also make it explicit that you are ready to answer any necessary questions.
4. Adjust your call to action every time
Sometimes, your emails is unsuccessful just because you chose a wrong call to action. Every occasion you send an email and get no response, your call to action should get easier.
The reason is that it also gets easier for your prospects to ignore every subsequent email. For example, if you’ve proposed a meeting in the first email, request a referral in the second one. If you still get no response, inquire about general information.
For instance, you may request a casual question or include a quick checklist. Finally, you can also ask a question that is completely unrelated to work. At this point, it will be easier for your prospects to answer informal personal questions, and if they do it, you’ll be able to revert your conversation back to what you need.
Following up is what every B2B company needs. The B2B sales cycle is complicated and requires you to stay in touch with your prospects, as well as with the already existing customers. Although most people may not respond to your first email, it shouldn’t discourage you from communicating with them in the future. Follow-up emails allow you to remind about yourself while getting closer to your targeted audience and also finding the best way to approach them.
What are the top things to consider when writing a follow-up email?
- Make sure you include a close in the first email.
- Mind the context Your main goal is to establish a strong mutual connection, and a personal note can make this task simpler.
- Remind that you’re waiting for a response
- Adjust your call to action every time
About the Author
Berta Melder is an experienced brand manager, currently associated with Masterra as a content marketing strategist, but thinking about additional career development opportunities as a data visualisation specialist. Enjoys creative writing and blogs about everything that has to do with different digital channels. Follow her on Twitter.