There are three words we all read far too often:
- “Just checking in to see …”
- “Thought I would just check in and find out …”
- “Wanted to just check-in to hear …”
It’s the follow up email. And these emails are often repetitive and ineffective. We’re not “just checking-in” – we are trying to accomplish something.
So how do we write an effective follow up email that actually accomplishes our end goal? Read below to understand the key steps to writing a successful follow up email.
Before crafting a follow-up email, we must first clarify what our objective is to draft a more effective call-to-action.
There are four primary objectives for a follow-up email:
When we need to clarify a piece of information, get a status update on a deal, or determine whether we got a job.
Request a Meeting
We generally want to meet with a contact to pick their brain, give a pitch, ask for a favor, or receive feedback.
Just To Catch Up
When we haven’t spoken to a particular connection in a while, when we hear exciting news about them or their company, or when we want to share a milestone that we accomplished.
Say Thank You
When a connection provides a referral, when they write a review or case study, when they close new business with you, any time they’ve given you their attention or a moment on their calendar.
Sample Sales Follow Up Email:
Let’s walk through an example to better understand the process of writing a follow-up email. Say we just had an insightful conversation with a potential client and we need to send a follow-up email to set up another meeting to dive deeper into a topic. This falls under the “request a meeting” type of follow up. Here’s an example.
Appreciate your time today, Brian!
Thanks for taking the time to share a little about HubSpot, as well as the goals and challenges you face.
If you would like to learn how other companies are dealing with challenges like yours, I would be happy to schedule a call. We could also talk a bit more about your challenges and determine whether or not I might be able to offer some help.
Are you available for a call next Tuesday at 1 pm?
Thanks again for chatting today and I look forward to hearing from you!
Open With Context
It’s easy to forget to include a personal connection or a common interest that will help our contact remember us if we don’t already have a close relationship. Re-emphasizing our initial email or interaction will help jog their memory and make it easier for them to respond.
Effective Email Openers:
- We met last week at the [Name of Event or Location].
- I was inspired after you spoke at the [Name of Event].
- Our friend, [Mutual Friend’s Name] suggested that I reach out.
- Last time we spoke…
- Following up on the email I sent a few weeks ago about [Topic].
Samples Sales Follow Up Email:
Any questions, Brian?
Last we spoke, you requested that I get in touch in a few months to discuss how [Company Name] can help your business achieve [goal]. I may be a few weeks early, but I thought I would check in.
Have you given any additional consideration to my proposal? I’d be happy to chat on the phone and answer any questions that may have come up.
What does your schedule look like this week to talk?
Clearly State Purpose
We should be straight forward with our follow up intentions right off the bat. For example, don’t just state “I’d like to grab coffee and chat about what you do.”
Instead say, “I’d like to grab coffee to learn more about how you consistently reach quota because I’ve been struggling with my targets.”
With specificity, our contacts can better help us achieve what we need and we won’t waste their time.
Common Ways to Articulate Purpose:
- I want to invite you to join me at [Name of Event], I think you’ll find it helpful for what you do at [Company Name]
- As we discussed, here is the developer [insert link] I think could help you with your new website.
- It would be great to hear more about [topic] as I’m working on something similar at [Company Name]
Sample Follow Up Email After Meeting:
Thought you might be interested in meeting [Name]
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat today. I really enjoyed talking and learning more about your experience with [career field]. I really appreciate all the advice and tips you offered on how to break into [industry].
You mentioned that your team at [Company Name] is looking for a new business development rep, and I actually just met [name of contact] who runs the business growth strategy at [Company Name]. I think she would be a great fit for your team. Can I make an intro?
Thanks again for your time and advice. I wish you the best of luck while wrapping up your beta, and I hope to stay in touch!
Craft Subject Line
We conducted a study in 2014 using 6.4 million emails sent with HubSpot Sales and learned a few things about subject lines that improve email open rates:
- Use concrete numbers and times. Emails with “Quick” in the subject line were opened 17% less than those without.
- Create a sense of urgency by using “tomorrow.” Emails with”Tomorrow” in the subject line were opened 10% more than those without.
- Try omitting the subject line. Emails with no subject altogether were opened 8% more than those with a subject line.
Sample Follow Up Email After Application:
3 reasons I would be a great addition to your team
My name is [Your Name], I saw that [Company Name] is looking for [position title] and had to reach out to you.
I think I would be a great addition to your team for the following reasons:
- I’m teachable. I love learning and am always reading a new book, blog, or listening to a podcast (current favorite is [Podcast Title]).
- I’m [list your unique qualities].
- I believe in [Company] and your mission to [restate mission].
I’ve attached my resume and a video of me explaining why I would be a great addition to your team (I thought it would be a little more personal). I’ve also included my website and samples of projects that I’ve worked on for [previous relevant role or position] in case you’d like to see samples of my work.
I look forward to hearing from you, [First Name]!
When To Follow Up
Okay, so our follow up email is written. When should we send it? Here are some suggested time frames for follow up emails based on various use cases:
Thank you follow up email or after a meeting or conference.
After submitting a job application.
Follow up on a meeting request or after no response regarding a job offer.
Every 3 Months
To catch up with a connection.