Marketing / Email Marketing

Follow-up email best practices

Laura Dolan

May 28, 2020 · 4 min read

Follow-up email best practices

As a small business owner, sending follow-up emails is essential for nurturing your leads and existing business contacts in the context of customer service. It keeps the lines of communication open and creates a nice paper trail for you and your contacts to refer back to in the instance that some information would need to be retrieved again.

When it’s appropriate to send a follow-up email

Statistically, people will open their emails the day they’re received so if you don’t hear back, chances are your contact read it but just didn’t respond. This begs the question, how long is an appropriate amount of time to wait before you send the follow up?

In the instance of a first point of contact, waiting up to three days at the most before you reach out again is a reasonable amount of time to remind your prospect that you’re still awaiting their reply.

“People are becoming more aware of the importance of sending follow-up emails. It’s not just about if we send follow ups, but how good their timing is and how clear and straightforward they are,” said Rafal Kloc, Product Marketing Manager at HelpDesk. “An essential factor is the personalization of all messages, not just the first. All follow ups should be personalized and contextual. To optimize results, we need to provide a consistent tone and message from start to finish.”

A handy tool that would help with regulating your correspondence is Keap’s CRM, which allows you to integrate your email program and automate follow ups by setting reminders and scheduling messages that would be sent to leads and contacts after a certain amount of time.

If it’s a follow-up email succeeding a meeting, phone call or seeing a client at an event, it’s courteous to send a friendly message an hour or two after the encounter thanking them for their time and reminding them you are there whenever they need you.

“Not only is it a good customer service practice to follow up with your customers to make sure that they have been taken care of, but it’s also a very good email practice,” said Aaron Barrett, Director, Email Deliverability for Keap. “Customers who you are consistently following up with tend to remain highly engaged with your [correspondence] which, in turn, boosts your email reputation with email providers. It’s a win-win.”

Best practices for a follow-up email

Begin with your subject line, which you should limit to 50 characters or fewer so it doesn't get cut off, summarizing why you’re reaching out a second time. Use a statement along the lines of “Did I forget to mention…?”

Having calls-to-action, or CTAs, in your follow-up emails pose a sense of direction for your recipient to take. Some examples include:

  • “If you want to learn more, please call me.”
  • “For more details, please visit our website.”
  • “If I can answer any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.”
  • A CTA will solidify your follow ups and make your your emails look more compelling.

    It’s also important to remember that less is always more. Try to limit your word range from 75 to 100 words.

    “Email is still a very popular channel, mainly because emails are intimate, taken seriously, and information-dense,” Kloc added. “However, the number of messages we receive is so high that it’s very easy to miss important messages. That’s why it is vital to send follow ups, which increase the chances of getting the person on the other side to take action.”

    Follow-up email takeaways

    Be sure to appeal to your target audience by adding significance to your follow-up emails anytime you reach out. Offer them some enticing content such as a free ebook, white paper, a webinar registration link, a case study, etc. rather than just saying “A Quick Hello…”, creating more opportunities for successful open rates and conversions.

    Finally, end the message with a polite statement such as, “Looking forward to hearing from you” or whatever you feel would yield the highest probability for future engagement.


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