Why Should We Always Send Follow-up Emails?

Many cold email senders seem to think that a great opening message is what you need to master the outbound email outreach. Well, it is indeed – but it’s also not enough. Follow-up emails to those who didn’t respond to our initial message are a must, if we think of a truly effective cold email campaign. Here’s a kind of ‘Follow-up 101’: why follow-up is so important and what we should realize before we start sending it.

Don’t be afraid of sending follow-ups

Sometimes we may feel that follow-ups will make our prospects feel stalked and downright angry. I felt that when I first started sending follow-up emails.

In practice, this is rarely the case. Usually they feel grateful, enjoy your interest in them, and admire your persistence.

This is an actual reply I got lately:

Hi Cathy,
thank you so much for following up that is how you get anywhere in life. I’ll reply with a 2 just because right now is very busy but I would like to look into this in mid June.
Thank you again for sending me this information would definitely like to do a trial in the future.

How many people actually follow up

As pointed out by Christine Georghiou in her article, “70 percent of sales emails stop after the first attempt”. Considering that not all cold emails are sent for sales purposes, the overall rate of cold emails that are never followed-up may be even higher than that. In short, hardly anyone sends follow-up emails.

What does that mean to us?

It means that if we do follow up after sending the opening message, we are in a quite limited group of people who do that. We actually show more interest in starting a relation with our prospect than the majority of cold email senders that ever reached out to them. This means that just by sending follow-ups, we actually stand out from the crowd.

What does that mean to our prospects?

First of all, just by the fact that we do more than most of people who contact them, we make them notice us.

Second of all, we make them feel we actually care about their reaction or lack thereof. We make them feel we didn’t just send a huge amount of messages in bulk and forgot about it the moment we hit “Send”.

We make them feel we are not bots, but real human beings who actually care more personally about the people we’re addressing.

I’ve got a bunch replies to my second or third message that read something like:

Hey Cathy,
I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier. At first I wasn’t quite sure if this wasn’t another automatic message (I get tons of these), but now I can see you are a real person.

Can you tell me more about your app?

As you can see, they sometimes even feel like they failed you by not responding sooner. See how they don’t feel like you were bothering them – they feel like they could bother you by not getting back to you earlier.

In a nutshell, often it’s the follow-up that makes them reply.

To what extent follow-ups affect the effectiveness of our emails

Jason Zook reveals in his article that over 75% of all the deals he’s landed over the years have been a result of sending follow-ups.

At 52Challenges, we also saw such a tendency. Some prospects reply to the first outreach but a great majority of relations we’ve started with trainers were triggered by our second or third email.

That’s just statistics. But if you think that you can actually get yourself a chance for landing 75% more deals just by sending follow-up emails, you want to start sending them right away, don’t you?

What’s in it for you?

Before you shut this page and run to send your follow-ups, it’s important to consider three important practical matters.

Firstly, the follow-up – just like the opening message – should not be just anything that comes to your mind within 30 seconds. It has to be a well-thought-out email considering both the content and the form. What is more, it should be logically and smoothly connected with the proceeding message and it should bear some actual value for the prospect.

Secondly, you have to determine what is the optimal time to send the follow-up, and how many follow-ups make sense. When is the time to keep being persistent? When you should stop following-up not to make a stalker out of yourself? These depend on many factors including the specifics of your target audience, your market, and your approach.

Thirdly, as you start sending the follow-ups, you will immediately realize that keeping track of all the messages you need to send to all your prospects is not as easy as you first thought. You will realize that it takes much more time than you initially expected. That’s what we realized when we first started sending follow-ups.

And actually that’s why we came up with Woodpecker. We couldn’t afford to spend that much time on cold emailing and following-up. We needed a tool to help us streamline the process. It turned out so helpful that we decided to make it available to other cold email senders as well.

If you want to check how to automate your follow-ups, sign up for a free trial at Woodpecker.co, or request a demo.

The three practical matters are crucial for sending follow-ups. Each one of those is a topic for another article – and they are the topics of my other posts:

Cathy is the Woodpecker blog’s creator & chief contributor. She used to spend lots of time contacting prospects, especially via email. One of the few people on Earth who read crappy cold emails from start to end and analyze them – for purely educational purposes. Taking care of this blog, reporting Woodpecker’s journey on the pursuit of happy openings, successful closures and all the new skills we acquire in between.

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