How to Send A Networking Follow-up Email? 2 Simple Approaches

a networking follow up illustrations of people talking on a phone

A lot has been said about the importance of face-to-face communication when trying to connect with business partners or potential customers. That’s why we attend various conferences, meet-ups, and networking events. It’s all in the name of forging strong relationships that will push our businesses forward. Networking works perfectly for that, I must admit.

Nonetheless, in the busy world of today, a meeting face-to-face may be too little to get remembered. There are hundreds of meetings and it’s hard to keep score. That’s why we need something more than a single meeting. And that something can be a follow-up email sequence. With this article, I want to show you two approaches to networking events that will make you stand out from all the people who attend them.

The power of networking follow-up email

I was inspired to write this article while responding to a Quora question. We usually treat networking events quite conventionally. We take a list of attendees, qualify them, and then, we send them an email pitch. It’s so commonplace that people stopped responding to that kind of follow-ups because they smell what’s coming.

Why don’t we flip the scenario, then? Let’s try something fresh. Take a step back and think about what we can do to make a lead generation opportunity out of any networking event.

What do we have here? Well, a conference and possibly a list of attendees we can prequalify (a list is not a must-have and I will show you why.) I would love to propose to you two approaches to networking events. We would divide them on how we can follow up prior to a networking event and after the event to use the event to our advantage.

#1 How to send a follow-up before the event?

A lot of people send a follow-up after the networking event they’ve attended. Nonetheless, we can use a follow-up email sequence to connect with people before the event takes place.

Let’s say you’re going for a meetup in a new city. You don’t know anyone, but there will be a lot of people from the niche you’re targeting. Isn’t it a great opportunity to connect?

For example, for Yurii, our Head of Business Development, it would be a sales meetup for B2B companies. Perfect. You have your event marked in the calendar and you either have a list of attendees and work on an email sequence to make an introduction.

You write something like that:

Hi {{first name}},

I saw you on the list of attendees for {{meet-up}}. I barely know anybody, so I decided to email you. I’ve been reading quite a bit about {{company}} and I noticed {{snippet 1}}. Would love to discuss that further.

See you at the meet-up.

I know what you’re thinking. “Where’s the sales pitch?”, yet, do you really need a sales pitch at this point? After all, cold emailing is a way of making a connection and your goal is to get a positive response, not a closed deal. So, why don’t you try to leverage events for networking?

Just remember that your efforts may be futile unless you follow up. Use automation and follow those steps.

However, you don’t need a list of attendees to send a networking email. Even better, why don’t you email a company that fits your ICP and tell them about the event as a pretext to send them an email? Let’s see how to do it.

First, pick an event that you know your customers will enjoy. For example, a marketing event if you’re selling a social listening tool. Then, identify marketers who’d love to attend an event like that. Tell them about the conference, here’s how.

Hi {first name}},

I’ve been thinking about reaching out to you for a while.  Will {{company}} attend {{Networking event}}? If you’re going, I’d love to meet you there and say hi. I could connect you with {{Snippet 1}}.

Hope to see you at the meet-up.

What do you think? It’s just a conversation starter, just like a proper cold email ought to be. It’s up to you how the conversation is going to end. Just bear in mind that a single email is not enough for the recipient to trust you, you need to follow-up a couple of times.

All in all, I’d love for you not to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. And I think that networking before the actual event may get you plenty of interesting conversations during the event. The time spent there won’t be a wasted one. Just don’t get discouraged when people don’t write back to your initial email. Write a few emails and you’re sure to be remembered.

#2 How to follow up after the networking event?

I would call it a traditional approach to a networking follow-up email. It goes like this. You attend an event you’re interested in, meet a bunch of people, get their business cards, and follow up after the event, saying how much you enjoyed meeting them. That’s pretty much it. And it may work because the prospects (or business partners) are already warmed up.

The easiest things are the hardest to do right. If you replicate the above scenario, there’s no guarantee that you get a response. Why? There’s no hook. You’re just thanking them for a conversation. And you need to hook them with a persuasive CTA.

How to hook them? Go back in mind to your conversation, is there anything more you could ask them? Maybe you could check out their website once again and find a connection between what you talked about at the event and the information you find on the web.

The thing you ask for should be

  • easy for your addressee to reply without thinking (in 1-2 sentences);
  • intriguing enough for you to repeat it over a few messages (you need to schedule more than one follow-up email).

I’m sure you can think of something like that. My proposition goes like this:

Hi {{first name}},

Glad to meet you at {{Networking event}}. We were talking about {{Snippet 1}}. I was curious enough to google your website and I’ve noticed you do {{Snippet 2}}. Tell me, do you need any help with {{Snippet 3}}? My team helped {{Company}} with the same issue.

I would love to know that.

Question: What if you’ve met a lot of people but no prospective customers nor business partners?

Check their website and social media, chances are that they know someone you would die to work with.

Hi {{first name}},

I enjoyed our conversation at {{Networking event}}. We were talking about {{Snippet 1}}. I was curious enough to check out your website and I also found that you’ve worked with {{Company}}. I’d love if you could introduce me to {{Snippet 2}}.

Hope to see you at the next meeting.

I think such an email template shows us that we should use every opportunity to connect with other people. Having a strong network of people in a niche we’re targeting will certainly fortify our sales.

Do you actually need to be on the event to send an email?

Networking follow-up emails are used by the companies who either attend a networking event or they want to do so. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a rule. You don’t need to be at an event to send an email to the business people you suspect are on it.

Let’s say there’s an interesting conference in Barcelona, Spain about content marketing. And your tool is a WordPress plugin. Should you travel there to attend the conference? Why don’t you use this conference as an excuse for cold emailing prospects?

Build a qualified list of prospects whose companies have HQs in a close vicinity to Barcelona. Make this content marketing conference an excuse to target WordPress users who do content marketing. Don’t pretend that you’re going there, just ask whether they think this conference will be worthwhile.

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