Writing follow-up correspondence is a tricky thing to do on a daily basis. For one, you always have to know who you are talking to and what the topic of the conversation is. It can be very easy to mix things up and add a single wrong word that doesn’t belong to that particular email.
According to research done by Woodpecker, 53% of cold emails have a chance of being opened in B2B. Why waste the opportunity you are given by failing to do a proper follow-up after the initial email? These mistakes are quite common, but there are more alarming ones that cost time and revenue. Let’s take a look at several common but serious email mistakes that are bound to ruin your follow-ups.
Benefits of follow-up
We are all aware of the importance of follow-up correspondence and timely responses. However, let’s reaffirm that knowledge by taking a glance at the concrete benefits of writing follow-up emails correctly:
- Follow-ups show that you are still interested in the client, the project or the topic of the correspondence overall
- Follow-up emails make the receiver feel valued and respected, thus encouraging them to get back to you
- This type of courtesy and professionalism sets you apart from the crowd of companies and businesses who focus solely on gain and revenue
- Lastly, follow-up emails give the receiving party the power to answer your message however they see fit – this gives them the proverbial advantage and security in terms of the direction of your conversation
Writing without context
A follow-up traditionally comes as a result of an initial cold email. However, a company representative might not answer your email the same day or the same week in some cases. If that happens, you need to make sure that they are aware of what you are discussing.
Using phrases such as “I’m inclined to remind you…” or similar will affirm your email. This is important because you can strike a deal or ruin one if the receiving party didn’t understand what you were trying to offer in the cold email. Make sure that both sides of the argument are up to date with the topic of the conversation in order to succeed in your follow-up.
Addressing the wrong person
Some readers might consider this a simple slip up. However, many executives and CEOs simply don’t forgive or forget your mistake in addressing them. If you are unsure of whom you are talking to, check your previous emails. It can be tricky to backpedal from addressing the completely wrong individual and can cause your follow-up to fail if you are following up on a cold email.
In this case, it’s often a good idea to simply not address the person and continue the conversation started in the previous message. Focus on answering their questions and write your own name in the bottom of the mail with your company title. This will encourage the receiving party to do the same and thus reveal their name.
No prior email
Traditionally, follow-ups always follow up (pun intended) on an already existing email. Avoid starting a new mail conversation on the same topic if there are already correspondences in your inbox. Continue talking about the topic in the email that started it without sending a new one and confusing your reader.
This is especially important for international correspondences with people who are not native speakers of your language. In that case, you can take extra precaution and employ translation services in your follow-up. If you must start a new email conversation based on an already established topic, remind your reader of that fact. Don’t assume that everyone is on the same page as you are and do your best to make the conversation as informed as possible.
Wrong or lacking information
B2B email correspondences are a very serious matter. Every message you send will be the representation of your company’s principles, values and professionalism. This is why wrong information or messages lacking in data are dangerous. If you are unsure of your claims, double-check them before sending a follow-up.
Make sure that what you are saying is the objective truth and cannot be understood differently. You can do this by attaching relevant data (if available), referring to reliable websites or adding different types of content to your email. Persuade your interlocutor of the information you are presenting in order to succeed in your follow-up. Failing to do so can result in potentially disastrous consequences for your brand’s reputation, revenue and your standing with the company.
Obvious mail templates
Every company salesperson uses email templates – they simply make things faster and easier to manage. However, your receiver should never be aware of the fact. You should always double-check your custom fields based on the conversation you are having. Make sure to never mix up companies, positions or projects when writing a follow-up though a template.
If you are discovered, your interlocutor might be inclined to refuse your company’s offer altogether and work with someone else. People want to see that others care about their time and energy. Don’t be the person who addresses company A with company B’s name or location. Mask your templates by changing a few things up whenever you are writing multiple follow-ups in a row for good measure.
Lack of personality
Whether the follow-up is meant for B2B or B2C, chances are that the person on the other end is just that – a person. There is a fine line between professionalism and robotic, wooden writing. This means that every email should have some form of personality, character and wittiness to it.
Don’t treat your interlocutor like a robot or a brick wall – talk as if you are talking to a colleague sitting next to you. This can do wonders for your response rates and overall success of your follow-up emails. People who like your character and energy will likely want to work with your company on an ongoing basis. Writing like a robot will bore the person on the other end and likely result in a cold reception of your follow-up.
No calls to action
Lastly, email correspondences work much in the same way like online marketing does. Calls to action are a fairly important part of not only cold emails but their follow-ups as well. Recent surveys conducted by HubSpot reveal that emails with questions are 50% more likely to receive a timely response.
Make sure to always invite your interlocutor to answer the questions you may have. Ensure them that you are readily available for any misunderstanding or lack of information on their part in regards to your email. All in all, do your best to “provoke” a response from your receiver.
Writing the perfect follow-up is a matter of practice. There are bound to be growth mistakes until you are confident enough to answer any email that might come to your inbox. Likewise, writing cold emails that encourage follow-ups is important. Make sure to treat your colleagues on the other end with respect and understanding and your efforts will bear fruit in time.