You probably already know that you should be sending follow up emails to your sales prospects, former customers or anything in between.
But part of the problem is that you have a million other things to do and may wonder if sending those emails is worth it. You’ve already tried to communicate with them and didn’t hear back.
Should you send a follow up email or no?
The answer is an unequivocal: Yes!
The primary goal of sending a follow up email is to elicit a response of some kind in order to determine what the next steps are. And in sending that follow up email, you’re putting yourself in a position where you will answer the following four important questions about your last communication:
- Was it seen?
- Was it understood?
- Did they make a decision?
- Did they inform you of that decision?
You need the answers to these four questions to help close the communication loop.
Without those answers, your email has almost certainly entered the Email Black Hole, which is where emails go when you don’t send a follow up. You often have no visibility into what happened and after about a week, you should have no reasonable expectation of ever receiving a response.
Let’s dig into the Email Black Hole, which will help you understand why you didn’t receive a response.
Reason #1: Never received it
It’s rare that an email actually goes completely missing after you send it. If you sent an email to the wrong email address because of a typo, you will typically receive a bounce notification within a few minutes or hours at the most. It’s obvious they didn’t receive it and you will need to resend the original email to the correct person.
Another possibility is an out of the office/vacation/traveling autoresponder. In this case, you know they aren’t likely to see the email until they return.
A more common problem is that your email may have ended up in the spam folder. The end result is the same. Effectively, they never saw it and thus, never had the opportunity to consider sending a response.
Reason #2: Received, but dismissed
The average person receives upwards of 120 emails per day at their work email account. That’s a lot. And dealing with email can be one of the more time consuming things that someone does on a daily basis.
Over time, we become better and better and quickly scanning our email based on the subject and determining what needs our attention and what doesn’t. The more tech savvy people will set up automatic filters or rules for their inbox to help cut through the noise, but that still leaves plenty of email where we make snap decisions based on the subject line.
If your email has an irrelevant subject line or they skimmed the subject and made the “wrong decision”, it would be easy for your first email to be archived or deleted without a response. If they have an assistant who manages their mailbox on their behalf, it’s also possible that your email was similarly classified as unimportant by the gatekeeper who simply said “Nope!”.
Reason #3: Received with the best of intentions
This is by far the most common reason that people don’t respond to you. They saw your email and intended to respond to it, but got pulled away for one reason or another.
They may be traveling, working remotely, reading their email from a mobile device or simply aren’t in a good position to give it their full attention.
Despite their best intentions, it’s very easy for your email to drop off their radar.
First, there’s the non-stop barrage of email each and every day.
Then there are the major fires in the business that come up on a near-constant basis.
Finally, if it’s been more than a few days since you emailed them, some people feel guilty about having not responded sooner… and won’t respond!
That’s tough. But here’s a pro tip: When you send a follow up email to these people, it alleviates any guilt they may be feeling about being too busy to respond at the time and gives them an excuse to do so! Win-win!
Patrick McKenzie probably receives and responds to more email than almost anyone I know. Yet even he acknowledges that sometimes, a gentle nudge is necessary.
Do follow up emails work?
The answer of “Yes” shouldn’t be a surprise at this point. Honestly, we wouldn’t be writing this article if the answer wasn’t yes.
But the reality of the situation is a bit more interesting than that.
We analyzed over a million emails sent through Bluetick.io and we learned two very important things:
- The majority of responses were received after at least one follow up email.
- Multiple follow up emails resulted in triple the average response rate of a single email.
I’m going to repeat the second one because it’s important.
That’s huge! Simply implementing an email follow up workflow in your business could be an absolute game changer.
Convinced? Sign up for a free trial of Bluetick.io, schedule an onboarding session with our founder and start following up today!