What You Should Know Before Sending a Follow-Up Email

For most of us, we often get queasy about following up after an interview. Whether it is the period after an interview, networking forum or trade show, the real work begins once you’ve left the venue. Few people understand the art of the follow-up email.

Research shows that only 3% of people ever do any kind of follow-up. One of the reasons follow-up email is so often ignored is that few people want to appear pushy. Even then there are a number of ways of going about with a follow-up email that will increase your odds of future engagement.

follow up email

What Is the Follow-Up Email?

This is simply the process of re-establishing contact with a business-mate, acquaintance, trade show host or any other person after a previous meeting. It can be done through email, phone call or a simple text. Whatever the means follow up is always used when a person feels that a contact he or she established at a particular place could prove profitable, useful or beneficial in the future.

Rarely is one able to establish contact and plan a meaningful engagement during the first meeting. This is what necessitates follow-up. Even then the process is never a guarantee that future engagement is possible. This is such a valuable skill that everyone who plans on networking has to be taught. Companies should invest in teaching it to their leaders before they attend business trips.

Who Uses the Follow-Up Email?

Just about everyone needs to learn the follow-up skills. Students, industry leaders, interviewees, and anyone who attends a networking event ought to learn how to properly use the follow-up email. This is even more critical for those in the sales industry. That’s because eventual sales often occur after multiple engagements sometimes lasting weeks or even months. In fact, every company should make it part of the company induction course for new employees.

People do business with people they know. So, at the very least, it takes time and dedication to build and sustain relationships. The other team that needs to be taught this skill is the client relations team. Sometimes clients change, grow or fall away. Therefore, from time to time it is critical that you tactfully re-establish contact. It is also a skill that has to be continually refreshed and upgraded especially if there is a new product launch or relaunch in the offing.

Ways in Which Follow-Up Emails Help Your Company

There are a number of critical benefits that accrue from learning and using these skills.

  • You are able to reignite professional contacts that have been ignored for a while.
  • It helps you to build a critical mass of partners, suppliers, consumers and other industry players that are crucial to the success of your organization.
  • Also, it helps you create meaningful engagement from a random encounter at a seminar, business forum or even a casual introduction.
  • A follow-up email helps you expand your networks and sphere of influence in the market.
  • It sets you apart from the many others who pick contacts but never take the time to follow through.
  • Lastly, it helps you build lifelong contacts that come in handy during travels, or when you need insights, critical information or inside knowledge about specific issues and trends in the industry.

5 Easy and Useful Follow-Up Email Tips

1. Determine Why You Are Sending the Email

Before crafting the email you have to decide what your primary objective of writing it.

  • The first reason could be because you are seeking information based on your last engagement.
  • Secondly, you could be requesting a meeting after the initial encounter.
  • Thirdly you could send the email to catch up and simply refresh the connection.
  • Lastly, you could send the email to say thank you.

2. Context is Best Put in the Beginning

There is a strong chance that the person you are emailing doesn’t clearly remember you. That’s why you should start your follow-up email with a context. Remind them of the initial encounter.

Mention the place where you met, the occasion, the time and anything that stood out during your encounter. Pick on the most effective email opener and then briefly establish a mutual ground between the two of you.

3. Make Your Purpose Clearly Visible

You have to be brief, concise and straightforward with your follow-up email. Specificity helps the person receiving your email to know exactly what you want and how they can be of help.

In case you have multiple requests then state the most critical and urgent of them. You can then briefly mention the others.

4. Focus on the Subject Line

Research conducted in 2014 based on more than 6.4 million emails showed that using certain phrases on the subject line either raised or lowered the conversion rates. A subject line with the word quick received far less attention by up to 17%.

On the other hand subject lines that read Urgent or Tomorrow were opened 14% more than those without. Think through the impact of the subject line on a typical recipient before using it.

5. Know the Timing

There are a number of factors that influence when a follow up email should be sent.

  • A thank you email should be sent within 24 hours.
  • A job application inquiry, follow up email should be sent about 48 hours after submission.
  • You should send a follow-up email after no response for a job offer after 7 to 14 days.
  • Catching up with a connection or reigniting a professional network should be done within 90 days.

business people with tablet

The Art of Following Up

Sometimes you might have to directly ask if you should stop reaching out. Maybe the follow-up isn’t yielding fruit or takes too long that it sabotages your plans. Then you might simply have to cut off the contact or request for more prompt responses.

Most people prefer honesty and they’ll let you know if you should stop reaching out. At the end of the day, the email is always about strengthening the mutual interest mostly by appealing to the person you are sending the follow-up email.

The images are from depositphotos.com.