You’ve sent the most important cold email of your life.
The person you’re emailing could be the incarnation of your ideal buyer persona. They were practically born to read your pitch. You read and reread the email before clicking send. Your mom even proofread the message — twice. You know that this is the best copy you’ve ever written.
Great headline? Check.
Correct contact information? Check.
Promise to buy tacos for the whole AppSumo team? Che—wait, no.
Long story short: you click send and wait. A day goes by, then three. Now it’s almost been a week. All you’ve gotten is radio silence.
Did you fail? Not necessarily. Maybe it’s just time to follow up.
The importance of following up
A few weeks ago I interviewed Guillaume Moubeche, CEO and cofounder of lemlist, to uncover the best practices for email outreach. This is the fifth and final part of the series he’s helping us create. And according to Guillaume, this is where the true money is made in email outreach.
Follow-ups are crucial. It’s easy to think that if someone doesn’t respond the first time, they’re completely uninterested. But that’s not necessarily true.
Just think about how you manage your own inbox. We all receive tons of emails every day. We try to respond to the most pressing messages first, and then delve into the lighter ones, right?
But sometimes we fall behind or forget to respond to people. Life gets in the way and emails are left forgotten. And those are situations involving people we know and are responsible to. How much more likely, then, is it for someone to forget an email from a complete stranger?
It’s very easy for your message to get ignored, interrupted, or totally forgotten.
Unless, of course, you send them a friendly reminder.
How many people respond to follow-ups?
According to Guillaume and his team (who together have helped send more than 5 million emails), the most likely responses will occur within 5 emails. That’s 1 initial message + 4 follow-up emails. After that, you’ll find harsh diminishing returns.
Let’s say, using follow-ups, you received 100 responses from people you’ve emailed. According to Guillaume, those numbers will look something like this:
- 30 people will respond to the first email
- 25 people will respond to the second email
- 20 people will respond to the third email
- 15 will respond to the fourth email
- 10 people will respond to the fifth email
You see what that says? Out of 100 people who will eventually respond to your email, 70% will respond to follow-ups. Looking at this another way, 70% of potential respondents won’t respond to your first email.
That’s a lot of money left on the table if you don’t boost your follow-up game.
What to say in each follow up
Following up does two primary things. First, it reminds recipients of your first email. And second, it’s an opportunity to add more value to the person you’re emailing.
Don’t get tongue-tied. Guillaume recommends how to respond in each follow-up:
First follow-up: The bump
This should be a simple nudge because, well, life happens. This email is literally just a simple reminder, something like “Just floating this to the top of your inbox” might do just fine.
Second follow-up: The case study
Tell them some numbers. Show your cards: who’s using your product or what has your idea done for another company. Just remember as you send this email: don’t become the focus of your email. Make sure your message adds clear value to the recipient.
Third follow-up: The connection
Use this email to form a more personal bond. Guillaume even recommends sending a personalized video. Say the person’s name, talk about their company, and just show you’re a real person.
Fourth follow-up: The breakup
This is the last-ditch effort. You want to keep this email as simple and lighthearted as possible. Give the simplest possible call to action. Guillaume also mentions that, if you’ve mastered humor, you can add a little comedy to this message.
Measuring success (Hint: Avoid these vanity metrics)
Many marketers, Guillaume says, focus on the wrong email metrics. People are trained to optimize their open rates and click-through rates, but they overlook the only metric that truly matters: meetings booked.
The problem is, low open and click-through rates only tell you one thing: whether or not you’re speaking to the right person.
That’s why it’s vital to have a clear buyer persona, as we talked about a few weeks ago. If you’re speaking to the right people, those metrics will take care of themselves. If you want to optimize, it should be on the metrics that really pay the bills. How many meetings are you getting on the calendar? How many products are you selling? Those are the numbers that count.
Sounds like it’s time to go follow-up with that dream client you emailed last week. After you’ve sent that message, check out the first four articles in our email outreach series.
- Defining your buyer persona
- Finding and validating emails
- Ensuring high deliverability
- Tools for email outreach
I want to extend a huge thanks to Guillaume from lemlist for contributing so much valuable data and insight to our email outreach series. Learn more about their team and product here.
What’s the greatest opportunity you’ve ever received from sending a cold email? Tell us in the comments!