I recently received an email in my inbox with the subject line “Hi Lisa!” The from address only said “Suz”. I get hundreds of emails a day and this is the type of thing that I would normally just send to my spam folder – between the dubious subject line and the cryptic ‘from’ address, it really triggered all my red flags. But I had just sent a few photos, via Facebook, to a friend named Suzanne and thought that maybe she was replying to say she received them. I opened it and was surprised to see that it was a note from an old client, writing to set up another appointment!
This was a client I had really enjoyed working with. Our first meeting had been a strategy session to launch her blog and I really looked forward to working with her again but this email reminded me that sometimes, we need to go over basics, like how to follow-up via email to ensure that our online efforts succeed! As wonderful as her blog posts might be, if she were to follow-up via email with a subject line and from address like this, we can be sure that a good number, if not all, would end up in spam folders!
With the exception of e-commerce, where someone can purchase your products online without your interaction, almost all digital engagement, whether it is networking, posting on social media, sending an e-newsletter or building your website or blog, must include some live contact via phone or email to actually close the sale or to make the deal. If you aren’t making the sale, you will not see a return on your investment in these areas.
Here are some tips to ensure that your follow-up emails are helping, not hindering your follow-up efforts.
Create a Professional Email Address
Email coming from an address like ‘SweetCindi67’ is not professional nor is it a good indicator of who the sender might be. Have your webmaster set up an email address using your website domain. While you can use ‘info@domainname’ type addresses for general information inquiries on your website, it is best to have one with your name ‘Cindi@domainname’ or initials ‘CGM@domainname’ so people can more readily identify the sender.
If you cannot afford to have your webmaster set up an address for you (it is inexpensive and easy to do) call me and we can do it for you quite affordably!
USE the Professional Email Address
Many business owners I meet HAVE professional email addresses listed on their websites and business cards (a plus!) but then have that business email forwarded to their personal AOL or yahoo address because it easier for them to monitor. The problem is, when they REPLY to the business email, from that personal address, the email is sent from the personal address. Again, the client sees the personal address, rather than the professional one they sent their email message to, in the inbox.
Figure out how to receive and reply to email sent to your professional email account and use it on a regular basis. (If you need training on this, please let us know, we can help with this as well)
Review your Subject Line before you Send
Sometimes, you know what you want to say so you just write it. Review it and ask yourself, ‘if this landed in my inbox, would I open it?’ If the answer is no, or if it is even debatable, change it. Your follow-up email is important enough to warrant this extra care!
Fortunately, once you have sent at least one email that has been opened by your recipient, you will usually be ‘whitelisted’ as an acceptable sender and future emails will require less vigilance. Corporate email accounts can be quite strict so you may want to remind the recipient to manually ‘whitelist’ your address.
First Things First
When writing a long subject line – I like to do this as sometimes so if the recipient chooses not to open the email, at least they have seen this information – remember to put the most important information first. Since each email service inbox displays information in a different format and many only show a show snippet of the subjectline, be sure to prioritize the order of the words.
For example: An event reminder should say ‘NYYP Networking, Jan 13 @ 6 pm – Last Reminder’ rather than the other way around.
And you may want to consider a Phone Call
Yes, I know it can sound archaic to some – and I am rarely available at my desk myself to receive a phone call – but if it is really important to make the connection, you may want to pick up the phone and actually call the person.
If you send a follow-up email and don’t receive a reply within a few days, you may want to call as well – who knows, even with all the best practices in place, your email may still have landed in the recipient’s spam folder.
Making sure that you follow-up, all the way through to the sale, is key to ensuring that your digital efforts are paying off!