How to get the most out of your follow-up email

I’ve found myself making a lot of calls recently and that means making sure to follow up with my contacts if I don’t hear back from them, need more information or want to thank them for their time. Follow-up emails have become my lifeline and I simply couldn’t function without being able to rely on their effectiveness. No matter whom you’re trying to reach, a well-executed email could get you a response faster. Here are a few tips to help you with your next check-in.

4 keys to crafting follow-up emails

Start with a straightforward subject line. The most effective subjects are specific, direct and don’t use verbiage that may fall into spam filters. Avoid words like “remove,” “sample,” “form” and “help.” Instead, reference something specific such as the project you both are working on or something about who you are. For example, “Quick question from Public Relations Specialist at The Simons Group,” reminds the contact who I am, where I’m from and why I’m reaching out to him.

Provide context. Be sure to reference what your previous interaction was and why you are reaching out so that your contact isn’t left scratching his head. Say, “I left a voicemail, but wanted to make sure you have my contact information,” if you’re following up after one call. Or, “It was great chatting about XYZ with you on Tuesday,” if you were able to connect. No one wants to rack his brain to remember where you left off, so take the initiative and provide a quick reminder.

Be clear about your objective. Are you emailing your contact to set up another meeting? Do you need to have call that includes another member of your team? Do you want to thank your contact and make a recommendation for the future? Make sure your message is clear and concise so that it’s easy for your contact to understand what to include in a response.

Mind your timing. In many cases, after you’ve left a voicemail, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a follow-up email right away. Sometimes, it’s easier to reach someone through email than by phone, so an immediate email follow-up makes it more convenient for the parties involved. In other cases, such as following up after a meeting or conversation, it’s better to wait a day or two before reaching out. The exceptions to this, of course, are if you’re thanking someone for his time or providing information the contact requested during your meeting.

How do you follow up with your contacts? Let us know in the comments below.

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