Few things are more frustrating to me than sending an email and receiving no response, but with all of the emails that land in inboxes on a daily basis, it can be difficult to craft a message that stands out from the rest.
Could the reason others aren’t responding be because of what was sent?
I found a very useful article on the SideKick by Hubspot site about sending out successful follow-up emails. They shared five common blunders people make and how to avoid them:
1. Define Your Objective
Don’t make the mistake of opening your email client and sending a follow-up email using a generic phrase like “just checking in” or “following-up.” Not only is this untrue—you want a specific question answered or action taken—leaving the objective of your email open-ended fails to make any real connection.
Instead, clearly understand your objective before you start writing—whether it is to get information, request a meeting, catch up with an old acquaintance, or just say thank you. Crafting a meaningful email with a clear objective to get the information you want prevents your email from being glossed over.
2. Open With Context
Include a personal connection, common interest, or something discussed when you met. Chances are, your email recipient met multiple people at the networking event, has interviewed several people for the same position you’re trying to get, or may not be able to place your name if time has passed.
By including a specific detail, you help them remember who you are and distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd. This technique gets the recipient to respond to your email faster and more easily because they can place you and your connection. Forget to do this and it may not only delay the response, it could be the reason there is no response at all.
3. State Your Purpose
Between so many emails sent and received in a day, phone calls, and meetings, everyone’s valuable time gets eaten up—fast!
When you receive an email that is vague and without a specific purpose, it can be difficult to respond, and sometimes you just don’t want to because it will take too much work to figure out what the sender really wants. To avoid that happening to your email, be sure to include a purpose. Be specific about what you want from your contact—it gets you the information you need and it doesn’t waste your contact’s time.
4. Compose a Subject Line
You get emails all the time that either don’t have a subject line or the subject line is vague and boring. Chances are, if you have, you either didn’t open it or you put it to the side to deal with later, which increases the chance that you will forget to respond altogether because it gets buried in your inbox.
One of the best ways to ensure your email is both seen and read is to include a subject line that is short and to the point, yet intriguing. Research shows that creating a sense of urgency and using concrete numbers or times in your subject line helps increase the likelihood that your email is opened.
Some of my most successful subject lines are CliffsNotes of the email, for example, “Coffee, Friday at 9?” or “Contract Due COB—Need Your Approval”.
5. Know the Appropriate Follow-Up Time
If you’ve ever submitted an online application, requested a special meeting with a new acquaintance, or wanted to catch up with a connection, you’ve probably wondered exactly when to send your follow-up email.
If you’re trying to stay in touch or catch up with a previously established contact, sending a follow up every three months is appropriate. It stays in contact enough to let them know you’re still interested but not so much that it bombards their inbox.
If you are following up with someone regarding a potential job offer or a meeting request, it is best to do so one or two weeks after the initial contact. This timeframe gives them the opportunity to make some decisions, see other candidates, and clear their calendar.
If you are following up with a thank you email after meeting someone or after submitting an application, it is best to follow up within 24 to 48 hours. This ensures that they receive your email and lets them know that you are interested in building a genuine relationship.
Use events, notices and news as a reason to follow-up. If you see a contact or their company is mentioned in the news or you find something you think will be interesting to them, use this content as a trigger to follow-up.
The primary rule of thumb in following-up is to avoid being generic or rushed. The more specific and clear you are with the request, the more successful you will be.
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