Thanks to Punxsutawney Phil, we’re experiencing an early spring! I don’t know about you, but I’m loving this warm(er) weather and can’t wait until spring is in full force.
Another event people look forward to this time of year is Spring Cleaning. However, I’m not one of them. It’s a necessary chore that I dread and put off as long as I can.
So I’m suggesting a better, more exciting way to celebrate: Spring Cleaning for your follow-up emails!
There are some pretty scary follow-up emails out there, so I wanted to help out my fellow B2B marketers with some useful tips and praiseworthy examples of follow-up emails.
Traditional B2B Email Follow-up
Let’s start with the classic follow-up email, the one you send after you’ve tried to get in contact with a prospect:
This is the ideal follow-up email, and from the subject line to the P.S., the marketer who wrote this knew exactly what they were doing.
While the first email introduced me to their product, this one took the next step by including even more supporting information, like an external link to a complimentary article and performance metrics that show exactly how their product can help my business. When I didn’t reply to their first connection attempt, they took the time to create an entirely new email with the goal of nurturing me towards an email reply and, eventually, a purchase.
What really made this email stand out and feel less like an automated follow-up was the P.S. after her sign-off. Though this probably was an automatic email, the addition of the P.S. gave it a more familiar tone and included a fantastic link for me to read testimonials from some of their big-name clients.
This particular example includes these crucial components of a successful follow-up:
- Personalization – Including the prospect’s first name and/or company can improve both email and sales conversion rates. And it makes the prospect feel like you actually know them, and aren’t just throwing out another spamy marketing pitch.
- Supporting information – You know your product performs well for your customers, so let your prospects see what they can expect by working with you! Who would say no to a 20% lift in ROI?
- A clear call-to-action – Every email must include some type of CTA, from a big button that links to a demo form, to a simple request to set up a call. It’s hard enough to get prospects to reply to an email; don’t let them off easy without asking for something in return.
At the very least, if you’re including these three components, your email follow-up is already miles ahead of all of the other ones being sent out in the marketing universe.
Eye-Catching Subject Line
What good is a great follow-up email if your target recipient doesn’t even open it? If I had a $1 for every email I’ve received with the subject line “Just Following Up…” I’d have enough to actually buy what they’re all selling. If you want to stand out from the hundreds of other follow-up emails in your prospects’ inbox, follow this simple rule: don’t include “follow-up” (or any variation) in your subject line.
The following email does just that:
To be honest, the only reason I opened this email was to find out how I could get that $50 gift card! I probably won’t buy the email list, but they got me to at least open the email, which is half the battle in email marketing today.
If your prospect didn’t respond to your first email, take a risk with a new subject line in the follow-up. You never know what will drive the open until you try some new and different things!
Post-Event Email Follow-up
Conferences are not only fantastic opportunities to learn more about the latest trends in your industry, but are also a way to generate more leads for your software product. You can meet face-to-face with your prospects and even perform a demo right there on the expo floor. Few sales actually close at a conference, which makes the email follow-up that much more important.
The above email does a great job of both reminding me where I first heard of their company (at Dreamforce) and why I should seriously consider them for my project management solution. They also include various ways to learn more about the product, depending on how far along in the buying cycle I am, either by attending an informative webinar or setting up a call with their sales team.
The next example is less personalized than the email above, but still a fantastic use of post-event follow-up:
This could be just another generic webinar invite, but they used their MarketingProfs’ B2B Marketing Forum list to widen the reach of their next webinar and make it relevant to their new list of contacts.
Since the event was specifically for B2B marketing professionals, presenting the opportunity to learn more about a topic that the audience already showed interest in is an ideal post-event follow-up! Yes, I was missing #MPB2B, so this email arrived in my inbox at the perfect time with the perfect CTA.
So even if you don’t want to send a targeted, personalized email to all of the conference attendees, don’t let that fantastic new list go to waste! Send them content that’s relevant to the event you both just attended; invite them to another similar event, like a webinar or even a Twitter chat; whatever you do, make sure you attempt some type of follow-up after an event.
Triggered Email Follow-up
To explain the genius behind this next follow-up email, I need to show you the original:
Sure, it’s just another email promoting a new piece of content that’s relevant to my field. However, the awesome follow-up I received later in the day caught my attention more than the content they were promoting:
Using their handy dandy marketing automation system, they were able to track who clicked through the first email to the infographic and then automatically send those people a follow-up email, just a few hours later. Brilliant!
Follow-up emails are a necessary evil in the B2B marketing world, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be incredibly relevant! Don’t send generic follow-up after generic follow-up; try to tailor your message based on how that prospect has interacted with your previous emails.
Did they open the email but not click on the desired link? Try sending another email a few days later with a different link or call-to-action; maybe the first one wasn’t what they were looking for!
Was your prospect sent an email but didn’t open it? Adjust your subject line, or send them something completely different. Test your emails as much as you can to figure out which messages appeal to which prospects, so you’re not continually wasting your time (and the time of your prospects!) with worthless emails.
Website Activity Email Follow-up
One of the best things about modern marketing is our ability to track website visitors and serve them content based on their activity or what we know about them from previous visits. Sending emails to contacts in your database after they visit your website is a no-brainer. They just showed interest in your software, so take advantage of it and try to turn that web visit into a sales opportunity!
If one of your prospects is looking at your pricing page, there’s a good chance they’re very interested in your product. The above email is an excellent example of the type of follow-up you should send after someone visits your pricing page, especially if they’re a target account. There’s no need to encourage them to read similar content or fill out some type of form; they showed interest by visiting your pricing page, a high-value page, so skip ahead in the normal nurturing process and ask for call.
For any high-priority pages (like the pricing page or contact page) the above email follow-up is an absolute must!
But your entire website is not considered high-priority, so don’t send the same email to every web visitor. Tailor your message and CTA to the page the prospect visited.
All of the content on your website should be driving prospects down the sales funnel. If someone in your database reads one of these pieces, send them a follow-up email letting them know what they should read or do next.
The email above is exactly what you should send if someone visits a piece of content on your site. She references the page I visited to let me know why I’m receiving this email, and then helps me to connect that content to how her product can help.
While she jumps right in and asks for a call, it’s also not a bad idea to nurture someone by sending a similar piece of content that will move them further down the funnel. The key here is to show your prospects that you know what their challenges are and how your software can help.
Your Mission, if You Choose to Accept it…
For my Spring Cleaning, I always set a manageable goal of cleaning one room per day. Before I know it, I’m done! Try that same strategy with your email follow-up templates.
Focus on improving just one every day. And if you don’t have any follow-up emails, or want to add more to your toolbox, set aside a day for each of your new ones. That’s manageable, just one email per day!
Help your fellow software marketers by sharing your B2B email follow-up ideas and best practices in the comments below.