Following up is as crucial as sending an email in the first place. If you’re pitching to someone, you cannot give up when they don’t reply to your first email.
The real value and money lie in the follow up because it’s never really a ‘no’ unless they say it. This means that if your prospect hasn’t replied to you, it’s possible that you can still convince them to consider your pitch. However, if not done the right way, following up can get annoying.
Active follow-ups show the media personnel you’re committed to working with them, and you’re putting an effort. So, persistence is a need when you’re following up with your prospect.
Single-line or multiple question mark follow-ups do not represent good email etiquette. Just emailing someone, ‘Hey, you there’ or ‘Did you check my previous email’ will probably make you lose the game.
Much like anything else, following up also has some rules you need to follow if you want to get a response. Let’s look at some good ways of doing that.
1. Wait 2-3 days before following up
Just because you need to follow up consistently, it doesn’t mean that you send the follow-up email the next day.
Your prospect could have missed your email among the bunch of emails a professional receives every day, so give them some time to get back to you before you begin your follow-up sequence.
Ideally, giving them a time of 2-3 business days is sufficient, after which you can send them your first follow up email, gently asking if they had the chance to look at your previous email. You could also include some other things like a testimonial, case study, or links to similar work, so they’re more convinced.
2. Acknowledge the reporter’s time
When you don’t get a response to your emails even after sending multiple follow-ups, it’s natural to feel a little angry or irritated. But, don’t let that reflect in your email because your responder does not owe you anything, no matter how great your email is or how nicely your pitch is formulated.
No matter how many times you follow up, thank them for their time every time. They might be reading your emails but are waiting for that ‘one’ thing that makes them want to reply to you.
Express gratitude in your emails because they are paying you with time and attention, which is inevitably very valuable to a professional.
3. Pitch a different approach
You cannot send the same email every time you follow up. So, it’s best to tweak your approach, include different things, and tell them information that will most likely persuade them to reply to you.
Do some research on the person you’re emailing, show them you’ve invested time and effort by talking about it in the body text.
Try pitching a different approach by talking about a different aspect of your pitch, some highlights in your story, a blog on your website related to the pitch, or attach a short 1-minute video explaining the angle.
Tweaking your approach may get a response from the prospect, so experiment with your follow-ups and the subject lines you use with them.
4. Keep it concise
Don’t spin around words, get to the point fast, and tell them why you’re emailing them. You often forget to reply to emails that require a lengthy response, so you star them and reply later.
Ensure that you’re not writing such an email. It should be concise, talking about a single thing with a compelling call-to-action so they can give you a prompt response.
Only include information your prospect should know and will convince them to reply. Get rid of the unnecessary fluff which clouds your body text, and keep only relevant information.
5. Make it skimmable
Believe it or not, more than reading, professionals skim through emails to see if there’s something meaningful or valuable in there. This means that your email should be structured in an easy-to-read format so the prospect can quickly skim through it and understand why you’re emailing them.
Make your emails skimmable by bolding important information and using bullet points to state crucial information to help your prospect understand the information quickly.
Crafting short sentences and paragraphs also makes it easier to read since long sentences practically make it challenging to comprehend.
You could also use these skimmable tips in your first email to avoid the need for a follow-up email. If everything is mentioned clearly in the first email itself, you will not have to follow up.
Take a look at this skimmable email by Neil Patel, with hyperlinks and bullet points to break up the text:
6. Ask open-ended questions
Asking questions in your email is a great way to entice a reply. More than asking questions that can be responded to in a simple ‘yes or no’ manner, ask open-ended questions that require them to write their opinions.
Doing so shows that you’re interested in knowing more and are making efforts to do the job effectively.
You could also plan your call-to-action as a question. For example, ‘I would love to discuss this further on a quick 15-min call. What time would you be available tomorrow?’
This shows them they can just take out 15-minutes and talk to you to see if your pitch is strong and worth considering.
Following up requires a strategy and an action plan. If you’re sending a pitch, make sure you have a follow-up sequence of at least three emails already ready with you.
Each can have a different approach or a similar approach, but some additions can make your pitch more engaging.
Remember not to deviate from the main topic while writing the email and never show a tone of disappointment if they don’t reply. Persistently follow up with your prospects by using these tips to stay professional.