One of the first steps to starting your own business is building your clientele. The early years of a business are filled with trial and error. It’s essentially a clean slate wherein entrepreneurs must try their hand at different strategies, tactics, and plans to begin growing their clientele. It’s a time-consuming process that requires much effort.
Forbes reports that most businesses do not make much profit during their first year of operations. It takes around 18 to 24 months before they begin making an actual profit. With that, brands must take every chance they can get to reach out and appeal to customers. This is where the science of the follow-up comes in.
This blog will discuss the science of the follow-up, how it works, how a business can benefit from it, and how to create a successful follow-up strategy to drive sales. Read on to learn more about how to effectively utilize follow-ups for your business.
What Is a Follow-up?
A follow-up is a common marketing tactic used by businesses to encourage leads or prospects to take action after receiving an offer or pitch. follow-ups essentially serve as a reminder of what businesses have to offer for the client and that they are still waiting to hear back from them. As mentioned before, businesses must take every chance they can get to make a profit. This includes reaching out to all possible leads or prospects to encourage them to make a purchase or at least take interest in their brand.
Aside from being used to pursue more sales, follow-ups can also be used as a way to keep in touch with customers. They’re great for gathering feedback, sorting out issues, or simply building trust between the brand and its customer base.
One of the best ways to build and foster a solid customer base is by building a functional communication system. Businesses must make it a habit to check on their customers and contact leads or prospects to secure additional sales for their brand. However, there are times when leads, prospects, or clients do not respond. There are many possible reasons why these leads or customers become unresponsive. It could be that they:
- Are not interested in the product or service
- Forgot to reply after opening the message
- Feel overwhelmed with the number of messages and correspondences
- And many more…
Every lead, customer, and prospect is valuable to a business, especially if they are just starting out. When these clients become unresponsive, the ideal way to continue the interaction is by sending a follow-up.
How Many Follow-ups Are Required?
It is incredibly easy for a customer to skip over an email, which is why many sales representatives find the follow-up process to be difficult and overwhelming. In fact, a study by Brevet displays that 44% of sales representatives give up on pursuing a prospect after only a single follow-up call, while 94% of sales reps choose to give up after the fourth call. However, those who persist often end up with satisfying results. The same study states that 80% of sales require at least five follow-up calls to achieve a final purchase. This emphasizes the importance of being driven and persistent when it comes to following up on leads and prospects.
Why Do Businesses Need To Follow Up?
In most cases, ignoring an attempt to reach out often translates to a hard “no.” People will often tell you to respect the person’s decision in this case. However, it’s a different story when it comes to business. Unresponsive prospects or customers don’t necessarily mean that they’re rejecting your offer. There are several reasons why someone is not able to respond right away. It’s a given that many customers or prospects are busy with their own schedules. It’s also possible that they’ve read the email and forgot to respond, or they’re simply weighing up their options before entertaining your offer. Unless they explicitly state that they’re not interested, then it’s worth taking an opportunity to see if they would like to know more about the product or service.
The Benefits of Using a Follow-up Strategy
An effective follow-up strategy can benefit a business in many ways. Here are some of the best benefits that businesses can enjoy once they learn how to utilize the science of follow-ups.
Helps You Stay Connected With Customers
One of the best ways to foster a relationship with your customer base is by finding a way to communicate with them. Most businesses contact their clients through social media, phone calls, text messages, emails, or other channels that allow continuous messaging. follow-ups are great because they keep the conversation going. If it all ends the moment you stop receiving a response, then you may be losing a valuable sale. As we mentioned before, every lead, prospect, and customer is a valuable part of a business. follow-ups give businesses additional opportunities to reach out and encourage their contacts to take action towards their services or products.
Customers Feel Important
Customers feel valued, seen, and heard when businesses consistently reach out to them. follow-ups are important because they let clients experience the extent and quality of a business’s customer service. This mostly applies to businesses who have already closed a deal with a client and want to check in on their experience. However, it could also apply to prospects and leads that are slowly beginning to become more interested in the products. Once a customer feels that they’re being properly served or cared for, it’s likely that they’ll be encouraged to trust in your services (for prospects and leads) or consider making another purchase in the future (for existing customers).
Resolve Issues and Answer Queries Swiftly
This benefit is related to the previous one. follow-ups allow customers to see that representatives from the brand are taking the initiative to reach out to them, which makes them feel valued. Some customers may not be responding to attempts to contact them because they are confused about the product or are experiencing some issues with prior purchases. In this case, businesses should know right away. Sending a follow-up email or making a follow-up call makes it easier for sales representatives to address any current issues that a customer may be experiencing. If the prospects or leads have any questions, then a follow-up email opens the doors for them to ask any questions and satisfy their curiosity.
Encourages Repeat Customers
We would like to emphasize the importance of repeat customers in business. We’ve already mentioned it in the previous sections of this blog but customer retention makes up 65% of a company’s business, which is why encouraging repeat customers is one of the best benefits that a business can enjoy once they develop a successful follow-up strategy. Repeat customers are more likely to recommend your business to others and even purchase other products after the initial transaction because they have seen what the brand is capable of and what their services are truly like. With that, checking in on previous customers is a great way to build brand loyalty among your clientele.
Be One Step Ahead of Competitors
In a competitive market, one of the best edges that you can have over your competitors is your client’s preferences and trust. follow-up emails allow businesses to know more about their client and reach out to them consistently. Getting to know clients and learning their preferences and experiences through follow-ups provides more room for personalization. Compared to other brands that do not know much about their clients, businesses that get to know their clients through follow-up emails have a better chance of crafting strategies and tactics that specifically target certain leads or prospects to drive sales. With these personalized strategies in mind, it’s likely that prospects or leads will consider your brand over other competitors who choose a different approach.
Take Advantage of Sales Opportunities
As mentioned, follow-up correspondences aren’t just for new sales; they’re effective for encouraging brand loyalty and even introducing new products. When people stop responding to the first few attempts at contacting them, it’s possible the products were not interesting enough for them to take action. In this case, one of the best solutions is to introduce them to other options. Aside from checking if a lead is still interested, using follow-ups to divert a customer’s attention to other products that they like can be very helpful. Even if they do not take interest in the initial offer, businesses can still benefit from the second offer presented through the follow-up.
Connect With Old Leads
Old leads are just as important as prospects or previous customers. These people are those who have shown interest in your brand but did not take action, even after receiving follow-ups. It’s possible that these people chose not to take action because the product would not benefit them at the time. However, this may have changed after some time has passed. If a prolonged time has passed since the last email or phone call, then sending a follow-up email is an effective method to remind the lead about what the brand is and what it has to offer. With the right strategies and timing, businesses could gain sales from contacting and converting old leads.
Hear Your Customer’s Feedback
Customer feedback is a vital part of improving their experience. Calling or sending a message to request feedback is a common method that businesses use for follow-ups. If the client doesn’t reach out on their own or post any form of feedback on social media, then follow-up emails are the next best option. They give brands the opportunity to reach out first to ask for feedback or remind the customers to leave a review. Once the customer responds, then the business will gain useful information about what the customer enjoyed, how they can improve the experience, and address any issues they may encounter with the product.
Enhances Brand Recognition and Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is a term used for the instance wherein customers begin acknowledging and recognizing your brand, products, or services. By sending follow-up emails or making follow-up calls, prospects will eventually become accustomed to hearing from you. When prospects frequently see a brand’s name in their inbox or hear from them through a call, then it naturally leaves an impression on them. This may increase the chances of buying the business’s products in the future. Data by SproutSocial shows that 80% of customers are most likely to buy products from businesses due to brand awareness.
Challenges You May Encounter Once You Follow-up (And How To Fix Them)
Sending a follow-up doesn’t automatically mean that you will achieve the outcome you’re looking for. After all, sales representatives choose to follow up because they haven’t heard back from the lead or prospect. With that, it’s likely that businesses will end up running into a few challenges before they are able to receive their response. Here are some of the most common challenges that businesses will most likely encounter. We’ll also be providing methods that we usually utilize to overcome these situations.
Sending a Follow-up and Not Receiving a Response
As mentioned before, studies show that it takes at least five follow-ups before sales representatives begin to see results. However, you should be assessing where you could have gone wrong from the moment they did not respond to your first follow-up. Try to read through the message that you sent. It could be that the prospect or lead feels unsure of how to respond or the intent of the message. It’s also possible that they are interested in taking action but do not know which step to take next. Before sending your messages, always ensure that the message is delivered clearly to avoid confusion.
Solution: Always make sure to close each message with a call-to-action or CTA. The CTA serves as a signal that invites them to move forward with the next step in a potential transaction. Make the next step clear by ending your follow-up with a phrase inviting them to respond. Lines like “We would love to hear from you.” or “Please let us know if you have any questions.” are all effective choices, as they close the message but keep the channel open for future communication. It also emphasizes the next step that the prospect should take. Elements like the opt-in button or instructions could also be good choices, as they are easy to spot and increase clarity.
Sending Dozens of Follow-ups Without Receiving a Response
Once you’ve established and improved the clarity of the message, then it’s time to send the next follow-up. If the intent has been clarified in the previous follow-up but you still haven’t received a reply, then it’s likely that it’s due to another issue. Narrowing it down to just one possible cause is a long process that often requires a lot of trial and error. If you are unsure of what is causing your prospects to continue to be unresponsive, then it is best to reevaluate your approach and begin trying out new tactics.
Solution: Begin trying different methods to see if there’s a difference. If you’re reaching out through email, then there are many email marketing tools available on the online market that can assist businesses in determining whether your approach is effective or not. These tools are equipped with various features, including one that lets you see if prospects have opened your emails or not. If they are opening your emails but have chosen not to respond, then it’s time to take a different approach. Try to improve the subject lines and content of the follow-ups to make them more interesting or appealing. Continue trying different tactics and take note of everything that was changed during the process or what can be improved for future reference.
Client Seems To Have Lost Interest
If it gets to a point where the prospect stops opening messages altogether, then it may be time to stop sending follow-ups. follow-ups will only be effective if prospects have at least a slight interest in hearing from you. If they do not show any signs of interest or do not send a response after multiple follow-ups, then it’s best to close the channel and move forward to other prospects. It could be that the prospect or lead has found a better option, has no need for your services at the time, or is simply not interested in pursuing any transaction with your brand. When this happens, it’s better to maximize your time by moving on to more promising leads.
Solution: Before closing the door on communications, let the prospects know that you will be ending it at that point. Thank them for showing interest and reiterate your offers one more time. However, you must also emphasize that this is their last chance to respond or take advantage of any offers you might have included in your follow-ups. The thought of being completely unable to take advantage of a service, product, or special offer moving forward may cause a sense of urgency that could encourage the lead to contact you at the last minute.
Common Examples of Follow-ups
follow-ups aren’t just used for gathering new leads. As we’ve mentioned before, they can also be used to nurture existing customers to keep them loyal to your brand. follow-up messages or calls can be used in many ways but their main objective is to stay connected with a lead or customer and make them feel valued. Knowing what kind of approach to go for makes it easy to optimize a message to make it more appealing and helpful to the customer or lead while also showcasing your products and customer service skills.
Here are a few common methods to utilize follow-ups for your business.
Asking for Feedback
Feedback and testimonials are key elements in lead generation and sales boosting strategies. According to a report by Bazaarvoice, the conversion rates for products with reviews are 3.5 times higher than those that do not have any. That is why many businesses use follow-ups to encourage their customers to leave reviews after purchasing a product. After a customer receives their product, wait for a few days before sending a follow-up. First, thank them for trusting your brand and for making a purchase. After that, ask how they are liking the product so far and clearly state that you would like to hear from them. Don’t forget to add a link to your review section inside the message.
Keep sending follow-up messages for reviews with a few days’ interval between each message. A common tactic to encourage them to leave reviews is to offer a small incentive, such as a discount or loyalty points that they can use for their next purchase.
Checking in for Updates
Checking in on your leads and customers through a follow-up can be caused by various instances. In some cases, it’s the customers who reach out first. It could be that they have encountered an issue with their product or have some questions. Sometimes leads or customers may stop replying because they have resolved the issue on their own before receiving a reply from the business. Other times, it’s the brand reaching out to a lead with an offer or a request.
In this type of situation, it’s always best to approach the lead or customer with a polite and friendly tone. Never make it seem like you are in a rush for a response. Always start the message with a polite greeting. Ask them how they are and wish them well before leading up to the topic you want to follow up on.
Asking for Additional Questions or Concerns
This type of follow-up is often used to conclude issues or concerns from customers. It’s similar to checking in on a customer but the main difference is that this type of follow-up often comes after the problem has been resolved. For example, a customer experiences issues with their purchase and sends in a ticket.
Customers and sales representatives usually communicate to solve the issue but many customers do not reply anymore after their concerns have been addressed. This is where the sales or customer service representatives should reach out to ask if they have any additional questions or concerns before concluding the ticket. It ends the communication but also considers the customer’s side, in case they were too busy to respond or check their messages.
Sending a Thank You Note
A thank you note is another great way to show your appreciation to a customer after they make a purchase. Similar to asking for feedback, always start the message by thanking them for their purchase. The key difference between asking for feedback and sending a thank you note is that the main focus of a thank you note is expressing your appreciation. Emphasize how much their support means to your business. This will make customers feel valued and important, which is always a good thing.
End the message by telling them that you are looking forward to serving them again in the future. You can also use this as an opportunity to mention related products or services that they may be interested in.
What To Consider When Following Up on Leads and Customers
Now that the possible challenges of using follow-ups have been addressed, we will be discussing the steps required for creating a successful follow-up strategy. This brief guide includes a compilation of tips and things that businesses need to consider as they begin using follow-ups to generate more leads and boost their sales.
Consider Your Platforms
Every business will have at least two platforms that they use to contact their customers or leads. The most popular options include email, SMS or phone call, and social media. All three can be effective channels for communication between businesses and prospects. However, the overall efficacy may depend on how well it aligns with the business’ products or if the chosen platform can fulfill the brand’s needs regarding customer service and communication. Here are a few things that must be considered in choosing a platform to conduct follow-ups.
Email is one of the most used methods to contact customers, leads, and prospects. One of the best benefits of contacting prospects through email is that their email address can easily be obtained. In most cases, prospects or leads even give their email information willingly as they opt-in to receive free resources, to sign up to the brand’s community, or other similar situations. The main downside to using email as a channel to follow up on customers and prospects is that it is more difficult to get a response. This could be due to many reasons, including the prospect not checking their email.
Phone Calls and Text Messages
Text messages are similar to an email because it may be difficult to get prospects to respond unless the message is interesting or persuasive enough to capture their attention. However, phone calls are much easier to conduct. They provide an immediate way for businesses to talk to their customers in real-time. If not, they can also leave a voicemail. Overall, text messages and phone calls are a much more personal way of sending follow-ups. Since they are also more accessible compared to email most of the time, contacting the prospect, addressing any issues, or answering their questions is a swifter process.
Social media can be a good channel for engagement between customers, leads, and businesses. They can either communicate through public posts or have an extensive conversation through private messages. Many social media platforms also have additional features that could add value to the follow-up messages. For example, a sales representative could attach a survey or a poll in a follow-up to ask for a previous customer’s feedback. They can also take on a more relatable approach to catch their interest, such as sending relevant pictures, links, or even fun GIFs to encourage responses.
Plan a Cohesive Email Sequence
An email sequence is a series of emails that are strategically organized to drive more conversions or sales. follow-up messages won’t make much sense if they aren’t connected. Leads or customers may forget what the business is following up on if it isn’t directly mentioned in the content of the message.
All messages in an email sequence should be a direct follow-up to the message before them. For example, if you sent an email two days ago then you must mention that in your next follow-up. A similar situation would be if you sent them a limited-time offer. Mention the offer in the next follow-up and give them an even better offer or remind them of the deadline. Ensuring that the content of the emails is linked maintains the clarity of the sequence and highlights the main topic effectively.
Capture Their Interest With Valuable Content
Follow-ups are used to drive more conversions so businesses must use their creativity to come up with interesting ways to capture their audience’s attention. Start by creating a meaningful or intriguing subject line, as this is the first thing the leads will see. This is the best time to highlight your products or service so that it brings value to the lead. You could incorporate storytelling elements, such as briefly mentioning how your products managed to help your previous customers. Another effective approach would be to reach out with a limited-time offer, such as a promo for new customers or a sale. Either way, all follow-ups should highlight your products as a solution to the lead’s challenges.
Respond as Soon as Possible
Don’t keep your leads waiting. Getting a reply to one of your follow-ups is already a difficult task on its own. Once the lead replies or takes action, be sure to send a reply as soon as possible. If you take too long to reply, the lead or customer may get the impression that your customer service is lacking. In turn, this could discourage them from working with you or purchasing your products.
Always Be Respectful and Approachable
Respect the customer or lead’s time. While it’s true that follow-ups benefit businesses because they encourage more sales and conversions, they should also focus on maintaining the quality of the customer’s experience. Make sure that all messages are evenly spaced out with at least 48 hours between each message so that they do not feel overwhelmed or annoyed. Sales representatives can take on different tones or voices in their follow-ups, depending on the nature of the business. However, all messages should be written in a respectful and friendly manner so that customers and leads feel as if they are being properly entertained.
Follow-ups should be as long as needed and as short as possible. Focus on delivering the main message and avoid rambling about unrelated topics. The ideal length for a follow-up message would be around one paragraph so that it’s easy to read, even on a tight schedule. In addition, keep the language simple and direct. This makes the message more understandable and comprehensive.
The Best Platforms for Follow-ups and CRM
Follow-ups can be manually done by sales representatives from your team. However, if you are looking to expand your business or wish to generate more leads, then automating and managing follow-ups through an application or software is a more convenient and efficient option. Here are our top picks for follow-up and CRM platforms.
Hubspot is one of the most trusted and popular email marketing and CRM tools today. One of the best aspects of the platform is that it’s user-friendly and seamless to use. It’s easier to craft follow-up messages as a subscription to the platform already comes with different templates that you can use. Aside from templates, Hubspot also provides many options for personalization, so that the success of a campaign or sequence can be measured with just a few clicks on the site.
ActiveCampaign is another popular option among growing businesses. One of the best features of ActiveCampaign is that it has a split testing feature that allows you to test out the efficacy of different campaigns and sequences. It allows you to test whether the subject lines and messages of the follow-ups are interesting and efficient. This way, you can guarantee that all follow-ups and messages you send to leads and customers are high-quality and have a higher chance of delivering your desired results.
Freshworks is a great CRM and email marketing software if you wish to focus on personalization. The platform allows businesses to obtain an extensive view of the individual leads on their contact list, automatically encoding their data to save on time and effort. Freshworks is also great for integrating interesting and personalized campaigns to drive more conversion, as the platform’s features assist in managing contacts, optimizing the settings for personalized email campaigns, and much more.
Moosend has some of the most advanced and convenient features for email personalization. Sales representatives can easily personalize the emails through the platform, as Moosend can adjust the content of the message to align with the customer or lead’s name, location, or other types of information encoded in the platform. Moosend can also provide metrics about contacts to determine which leads are more active and worth targeting.
follow-up emails should be equally appealing and cohesive. Campaign Monitor focuses on the aesthetic aspect of follow-ups, making the messages look pleasing to the eye and inviting. The platform offers a user-friendly drag and drop feature where users can customize their own email templates. This allows businesses to tweak and personalize their emails to align with their brand colors or ideals. Aside from its creative designs, Campaign Monitor also offers various email templates and access to consultants who can guide you in creating effective strategies.
If you’re just starting out and want to test the waters before making a big investment, then Mailer Lite is one of the most affordable options on the market today. Mailer Lite is the best option for businesses that only have 1,000 subscribers. It contains all the basics of an email marketing platform, such as a user-friendly email builder, many user management tools, and even a split-testing tool to measure the success of your campaigns. Overall, it’s one of the best options for small businesses as it offers all the necessary features for an affordable price.
Autopilot is focused on streamlining the follow-up and lead generation process while also optimizing the email sequence to gain the best possible results. It’s one of the best tools for collaboration, as the entire team can add their comments, suggestions, and even emoji reactions to the automation sequence during the planning process. Autopilot offers split testing, customer journey mapping, lead scoring, and much more. The only setback to this would be that it does not have CRM software like other platforms. Other than that, it is a solid option for email marketing.
Utilize Follow-ups in Your Next Sequence
follow-ups are essential to every cohesive lead generation and conversion strategy. As the market becomes more saturated, businesses must optimize their strategies in every way they can to ensure that they have a steady flow of sales, conversions, and leads coming in. Knowing which methods to practice, which factors to consider, and which tools to utilize can help businesses in maximizing the potential of their follow-up messages and overall email sequences. Drive more conversions by practicing the methods from this blog in your next strategy.