Four Elements of a Rocking Follow-Up Email

September 19, 2013 Dan Naden

When you open an email, do you feel a sense of ease and freedom—or pressure?

Most of my colleagues complain of too many emails. There’s not enough time to read, to view, and to respond to the various internal and external messages.

But what if you were able to make it a snap to get your customers to respond to your email?

What if your company’s emails weren’t creating inbox clutter but actually introducing value for you and your customers?

I’ve recently started working with HubSpot. I had a question that required me connecting with HubSpot’s customer support. As I prepared to dial its support line, I had one wish: a pleasant experience. In dealing with various companies, I’ve struggled and stumbled through too many nightmarish support situations. I don’t get good answers; the wait times are brutal; the representatives are rude and abrasive.

My dream is: customer service representatives seeing every interaction as a learning opportunity. If they don’t, a competitor will.

After a surprisingly productive, upbeat five-minute conversation with HubSpot (I got the answer I needed in a flash); I received the following email.

Unless a customer received a ‘WOW’ experience, it is unlikely that most would be thrilled to receive an email like this. We are busy. We can’t keep up with the email we already have. But something about this email kept me interested.

There are a few things I liked about that email.

1. The subject line: “How is HubSpot Support doing?”

It’s short, sweet, and to the point. There’s no question as to what type of email you are receiving. When you open this email, you know what type of investment you are making—an investment to improve the already strong customer service organization at HubSpot.

2. It doesn’t ask for too much.

HubSpot asks for the answer to one question: Are you happy with your recent HubSpot support experience? There aren’t multiple call to actions or blinking, flashing, animated graphics—just a simple answer choice with a click: “Yes, I am happy” and “No, I am not happy.” If you feel compelled to open this email, you can quickly, easily click one link to share feedback.

3. The personal touch

I am a big fan of putting a name and a face behind the email. Who likes getting emails from [Company Name] support or info@[CompanyName]? It helps immensely to know that a real person wants and values my feedback. It lends immediate credibility to know that someone at a company wants to hear from me, so they can get better. Continuous improvement is a wonderful thing.

4. Add more value (if you want).

After you click on a Yes or No link, you are sent to a ‘survey’ page that still keeps simplicity top of mind. If you want to share additional feedback, such as “How likely am I to recommend this customer service person to a friend?” or “How much effort did it take to get my questions resolved?” you have that opportunity.

I imagine that an experience this simple, straightforward, and intuitive is yielding some very strong open and click-through statistics for HubSpot. So, how about your business? Are your emails doing everything you want them to do? Contrary to the rampant buzz these days on the Web, email marketing isn’t going anywhere soon.

You can use email campaigns to market, persuade, inform, motivate, but what are the steps to get your emails performing more effectively?

  • Who is your audience? What makes them tick? Get a firm understanding of what motivates the segment that you are reaching with a particular email campaign. Design content that speaks directly to recipients… and you’ll be surprised at the results.
  • What is the next step you want them to take by reading your email? Cluttering your emails with too many links, images, call to actions, and next steps may seem as if you are solving multiple problems at once, but you aren’t helping your reader in any way. An e-mail reader confronted with too many choices will make one fateful choice: Delete.
  • Build a subject line that tells them exactly what they are getting themselves into by opening your email. Cute, clever, catchy is fun, but clear, concise communication is effective at getting emails opened. Remember: People can’t perform the desired action you want them to do if they don’t open your email.
  • The data tells the truth. Scour your email open, click-through data to see how people are responding to your offers. Find the best day and time for your audience to open and respond to your message. Don’t just draft, design, and send your email when it’s ready for production. Look back historically and see when your customers are most likely to take an interest in your messages.

HubSpot’s follow-up email is just one example of email marketing done right. Thankfully, there are many other campaigns that you may see daily that cause you to take time away from your workday and respond with an open and a click. Learn from the experts; this isn’t rocket science. Be curious. Continue to make slight, incremental improvement each step of the way.

Your audience is ready to respond to your message. Now it’s your turn to design an email message that’s targeted, effective, and simple.

Previous Article
One Day, One Week: What’s the Rule for Answering Emails?
One Day, One Week: What’s the Rule for Answering Emails?

I recently received a phone call from a potential guest blogger asking me to hurry...

Next Article
Rethink Sales and Marketing: You’re Really Doing Commerce
Rethink Sales and Marketing: You’re Really Doing Commerce

Thanks to the cloud, today’s online buyer has more exposure to information....