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Four Elements of a Rocking Follow-Up Email

by Dan Naden  |  
September 19, 2013

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. Thereís 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 companyís emails werenít creating inbox clutter but actually introducing value for you and your customers?

Iíve recently started working with HubSpot.†I had a question that required me connecting with HubSpotís customer support. As I prepared to dial its support line, I had one wish: a pleasant experience. In dealing with various companies, Iíve struggled and stumbled through too many nightmarish support situations. I donít 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 donít, 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 ĎWOWí experience, it is unlikely that most would be thrilled to receive an email like this. We are busy. We canít 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.

The subject line: ďHow is HubSpot Support doing?Ē

Itís short, sweet, and to the point. Thereís 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.

It doesnít ask for too much.

HubSpot asks for the answer to one question: Are you happy with your recent HubSpot support experience? There arenít 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.

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.

Add more value (if you want).

After you click on a Yes or No link, you are sent to a Ďsurveyí 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 isnít 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 youíll 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 arenít 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 canít perform the desired action you want them to do if they donít 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. Donít just draft, design, and send your email when itís 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 isnít 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 itís your turn to design an email message thatís targeted, effective, and simple.

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Dan Naden is director of Products at the Lower Colorado River Authority. He is also publisher of the How Do Brands Win Business? ebook.

LinkedIn: Dan Naden

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  • by Alexandra Gibson Thu Sep 26, 2013 via blog

    I'm not surprised that a great experience came from Hubspot. I always look to them as the "guys that are doing it right" and who I should learn from. This post is a really good breakdown of how we can implement these simple and straightforward messages in our companies.

  • by Joanna Wed Oct 2, 2013 via blog

    Some great advice in this article. Thank you. As a PR practicioner, my only question is how do you find the time to get to know your audience, their behaviors and preferable times for receiving news tips when: A) We're often already pressed for time juggling multiple accounts?; 2) You win a new account that requires outreach to a news media sector with which you have minimal contacts and/or experientce. Yet, the new client wants a release issued within a week?

    It has taken me several years to build solid relationships with reporters/editors/producers at key outlets. I constantly read about "getting to know" the contacts that we're pitching. But the reality is that this is almost an impossible task given the time restraints and various other factors imposed on PR practitioners.

    Bottom line... What is the most efficient way to either build relationships or get to know our pitching audience?

    Thanks for the advice!


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