The Most Effective Webinar Follow-up Email

“Was it helpful?”

That’s what your webinar should have been. Helpful in an actionable way. If it wasn’t? Sales representatives should gather intelligence and report their findings to the marketing department.

Thus, “Was it helpful?” is a very effective subject line when sending your webinar follow-up email message — I use it with my own business and clients successfully. Try it.

Will Slack Replace Email?“Was it helpful?”

That’s what your webinar should have been. Helpful in an actionable way. If it wasn’t? Sales representatives should gather intelligence and report their findings to the marketing department.

Thus, “Was it helpful?” is a very effective subject line when sending your webinar follow-up email message — I use it with my own business and clients successfully. Try it for yourself.

“I used this technique on a webinar follow-up yesterday and WOW, that really worked,” says Linda Simonsen of DigitalEd.

“I have never got such quick feedback (less than one hour).”

Following up With Attendees

“Did the   [insert title]    class last week help you   [insert goal of your customer]  ?”

Boom. Done. That’s your message. Nothing else.

No long-winded yackity-yack reminding the attendee about content of the webinar. You know they attended, now get to the point. They’re on a mobile device, pressed for time. Your buyers are deleting, deleting, deleting.

Stop them. Provoke them.

Give your customer a reason to hit reply and tell you — yes or no. It was helpful or it was not. In most cases they’ll even tell you why.

And they’ll tell you that crucial why because you asked in a way that provoked a response. Your approach style was brief, blunt and right to the point. In fact, your email really stood out because it was so darned short!

Why it works

Because it’s atypical. It’s not an awful template!

The best inbound lead follow up messages avoid standard templates found on Google.

This tactic helps you get in the discussion with prospects about their world, objectives, pains, fears and pressures. This approach helps them develop and act on the urge to hit reply and start the conversation.

Additionally, avoid calling your webinar a webinar. Make it a class, make it actionable. Classes have homework, did your webinar? Or was it typical — overloading attendees with information, overwhelming them to the point of preventing them from taking action on any of it?

What About Non-Attendees?

Since most webinars offer video replays, the same question applies. “Was it helpful?” Within the copy of your message simply adjust to include proper context. Segment your list and mail non-attendees a slightly different, equally provocative, message.

“Did the video replay of last week’s   [insert title]   class help you   [insert goal of your customer]  ?”

Ask the Question, Bluntly

Even if the goal of your webinar class is to shift a mindset, ask the question.

“Did the content marketing class help you see the challenge of empowering sellers with content differently … in a way you can act on?”

Yes or no.

The bluntness of this approach is why it works. Being direct (and brief!) gives customers freedom to share candid thoughts.

Rather than responding how customers typically do — hitting the delete button — they hit reply and let you know, quickly. That is what unsolicited email demands.

Being effective requires you to use short bursts of communications.

Sales Follow-up Emails: The Most Effective Formula

Earning a reply to your initial email is simple. Spark the prospect’s curiosity. But what comes next? How do you follow-up effectively once invited to do so? What do you write and how — so potential buyers will reply again?

Earning a reply to your initial email is simple. Spark the prospect’s curiosity. But what comes next? How do you follow-up effectively once invited to do so? What do you write and how — so potential buyers will reply again?

Spark their curiosity. Again. However, it’s also time to hyper-target your prospect’s pain, fear or goal.

It really is that simple.

Here is a real life example. I’m sharing so you can copy the technique in your setting.

Here’s the gist of what works: When replying to the prospect’s invitation, help the buyer want to tell you about “the conversation already going on” in their head.

This helps you build a conversation about what is most important to them — not what you’re selling.

A Successful “First Touch” Email Example
One of my readers took advice (from this blog) and turned it into a response. I love when that happens.

Connor emailed me saying, “Your technique for getting permission to have a longer conversation is working great. What I would like to know is what angle I should take once permission is given… or the curiosity has sparked a response.”

Here is the exact first touch approach Connor used to earn the first response.

Subject Line: Is this a fit for you, ___ [first name]?

Savings accounts, bonds, and CD’s are currently earning less then 1% while the cost of living rises at 1.7%. There are other places to allocate your resources that offer a competitive rate while retaining a low risk mindset for your savings and also provide tax advantages.

In the interest of time would a short email conversation makes sense? Let me know what you decide, _____ [first name]?

Thanks for considering,
Connor

The prospect responded with, “Yes that is something I would be interested in discussing. What type of investment options do you offer?”

Connor is a financial adviser who offers different investment options. He says, “The products don’t sell themselves. The (sales) process we use conveys the value of our products.”

Thus, it’s critical for him to get into the flow of a buyer-focused conversation.

He asked me, “Do you have a proven approach to moving this situation forward and getting the appointment or should I explain what the product I was referring to in my response?”

Indeed, I do.

Pinpoint the Pain or Goal
In Connor’s case, the prospect responded by asking about investment options. That’s what Connor sells. He used a “near-term buying first-touch” approach. And the buyer is curios about his solution to the problem. Success!

However, this can be a dangerous situation.

The best way forward in the second touch is over-focusing on the prospect. Here’s what I mean.

In Connor’s case, the buyer is opening the door to talk about his solution, the product. However, it’s best to resist this temptation.

Instead, to earn another reply, I ask one brief but purposeful question. Two max. This qualifies your lead. It also helps you know how, exactly, to respond and move the discussion forward.

For example, Connor should reply,

“I will be glad to talk options, ___ [first name]. But I need to know more about you, please, to help. Are you invested in CD’s, bonds (low rate options) now? Are you doing everything possible to protect yourself from outliving your retirement savings?”

They’ll Tell You How to Reply
New customers will tell you what will trigger them to buy. Sometimes in the second email you receive from them. Choose your words carefully. Help them to open up and tell you.

The goal of your second email message is not to pitch your wares. Instead, it is to:

  1. Earn another reply, (keep it very short!)
  2. Trigger an “avalanche” response, (allow your buyer to become emotional)
  3. Pinpoint the buyer’s exact pain or objective. (so you can address it)

By identifying what matters most to the buyer you’ll know exactly how to reply in a way that builds credibility and curiosity in your solution. Remember: An emotional reply from a prospect validates how important a given issue may be to them. Additional curiosity (more questions) indicates the lead is a good one.

Bottom line: Your second email message will yield a response that qualifies the lead. The reply it generates will tell you exactly what to talk about in the next email message. The buyer will tell you — again!

A Stream of Curiosity
Always answer questions the prospect asks — but do so in ways that create more questions in their minds. Hold a little back. This helps create more curiosity.

Structure the way you reply. Be deliberate about it.

Don’t be coy. This isn’t about trickery or dangling a carrot in a way that will annoy the prospect. Be direct and specific. Yet hold back on the details. This will help your prospect feel an urge to ask you about them.

Good luck!

Stalking Your Business Prey: 5 Ways to Fail at Follow-up

I could feel his eyes on me, watching my every move.

I opened his email, scanned the content, clicked on the link and arrived at the landing page. I carefully filled out the registration form, clicked on the download button … and BOOM! The phone rang with his follow-up call.

I gasped, picked up the phone and without even identifying myself said, in utter disbelief, “Don’t tell me you’re following up on the paper I downloaded TWO SECONDS ago?”

I could hear him chuckle before he said “I just wanted to see if you had any questions.”

“How could I have any questions?” I exclaimed. “I haven’t had a second to even open the PDF!”

Have we moved to an era where salespeople are so desperate to meet sales pipeline quotas that they think it’s appropriate to contact a potential lead within seconds or minutes of a download?

Needless to say, he’s tried calling me back again, and again, and again over the last few weeks. But since I enjoy call display, I’m going out of my way to avoid answering. Why? Because his behavior was so creepy, I don’t want to engage in any sort of dialogue with him – ever. In fact, he’s turned me into a “brand evader.

In this pressure-filled business world, using content to lure potential prospects into the sales funnel is an extremely common marketing strategy. But the follow-up needs to be carefully strategized: whether it’s message, timing or contact channel. And I find most marketing and sales people have already picked up a dozen bad habits.

The Random Connection
I seem to attract lots of interest from others on LinkedIn. I get invitations to Link In with dozens of people each week — most of which I ignore. Why? Because the only note attached to their invitation is the LinkedIn default message “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

I look at their name, title and the company they represent and think, “No thanks. You’re just going to try and sell me something.”

While LinkedIn is a powerful relationship building tool, it would work harder if you DO NOT use that default language. Instead, just like you test outbound email copy, try testing different introductory email messages. Try making note of the relationship between our two businesses and why it might make sense to connect. Or highlight what it was about my profile that made you want to connect with me. Test, refine and learn. It’s direct marketing 101.

Email Invitations to a Prescheduled Meeting
I don’t know who came up with this strategy, but it’s got to stop. The first time I got one, I thought “Wow. I’m really getting old. I have no memory of talking to this guy, let alone agreeing to a conference call/demo meeting.”

Since the time suggested for the meeting was a conflict on my calendar, I politely declined. But another one arrived about 2 days later – same guy, same company, same meeting invitation strategy.

I declined again. And, placed his name on my SPAM list.

Persistent Personal Email
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails that say things like “I’m following up on my previous email, in case you didn’t get it …” Oh, I got it all right. I deleted it. And now, I’m flagging you as a spammer, too.

The Inexperienced Phone Caller
One of my colleagues recently posted this unbelievable inbound phone call to her Facebook page so we could all enjoy the idiocy of this inexperienced sales guy. This is verbatim.

“Hello Denise, this is Enterprise.”
“Hello Enterprise.”
“Yes I’m calling because, like, we see you have an account.”
“Ding Ding Ding correct.”
“So we noticed, like, you’re not renting cars like at all.”
“That’s right.”
“So like why is that?”
“Because I haven’t needed a rental car.”
“Like is that gonna change?”
“Like I don’t know.”
“Because we want to know if you’re gonna lease a car.”
“Well I will certainly let you know. Can I get a free ride sometime?”
“Like I don’t think so but I can check.”

Come on. Who hired this guy? Who trained him? Who had the bright idea to give him a list of past customers and set him loose?

I get it. Selling is hard. But I can guarantee that NONE of these strategies will be successful.

Oh, and by the way, let me download and read my business article in peace. Then try emailing me with similar articles that I might like. Keep doing that and I’ll soon become familiar with your brand and, perhaps, engage in a conversation. But I warn you. More likely than not, I’m merely doing research on behalf of a client and I have no influence over purchase whatsoever.

The Art of the Follow-Up

When prospecting using email or LinkedIn InMail, when should I send a follow-up email—to make sure the prospect saw my email? How long should I wait to rattle the prospect’s cage? Is there a better day of the week to follow-up? What’s the optimal formula? What do I say in the follow-up that will get their attention and response?

When prospecting using email or LinkedIn InMail, when should I send a follow-up email—to make sure the prospect saw my email? How long should I wait to rattle the prospect’s cage? Is there a better day of the week to follow-up?

What’s the optimal formula? What do I say in the follow-up that will get their attention and response?

Only you know the best way to answer these questions. I’d love to tell you the secret formula or best practice. But the only way to answer these questions is to write, try, measure, re-write and try again. Get in the sandbox and create.

That said, I will give you a “starter message template” to begin your experiment. The best we can do is try to control the chaos to the best of our ability. That kind of control takes two things: Staying flexible and having a systematic approach. Because systems tend to be reliable, predictable.

It’s a Lot Like Fishing
Everyone likes fishing when they’re kids. But when I grew up I realized something exciting: Once you’ve learned how to fish for, say, small mouth bass on a river, you can go to just about any river and catch that specific kind of fish.

Because of the system anyone can learn. The approach.

But here’s the thing: Like your uncle always said, “That’s why they call it fishing, not catching!” The fish, once in a while, are totally unpredictable. Fish are like people. They sometimes behave in ways we can’t explain at the moment. And here’s why: Because the weather changes. Water temperatures may fluctuate wildly. Their environment freaks out on the fish.

Catching them won’t be easy, but it’s never impossible—if you remain flexible enough in your approach.

Keep Your Follow-Up System Flexible
It’s the same with your prospects. Experimentation with follow-up timing and wording is vital to your success.

Like with fishing, outside factors suddenly come into play with prospects. Their boss suddenly quit. They’ve been given 24 hours to get on a plane and fill in for a sick colleague at a five-day trade-show. Their child was involved in a traffic accident and is seriously injured. Their partner wants a divorce.

Prospects “disappear into the black hole” right? You know, when everything seems to be going fine with your lead and poof! Suddenly, no response. All of these factors require a flexible system … a system that allows for customers to occasionally disappear and not derail you.

You need an approach that uses creative thinking-and rewards you for getting those fish biting again.

Embrace the Idea of Experimentation
There is no one best approach. There is no best practice that will be sure to work for you. You need to discover what is best in your situation with your customers.

You need to discover what sequencing of messages works best; what subject line works best; how to time the different touches you’ll make with the phone, email and LinkedIn.

Because different kinds of buyers have different kinds of habits that drive their day-to-day behaviors.

Use This as a Starter Template
Keep it simple. Remember, always use the “brief, blunt, basic” approach to your email messages. All of them. If this approach doesn’t sound like you adjust it so it does. Don’t get too wordy just make it sound like you. Use this as a template:

SUBJECT: Are we in touch?

Hi Jeff,

Sorry to trouble you. Did you receive the below message? If I do not hear back from you by _____ [insert day of week about 4-6 days after your initial message], I will not be in touch again.

All the best,
Steve Jones

Feel free to copy this technique. Yes, it works, but it’s the structure of the email that works—not so much the message itself. That’s the system. Words keep it flexible.

Why Does It Work?
The subject line is inquisitive. It is clearly seeking a response about being in touch. Most recipients do want to get back to senders. But only those senders who ask for a quick decision to be made in their first email.

Next, the first line dramatically acknowledges the fact that it is interrupting the reader’s day. By recognizing the reader’s right to ignore or delete, you are creating distinction for yourself. You’re standing out. It’s like a refreshing slap across the face.

Finally, this wording creates a sense of urgency. It sets a deadline.

Let me know how this flexible approach works for you? Good luck.