Mike Taber: Follow-Up Emails – Talk Recap – FemtoConf 2018

The FemtoConf 2018 Notes and recaps can be found on the central hub page.

Full title: Following up… without looking & feeling like a complete dirtbag
Website: Bluetick.io
Twitter: @singlefounder

  • When you email people it is hugely important to you, but barely registers with them
  • Clarification: Follow up email!= Cold email
  • Why follow up? 
    • Was it received? 
    • Did they make a decision? 
    • Did they inform you of that decision? 
  • If they don’t answer those questions, you have an open loop
    • Follow up is about closing the loop!

Email Black Hole

  • There are 4 common reasons
    • #1: They never received it
      • Mail server issues
      • Wrong email address
      • Filtered as spam
      • Out of office/vacation/traveling
    • #2 Received, but dismissed
      • Email filters or rules
      • Irrelevant subject line
      • Skimmed & made “wrong decision”
      • Gatekeeper said “Nope!”
      • Wall of text
    • #3 Received with best of intentions
      • Traveling, working remotely or mobile device
      • Mailbox flooded / Email Bankruptcy
      • Dropped off their radar
      • Something on fire
      • Guilt from not responding sooner
        • BONUS: Follow ups give permission to reply
      • Popular misconception: 
        • If it’s important to them, they’ll reply
        • ==> Follow up more than feels comfortable. It works.
    • #4 They hate your guts
  • #1 Incorrect Value Association
    • The value of an email is measured in 2 places
      • The Recipient: What does the email do for them? 
      • The Sender: What does a response mean to them? 
    • The value of a response does not feel measurable at the time an email is sent
  • #2 Time Constraints
    • Feels like busy-work
    • Because… deadlines
      • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make when they pass by. 
  • #3 Your Emotions Will Get the Better of You
    • Sending follow up emails is emotionally painful
      • You feel like you’re repeating yourself
      • Variable rewards schedule
      • Negative emotions disproportionally outweigh positive ones
  • #4 We are afraid
    • Terrible emails

Does Following Up Work? 

  • 52.8% average open rate
  • 5.9% average reply rate
  • Average of 11.3% subscribers block tracking pixels – you don’t get “open rate” stats for those!

Successful Follow Ups

  • When: Select situations where it makes sense
  • Action: Clearly define the single action you want the person to take
  • Automation: Templates, software, reminders, Zapier, outsourcing, etc. 
  • Personalization: Use their name, use your own domain, reply to previous emails, etc.
  • Pass along first name, last name, and email address when redirecting people to Calendly/etc!
  • First email in sequence requires users (your!) approval, all steps after that are fully automated

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


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