The Art of Following-Up Without Being Annoying

    After you've acquired a qualified lead or a paying customer through your online marketing strategies and campaigns, you can often find yourself plagued with wondering when and how you should follow-up to further encourage and strengthen the budding relationship established by the initial action or communication. Your worries are usually increased, as well, by the knowledge that a large segment of online users view follow-up inquiries to be little more than spam destined for the trash bin or delete button.

    Even if you are performing a follow-up to individuals who have yet to become a lead or customer, you may still find yourself struggling to decide how you can do so without being seen as an annoyance to your recipients. For those types of recipients, you don't want to chase them away before you've had an opportunity to invite them into your sales funnel, and with others, you don't want to be so obnoxious with your efforts that you are viewed as too aggressive or persistent. There's a fine line that divides annoying follow-ups from those that are appealing, and you can do a few things to ensure that your efforts land in the latter camp rather than the former.

    Be prompt with your initial follow-up communication.

    A prominent complaint with many online users is that they feel like companies are too impersonal in their communications with customers and leads. Your first follow-up should be relatively soon after your lead or customer has engaged with your company and should, at the very least, thank them for their interest or patronage. A quick initial follow-up will let your recipient know that you are aware they're there and interested in continuing the B2C relationship.

    Personalize your message.

    One of the easiest ways to follow-up with a lead or customer without being annoying is by personalizing your message. A large number of emails and online messages are completely impersonal and appear - obviously so - to be addressed to a massive number of recipients. People want to feel like they are unique and personalizing a message, even if it's with nothing more than their name in the subject line, is an excellent way to make your recipient feel that they've been singled out rather than included in the herd. Additionally, studies have shown that people make eye contact with content that includes their name far more often than they do with content that does not.

    Follow-up with an offer, benefit, or additional value.

    A great way to follow-up without being annoying is to send a multi-recipient message via social media network that includes something beneficial to your audience. You can use many social networks to send messages to specific recipients, such as those who have previously made a purchase from your company. Your message should mention their previous patronage, thank them for it, and offer them something of value that is exclusive because they are an existing customer. Many social networks also provide the option to preface the message with the recipient's user name, making the message less of an annoyance because it appears personalized. An example of this might be something like, "Sally Smith, here's an offer just for you! Because you are already our valued customer, we would like to offer you an exclusive opportunity to [receive, buy, get] [your company's offer]!"

    Devise a plan for scheduling and timing your follow-up messages.

    An important aspect of any type of online marketing is timing. You don't want to send a marketing message to a recipient who won't be around to see it any more than you'd want to see a follow-up communication to a customer who likewise will miss it. As part of your overall marketing strategies and social media plans, you will want to create a schedule for distributing your follow-up messages that reaches out to your audience when they will be most likely to be checking messages, viewing social content, or surfing the Internet.

    Above all else, your follow-up communications should be as short and succinct as possible. When you keep your messages simple and to the point, you are letting your audience know that you value their time as much as they do. They will reward your efforts with continued purchases, qualified referrals, word-of-mouth recommendations, and other activities that increase your online visibility and spread your message more easily and quickly than you ever could.

    Topics: Follow Up

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